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Stenling, C. & Sam, M. (2019). From 'passive custodian' to 'active advocate': tracing the emergence and sport-internal transformative effects of sport policy advocacy. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 11(3), 447-463
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From 'passive custodian' to 'active advocate': tracing the emergence and sport-internal transformative effects of sport policy advocacy
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, ISSN 1940-6940, E-ISSN 1940-6959, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 447-463Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Organised sport has become a legitimate interest group, with potential influence in wider policy-making circles. Building on a distinction between because-of motives and in-order-to motives, the purpose of this study is to analyse why sport organisations conduct advocacy while offering an assessment of the sport-internal transformative effects of advocacy activities. The analysis is based on interviews with 46 elected and staff representatives of Swedish Regional Sport Federations, and it shows (1) that a perceived de-institutionalization of organised sport’s monopolistic position in Sweden underpins the imperative to conduct advocacy, and (2) that the overarching goal-oriented purpose of advocacy is to further sport organisations’ role as advocates in future policy processes. This indicates that sport organisations are transitioning from a ‘passive custodian’ to an ‘active advocate’ role in relation to the government. We propose that this latter role may include a professionalisation of advocacy activities, and that advocacy, therefore, may accentuate internal tensions related to the trade-off between efficiency and democracy, create a need for sport-internal advocacy, and undermine future advocacy claims and/or access to policy processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
advocacy, institutionalism, legitimacy, politics, public policy
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-157076 (URN)10.1080/19406940.2019.1581648 (DOI)000479294800006 ()
Projects
I idrottens namn: distriktidrottsförbunds idrottspolitiska arbete i en förändrad idrottspolitisk kontext
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-557
Available from: 2019-03-08 Created: 2019-03-08 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved
Stenling, C. & Fahlén, J. (2019). För vilka föreningar är jämlikhet viktigt?. In: Christine Dartsch, Johan R. Norberg & Johan Pihlblad (Ed.), Idrotten och (o)jämlikheten: i medlemmarnas eller samhällets intresse? (pp. 151-165). Stockholm: Centrum för idrottsforskning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>För vilka föreningar är jämlikhet viktigt?
2019 (Swedish)In: Idrotten och (o)jämlikheten: i medlemmarnas eller samhällets intresse? / [ed] Christine Dartsch, Johan R. Norberg & Johan Pihlblad, Stockholm: Centrum för idrottsforskning , 2019, p. 151-165Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Centrum för idrottsforskning, 2019
Series
Centrum för idrottsforskning ; 2019:2
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-158910 (URN)978-91-984050-4-0 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-05-14 Created: 2019-05-14 Last updated: 2019-05-20Bibliographically approved
Skille, E. Å., Fahlén, J., Stenling, C. & Strittmatter, A.-M. (2019). Government policy for indigenous (Sámi) sport – A chain of legitimating acts?. In: Book of Abstracts for the World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019: . Paper presented at World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019, April 24–27 2019, Dunedin, New Zealand (pp. 19-19).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Government policy for indigenous (Sámi) sport – A chain of legitimating acts?
2019 (English)In: Book of Abstracts for the World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019, 2019, p. 19-19Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When Norwegian state policy repeatedly abandons the organization of indigenous (Sámi) sport (SVL-N) in order to honour the implicit contract with the organization of conventional (Norwegian sport, NIF), six elements of legitimating acts are in play: legitimacy-seeking organisation, subject, sources, strategy, bases and scenario. These elements intersect within each phase of the policy process: agenda setting, policy formulation, policy implementation and evaluation. As visible when focusing on the legitimacy-seeking organization and subject, the goal for sport clubs is, to legitimate themselves, and providing support to sport is a core task of local authorities. So when municipalities and local NIF federated sport clubs legitimate each other, Sámi sport organizations are excluded from the legitimating chain. Focusing on a national example, youth sport is both a subject, and it is a strategy used by NIF to legitimate implementation of other policies such as supporting and arranging mega events. When substantial strategies are coupled with symbolic strategies, the risk for so-called ceremonial conformity decoupling is immanent. In conclusion, consequences—often unintended—resulting from legitimating acts in one phase have legitimacy-related implications for other phases of the policy process. That said, being included in the chain is the core issue to receive economic support for sport. Consequently, a newcomer such as the SVL-N struggles to set itself on the agenda of sport policy because acts in other phases consciously legitimate the NIF structure and its member organizations.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163359 (URN)
Conference
World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019, April 24–27 2019, Dunedin, New Zealand
Available from: 2019-09-16 Created: 2019-09-16 Last updated: 2019-10-23Bibliographically approved
diva2:1358957
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hierarchies of criteria in NSO board-nomination processes: insights from nomination committees' work
2019 (English)In: European Sport Management Quarterly, ISSN 1618-4742, E-ISSN 1746-031XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Research question: The purpose of this paper is to create knowledge on board-selection processes and their outcomes in terms of board composition. We address two research questions: (1) What evaluative criteria are at play in board-selection processes; and (2) what hierarchies of criteria are formed when evaluative criteria are ranked? The significance of the study lies in contemporary considerations of good governance, in sport members’ (un)equal access to positions of power, and in how issues of representation relate to the legitimacy of sport governance systems and to broader societal patterns of representation, influence, and democracy.

