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Corporate Social Responsibility In Sport: Stakeholder Management In The UK Football Industry

Geoff Walters, Richard Tacon
Published 2010 · Political Science

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly significant for a wide range of organisations and for the managers that work within them. This is particularly true in the sport industry, where CSR is now an important area of focus for sport organisations, sport events and individual athletes. This article demonstrates how CSR can inform both theoretical debates and management practice within sport organisations. It does so by focusing on stakeholder theory, which overlaps considerably with CSR. In this article, stakeholder theory is used to examine three major CSR issues: stakeholder definition and salience, firm actions and responses, and stakeholder actions and responses. These three issues are considered in the context of the UK football industry. The article draws on 15 semi-structured qualitative interviews with senior representatives from a number of different organisations. These include the director of a large professional football club; a chief executive of a medium-sized professional football club in addition to the supporter-elected director; and the vice-chairman of a small professional football club. Additional interviews were undertaken with five representatives from national supporter organisations, two board members at two large supporter associations, two representatives from the Football League, one representative from the Independent Football Commission, and a prominent sports journalist. The analysis of the interview data illustrates ways in which CSR can be implemented by sport organisations through stakeholder management strategies. The article concludes that stakeholder theory has both conceptual and empirical value and can be used to illuminate key issues in sport management.
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