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Jon Welty Peachey, Yilun Zhou, Zack J. Damon, and Laura J. Burton

Scholars have recognized the importance of leadership in the sport industry; early sport leadership studies emerged in the 1970s. To date, however, there has been no comprehensive review of the scholarly leadership studies in sport management. Thus, the purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the sport management leadership literature from the 1970s to the present day, to outline what has been learned, and then, drawing from this synthesis, to articulate a preliminary conceptual model capturing how leadership operates in sport management. A number of clear themes in sport management leadership research and conceptual thinking have emerged, with the proposed conceptual model advancing several leadership antecedents and processes unique to sport. Intriguing directions for sport management leadership scholarship are also illuminated. Although progress has been made, many questions and gaps remain that require focused attention from sport management leadership scholars.

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Zack J. Damon, Sarah Leberman, Janelle E. Wells, Laura Burton, Lesley Ferkins, Jim Weese, and Jon Welty Peachey

Hibbert et al.’s relationally reflexive practice framework guided the authors to develop a new sport leadership generative partnership model emphasizing privileging practice and the sport sector as it relates to researching, teaching, and practicing sport leadership. The 2019 North American Society for Sport Management symposium on sport leadership, titled “The Changing Face of Leadership Within Sport: What Does the Future Hold?” acted as a springboard for deep, reflexive conversations among the authors. Through the development of our model, we purposely highlight the process of a relationally reflexive journey making sense of our lived experiences, engaging with learnings from the symposium, and arguing that sport leadership and followership research and teaching ultimately should be about improving the sport sector within specific cultural contexts. We offer critically conscious considerations for privileging and embedding practice as part of sport management teaching, research, and service.