John L. Crompton, Recipient of the 1992 Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Research

Article excerpt

EDITOR'S NOTE: Drs. Ron McCarville and Mark Havitz are assistant and associate professors with the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo (Canada). Both authors pursued their doctoral degrees under John Crompton at Texas A&M University.

In a recent newsletter to former graduate students, John Crompton wrote, "being able to race competitively again and experience the exhilaration of running to exhaustion has substantially upped my morale." John's own words speak eloquently of the uniqueness and enthusiasm with which he approaches the passions of his life. His love of competitive individual sports is exceeded only by his two most visible passions: his family and his profession. Students, teaching and research form the core of his professional commitment. John is a classic "Type A" personality in a field often noted for espousing a leisure ethic. We wouldn't have it any other way.

John Crompton, professor of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, received the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Awards at the 1992 NRPA Congress in Cincinnati, Ohio. This award is reserved for those few who make lasting and significant contributions to park and recreation research. We join John's friends and colleagues in congratulating him on this well deserved honor. Since graduating with a doctoral degree from the Texas A&M in 1977, the Liverpool native has instituted an extensive and influential research program. He has authored or co-authored four books, more than 1 00 articles in scholarly journals, another 100 articles in professional magazines, and 15 book chapters. John has presented his research at dozens of workshops and conferences throughout the world.

Numbers alone do not tell the full story. John Crompton has made substantive contributions to park and recreation research. He is arguably our most recognized authority in three distinct areas of study: marketing of public services, consumer behavior and public sector finance. He may be best known for championing marketing applications in the delivery of public leisure services. John's marketing perspective was developed through his work as a leisure consultant in the United Kingdom. This experience was supplemented with two master's degrees from the University of Illinois (recreation and park administration) and from Loughborough University (business administration).

In an early book chapter, he suggested that "much of what is currently applied under the name of marketing in this field is snake oil with minimal redeeming qualities" (Crompton, 1985). John sought to remedy this condition by pioneering a more thoughtful application of marketing techniques in the public sector. Over the years, John's work has chipped away at many common misconceptions of the marketing process.

One of these misconceptions relates to the application of marketing principles to public sector recreation delivery. Although basic marketing principles can apply, the way in which they are applied must often be modified. For example, traditional private sector marketing is generally based on attracting respective markets. John's early research showed that recreation agencies often avoid focusing on specific target groups, trying instead to develop programs and services for "all" people (Howard and Crompton, 1980; Crompton 1983). Though politically expedient, this practice is generally impractical and ineffective. Its beneficiaries come primarily from middle to upper rather than lower socio-economic groups (Howard and Crompton, 1984). He has attempted to rectify this condition by using marketing techniques to serve those most in need of public leisure services. His recent research often focuses on serving traditionally unresponsive groups such as activity drop-outs (Bachman and Crompton, 1990) and first-time juvenile offenders (Crompton, in press).

Another marketing issue that has benefited from Crompton's insight is the study of equity issues. …