The way in which leaders in sport organizations are evaluated by their employees is dependent upon perceived levels of credibility and implicit theories of leadership. Leader knowledge and expertise play significant roles in this process, yet both have been treated as comprehensive constructs irrespective of specific knowledge domains. Drawing from the education literature, this research looks to disentangle the global perspective used by the credibility and prototypicality literatures. It is proposed that employees in sport organizations expect managers to possess domain-specific expertise which is separate from the functional area requirement. Two different samples including professional sport employees and sport management students were used, with confirmatory factor and conjoint analyses used to test the research hypotheses. The results support the notion that distinct psychological processes exist within sport organizations, and that sport domain knowledge and expertise are distinct constructs which play important roles in the perception of leaders within this context.
The Complexity of Leading in Sport: Examining the Role of Domain Expertise in Assessing Leader Credibility and Prototypicality
Steve Swanson and Aubrey Kent
Fandom in the Workplace: Multi-Target Identification in Professional Team Sports
Steve Swanson and Aubrey Kent
Team identification has been researched extensively from the perspective of the consumer. The current study proposes that employees working in professional sport may also be fans of their respective teams, and provides insight on the role of team identification in the workplace environment. Over 1100 business operations employees from the top profession sports leagues in North America participated, and results indicate that dual targets of identification exist simultaneously in this setting. Strong support is provided for the discriminant validity between organizational and team identification. Beyond the more established effects of organizational identification, the results provide evidence that team identification independently predicts key outcomes such as commitment, satisfaction, and motivation. The results add to the literature by introducing the concept of a sports team as an additional target of identification in the organizational context.
Workplace Dynamics in Professional Sport: A Case Study of Identification, Political Skill, and Personal Control
Steve Swanson and Samuel Y. Todd
This case is based on a collection of real-life scenarios encountered by employees working for professional sport organizations. The workplace in this environment contains circumstances distinct to the sport context which this case aims to highlight. A small work group of three individuals with diverse backgrounds representing key departments in a professional basketball club are brought together to lead a difficult challenge in the community. Over the course of the season, several meetings and personal interactions play out which present difficulties in productivity due to individual differences in human relations capacity and varying psychological connections with the environment. In combination with the teaching notes, the case is designed to highlight (1) the special nature of employee identification in the professional sport setting, (2) an array of political skills which are relevant and useful to the sport workplace, and (3) the role of perceived personal control in sport organizations. An overview of theory and its specific application to the case is provided along with discussion questions and answers to aid instructors in effectively engaging with students around the topical areas.
Sport Leadership: A New Generation of Thinking
Lesley Ferkins, James Skinner, and Steve Swanson
Roles of Performance and Human Capital in College Football Coaches’ Compensation
Yuhei Inoue, Jose M. Plehn-Dujowich, Aubrey Kent, and Steve Swanson
Despite the escalation of football coaches’ salaries at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions, little empirical investigation has been undertaken to identify the determinants of their compensation. As such, the purpose of this study is to explain how the level of coaching compensation is determined based on three theoretical perspectives in managerial compensation: marginal productivity theory, human capital theory, and managerialism. The analysis of compensation data of head football coaches at FBS institutions in 2006–2007 shows that the maximum total compensation of these coaches increases with their past performance. The results further reveal that coaches with greater human capital tend to receive a compensation package where bonuses account for a smaller proportion of the maximum total compensation. Overall, these findings mostly confirm the predictions drawn from managerial productivity theory, human capital theory and managerialism.
Reimagining Leadership in Sport Management: Lessons From the Social Construction of Leadership
Jon Billsberry, Jacqueline Mueller, James Skinner, Steve Swanson, Ben Corbett, and Lesley Ferkins
Conventional approaches to leadership in sport management regard leadership as a leader-centric phenomenon. Recent advances in the generic leadership literature have highlighted the way that people construct their own understanding of leadership and shown that these influence their assessment and responses to people they regard as leaders. This observer-centric perspective is collectively known as the social construction of leadership. In this conceptual paper, we demonstrate how this emerging theoretical approach can reframe and invigorate our understanding of leadership in sport management. We explore the research implications of this new approach, reflect on what this might mean for teaching, and discuss the practical ramifications for leadership in sport management that might flow from the adoption of this approach.