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Trevor Slack and Bob Hinings

Increased interest in organizational change (i.e., shifts in an organization's structure, strategy, and processes) has led to considerable diversity in the theoretical approaches used to explain the phenomenon. This theoretical diversity has caused some scholars to suggest that a more complete understanding of organizational phenomena such as change is obtained when different theoretical perspectives are used in conjunction with one another. This paper examines a process of change that has been occurring in Canadian national sport organizations. Utilizing the theoretical approaches found in work on resource dependence theory, institutional theory, organizational culture, and the role of transformational leaders in managing change, the paper shows how these approaches explain different aspects of the change process. It also shows how a more complete understanding of change may be gained by using more than one theoretical perspective.

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Lucie Thibault, Trevor Slack and Bob Hinings

In order to anticipate changes and challenges in their environments, sport organizations must formulate strategies. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for the study of strategy formulation in nonprofit sport organizations. Based predominantly on MacMillan's (1983) work on the nonprofit sector, and using Canadian national sport organizations as an illustration, this study identified several strategic imperatives to uncover the types of strategies that could be undertaken by nonprofit sport organizations. The imperatives were grouped into two dimensions; program attractiveness and competitive position. Under program attractiveness, the following imperatives were considered: “fundability,” size of client base, volunteer appeal, and support group appeal. The dimension of competitive position included the imperatives of equipment costs and affiliation fees. The two dimensions were juxtaposed on a matrix to produce four strategic types: enhancers, innovators, refiners, and explorers. The characteristics of these types and their implications for nonprofit sport organizations are discussed.

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Dina Bell-Laroche, Joanne MacLean, Lucie Thibault and Richard Wolfe

This study examined sport leaders’ perceptions of the use of stated values in the management and performance of their organization. Qualitative data were collected from nine Canadian national sport organizations (NSOs) in a multiple-case studies design, involving analysis of interview transcripts. Results indicated that while many of the NSOs operated from a traditional management by objectives approach, they perceived management by values (MBV) as being important and contributing to enhanced organizational performance. Leaders indicated that more efforts to engage staff members in developing core organizational values and to strategically use values in day-to-day management practice were required. A 4-I Framework describing how an NSO can progress through different stages of strategically using values in management practice was developed. NSO leaders also voiced an interest in embedding organizational values into NSO strategic and other planning processes.

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John Amis, Trevor Slack and C.R. Hinings

The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of subunit interests, power arrangements, and organizational capacity in a program of radical transformation of a group of Canadian National Sport Organizations (NSOs). Using realtime data collected over a 12-year period, six case studies were constructed to provide insight into the role that these internal dynamics had on the propensity of organizations to change. Results showed that NSOs that completed the transformation possessed leadership with the technical and behavioral capacity for change, had an organizational structure in which volunteers were willing to share power with professional staff, and engaged in an all-encompassing transformation process that embraced the entire organization. By contrast, those NSOs that failed to complete the change lacked effective transformational leadership, had a structure in which power was retained centrally by volunteer board members, and were characterized by ongoing struggles among subunits to protect their own interests.

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Gareth J. Jones, Mike Edwards, Jason N. Bocarro, Kyle S. Bunds and Jordan W. Smith

Interorganizational partnerships have been used by nonprofits in a variety of industries to build organizational capacity, yet they are currently underutilized by many youth sport nonprofit organizations. While previous research has highlighted key features of dyadic relationships that inhibit the development and maintenance of partnerships, there has been less attention to the influence of broader or complete networks. This study examined key structural properties of a youth sport nonprofit network in one municipality to determine how interorganizational partnerships were used to build organizational capacity. Whole network analysis was used to study partnerships between youth sport nonprofits and analyze the configuration and structural features of the network. Results indicated a fragmented network of youth sport nonprofit organizations, with the majority of organizations operating independently of one another, and the network itself characterized by unbalanced ties. The discussion highlights how this network structure influences organizational action and contributes to relational issues often observed at the dyadic level. The introduction of a third-party brokerage organization is discussed as a potentially useful strategy for improving this network structure.

