Amateur structures and their effect on performance: the case of Greek voluntary sports clubs

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen]On: 08 December 2014, At: 05:33Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Managing LeisurePublication details, including instructions for authors and subscriptioninformation:</p><p>Amateur structures and their effect onperformance: the case of Greek voluntarysports clubsDimitra Papadimitriou aa Department of Business Administration , University of PatrasPublished online: 02 Dec 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Dimitra Papadimitriou (2002) Amateur structures and their effect on performance: thecase of Greek voluntary sports clubs, Managing Leisure, 7:4, 205-219, DOI: 10.1080/1360671021000056570</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content)contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and ourlicensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, orsuitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publicationare the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp;Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independentlyverified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilitieswhatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantialor systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and usecan be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Amateur structures and their effect onperformance: the case of Greek voluntary</p><p>sports clubsDimitra Papadimitriou</p><p>University of Patras, Department of Business Administration.Correspondence to: Kafhreos 34, Kato Syxaina, Patras 264 43, Greece</p><p>This study applies an organizational perspective to the measurement of the structure and context ofvoluntary local sports clubs in Greece. Local sport clubs have rarely been an area of inquiry in termsof their organizational structure and context. This research firstly focuses on collecting andanalysing data referring to measurements of contextual (e.g., organizational size, age and resourcedependence) and structural (e.g., formalization, specialization, centralization) variables. Secondly,it examines whether the local sports clubs contextual and structural development has an effect ontheir performance. The theoretical background underlying this research endeavour is drawn fromthe classical Weberian theory of bureaucracy as presented by Frisbys conceptual framework inorder to be applicable in voluntary leisure service organizations. Forty-one local sport clubscomposed the sample of this study. A member of their board of directors was interviewed following aspecifically designed, highly structured pre-existing schedule. The results support a trend towardsa loosely structured, less bureaucratic organizational operation for the local sport clubs, which isaccompanied with external resource dependence and moderate performance.</p><p>INTRODUCTION</p><p>In Greece, like in many other Europeancountries, the organization and developmentof amateur sport at the local and nationallevel is undertaken by an expanding networkof voluntary organizations. The role of theGreek national sports organizations is con-fined to the promotion of the sport within thecountry and the attainment of excellenceinternationally. Therefore, as is the case inother countries such as Canada, Germanyand England, in the Greek sports deliverysystem the core agency responsible for thedevelopment of the individual sport isthe local sports club. For the majorityof sport this is a non-profit organization ofvarying size and age. Therefore, the broadspectrum of organizational types range frominformal groups of friends forming organiza-tions with only occasional activity to large</p><p>local organizations with extensive member-ships and a variety of sports programmes.Regardless of size, in Greece the majority ofthese organizations depend on public fund-ing in order to secure their required re-sources and deliver programmes in relationto more than one sport. However, resourcesfrom the national sports federations and theprivate sector are likely to strengthenthe annual budget of this type of voluntaryagencies.</p><p>The local sports clubs constitute the cellof the Greek sport delivery system andpursue mainly sports-related goals, includingthe promotion of different sports (thoughemphasis is on Olympic sports), the identi-fication and training of talented athletes andthe organization of competitions or othersports-related events. The local sports clubis perceived as a non-profit multi-sport</p><p>Managing Leisure 7, 205219 (2002)</p><p>Managing Leisure ISSN 1360-6719 print/ISSN 1466-450X online 2002 Taylor &amp; Francis Ltd</p><p>DOI: 10.1080/1360671021000056570</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Rad</p><p>boud</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>iteit </p><p>Nijm</p><p>egen</p><p>] at</p><p> 05:</p><p>33 0</p><p>8 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>organization, which provides sports pro-grammes and services to promising and eliteathletes. The 2004 Olympic games to be heldin Greece, the country that gave birth to thishistorical event, create immense opportun-ities (i.e., new or renovated facilities in afew Greek cities, many promotional events,volunteer development programmes andhigh sport exposure) for the clubs to growand prosper.