The Future of Sports Management: A Social Responsibility, Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship Perspective

By Ratten, Vanessa | Journal of Management and Organization, September 2010 | Go to article overview

The Future of Sports Management: A Social Responsibility, Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship Perspective


Ratten, Vanessa, Journal of Management and Organization


ABSTRACT

Sport management as an area of business management has gained ascendancy in the past decade with more people becoming interested in how sport incorporates social benefits in a society. Sport integrates social initiatives by enhancing an organization's competitiveness by improving its public image. Social responsibility and philanthropy in sport has become a mainstream business issue and the entrepreneurial ways that sport-related organizations do this is becoming more important. This paper interviews a well-known international sport academic and practitioner on the future directions sport management will take. As social responsibility, philanthropy and entrepreneurship in the sport sector are becoming more integrated, it is important to consider how sport management will change in the future. This paper focuses on sport management as an inspiring field of business management that has an accessible audience towards social responsibility. Sport management also offers a rationale for promoting social responsibility and philanthropy to organizations and business leaders that have an opportunity to model socially responsible practices in the sport context.

Keywords: sport management, social responsibility, philanthropy, entrepreneurship

INTRODUCTION

Sport management as a field of study has rapidly emerged as an important area of practitioner and academic research. Sport management as a discipline includes the organization, marketing, implementation and evaluation of a sport-related activity (Graham, Neirotti, & Goldblatt, 2001). Sport management can involve collegiate or secondary sport, not-for-profit charities involving sport, corporate sporting events, sport organizations (domestic and international), mega-sporting events (e.g. Football World Cup and the Olympics) and sport trade shows (Fullerton, 2010). Sport is culturally important and generates social capital for people, organizations and institutions involved in it (Dyreson, 2001). Sport is important for fostering social responsibility interdependence and common interest between stakeholders (Desbordes, 2006; Desbordes & Bolle, 2005). Participating in sport enables market induced social capital to grow through stakeholders being more interested in facilitating social policy changes that encourage economic growth (Forbes, 2007).

Many corporations post information about their social responsibility initiatives in sport on their websites and encourage employees to be involved in promoting sport as a social way to address existing concerns. Not-for-profit organizations, governments and universities are also focusing on social responsibility in sport as a way of advertising their social friendly practices and policies. Public sentiment at the grass roots level has also increased the emphasis on sport as a way of helping or fixing social problems such as health issues. The internationalization of many sports such as football has also enabled sports teams to encourage globally better social policies in individual countries such as the promotion of recycling, the use of public transport and healthy living practices (Holt, 1995).

The integration of social, environmental and financial concerns in a business setting has been called the triple bottom line (Elkington, 2004). An organization's social responsible sweet spot is the common ground shared by both the organization and public in supporting social-related values. Indeed, social change is often the result of an organization having an emergent bottom-up process with top-down support in which the organization creates an environment conducive to collaboration and considers the needs of the public (Signitzer & Prexl, 2008).

Social responsibility is a cornerstone of a business's competitive advantage (Porter, 2008) and sport is one way that organizations can encourage social responsibility and philanthropic practices. The sport industry is addressing social concerns as part of their core business strategy to create value and spur innovation (Mullin, Hardy, & Sutton, 2007). …

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