Call for Papers | “Community Sport Development: Managing Change and Measuring Impact” | Special Issue of Managing Sport and Leisure. Call ends October 30, 2019

Prince Harry visits community sports projects in Wigan.

Guest Editors

Aim and Content

This special issue is inspired by recent developments within community sport which has seen a continual redefinition of the roles and responsibilities of community sport organisations. Central to these developments has been the increasing requirement to be held to account in relation to their various funding agreements. In adopting the adage of ‘what gets measured gets done’; it is possible to argue that what is measured and how it is measured matters within the sport and leisure industry. According to Houlihan (2013) “the managers of sport development programmes face a stiff challenge in identifying valid measures of progress, especially sustained progress” (p. 557). Being able to demonstrate program and policy effectiveness and impact is increasingly important for all sport and leisure organisations. We suggest this situation has become particularly pronounced and challenging for community-based organisations who, often with limited resources and capacity, must demonstrate accountability to a wide range of funding partners. Furthermore, it is apparent that globally, outcome measures used to evaluate and hold policies and programmes to account are changing from traditional (crude) participation measures towards more complex outcome measures. How, then, are sport and leisure organisations managing and responding to these broader environmental changes? How can sport and leisure managers within community-based organisations demonstrate progress and impact across a complex variety of outcome measures?

Despite the importance of monitoring and evaluation, and a growing body of knowledge surrounding policy and program evaluation (e.g. Chen, 2015; Vedung, 2009), discussions regarding evaluation and impact have been largely focused on and contained within the sport-for-development literature (e.g., Coalter, 2010) with little attention within other areas (for exceptions see Houlihan, 2013; Taks, Green, Misener, & Chalip, 2014). This special issue seeks to readdress this imbalance by generating interest in, and collating best practice examples concerning the management of change and measurement of impact within community sport and leisure organisations. In this special issue we accept that community sport is a contested domain; we also recognise that community sport development occurs in a wide variety of organisations and settings (e.g., Hylton & Totten, 2013). With the increasing shift towards non-traditional service providers in recent years, the role and remit of community-based organisations and actors is likely to continue to grow and evolve with the boundaries between it and other domains becoming increasingly blurred.

As such we invite submissions to address the following themes:

    • monitoring and evaluating impact and sustainability within community sport
    • managing organisational change within community sportsettings
    • changing nature of local authorities and sport organisationdelivery
    • sport as a tool for socialinclusion
    • community sport organisation responses to changing governmentpolicy
    • role of sport development in crime reduction (prevention and rehabilitation)
    • role of community actors and organisations in local and regionalgovernance
    • connections between community sport, physical activity and health andwellbeing
    • contributions of local sport and leisure events to broader social outcomes
    • community sport andvolunteering
    • sport development andhealth
    • marketing and social media in community sportorganisations

The call welcomes and encourages manuscripts from academics and practitioners who form part of the wider research community. For all proposals, authors should submit an abstract (250 – 300 words) to the guest editors, by the date indicated in the timeline below.


First draft papers: Friday 30 October 2019 Final papers: February 2020
Publication: March 2020

Length of the papers

It is anticipated that papers included in this special issue will be between 5000 and 6000 words, although the editors will consider submission which are shorter and focused. Manuscripts exceeding this length will be critically reviewed and if appropriate can extend to 7000 words.

Submission guidelines

Manuscripts can be theoretical or empirical in nature and will undergo a double-blind review. Please indicate in the title page that your manuscript is a candidate for the special issue. Submissions to Managing Sport and Leisure are made using Scholar One Manuscripts – the journal online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at: Papers must be formatted in strict accordance with Managing Sport and Leisure style guidelines. To view the complete instructions for authors, please click here.

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