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The Implementation and Diffusion of Innovative Projects by Regional Sports Federations. The Case of Flanders (Belgium)

Boekbijdrage - Boekhoofdstuk Conferentiebijdrage

Aim and Research Questions The aim of this study is two-fold. Firstly, the process is investigated whereby sports federations implement an innovative project for their affiliated clubs. On this basis, this study aims to identify critical determinants that facilitated the implementation process. Secondly, the extent to which innovative projects achieve their predefined goals is explored. Using qualitative analyses, we try to answer which factors successfully influence the diffusion of innovative projects. Theoretical Background and Literature Review Voluntary sports organisations, such as sports federations, are often considered traditional, steadfast and change-resistant (Winand et al., 2013). Nevertheless, the vast majority of scientific research indicates that non-profit sports organisations do innovate (Hoeber et al., 2015; Winand et al., 2013). Furthermore, it has been evidenced that innovation can help nonprofit sports organisations to become future-proof (Wemmer et al., 2016) and compete with the growing commercial sports sector. Previous research within the non-profit sports sector has focused almost exclusively on the output or outcome of an innovation. However, apart from Hoeber and Hoeber (2012) research into the implementation of a technological innovation in a community sports club, little empirical material is available on the diffusion process of innovative projects by nonprofit sports organisations. However, the research by Hoeber and Hoeber (2012) revealed some remarkable findings, in particular, that the success of an innovation is determined at different stages during the process by leadership commitment, pro-innovation characteristics, organisational capacity, simple organizational design, and involved and interested external parties. Building on Hoeber and Hoeber’s (2012) study, innovation is identified as any initiative that is new for the relevant sports federation’s policy, and the multi-dimensional framework of Damanpour and Schneider (2006) is employed to observe determinants of the implementation and diffusion process at the managerial, organisational and environmental level. Research Design, Methodology and Data Analysis: Sports federations in Flanders, the northern Dutch-speaking community of Belgium, form the cases for this study. Since the introduction of cultural autonomy in 1969, the communities have jurisdiction over sports policy in their territory (van Poppel et al., 2018). This meant that sports federations in Flanders were recognised and subsidised by a decree for the promotion of their sports branch and were increasingly involved as partners in sports policy. Today, Track: Innovation in Sport Business © EASM 2020 Book of Abstracts 313 Flanders has 71 recognized sports federations, of which seven are subsidised multisport federations (which offer multiple sports), 42 are subsidised and 22 are only recognised unisport federations (which offer one sport). Through the 2016 decree 'regarding the recognition and subsidisation of the organised sports sector', sports federations can qualify for an additional subsidy for the implementation of an innovative project. In 2019, 41 innovative projects were requested by 26 different sports federations for a subsidy. In function of comparability both at the level of the organisation and the project, our sample is respectively based on sport type and project evaluation. Concerning the former, solo sports (e.g. running), duo sports with contact (e.g. judo) or without (e.g. tennis), team sports (e.g. football) and a multiple sports offer were distinguished. For each type of sport, a project was then randomly selected that received government funding on the one hand and no government funding on the other. Finally, five more innovative projects, for which no subsidy was requested, were added. From July to September 2019, a semi-structured interview was conducted with the project manager at each federation. Information was obtained about the content, plan and objectives of the project. A follow-up interview is scheduled a year after the first interview to check whether the objectives set have been achieved and which determinants have contributed to this. In the meantime, the participating sports federations have been providing continuous updates via project sheets. The interviews are recorded and transcribed verbatim with the permission of the interviewees. The transcripts are then uploaded to the qualitative software program NVIVO for data analysis. By analogy with Hoeber and Hoeber (2012), the data will be coded and categorised according to the multi-dimensional framework of Damanpour and Schneider (2006) to distinguish determinants of a successful implementation and diffusion process at a managerial, organisational and environmental level. Results/Findings and Discussion Since the follow-up interviews have not yet taken place, only results about the first interviews and the interim project reports can be discussed at this point. These preliminary results indicate that innovation is an unplanned rather than a structured process, supported by the entire organisation, but carried out by individuals. Determinants for a successful diffusion of the innovative project relate to transparent communication, guidance and differentiation. Conclusion, Contribution and Implication Using the above insights, sports federations can alter future projects for a more efficient and effective diffusion among their clubs. At the same time, sports policymakers can support the sports federations with this by aligning the legislative framework as such. References Damanpour, F. & Schneider, M. (2006). Phases of the Adoption of Innovation in Organizations: Effects of Environment, Organization and Top Managers. British Journal of Management, 17(3), 215–236. Track: Innovation in Sport Business © EASM 2020 Book of Abstracts 314 Hoeber, L., Doherty, A., Hoeber, O., & Wolfe, R. (2015). The Nature of Innovation in Community Sport Organizations. European Sport Management Quarterly, 15(5), 518– 534. Hoeber, L. & Hoeber, O. (2012). Determinants of an Innovation Process: A Case Study of Technological Innovation in a Community Sport Organization. Journal of Sport Management, 26, 213-223. van Poppel, M., Claes, E., & Scheerder, J. (2018). Sport Policy in Flanders (Belgium). International Journal of Sport Policy, 10(2), 271–285. Wemmer, F., Emrich, E., & Koenigstorfer, J. (2016). The Impact of Coopetition-Based Open Innovation on Performance in Nonprofit Sports Clubs. European Sport Management Quarterly, 16(3), 341–363. Winand, M., Vos, S., Zintz, T., & Scheerder, J. (2013). Determinants of Service Innovation: A Typology of Sports Federations. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 13(1–2), 55–73.
Boek: EASM
Pagina's: 311-314
Aantal pagina's: 4
Jaar van publicatie:2020
Trefwoorden:innovation, innovation process, organisational capacity, sports federations