Fear, Anxiety, and Loss of Control: Analyzing an Athletic Department Merger as a Gendered Political Process

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 University of Minnesota
  • | 2 University of Otago
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This study examined organizational processes involved in a merger between two gender affiliated intercollegiate athletic departments. A conceptual framework incorporating the concepts of gendered social processes, and the transition and integration stages of organizational mergers framed the study. Organizational political activity is perceived as a gendered process in merging groups. Interviews with 57 stakeholders of a university athletic department were conducted. The data analysis showed that gender politics identified in the transition stage involved stakeholders’ emotional reactions. In the integration stage, gender politics were evident during the social processes of assessing trust and loyalties, and cultural reengineering. Practical implications for merger facilitation are noted in terms of considering the necessity of merging, the hiring of outside leadership, and implementing a communication plan. Overall, our study furthers our understanding of the gender politics involved in merging gender affiliated sport organizations.

Kihl and Schull are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Shaw is with the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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