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Sport and Organization

Sport and Organization

Following the 32nd SCOS conference, we invite contributions for a special issue of Culture and Organization on 'Sport and Organization'. In recent decades, sport as a social practice has become relevant in many different spheres: in health, the economy, politics, education, work and leisure. The importance of sport transcends the confines of the sports field (/court/pitch/track ... ). Sport involves organization and organizing. On this point, we may distinguish between the organization of sport on the one hand and sport as a metaphor for understanding organization and organizing on the other.

In sport, we find organizational aspects of cooperation and competition, such as teamwork, individual skills, winners and losers. Sport is about organizing collective efforts, about performance and (sometimes) working together for a common purpose. Sport is about managing excellence, coaching and developing tactics as well as strategies. Sport also has its own mechanisms of organizing social differences. The competitive aspects of sport imply practices of in- and exclusion. These practices are enacted spatially on the sports field, dividing space between competing teams and individual sportsmen and sportswomen. In a broader sense, this theme touches upon the issue of access and socially marginalized identities.

Sport also has particularities that resonate symbolically with non-sporting organizational life. Organizations are replete with sporting metaphors that give meaning to their practices, such as competition, arena, selection, excellence, talent and teamwork. We might also think about games like chess as a metaphor for organizing and strategy. As such, sport may be a vantage point to better understand organizations. Equally, in sport we find organizational aspects of regulation and control; the rules of various competitions, drug testing, scrutiny of sporting organizations' finances and so on. In this way, the interweaving of sport and organization entails substantial oversight and management. And of course, events such as the Olympic Games, the football World Cup and the Tour de France not only demand huge amounts of organization in and of themselves but also have immense economic, social and political impact prior to, during and after these competitions. Sport is, further, entangled with issues of bribery and corruption, politics and the role of the state. As such, sport is a nexus between serious fun and serious business.

For this special issue, we would like to invite contributions that focus on sports, in the sense of both the organization of sport and sport as a metaphor for understanding organizing and organization. Papers may deal with the following subjects in sport, from the perspective of organization studies, although this is not an exhaustive list and we welcome any contributions that speak to the issue's theme:

  • Organizational values of selection, teamwork, excellence, coaching, etc.
  • Rules and regulations – setting, conforming to, changing, cheating and breaking the rules
  • Competition – the 'excellence' game in sports, high-performance organizational cultures, league tables inside and outside of sport
  • Morality and ethics – fair play, whistle blowing, sportsmanship [sic] as a moral category, sportsmen and sportswomen as role models
  • Organizing difference and (in)equality in sports – the construction of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, class, ability and so on, both on and off the field
  • Sport and economy – commercialization of sport, football clubs as capitalized businesses, branding in sport, rights to, advertising at and sponsorship of sporting events
  • Sport, spectatorship and consumption – sport as spectacle, consuming sports, the influence of the media, merchandising in sport
  • Skill and remuneration in sport – amateurs and professionals
  • Government, politics and policy – the organizing bodies of sport, sport and nationalism, sport for local, regional and national development, instrumental uses of sport
  • Work and leisure – new divisions in time and space, free time, sporting events during work time or as an offshoot of work
  • Insiders and outsiders – fan culture, us versus them, opposing teams, teammates, home and away games, boundaries (lines) of the field
  • Violence – abuse of other competitors and officials, extreme (fighting) sports, the organization as an arena for symbolic violence
  • Material and technological artifacts – the ball, the bat, the racquet, the field, the kit, protective clothing, the whistle, electronic officials like Hawk-Eye and Cyclops
  • Place and space – struggles over space, space as a practised place.

With its long tradition of interdisciplinarity, Culture and Organization invites papers that draw insights and approaches from across a range of social sciences and humanities. In addition to scholars working in management and organization studies, we welcome contributions from those in anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, (art) history, sport studies, communication, film, gender and cultural studies, inter alia. Contributions can be theoretical, empirical or methodological, but should address their subject matter in a critical and rigorous fashion.

Guest editors

The guest editors are Jeroen Vermeulen, Martijn Koster, Michel van Slobbe and Eugène Loos, all of the School of Governance, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Submission and enquiries

Papers should be submitted through the Culture and Organization ScholarOne site at Please ensure when you do submit that you select the relevant special issue (volume 22, issue 3) to direct your submission appropriately. If you experience any problems please contact Jeroen Vermeulen at the e-mail address shown below.

The deadline for manuscript submission is 16 March 2015.

Style and other instructions on manuscript preparation can be found on the journal's website: Manuscript length should not exceed 8000 words, including appendices and supporting materials.

Please also be aware that any images used in your submission must be your own, or where they are not you must already have permission to reproduce them in an academic journal. You should make this explicit in the submitted manuscript.

Please direct informal enquiries to Jeroen Vermeulen (

Copyright of Culture & Organization is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.

DMU Timestamp: March 29, 2019 18:11

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