Call for Papers | “Social Roles of Sport Organisations: developments, contexts and challenges” | Special Issue of European Journal for Sport and Society. Call ends August 27, 2018

Guest Editors: 

Sport organisations increasingly are expected and encouraged to take up a wider social role (with regard to e.g. social inclusion, social cohesion or health promotion). Thus, sport organisations and sport clubs in particular, tend to be more involved in dealing with societal issues. Next to this social role for local communities, a number of sport organisations seem to be explicitly taking up their social responsibility, through an active position against organisational problems like exclusionary practices or corruption. While previous research has paid attention to these developments, several authors warrant there is a need for a more focused discussion of such social roles of sport organisations in modern society as the ever increasing higher expectations that sport organisations find themselves confronted with pose serious challenges for both organizational members, as well as policymakers in the sports domain. 

For local, regional and national sport organisations one can think of operational and managerial challenges concerning issues like strategic human resource management or investments in organisational capacities (e.g. Misener & Doherty, 2013; Ruoranen et al., 2016; Thiel & Mayer, 2009). It further raises more strategic challenges translated into themes like ‘corporate social responsibility’ (Breitbarth et al., 2015) or board representation (e.g. Burton, 2015). 

Moreover, as sport is increasingly seen and used as vehicle for achieving social purposes, sport organisations are pulled into complex interorganizational relations, resulting in new challenges for their legitimacy and identity (e.g. Stenling & Fahlén, 2016; Waardenburg, 2016). These expectations force sport organisations to (re)establish their organisational legitimacy, which comes forward in issues like modernization, ‘good governance’ (Geeraert et al., 2014) or programmes for anti-racism (Hylton, 2018). Such legitimacy struggles might result in a decoupling of the organisational strategies and actual activities on the ground, which we value as a further important avenue of research. 

A related challenge on the sport policy level could be how to distribute social roles across the broader organisational field of sport organisations. How can governing bodies of sport, municipalities and other relevant actors balance their expectations towards e.g. voluntary sport clubs and at the same time realize their objectives through different types of sport organisations (e.g. voluntary, private, public, start-up)? In addition, from a policy evaluation point of view more knowledge is needed on the actual impact of the social roles of sport organisations, like their potential contribution to social capital or social integration (Janssens & Verweel, 2014; Østerlund & Seippel, 2013). 

As a follow up to the Sport Organisation Research Network sessions during the 15th European Association for the Sociology of Sport (eass) conference in Bordeaux, France, a Special Issue of European Journal for Sport and Society will be dedicated to these developments, which we themed Social roles of sport organisations: developments, contexts and challenges. This special issue also builds upon and progresses a previous special issue on challenges for sport organisations in EJSS (Nagel et al., 2016). This previous special issue drew attention to the implications of a shifting landscape for sport organisations as a result of societal transformations and significant developments in the world of sport. While this broad perspective resulted in much needed closer attention for organisational developments in sport, it did not explicitly address the topic of social roles of sport organisations. We encourage all scholars active in this field of research to submit their manuscripts for this special issue. Both theoretical and empirical contributions are highly appreciated. 

Guidelines for submission 

Deadline for submitting an abstract: August 27th 2018. We expect all authors interested to first submit an abstract (750-1.000 words), which elaborates on the main contribution of the article. The strongest and most promising abstracts will be selected by the guest editors for possible publication in the special issue. Acceptance of the abstract does not automatically mean the final manuscript will be accepted for publication in EJSS. Please send the abstract as a pdf file to Maikel Waardenburg ( 

Deadline for submitting a full manuscript: October 31st 2018. The full paper should be submitted through the regular submission platform of EJSS. Address for Submission: 

Review: All articles will be reviewed by two experts in a double blind-review process. The guest editors and the editor-in-chief will select the final papers to be published in the Special Issue. Other articles that have been evaluated positively will be integrated in another issue of ejss. 

Length of the papers: max. 8,000 words (incl. references) 

Language: All manuscripts must be submitted in English. British spelling should be used. The texts must show an appropriate language level and be reviewed by a native English speaker prior to submission. 

For further information (e.g. format of references) see the guidelines of ejss. Manuscripts must not be submitted to another journal while they are under review by the European Journal for Sport and Society, nor should they have been previously published. 

For any other information regarding the special issue please contact one of the guest editors. 


Breitbarth, T., Walzel, S., Anagnostopoulos, C., & van Eekeren, F. (2015). Corporate social responsibility and governance in sport:“Oh, the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind!”. Corporate Governance, 15(2), 254-273. 
Burton, L. J. (2015). Underrepresentation of women in sport leadership: A review of research. Sport Management Review, 18(2), 155-165. 
Geeraert, A., Alm, J., & Groll, M. (2014). Good governance in international sport organizations: an analysis of the 35 Olympic sport governing bodies. International journal of sport policy and politics, 6(3), 281-306. 
Hylton, K. (2018). Contesting ‘Race’and Sport: Shaming the Colour Line. Routledge. 
Janssens, J., & Verweel, P. (2014). The significance of sports clubs within multicultural society. On the accumulation of social capital by migrants in culturally “mixed” and “separate” sports clubs. European Journal for Sport and Society, 11(1), 35-58. 
Nagel, S., Ibsen, B., & Scheerder, J. (2016). Sport organizations in Europe–changes and challenges. European Journal for Sport and Society, 13(1) 
Misener, K., & Doherty, A. (2013). Understanding capacity through the processes and outcomes of interorganizational relationships in nonprofit community sport organizations. Sport Management Review, 16(2), 135-147. 
Østerlund, K., & Seippel, Ø. (2013). Does membership in civil society organizations foster social integration? The case of Danish voluntary sport organizations. Journal of Civil Society, 9(4), 391-413. 
Ruoranen, K., Klenk, C., Schlesinger, T., Bayle, E., Clausen, J., Giauque, D., & Nagel, S. (2016). Developing a conceptual framework to analyse professionalization in sport federations. European Journal for Sport and Society, 13(1), 55-74. 
Stenling, C., & Fahlén, J. (2016). Same same, but different? Exploring the organizational identities of Swedish voluntary sports: Possible implications of sports clubs’ self-identification for their role as implementers of policy objectives. International review for the sociology of sport, 51(7), 867-883. 
Thiel, A., & Mayer, J. (2009). Characteristics of voluntary sports clubs management: A sociological perspective. European sport management quarterly, 9(1), 81-98. 
Waardenburg, M. (2016). Which wider social roles? An analysis of social roles ascribed to voluntary sports clubs. European Journal for Sport and Society, 13(1), 38-54. 
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