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Agency and institutions in sport

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-16, 11:39 authored by Mathew Dowling, Jonathan Robertson, Marvin Washington, Becca Leopkey, Dana Ellis

Much like the social phenomenon which it seeks to explain, institutional theory has become an institutional and dominant theoretical research traditional within sport management. In the context of sport, institutional theory can be used to examine the complex relationship between sport organisations and their broader environment. Specifically, it explains how sport organisations are influenced by and in turn influence, broader social, political and economic forces, as well as how these institutional forces shape the behaviour and practices of athletes, coaches and fans. The five original contributions contained within this special issue seek to advance institutional scholarship and bridge the growing theoretical divide between sport management and management. Taken together, the papers in this special issue represent the potential for not only further illumination of how institutional theory can advance sport management, but also how sport management might hold the possibility for further articulation and advancement of institutional theory. In doing so, we set out a future research agenda that calls for a return to the original motivations and concepts of institutional theory and a further appreciation of the distinctiveness of the sport context for understanding institutional arrangements.



  • Yes

Publication title

European Sport Management Quarterly




Informa UK Limited

File version

  • Published version


  • eng

Affiliated with

  • School of Psychology and Sport Science Outputs