Research methods: Nomination committees are increasingly used worldwide to further good governance in sport organizations. Our analysis builds on interviews with representatives of 61 out of 71 Swedish national sport organizations’ nomination committees.

Results and Findings: Our study shows that trade-offs are made not between gender and merit, as previously suggested, but between and among a wide variety of representation criteria and a wide variety of efficiency criteria. We show how tensions between criteria result in trade-offs that imply a ranking of criteria into seven types of hierarchies, only one of which prioritizes a representation-based board composition.

Implications: Because rankings of multiple evaluative criteria impact any single criterion of interest (e.g. gender), future studies should take into account the range of evaluative criteria at play. For sport management and policy practitioners alike, we provide a tool to understand and address (in)adequate representation but also an imperative to consider the meaning of adequate representation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Sport governance, representation, democracy, efficiency
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163920 (URN)10.1080/16184742.2019.1672204 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, P2017-0139
Available from: 2019-10-08 Created: 2019-10-08 Last updated: 2019-10-14
Fahlén, J. & Stenling, C. (2019). Legitimizing Transformational Change: Shadowing Regional Sport Consultants In The Grassroots Implementation Of Strategy 2025. In: Tim Breitbarth, Guillaume Bodet, Álvaro Fernández Luna, Pablo Burillo Naranjo, Gerardo Bielons (Ed.), Book of Abstracts for the 27th European Sport Management Conference: . Paper presented at 27th European Sport Management Conference, September 3-6, 2019, Sevilla, Spain (pp. 187-188).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Legitimizing Transformational Change: Shadowing Regional Sport Consultants In The Grassroots Implementation Of Strategy 2025
2019 (English)In: Book of Abstracts for the 27th European Sport Management Conference / [ed] Tim Breitbarth, Guillaume Bodet, Álvaro Fernández Luna, Pablo Burillo Naranjo, Gerardo Bielons, 2019, p. 187-188Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Aim of the research

In 2017, the Swedish Sports Confederation set in motion a profound transformation of Swedish voluntary sport by adopting a new strategic plan: Strategy 2025 (RF, 2017). The purpose of the project this abstract reports on is to create knowledge on the workings and intended and unintended consequences of the ‘internal sport policy advocacy’ performed to usher sport clubs in the direction set out in this strategy: the delivery of more fun, healthy and developing activities. This implied a study of the system-internal legitimizing accounts and strategies used to gain acceptance for the strategy and the change associated with it. In order to capture these accounts and strategies, we focused on the system-wide consultancy structures that many systems have in place to support club development – regionally based sport consultants whose task is to be the interface between clubs’ needs and wishes and top-down policies. The project’s empirical base is data on such consultants’ club-directed legitimizing claims and strategies connected to the internal legitimation of the implementation of Strategy 2025.

