Professionalization in Swiss national sport federations - causes and consequences

Ruoranen, Kaisa Reetta; Klenk, Christoffer; Lang, Grazia; Schlesinger, Torsten; Bayle, Emmanuel; Clausen, Josephine; Giauque, David; Nagel, Siegfried (August 2017). Professionalization in Swiss national sport federations - causes and consequences. In: 25th EASM Conference: Challenges and developments of sport organisations (p. 27). Bern: University of Bern, Bern Open Publishing [e-print]

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In this talk, we present causes and consequences of professionalisation derived from a qualitative multiple-case study of seven Swiss national sport federations (SSF).
In documents and semi-structured interviews, we analyzed promoting and hindering factors for and consequences of professionalisation on three levels: federation intern, and in its external and internal (member organisations) environment (Nagel et al., 2015). Causes for professionalisation have been widely similar in the seven SSF. Conflicts in board and unclear competences, increased workload and higher expectations, and initiatives of key actors have been prominent causes for, particularly, defined competences, paid staff and organisational differentiation. Extern, sport policy and Swiss Olympic Association require concepts for athlete promotion and auditing, which the SSF, however, implement autonomously. To gain presence and financial resources, meeting expectations of sponsors and media, especially in marketing and communication, is unavoidable. Nevertheless, SSFs’ specific circumstances, e.g. financial and human resources, (media) presence and striving individuals, have influenced continuity of professionalisation. Little professionalisation has been promoted by SSFs’ member organisations. Their expectations were rather a consequence of SSFs’ professionalisation that tends to exceed capacities of member organisations. Consequently, SSF recognise the need for involvement, transparency and club support. Within the SSF, professionalisation has commonly improved federations’ image, structure, event organisation and people’s qualifications. However, new challenges are leadership conflicts, increased costs and workload, and organisational divergence. Furthermore, stakeholders often prescribe the expenditure of resources. Professionalisation seems to reproduce SSFs’ challenges. However, in deliberate, unhurried professionalisation they see a chance to develop their sport and member services.

Nagel, S., Schlesinger, T., Bayle, E., & Giauque, D. (2015). Professionalisation of sport federations – a multi-level framework for analysing forms, causes and consequences. European Sport Management Quarterly, 15, 407–433. doi:10.1080/16184742.2015.1062990

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Sociology and Management

UniBE Contributor:

Ruoranen, Kaisa Reetta, Klenk, Christoffer, Lang, Grazia, Schlesinger, Torsten, Nagel, Siegfried


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




University of Bern, Bern Open Publishing [e-print]




Kaisa Reetta Ruoranen

Date Deposited:

08 Nov 2017 14:19

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:08

Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

professionalization, sport federations, sport organizations, organization development




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