Call for Papers | “Organizational Behavior in Sport Management” | Special Issue of Case Studies in Sport Management. Call ends December 1, 2018

Guest Editors:

  • Emily S.Sparvero, University of Texas at Austin
  • Christine Green, University of Illinois

Organizational behavior (OB) is concerned with how organizations achieve optimal outcomes through the management of people and other resources.  The sport industry has features that uniquely influence the ways in which people and organizations are managed.  Sports, especially college and professional sports, are highly mediated, which makes many aspects of the sport organization subject to heightened scrutiny.  Not only is a team’s performance well-known, but fans, journalists, and other stakeholders have access to (and opinions about) the coaching and managerial decisions which influence a team’s performance.  In addition, sport organizations operate in the for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental sectors, and they frequently develop partnerships with sport and non-sport organizations across all sectors.  This feature requires an understanding of organizational forms and structures, and how they are influenced by the sectors of operation.  Finally, employees of sport organizations may be highly identified with an organization, which can have implications for motivation, performance, leadership, and conflict.

Many organizational behavior courses involve a combination of lecture-based teaching and practical application to reinforce student understanding of concepts. We propose that case studies can be utilized instead of or in conjunction with lectures and/or exercises in order to enhance student learning. Given that managers of for-profit, not-for-profit and public sport entities are regularly faced with decisions related to organizational behavior, relevant situations and best practices can be explored in the classroom through the use of applicable case studies. In this approach, once a particular concept has been taught, instructors could then utilize case studies to apply these new skills in a practical and meaningful way. This allows professors to mimic industry settings through the process of having students:

  • Read a narrative of a case situation,
  • Identify the case problem(s),
  • Analyze relevant qualitative and quantitative data accompanying the case, and
  • Make recommendations or conclusions based on the results of their analysis.

The aim of this special issue is to develop a library of teaching case studies appropriate for undergraduate and graduate courses in organizational behavior that can be used in case study pedagogy.

The scope of this special issue is broad in terms of industry context.  We encourage submissions that involve, but are not limited to professional and semi-professional sports; collegiate athletics; equipment and apparel manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers; administrative and regulatory athletic associations (e.g., FIFA, IOC, NFL); youth sport, sport facilities and buildings; sport media; sport agencies and consulting services; and local, regional, and national sports commissions and authorities (Li, Hofacre, & Mahony, 2001).

The range of topics includes content commonly covered in organizational behavior courses, such as leadership, teams and group dynamics, motivation, power and politics, change management, organizational climate and culture, conflict, communication, and decision-making, diversity, organizational justice, and citizenship.  The preceding list identifies many topics of interest to sport managers, but it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of acceptable topics.

 Examples of Cases: We encourage the development of original case studies written about, or in partnership with, sport organizations.  Examples may include:

  • A new athletic director who must change the culture and ensure employee buy-in after the program is sanctioned by the NCAA for major rules violations
  • The CEO of a major apparel company evaluates the organization’s decision-making process as the company considers the acquisition of a rival
  • The executive director of a charitable sport event faces challenges motivating long-time volunteers after the transfer of significant responsibilities from a volunteer steering committee to professional staff
  • The director of sales of a collegiate athletic department examines ways to restructure an underperforming ticket sales department
  • A national Olympic team is made up of a combination of native and non-native athletes and must manage cultural differences to achieve cohesion

 Notes for Prospective Authors: Submitted case studies should not have been previously published, nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All case studies are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors and other information for submitting case studies are available on the Author Guidelines page: When prompted, please indicate that you would like your submission to be considered for the special issue on Organizational Behavior in Sport Management.

Important Dates: The deadline for submission is December 1, 2018

Questions/Concerns: Questions or concerns regarding this special issue may be directed to the special issue editors:

Emily S. Sparvero
Clinical Assistant Professor
Sport Management
University of Texas at Austin

Christine Green
Sport Management
University of Illinois

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