Theoretical background and literature review

Nonprofit public policy advocacy is normally understood in terms of civil society organizations’ attempts to influence public policy on behalf of a collective interest (Jenkins, 2006). Initial analyses in a project undertaken by the second author (Stenling & Sam, 2019) clearly show how such external advocacy conducted by Regional Sport Federations (RSFs), has created a gap between the claims and promises made in external advocacy and sport clubs’ recognition of the value of the strategy. Importantly, the data also shows that it is the ascribed task of RSF sport consultants to conduct what we here term internal advocacy, i.e., to close this gap by legitimizing Strategy 2025 in the eyes of clubs. To theoretically base our project, we use Creed et al.’s (2002) conceptualization of advocacy as the production of legitimization accounts.

Research design, methodology and data analysis

Analyzing the construction and use of both legitimizing claims and strategies, requires data that reveal both cultural content and ‘legitimation in action’ (Barley, 2017, p. 354). Since our focus is on how a specific function conduct internal sport policy advocacy, we employed a method that allowed us to focus on the work of individuals that fulfil this function: shadowing (Czarniawska, 2007). Shadowing essentially involves following an individual during her/his daily (work) life, and it is therefore a way of studying the situated work of people who move often and from place to place. Since shadowing generates large amounts data, we chose to shadow few individuals but at many points in time. Employing these points of departure, we selected eleven shadowees from two regional sports federations (the regional extension of the Swedish Sports Confederation, divided by geographical location into 19 regions, responsible for providing administrative support to and representing all sports within a specific region). The actual shadowing was performed when consultants met with sport clubs (n=11) to discuss the implementation of Strategy 2025. The actual shadowing implied sitting in on these meetings and asking follow-up questions afterwards. Transcribed recordings (approximately 27 hours) and field notes were analysed using a mixture of predetermined and emergent codes, all the while using the constant contrasting/comparing tactic (e.g., Charmaz, 2014). The material was thereafter subjected to theoretical coding wherein we sought to establish relationships between codes.

Results/findings and discussion

As per abstract submission deadline, data are being analysed to be presented at the time of the conference. However, initial analyses indicate that much of the sport consultants’ work is devoted to make sport clubs understand the strategic importance of the new strategy vis-à-vis external stakeholders and the surrounding society. In doing so, consultants employ system-internal legitimizing accounts and strategies emphasizing how the external resources directed towards sport are dependent on sport clubs acting and appearing legitimate.

Conclusions, contribution and implications

At the conference, these results will be discussed in relation to ongoing modernization trends well documented in the contemporary sport policy literature. We envision possible contributions to consist of the unintended consequences of the consultants’ efforts to legitimize Strategy 2025 and, more specifically, of club- and policy-related consequences of consultants’ interpretations of the ‘gap’ between the strategy and clubs’ needs and wishes, and their efforts to close this gap.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163357 (URN)978-84-09-14068-8 (ISBN)
Conference
27th European Sport Management Conference, September 3-6, 2019, Sevilla, Spain
Available from: 2019-09-16 Created: 2019-09-16 Last updated: 2019-10-23Bibliographically approved
Stenling, C. & Sam, M. (2019). Professionalization and its consequences: how active advocacy may undermine democracy. European Sport Management Quarterly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Professionalization and its consequences: how active advocacy may undermine democracy
2019 (English)In: European Sport Management Quarterly, ISSN 1618-4742, E-ISSN 1746-031XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Research question: The paper aims to build knowledge on the trade-offs and unintended consequences of professionalization in the context of sport policy advocacy. Two questions are addressed: (1) What institutional roles make up the sport policy 'advocacy team' and what trade-offs are inherent in the formation of this team? (2) How do the unintended consequences of this trade-off precipitate a cross-level diffusion of professionalization? 

Research methods: Data from interviews with 46 staff and elected representatives of 19 Swedish Regional Sport Federations form the empirical base. 

Results and findings: The formation of the advocacy team points to an efficiency/democracy trade-off. An uninteded consequence of this is a cross-level difussion of professionalization that undermines the general standing of elected boards. 

Implications: Management should consider the trade-offs inherent in professionalization reforms, because in some cases they may contain the seed of their own reconstruction and reflect ill-considered management practice. 

