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Gareth J. Jones, Christine E. Wegner, Kyle S. Bunds, Michael B. Edwards, and Jason N. Bocarro

To promote community development, sport-for-development (SFD) organizations strive to build local leadership that fosters long-term sustainability. Although shared leadership (SL) structures are particularly effective in these settings, there has been limited attention to SL within the SFD context, especially from a multilevel perspective. While previous studies of leadership in sport have primarily focused on the individual traits of leaders, multilevel analysis is required to understand how environmental characteristics relate to leadership development. This qualitative case study analyzes the development and deployment of SL in an American SFD organization. Interviews, observations, and document analysis are used to generate data, and theoretical thematic analysis is used to identify key themes related to the environmental characteristics of SL. Results highlight how environmental characteristics are related to SL, as well as group and task characteristics. The discussion integrates these findings with SL theory to discuss implications for the management of SFD projects in this context, and recommends integrated forms of leadership that combine shared and servant leadership approaches.

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Greg Joachim, Nico Schulenkorf, Katie Schlenker, Stephen Frawley, and Adam Cohen

As research into sport innovation management continues to evolve, the innovation efforts of both for- and non-profit sport organizations are increasingly revealed to be focused on best serving the sport user. Design thinking—a human-centered approach to innovation—may hold promise for sport organizations attempting to identify and deliver on the unmet needs of their users. As such, we undertook a qualitative exploration of the innovation practices of a commercial sport organization, attempting to balance hybrid for- and non-profit service goals. Alignment with design thinking themes was discovered in the organization’s practice, as were performative components of design thinking practice. Our findings suggest that design thinking is suitable—and indeed desirable—for adoption into sport management practice, particularly as a means of enhancing innovation efforts, designing holistic sport experiences, and/or overcoming competing institutional demands.