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More than a sport and volunteer organisation: Investigating social capital development in a sporting organisation


Darcy, S and Onyx, J and Edwards, M and Maxwell, H and Sherker, S, More than a sport and volunteer organisation: Investigating social capital development in a sporting organisation, Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand 17th Annual Conference, 23-25 November, 2011, Melbourne, Australia (2011) [Conference Extract]

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Skinner, Zakus & Cowell (2008) examination of disadvantaged communities and the development of social capital challenged sport management professionals to empirically investigate social capital within a sporting organisation context. To this end, this study presents the findings of an examination into measuring the social impact of an Australian sporting organisation. The study was based on a critical review of the sport management research literature's engagement with social capital that suggests a simplistic understanding of key conceptual underpinnings of the theory. To redress this situation, this study draws on the broader social capital literature across the not-for-profit sector to present a more nuanced understanding of the underlying conceptual foundation of social capital. The research design for the study employed a qualitative interpretive approach through focus group discussions with a variety of SLSA stakeholders. Both the questions and the participants were identified in consultation with SLSA. Data was collected from eight focus groups with key SLSA staff, board members and 'toes in the sand' volunteers, nationally (a total of 61 participants). The findings provide fresh insights into the development and nuanced understanding of social capital within a sporting organisation. Both bonding and bridging were important considerations within the organisation, albeit with important implications for antecedents and process. The data clearly presented strong evidence for arguing that within the organisation that the bonding within the club comes first, which importantly provides a very strong sense of belonging and mutual support for members from the club from volunteers through to the board. This provided a powerful base for subsequent bridging capital to the local, regional and National stakeholder communities that the organisation has status with and, subsequently, draws upon for their operations. The social and organisational implications of strong internal bonding are discussed as both a strength but also a possible organisational threat if bonding becomes away for the organisation to exclude members of the community who do not fit an "organisational stereotype". The paper concludes by discussing the theoretical implications for understanding social capital in a sporting context.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Volunteer, sport, social capital
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Organised sports
UTAS Author:Maxwell, H (Dr Hazel Maxwell)
ID Code:102431
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2015-08-20
Last Modified:2015-08-20

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