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Agency Theory and Principal–Agent Alignment Masks: An Examination of Penalties in the National Football League

Jeremy J. Foreman, Joshua S. Bendickson, and Birton J. Cowden

create punitive actions to curb workplace deviance comparable with on-field penalties, could affect both organizational performance and the likelihood of promotion or securing other managerial positions. However, limitations may exist regarding the generalizability of results from sport into nonsport

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Explaining Positive Deviance: Becker’s Model and the Case of Runners and Bodybuilders

Keith Ewald and Robert M. Jiobu

This research explores the topic of “positive deviance,” that is, behavior which is pronormative but becomes deviant when pursued with an intensity and extensity going beyond conventional bounds. An application of Becker’s original explanation for marijuana smoking was adapted to the cases of serious, but not champion, long-distance runners and bodybuilders. Questionnaire data on 72 bodybuilders and 136 long-distance runners were analyzed using factors analysis and Guttman analysis. For runners, three dimensions were discovered and named “experience,” “sensation,” and “enjoyment.” Guttman analysis suggested that the three dimensions formed a sequence supporting the Becker model. No support for the model was found among the bodybuilders’ data. Reasons why the model might not apply to activities such as bodybuilding were discussed. Overall, it was concluded that the Becker model does explain socialization into positive deviance but that the conditions under which it does so must be further documented.

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Positive Deviance among Athletes: The Implications of Overconformity to the Sport Ethic

Robert Hughes and Jay Coakley

The purpose of this paper is to develop a working definition of positive deviance and use the definition in an analysis of behavior among athletes. It is argued that much deviance among athletes involves excessive overconformity to the norms and values embodied in sport itself. When athletes use the “sport ethic”—which emphasizes sacrifice for The Game, seeking distinction, taking risks, and challenging limits—as an exclusive guide for their behavior, sport and sport participation become especially vulnerable to corruption. Although the sport ethic emphasizes positive norms, the ethic itself becomes the vehicle for transforming behaviors that conform to these positive norms into deviant behaviors that are prohibited and negatively sanctioned within society and within sport organizations themselves. Living in conformity to the sport ethic is likely to set one apart as a “real athlete,” but it creates a clear-cut vulnerability to several kinds of deviant behavior. This presents unique problems of social control within sport. The use of performance enhancing drugs in sport is identified as a case in point, and an approach to controlling this form of positive deviance is discussed.

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Competitive Bodybuilding: Positive Deviance, Body Image Pathology, or Modern Day Competitive Sport?

Mark T. Suffolk

The sport of competitive bodybuilding is strongly associated with muscle dysmorphia, a body-image-related psychological disorder. This theoretical article draws on existing concepts, namely stereotyping, prejudice, and positive deviance in sport, to explicate the notion that competitive bodybuilding and body-image disturbance may be mistakenly conflated. The perspective offered here goes beyond the countercultural physique to argue that a negative social perception of competitive bodybuilders obscures the pragmatic necessity to develop a hypermesomorphic physique. Competitive bodybuilders (CBs) and athletes in mainstream competitive sport exhibit congruent psychobehavioral tendencies. In a competitive-sport context, behavior among CBs perceived as pathological may primarily represent a response to the ideological sporting ethic of “win at all costs,” not extreme body-image disturbance. Analyzing the psychobehavioral characteristics of CBs within a sporting rather than a pathological framework, allows for a contextual assessment of behaviors to then determine the clinical significance relative to the research population under investigation.

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Interpretations and Explanations of Deviance among College Athletes: A Case Study

Eldon E. Snyder

This case study analyzes a group of college athletes who were involved in a series of larcenies. A focal point of the study is that these athletes did not fit the usual profile of deviants who would commit large-scale crimes. Furthermore, the athletes in question were apparently not committing the crimes for material gain. Differential interpretations that are given to explain the athletes’ behaviors include defective character traits, the use of alcohol, peer pressure, and the quest for excitement. These interpretations and explanations are discussed within a broader interpretive model of behavior.

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Tracing How Normative Messages May Influence Physical Activity Intention

René van Bavel, Gabriele Esposito, Tom Baranowski, and Néstor Duch-Brown

. The second explanation (complementary to the first) was based on deviance regulation theory ( Blanton & Christie, 2003 ). In a nutshell, the theory posits that people maintain desired views of themselves by regulating how they differ from others. When faced with the norms of the majority, they

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The Talent Paradox: Disenchantment, Disengagement, and Damage Through Sport

William V. Massey and Meredith A. Whitley

developmental asset in which youth could (a) develop positive relationships, (b) have a place to feel safe as well as a sense of belonging, and (c) develop social capital to create bridges to other life domains. The second narrative, “sport as a place of celebrated deviance,” focused on how sport could amplify

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Nutritional Need or Athletic Overconformity: Ethical Implications for the Sport Psychologist

David P. Johns

Overconformity in sport, as reported in the literature, suggests that athletes preparing for competition exhibit forms of positive deviance not because they disregard the social values of society but because they are willing to go beyond them. After examining the recent comments in the literature on overconformity as a form of positive deviance, this paper explores the possibility that the dietary intake associated with two sports, requiring weight control, may provide examples of such behavior. The paper provides two sports cases where the extreme measure takes the form of eating behaviors that go beyond what would be considered normal or healthy to meet the expectation of the sport. Such behaviors have serious implications for the practice of sport psychology. Intervention must go beyond the simple application of performance-enhancing techniques, and sport psychologists are encouraged to base their intervention on strong moral and ethical principles that place the health and well-being of the athlete before the outcome of performance.

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Social Network Analysis of Sport: Emphasizing Social Structure in Sport Sociology

Howard L. Nixon II

The purpose of this paper is to focus more attention on the potential value of a structural social network approach for understanding social interaction, relationships, structures, and change in sport. Despite growing interest in this approach in sociology in general, little attention has been paid to it by sport sociologists. Examples of applications to sport are presented concerning the study of pain and injury, small groups and subcultures, organizational relations, coaching burnout and deviance, and managerial recruitment and stacking.

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Sport Management and the Interdependence with Sport Sociology: Sport as a Social Product

James E. Bryant

This perspective suggests that sport management is interdependent with sport sociology as specialization areas, and that in order for researchers in sport management to understand the social product of sport it is critical that they recognize a positive theoretical relationship between sport management and sport sociology. This paper outlines examples of sport management interdependence with sport sociology through brief discussions including deviance and ethics, economics, social stratification, patriarchy, race and ethnicity, and marketing and research. Through these examples it is suggested that sport sociology provides a base for those in sport management to achieve an understanding of the social product of sport.