Developing a conceptual framework to analyse professionalization in sport federations

Ruoranen, Kaisa Reetta; Klenk, Christoffer; Schlesinger, Torsten; Bayle, Emmanuel; Clausen, Josephine; Giauque, David; Nagel, Siegfried (2016). Developing a conceptual framework to analyse professionalization in sport federations. European journal for sport and society : EJSS, 13(1), pp. 55-74. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/16138171.2016.1153881

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

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, Klenk, Christoffer, Schlesinger, Torsten, Nagel, Siegfried


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




Taylor & Francis




Kaisa Reetta Ruoranen

Date Deposited:

24 Feb 2017 11:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:01

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Concept; expert interviews; practitioners’ view; professionalization; sport organizations




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