Drivers of and Barriers to Professionalization in International Sport Federations

Clausen, Josephine; Bayle, Emmanuel; Giauque, David; Ruoranen, Kaisa Reetta; Lang, Grazia; Nagel, Siegfried; Klenk, Christoffer; Schlesinger, Torsten (2017). Drivers of and Barriers to Professionalization in International Sport Federations. Journal of global sport management, 3(1), pp. 37-60. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/24704067.2017.1411165

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In a changing and complex environment, international sport federations (IFs) have to face new challenges. These challenges can trigger or hinder IFs’ professionalization processes. While researchers have examined organizational change and professionalization of national sport federations (NFs) and clubs, studies on IFs are rare. Considering professionalization as an important element of IFs’ change processes in recent years, the study attempts to fill this gap. The conceptual framework is based on the concepts and dynamics of organizational change, the influence of isomorphic pressures and the operationalization of a multi-level framework. Data from six case studies was analyzed by means of qualitative content analysis. Findings reveal multiple causes of IFs’ professionalization. Three particular findings are discussed: professionalization as a dynamic process with phases of acceleration that vary depending on IFs’ size; IFs’ becoming increasingly business-like through isomorphic changes; and five causes of particular relevance to IFs’ current professionalization process.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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, Lang, Grazia, Nagel, Siegfried, Klenk, Christoffer, Schlesinger, Torsten


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Taylor & Francis


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation


[UNSPECIFIED] Professionalisation of Sport Federations




Kaisa Reetta Ruoranen

Date Deposited:

01 Feb 2018 12:55

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:08

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Non-profit organizations, international sport federations, professionalization, organizational change, isomorphic change




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