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Lucie Thibault and Richard Wolfe

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Kathy Babiak and Richard Wolfe

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an area of increasing importance for many companies. Professional sport teams, also, are increasingly engaging in socially responsible activities (Irwin, Lachowetz, Cornwell, & Clark, 2003; Kern, 2000; Robinson, 2005). The research described in this article identifies, and determines the relative importance of, the drivers—both internal and external—of socially responsible activities by professional sport teams. Using a qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with sport executives, and organizational documents were analyzed. The data showed that external drivers of CSR, in particular key constituents, the interconnectedness of the field, and pressures from the league were more important determinants of CSR initiatives than the internal resources available to deliver CSR efforts (i.e., attention, media access, celebrity players, coaches, facilities). Based on these preliminary findings, we propose a framework of CSR adoption in professional sport that predicts the types of CSR initiatives a sport organization is likely to adopt depending on its internal and/or external orientation and present a research agenda based on the framework.

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Richard Wolfe and Marvin Washington

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Dennis Smart, Jason Winfree and Richard Wolfe

Smart and Wolfe (2003) assessed the concurrent contribution of leadership and human resources to Major League Baseball (MLB) team performance. They found that player resources (defense/pitching and offence/batting) explained 67% of the variance in winning percentage, whereas leadership explained very little (slightly more than 1%) of the variance. In discussing the minimal contribution of leadership to their results, the authors suggested that future studies expand their operationalization of leadership. That is what is done in this study. Finding that the expanded operationalization has limited effect in explaining the contribution of leadership, we take an alternative tack in attempting to understand leadership in MLB. In addition, we estimate a production frontier (based on offensive and defensive resources), determine the efficiency of MLB managers relative to that frontier, and investigate the extent to which manager efficiency can be explained by manager characteristics. Finally, manager characteristics are related to manager compensation.

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Julie Long, Lucie Thibault and Richard Wolfe

Because of substantial financial cutbacks, Canadian university athletic departments are facing increased pressure to realign their budgets and seek funding from nontraditional sources. Research that addresses influence over funding decisions in university athletics is therefore warranted. This study addressed the attributes of those who are perceived to have influenced an exclusive sponsorship decision, the methods of influence used to influence this decision, and the extent to which athletic department policies and procedures influenced the process. A single-case study in the athletic department of a Canadian university was undertaken to address these questions. The study involved semistructured interviews with coaches and administrators, participant observation, and document analysis. The results indicated that structural factors (i.e., positional power, coaching high-priority sports) had the greatest influence over the funding decision studied, although personal factors (i.e., expertise, personality, seniority) were also key sources of influence. Interactions among the sources of influence were also observed.

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Marvin Washington and Richard Wolfe

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Dennis L. Smart and Richard A. Wolfe

This paper addresses the determinants of intercollegiate athletic program success. We built our arguments on a recent development in the strategic management literature, the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the firm. Our purpose was to investigate the source of sustainable intercollegiate athletic program success. In making our arguments, we briefly reviewed the RBV literature and addressed appropriate success criteria for intercollegiate athletics programs. An exploratory investigation of Pennsylvania State University's football program led to the conclusion that the resources responsible for its enduring competitive advantage are the history, relationships, trust, and organizational culture that have developed within the program's coaching staff. An organization that possesses such organizational resources may sustain a competitive advantage by exploiting its human and physical resources more completely than other organizations. The paper concludes with discussions of the potential generalizability of our findings, their implications for theory and practice, and suggested future research directions.

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Daniel S. Putler and Richard A. Wolfe

Considerable controversy exists concerning university athletics. Depending upon one’s perspective, athletic programs are seen as having important positive, or negative, effects on universities. The objective of the research reported here is to determine whether perceptions of intercollegiate athletic programs differ as a function of issues such as winning, profits, ethics, and the education of athletes. Our analyses indicate that: (a) ethics and winning, and education and revenue, tend to be competing athletic program priorities; (b) individuals cluster in four groups that emphasize athletic program revenue, winning, education, and ethics; and (c) the extent to which cluster membership is related to constituency group (e.g., alumni, students, faculty) membership depends on the constituency group being considered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of our findings for both theory and practice.