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Jasper Truyens, Veerle De Bosscher and Popi Sotiriadou

Research on elite sport policy tends to focus on the policy factors that can influence success. Even though policies drive the management of organizational resources, the organizational capacity of countries in specific sports to allocate resources remains unclear. This paper identifies and evaluates the organizational capacity of five sport systems in athletics (Belgium [separated into Flanders and Wallonia], Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands). Organizational capacity was evaluated using the organizational resources and first-order capabilities framework (Truyens, De Bosscher, Heyndels, & Westerbeek, 2014). Composite indicators and a configuration analysis were used to collect and analyze data from a questionnaire and documents. The participating sport systems demonstrate diverse resource configurations, especially in relation to program centralization, athlete development, and funding prioritization. The findings have implications for high performance managers’ and policy makers’ approach to strategic management and planning for organizational resources in elite sport.

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Jens De Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, Hiroaki Funahashi and Popi Sotiriadou

Many Nations are increasingly investing public money in elite sport on the belief that this will trigger a range of benefits for the population. However, there is lack of insight into how the population perceives elite sport’s impact on society. This study developed and tested a measurement scale assessing the publics’ beliefs of the positive and negative societal impacts that could potentially flow from elite sport. A sample of the Belgian population (N = 1,102) was surveyed. A 32-item scale was built using principal component and confirmatory factor analysis procedures for which the goodness-of-fit indices were excellent. Multivariate analysis revealed that the Belgian population perceived elite sport to have mostly positive societal impacts. The study findings can serve researchers wanting to measure the perceived potential positive and negative societal impacts of elite sport.

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Popi Sotiriadou, Jessie Brouwers, Veerle De Bosscher and Graham Cuskelly

Previous studies acknowledge the importance of sporting organizations’ developing partnerships with clubs for athlete development purposes. However, there are no studies that address the way partnerships influence athlete progression and pathways. This study explores interorganizational relationships (IORs) between a tennis federation and tennis clubs in their efforts to improve player development processes. Document analysis and semistructured interviews with representatives from clubs and the Flemish federation were used. The findings show that the federation and the clubs engaged in IORs to achieve reciprocity and efficiency. The federation anticipated gaining legitimacy and asymmetry, and clubs expected to develop stability. Formal and informal control mechanisms facilitated IOR management. The conceptual model discussed in this study shows the types of IOR motives, management, and control mechanisms that drive and influence the attraction, retention/ transition, and nurturing processes of athlete development.

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Veerle De Bosscher, Simon Shibli, Maarten van Bottenburg, Paul De Knop and Jasper Truyens

This article aims to make a contribution to comparative sport research and details a method for comparing nations’ elite sport systems less descriptively by measuring and comparing determinants of national competitiveness quantitatively. A mixed methods exploratory sequential design is used, consisting of two distinct phases. After qualitative exploration, a conceptual model was developed, revealing that there are nine sport policy dimensions or ‘pillars’ that are important for international sporting success. This article focuses on a second quantitative phase, where the model was tested in a pilot study with six sample nations to develop a scoring system. Data from each nation were collected through an overall sport policy questionnaire completed in each country, and through a survey with the main stakeholders in elite sport, namely athletes (n = 1090), coaches (n = 253), and performance directors (n = 71). Reflecting recognized principles of economic competitiveness measurement, this article demonstrates how 103 critical success factors containing quantitative and qualitative data can be aggregated into a final percentage score for the sample nations on each pillar. The findings suggest that the method is a useful way for objective comparison of nations, but it should not be isolated from qualitative descriptions and from a broader understanding of elite sport systems.