Keywords
sport policy, modernization, governance, sport politics, organizational change
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161782 (URN)10.1080/16184742.2019.1637915 (DOI)000478534700001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-00557
Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-09-10
Fahlén, J. & Stenling, C. (2019). (Re)conceptualizing institutional change in sport management contexts: the unintended consequences of sport organizations’ everyday organizational life. European Sport Management Quarterly, 19(2), 265-285
Open this publication in new window or tab >>(Re)conceptualizing institutional change in sport management contexts: the unintended consequences of sport organizations’ everyday organizational life
2019 (English)In: European Sport Management Quarterly, ISSN 1618-4742, E-ISSN 1746-031X, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 265-285Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research question: The purpose of this paper is to construct empirically grounded concepts that can aid the explanation of processes of institutional change. This effort is guided by the observation that neither ‘structure-centred' nor ‘actor-centred' explanations of institutional change are equipped to provide a satisfactory explanation of one of organizational institutionalism’s basic assumptions: that organizations are products of and produce their institutional contexts. Therefore, the focus is directed at practitioners' everyday struggle to accomplish their work, and institutional change is conceptualized as an unintended consequence of such mundane ‘muddling through'.

Research methods: The text is based on video recordings of board meetings in two sport clubs over one year. Data collection resulted in approximately 33 h of observation data from 17 board meetings.

Results and findings: Analysis shows how sport club boards' interpretive processes of meaning making are instances of unintentional coproduction that plant seeds for institutional change. The creation of such seeds is the result of processes of problem–solution approximation and the use of proximal institutional raw material. This shows how sport organizations are crucial actors in the creation, modification, and transformation of the institutional arrangements prescribing appropriate organizational behaviour and enforcing patterns of interest and privilege. This analysis contributes knowledge on how sport organizations unintentionally coproduce increasing government reliance on sport organizations, professionalization, and commercialization.

Implications: Such knowledge can make sport organizations and policy-makers aware of how unintentional coproduction might lead to the momentum of processes adverse to their needs and wishes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Organizational institutionalism, governance, video observations, sport clubs, board meetings
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152059 (URN)10.1080/16184742.2018.1516795 (DOI)000461173800007 ()2-s2.0-85053874110 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-09-25 Created: 2018-09-25 Last updated: 2019-04-04Bibliographically approved
Fahlén, J. & Stenling, C. (2019). Sport managers’ everyday work demands: A practice-based approach to sport management education. In: Book of Abstracts of the 2019 EASS Conference, Bø, Norway.: . Paper presented at Book of Abstracts of the 2019 EASS Conference, June 3 - 6, Bø, Norway..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sport managers’ everyday work demands: A practice-based approach to sport management education
2019 (English)In: Book of Abstracts of the 2019 EASS Conference, Bø, Norway., 2019Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

With the aim of contributing to the discussion about competence requirements for sport managers and the curricula content needed to meet them, this paper presents the results of a study on sport managers’ everyday work demands. Departing from the fact that curriculum design so far has leaned on professionals’ views on industry needs and appropriate curricula, hiring managers’ perceptions of preferred qualifications, educators’ ratings of the importance of various competencies, student evaluations of components in existing programmes, and sought after competencies in job advertisements, we argue for a need to more closely investigate what it is that sport managers do and to make use of such knowledge in the construction of curricula. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to analyse club sport managers’ everyday activities in order to identify the knowledge, skills and abilities required to manage them. In capturing the everyday sport management practice, we video recorded two sport clubs’ board meetings over the course of one year. Board meetings were chosen since they produce an output constituting input for staff responsible for executing decisions, thereby making it possible to observe the construction of the tasks, responsibilities and activities of the sport manager. Findings show how a broad range of tasks require an even broader range of knowledge, skills and abilities to perform them. Mapping them against prevailing guidelines, recommendations and accreditations show how some required competencies are not addressed in existing curricular models, pointing to a need of a more practice-based approach to sport management curriculum.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163358 (URN)
Conference
Book of Abstracts of the 2019 EASS Conference, June 3 - 6, Bø, Norway.
Available from: 2019-09-16 Created: 2019-09-16 Last updated: 2019-10-23
Stenling, C. (2019). Sport Policy Advocacy as Interest Representation: Serving whose interests?. In: Sports and the Enviornment - Policies, Values and Sustainability: . Paper presented at 16th European Association for the Sociology of Sport Conference, Bö, Norway. June 3-6, 2019..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sport Policy Advocacy as Interest Representation: Serving whose interests?
2019 (English)In: Sports and the Enviornment - Policies, Values and Sustainability, 2019Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Conducting advocacy is an increasingly important task for sport federations (e.g., National Sport Federations & Regional Sport Federations) (Stenling & Sam, 2019). Understood as attempts to influence political decisions and public policy on behalf of a collective interest, advocacy raises questions around the meaning and sport-internal democratic implications of interest representation carried out by organisations that claim to speak for their federated members (e.g., clubs). The aim of this study is to explore these questions in the context of advocacy carried out by Swedish Regional Sport Federations (RSFs). The analysis builds on data from interviews with 53 elected and staff representatives of Swedish Regional Sport Federations (n=46) and the Swedish Sports Confederation (n=7). Drawing on conceptualisations of representation (e.g., Pitkin, 1967) and meta-organizations (e.g., Ahrne & Brunsson, 2008), we suggest that faced with the impossibility of representing the wide range of demands (e.g., for new facilities) that are expressed by clubs in their region (up to 4000 clubs), the RSFs formulate a view of representation which implies that what clubs want is not necessarily in their best interest, and vice versa. To determine which interests should be prioritized, advocates increasinly rely on centrally formulated policy documents. This, in turn, has implications for the significance of how these documents are produced and decided on (e.g., by elected representatives or management).

