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Cheri Bradish and J. Joseph Cronin

Over the past decade, there has been a groundswell of support within the sport industry to be “good sports”, as evidenced by a growing number of, and commitment to, “giving” initiatives and “charitable” programs. Consider the following examples:

• In 1998, the “Sports Philanthropy Project” was founded, devoted to “harnessing the power of professional sports to support the development of healthy communities.” (Sports Philanthropy Project, 2009) To date, this organization has supported and sustained over 400 philanthropic-related organizations associated with athlete charities, league initiatives, and team foundations in the United States and Canada.

• In 2003, “Right To Play” (formerly Olympic Aid) the international humanitarian organization was established, which has used sport to bring about change in over 40 of the world's most disadvantaged communities. Of note is their vision to “engage leaders on all sides of sport, business and media, to ensure every child's right to play” (www.righttoplay.com).

• In 2005, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) became one of the first sport organizations to create an internal corporate social responsibility unit, and soon thereafter committed a significant percentage of their revenues to related corporate social responsibility programs (FIFA, 2005).

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Kathryn L. Heinze, Sara Soderstrom and Jennifer Zdroik

The rise and institutionalization of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in sport is captured in a growing body of work in sport management. This literature suggests professional teams should be strategic in their approaches—matching internal resources with external needs—but we lack an understanding of the processes and mechanisms in the evolution to more strategic CSR, as well as specific practices that characterize these approaches. Further, by focusing on broad trends in how and why teams are adopting CSR, we miss the opportunity to learn from teams with innovative and authentic CSR approaches. To address these gaps, this article uses a qualitative case-study approach to examine how one professional team in the U.S.—the Detroit Lions—evolved their CSR to a more strategic and authentic partnership-focused model. Our findings point to key process steps and mechanisms in the decision making around, and implementation of, this approach, including the role of organizational structure, leadership, and community partnerships. We draw out themes around these central partnerships and highlight best practices. In offering a more nuanced understanding of professional sport CSR process and practice, we contribute to the literature on CSR in sport, sport-community partnerships, and sport and city revitalization.

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Cole G. Armstrong, Theodore M. Butryn, Vernon L. Andrews and Matthew A. Masucci

practices. One strategic element germane to the business practices of many modern organizations is corporate social responsibility (CSR). According to Bradish and Cronin ( 2009 ), “CSR can be broadly understood as the responsibility of organizations to be ethical and accountable to the needs of their

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Stefan Walzel, Jonathan Robertson and Christos Anagnostopoulos

Over the last four decades, the notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has attracted considerable interest in both scholarship and practice ( Aguinis & Glavas, 2012 ). In the field of sports, the application of socially responsible programs has gained momentum over the past decade or so

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Paul C. Godfrey

Sport—writ large—exists as a significant social institution, both in terms of economic and social impacts on the society of which it is a key part. This essay provides a systematic introduction to the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for sport management scholars and practitioners. I review the historical development of CSR in the United States, provide a summary of the major theories and models currently in use by theorists and researchers, and identify key issues facing the CSR discourse. I conclude by returning to the notion of sport as an institution and try to raise questions, as an outsider, which may provoke thinking and perhaps action by sport management scholars and practitioners.

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Shaun M. Anderson and Matthew M. Martin

MLB faces in getting African Americans interested and involved with the game of baseball. Specifically, we examined MLB’s social-outreach programs as a social-responsibility and relationship-management strategy using corporate social responsibility (CSR) and relationship-management theory (RMT

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Joon Kyoung Kim, Holly K. Ott, Kevin Hull and Minhee Choi

This study examined the impact of exposure to corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages on individuals’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a Major League Baseball (MLB) team’s CSR efforts. Using a 2 (information source: team source or a third-party source) × 2 (CSR initiatives: efforts to help cancer patients or military appreciation recognition) with two nonfactorial control conditions (team source or a third-party source) experimental design, this study aims to identify how factors such as information source, perceived sincerity, and different types of CSR activities impact a MLB team’s CSR messaging on social media. Path analysis was used to examine significant paths between variables; results indicated that CSR messages generated a halo effect, thus providing implications for how MLB teams should develop CSR strategies and most effectively communicate about these efforts. Theoretical and practical implications of study results are discussed.

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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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Matthew Walker and Aubrey Kent

Organizations within the sport industry are facing increasing pressure to both maintain profitability and behave in socially acceptable ways, yet researchers have provided little information on how consumers perceive and react to corporate social responsibility (CSR). This mixed-design study examined the relationship between CSR activities and fans’ assessments of reputation and patronage intentions. In addition, the study sought to determine the role of team identification in the aforementioned relationship. Fans of two NFL teams were sampled (N = 297), with quantitative results suggesting that CSR is an important predictor of reputation, and that two types of patronage could be significantly impacted as well. The moderating effect of team identification was significant yet influenced the outcomes in different ways. Qualitative findings reinforced the quantitative discussion by providing support for the general conclusions that CSR was viewed favorably by most fans, and is an important aspect of the overall business strategy of a sport organization.

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Dorene Ciletti, John Lanasa, Diane Ramos, Ryan Luchs and Junying Lou

Based on a review of North American professional sports teams, this study provides insight on how teams are communicating commitment to sustainability principles and practices on their Web sites. Web sites for 126 teams across 4 different leagues were examined for content relative to triple-bottom-line dimensions. Global Reporting Initiative indicator codes and definitions were constructs for the model and aligned to social, environmental, and economic principles for categories of sustainability practices. Although teams are including sustainability information on their Web sites, the vast majority downplay economic issues and highlight social issues on their home pages and subsequent pages; communication about environmental factors varies by league. The study shows differences across leagues and suggests that although some teams are communicating a commitment to sustainability, others may not be considering stakeholder perceptions of their Web-site communications or whether sustainability efforts affect public consumption of league offerings or attitudes toward professional sports.