Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Sport and Business

Handbook of Research on Sport and Business

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sten Söderman and Harald Dolles

This Handbook draws together top international researchers and discusses the state of the art and the future direction of research at the nexus between sport and business. It is heavily built upon choosing, applying and evaluating appropriate quantitative as well as qualitative research methods for practical advice in sport and business research.

Chapter 25: Participant observation in sport management research: collecting and interpreting data from a successful world land speed record attempt

Mark Dibben and Harald Dolles

Subjects: business and management, management education, organisational behaviour, research methods in business and management, economics and finance, sports, education, management education, research methods, qualitative research methods, quantitative research methods


Motorsports and motorsports management is more commonly associated with the multimillion dollar big business of for example Formula One, the World Rally Championship, or motorcycling’s MotoGP and World Superbikes. Each of these sub-industries – or ‘circuses’ as they were euphemistically known because of their arrival en masse at one venue, their performance to a paying audience, and their subsequent departure to the next venue – is a grouping of increasingly highly professional corporatized teams headed by charismatic archetypal entrepreneurs, competing under the regulations of the World Motorsport governing bodies of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). They are almost without exception located geographically and culturally in Europe; only the CART and NASCAR racing series dominate the North American market. The barriers to entry to these sub-industries are extremely high and the politics surrounding entry are notorious (Dolles and Söderman, 2008; Henry et al., 2007). This is in contrast to most motorsports activity, which has historically been characterized by artisans, small businessmen, a genuine family atmosphere and a culture of ‘run what you bring’ and ‘make do and mend’, in which competitors would help each other with problems, both technical and personal (for example, Dibben, 2008; Stewart, 2007; Pearson, 1965 [2002]).

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