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Eric MacIntosh and Matthew Walker

This study adopted an organizational culture perspective to examine the values and beliefs within fitness club operations and determine their influence on employees’ job satisfaction and intention to leave an organization. Consideration was also given to subcultures based on geographical location, organizational type, and job function to examine the ways in which organizations and employees may differ. Data were collected at three urban cities in Canada during a major fitness conference and tradeshow. The results from 438 employees confirmed the multidimensionality of the seven-factor instrument, in addition to illustrating the influence on job satisfaction and intention to leave. Further, the results revealed several dimensions were perceieved differently with respect to subculture. Findings connote the transient nature of jobs in the fitness industry which remains an immediate concern for managers in this field.

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Lisa M. Kikulis, Trevor Slack and Bob Hinings

The theoretical rationale underpinning this study was that decision making structures are tightly coupled to the core values of organizations and thus have a high impact on organizational design change. Taking a fine-grained approach to the analysis of decision making, the purpose of this study was to determine whether amateur sport organizations have shifted away from the dominant paradigm of volunteer-led decision making in favor of professional staff authority and autonomy over strategic decisions. Data from a population of 36 Canadian national sport organizations were used to show that changes in decision making have occurred. However, the shift in control from volunteers to professionals has not been established. In addition, change in decision making varied according to the direction of change, the decision making dimension, and the decision topic.

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W. James Weese

This descriptive research study was conducted to investigate the concepts of transformational leadership and organizational culture within the administrative levels of campus recreation programs of Big Ten and Mid-American Conference universities. While transformational leadership was quantitatively measured by the Leadership Behavior Questionnaire (LBQ), the Culture Strength Assessment (CSA) and Culture Building Activities (CBA) instruments provided two quantitative measures of organizational culture. Qualitative data were also collected and analyzed to enrich and cross validate the findings. The researcher concluded that high transformational leaders direct programs that (a) possess stronger organizational cultures and (b) carry out culture-building activities, specifically the “customer orientation” function, to a greater extent than other leaders do. An interaction effect between leadership and conference was uncovered for this variable. No significant difference was uncovered between the high and low leadership groups relative to the penetration of culture throughout the top four hierarchical levels of the organization.

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Michael L. Naraine and Milena M. Parent

The purpose of this study was to examine sport organizations’ social-media activity using an institutional approach, specifically, to investigate the main themes emanating from Canadian national sport organizations’ (CNSOs) social-media communication and the similarities and differences in social-media use between the CNSOs. An exploratory qualitative thematic analysis was conducted on 8 CNSOs’ Twitter accounts ranging from 346 to 23,925 followers, with the number of tweets varying from 219 to 17,186. Thematic analysis indicated that CNSOs generally used tweeting for promoting, reporting, and informing purposes. Despite the organizations’ differing characteristics regarding seasonality of the sport, Twitter-follower count, total number of tweets, and whether the content was original or retweeted, themes were generally consistent across the various organizations. Coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphic pressures help explain these similarities and offer reasons for a lack of followership growth by the less salient CNSOs. Implications for research and practice are provided.

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Larena Hoeber and Orland Hoeber

There has been little attention given to examining innovation under the conditions in which community sport organizations (CSO) operate. In this case study, the process under which one CSO undertook a technological innovation is explored. The purpose of this research was to classify the determinants that contributed to the innovation process, and identify at which particular stages of innovation those determinants were critical. Interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders were conducted during the innovation process. Observations were made at important points during the implementation of the innovation. Leadership commitment, pro-innovation characteristics, organizational capacity, simple organizational design, and involved and interested external parties were identified as determinants of this technological innovation. The findings illustrate multiple determinants of innovation at the managerial, organization, and environmental levels. Some of these span the entire innovation process, while others are critical only at particular stages.