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Developing a conceptual framework to analyse professionalisation in sport federations
European Journal for Sport and Society
Existing research on sport organisations is imprecise in the use of the concept 'professionalisation'. Furthermore, we do not know if analytical concepts of professionalisation correspond with the understanding in practice. This study explores the perceptions of practitioners and proposes a framework to analyse professionalisation in national sport federations. Expert interviews were conducted with six key people from Swiss national sport federations and then analysed these for characteristics of professionalisation using a hermeneutic approach. The characteristics were divided into three areas: (1) changed management philosophy, (2) functional differentiation and specialisation, and (3) application of management tools. However, professionalisation is primarily perceived to be a matter of 'professional' attitude that transforms into federation culture. The practitioners disclose an ambivalent view of professionalisation, e.g. business-like culture vs. voluntarism, for-profit vs. non-profit orientation, autonomy vs. control. A framework is developed that synthesises analytical concepts and practitioners' perceptions to support future comprehensive research into causes, forms and consequences of professionalisation in national sport federations.
professionalization, sport organizations, framework, concept, experts interviews
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