To learn more about the governance of sport organizations, this study explored what meaning board members of national sport organizations (NSOs) attach to the concept of “strategic capability”. In so doing, the inquiry also identified factors considered to constrain or enable board strategic function. This paper draws on a body of knowledge developed over 38 years on board strategic function, primarily from the commercial setting but also from the emerging body of work in the nonprofit and sport governance setting. Located within the interpretive research paradigm this study engaged a range of different qualitative methods including cognitive mapping and visual imagery. Working across two NSOs in New Zealand, four elements were generated that served as reference points in mapping out the meaning of a strategically able board. These were categorized as the need to have capable people, a frame of reference, facilitative board processes, and facilitative regional relationships.
Ferkins and Shilbury are with the Sport Management Program, School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.