Professionalisation of sport federations. A multi-level framework for analysing forms, causes and consequences

Nagel, Siegfried (13 February 2015). Professionalisation of sport federations. A multi-level framework for analysing forms, causes and consequences (Unpublished). In: 7. Jahrestagung der sportwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft der Schweiz (SGS). „Sportwissenschaften - Im Plural ?“. Lausanne. 11.-13.02.2015.

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Research question: International and national sport federations as well as their member organisations (usually sport clubs) are key actors within the sport system and have a wide range of relationships outside the sport system (e.g. with the state, sponsors, and the media). They are currently facing major challenges such as growing competition in top-level sports, democratisation of sports with “sports for all” and sports as the answer to social problems (integration, education, health, unemployment, etc.). In this context, professionalising sport organisations seems to be an appropriate strategy to face these challenges and solve current problems. We define the professionalisation of sport organisations as an organisational process of transformation leading towards organisational rationalisation, efficiency and business-like management. This has led to a profound organisational change, particularly within sport federations, characterised by the strengthening of institutional management (managerialism) and the implementation of efficiency-based management instruments and paid staff. Research methods: The goal of this article is to review the international literature and establish a global understanding of and theoretical framework for how sport organisations professionalise and what consequences this may have. Results and Findings: Our multi-level approach based on the social theory of action integrates the current concepts for analysing professionalisation in sport federations. We specify the framework for the following research perspectives: (1) forms, (2) causes and (3) consequences, and discuss the reciprocal relations between sport federations and their member organisations in this context. Implications: Finally, we derive general methodological consequences for the investigation of professionalisation processes in sport organisations.

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 Science III

UniBE Contributor:

Nagel, Siegfried


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


Sportwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft der Schweiz




Christoffer Klenk

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2016 15:01

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2017 16:28

Uncontrolled Keywords:

professionalisation, sport federations, multi level approach, factors of professionalisation, effects of professionalisation,




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