National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-159940 (URN)
Conference
16th European Association for the Sociology of Sport Conference, Bö, Norway. June 3-6, 2019.
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-00557
Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2019-06-13
Fahlén, J., Stenling, C., Skille, E. Å. & Strittmatter, A.-M. (2019). The introduction of gender quotas in sport governing bodies and the conceptualizations of 'adequate' representation. In: Book of Abstracts 2019 International Sociology of Sport Conference: . Paper presented at World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019, April 24-27, Dunedin, New Zealand (pp. 18-18).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The introduction of gender quotas in sport governing bodies and the conceptualizations of 'adequate' representation
2019 (English)In: Book of Abstracts 2019 International Sociology of Sport Conference, 2019, p. 18-18Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is twofold. First, we aim to construct knowledge on the conceptualizations of democratic representation that underpin selection processes to sport organization boards. Second, we seek to examine responses to policy tools used to achieve 'adequate' representation in sport governance (e.g., gender quotas) that these conceptualizations of representation may give rise to in order to be able to discuss some of the uninteded consequences that may follow on the use of policy tools in this area. The analysis draws on data from interviews with representatives of 62 (out of 72) Swedish National Sport Organizations' nomination committees and focuses on the relationship between views of representation and stances towards an impeding introduction of a mandatory 40/60 board gender quota in all governing bodies in Swedish voluntary sport. The analysis elucidates, first, that conceptualizations among the interviewees may be categorized as either 'standing for' or 'acting for' views of representation (Fenichel Pitkin, 1972). Second, responsiveness to the introduction of a gender quota is shown to be related to these views of representation, with the dominating acting for view of representation being linked to a sceptic stance towards a quota. These findings suggest that employing policy tools such as gender quotas runs the risk of giving rise to two uninteded consequences: 1) creating overrepresentation of a gender in a board not matching the gender distribution in the membership-cadre (something that may be viewed as undemocratic); and 2) overshadowing other, equally important, representation categories (e.g., age or geographic origin). 

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-162905 (URN)
Conference
World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019, April 24-27, Dunedin, New Zealand
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports
Available from: 2019-08-30 Created: 2019-08-30 Last updated: 2019-10-23
Projects
Making the case for organized sport: the construction of legitimizing accounts in public sport policy advocacy processes [2016-00557_VR]; Umeå University; Publications
Stenling, C. & Sam, M. (2019). Professionalization and its consequences: how active advocacy may undermine democracy. European Sport Management QuarterlyStenling, C. (2019). Sport Policy Advocacy as Interest Representation: Serving whose interests?. In: Sports and the Enviornment - Policies, Values and Sustainability: . Paper presented at 16th European Association for the Sociology of Sport Conference, Bö, Norway. June 3-6, 2019..
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-9619-801x

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