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 28: The special features of sport: a critical revisit

Aaron C.T. Smith and Bob Stewart

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


Sport has an ambiguous history when viewed from a management perspective. As Stewart and Smith (1999) noted, the management of sport has traditionally been divided between two contrasting philosophical approaches. At one extreme, sport is viewed as a unique cultural institution with a host of special features wherein the reflexive application of standard business practices not only produces poor management decision making, but also erodes its rich history, emotional connections, tribal links, and social relevance. At the other extreme, sport is seen to be nothing more than just another generic business enterprise subject to the usual government regulations, market pressures and customer demands, and is best managed by the application of standard business tools that assist the planning, finance, human resource management and marketing functions. Over time these divisions have been blurred because of sport’s corporatization, and through the emergence of sport management as an academic discipline. Sport is additionally complicated by the fact that it exists in both commercial and not-for-profit forms like other cultural services such as theatre, art, music, health care and education.

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