Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.
Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland and B. Christine Green
Mathew Dowling and Jimmy Smith
This investigation examined how Own the Podium (OTP) has contributed to the ongoing development of highperformance sport in Canada. In adopting an institutional work perspective, we contend that OTP’s continuance has not been the sole product of Canada’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games or lobbying efforts to secure additional funding. Rather, OTP’s permanence can also be explained as the by-product of the activities and actions of OTP itself and its supporting stakeholders to embed and institutionalize both the organization specifically and high-performance sport more generally in the Canadian sport landscape. In short, OTP’s continued existence can, in part, be explained by ongoing institutional work. To support our contentions, we draw on and analyze documentation that was either produced by, or significant to the development of, OTP. Our analysis identifies a number of OTP-related practices (e.g., tiering, hiring of high-performance advisors, and the creation and support of new high-performance sport programs) that have further institutionalized OTP and the norms, routines, and practices associated with high-performance sport. More broadly, our investigation draws attention to the importance of individual and collective actors in shaping institutional settings in sport.
Calvin Nite and Marvin Washington
arrangements. With this study, we sought to understand how television, a technological innovation, resulted in substantial changes to the institutional arrangements of the NCAA (i.e., the relationship between the institution and its membership). Drawing on institutional work literature, we discuss the
Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Brennan K. Berg and Rhema D. Fuller
only assists in the preservation of the institution but also helps create the rules and belief systems that govern the institution. For this reason institutional scholars argue that such rules and norms do not merely exist on their own but require substantial forms of institutional work ( Lawrence
Jonathon R. Edwards and Marvin Washington
National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I schools compete with the Canadian Hockey League for top Canadian youth minor hockey players (ages 14–18). To address the challenges of adhering to NCAA’s eligibility and recruitment regulations, the NCAA commissioners created College Hockey Inc. (CHI). One challenge facing new institutions such as CHI is establishing legitimacy as a means of penetrating a crowded organizational field. In this paper we examine what forces, actions, and events contributed to the creation of CHI and what forces, actions, or events contribute to maintaining CHI’s relevance in their attempt to leverage NCAA Division I hockey with Canadian players and parents. Educational Opportunities, Student Life Experiences, Player Development, and Professional Hockey Opportunities were found to be discursive strategies used by CHI to gain pragmatic legitimacy and maintain the institution. Exploration of these strategies makes a number of practical and theoretical contributions to the field of sport management.
Spencer Riehl, Ryan Snelgrove and Jonathon Edwards
Institutional theory is recognized as the overarching framework for institutional work (e.g., Edwards & Washington, 2015 ) and has been used extensively in the context of sport management (e.g., Amis, Slack, & Hinings, 2004 ; Edwards, Mason, & Washington, 2009 ; O’Brien & Slack, 2004 ; Slack & Hinings
Jonathan Robertson, Ryan Storr, Andrew Bakos and Danny O’Brien
approach that is founded on the relationship between individual agency and institutional structures is that of institutional work. In their seminal research, Lawrence and Suddaby ( 2006 ) stated that institutional work consists of “the purposive action of individuals and organizations aimed at creating
Kathryn L. Heinze and Di Lu
organizational responses ( Amis et al., 2002 ; Greenwood et al., 2011 ; Oliver, 1991 ; Silk et al., 2000 ) to the literature on institutional work ( Lawrence et al., 2009 ). Our results also indicate that a powerful organization, facing significant pressure, may ultimately attempt to control change rather
Orland Hoeber, Ryan Snelgrove, Larena Hoeber and Laura Wood
change process in youth sport ( Legg, Snelgrove, & Wood, 2016 ), and a description of the institutional work processes involved in maintaining a high-performance sport program in Canada ( Dowling & Smith, 2016 ). Some researchers have also used thematic analysis to compare and contrast themes and
Matthew Juravich and Brian M. Mills
impact each other through their actions, independent of institutional pressures that may exist ( Kikulis, 2000 ). In addition, the application of institutional theory in the form of institutional work has emerged as a means for examining institutional relationships ( Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006 ; Micelotta