</p><p>Whereas a few research attempts appear inthe sports-related literature to study volun-tary national and provincial sports organiza-tions as formal organizations (Kikulis et al.,1989; Papadimitriou, 1994; Slack and Hinings,1994; Theodoraki, 1996; Thibault et al., 1991),the local sports clubs have rarely been anarea of inquiry in terms of their organiza-tional structure, context or performance. Thevoluntary nature of their operation is gen-erally perceived to be characterized by in-formal relationships, loose structuring andvoluntary membership, all factors whichemphasize the voluntary notion at the ex-pense of the concepts of organization andmanagement. However, as Handy (1990)stresses:</p><p>. . . it would be naive to think that anyorganization, even a family, can work wellwithout some way of dividing up the work tobe done, without some understanding ofaccountability to whom for what, and with-out some agreement on the general shape ofthe organization. (p. 103)</p><p>In the same line of theorization, Frisby(1985), McPherson (1975), Slack (1985) andTheodoraki and Henry (1993) support theapplication of Weberian theory of bureau-cracy to voluntary sports service organiza-tions on the basis that they tend to exhibitseveral characteristics of typical bureau-cratic structures and processes. Numerouschallenges currently faced by the voluntaryGreek sport clubs justify the need for morerationality in their internal function. Thesechallenges emerge not only from their chang-</p><p>ing external environment but also from thenewly passed sport legislation (2725/99,Greek Government, 1999). Examples in-clude:</p><p> The pressing need for employing highlyspecialized technical staff and coachesfor the successful implementation of thevarious sports programmes.</p><p> The increased resource opportunities inthe clubs external environment and therequirement for specialized ways ofbenefiting from these opportunities.</p><p> The various certification programmesintroduced by the national sports gover-ning bodies.</p><p> The increasing complexity in bureau-cratic sport systems developed by thestate agency for sport (the GeneralSecretariat for Sports) in order to rewardperformance and excellence in sport.</p><p> The accelerated pressure for creatingorganizational structures and systems,which support the high performancesector of the sport concerned.</p><p>This research focuses on collecting andanalysing data from voluntary local sportsclubs which refer to the measurements ofcontextual (e.g., organizational size, age andresource dependence), structural (e.g., for-malization, specialization and centralization)and performance variables. This enables asystematic conceptualization of the internalstructure of these organizations. Further-more, the study attempts to explore potentialrelationships among measures of organiza-tional structure, context and performance inlocal sports clubs.</p><p>RELEVANT EMPIRICAL RESEARCH INSPORT</p><p>The contemporary relevant literature isshort of systematic efforts which analyse thestructures of the voluntary sports clubs. Theonly studies reported have been conductedin larger sports organizations such as provin-cial voluntary sports organizations (Kikulis</p><p>206 Papadimitriou</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Rad</p><p>boud</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>iteit </p><p>Nijm</p><p>egen</p><p>] at</p><p> 05:</p><p>33 0</p><p>8 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>et al., 1989; Thibault et al., 1991) and nationalsports governing bodies (Slack, 1985; Theo-doraki, 1996). Specifically, some research inthis tradition has been conducted in Cana-dian sports organizations and constitutesvaluable reference for this study. In the Greekcontext, there are no research works ori-ented to the Weberian theory of bureaucracyin relation to local or national sports orga-nizations.</p><p>However, a few organization theory schol-ars have long ago addressed issues relatingto structure in a range of organizationaltypes. The early empirical works of Hage andAiken (1967), Lawrence and Lorsch (1967),and Pugh et al. (1968) in a variety of pro-fit and non-profit organizations, have estab-lished a sound theoretical basis in regards toorganizational structure. These scholars ex-amined the interrelationship of structuraland contextual organizational variables andthe effect of the introduction of professionalson the organizational structures. Accordingto their evidence, as organizations grow insize and develop resource dependencies onother agencies they tend to develop a type ofinternal structure characterized by divisionof labour, separation of roles and functionsand formulation of rules and regulations.Such structural arrangements exert signifi-cant influence on the behaviour and perform-ance of an organization, because dimensionssuch as authority control mechanisms, in-tegration and communication are inherentlyinterrelated to the capacity of achievinggoals and of satisfying interests in any organi-zational context.</p><p>Works in sports organizations have veri-fied some of the hypotheses set by the abovecontingency-oriented theorists. One exampleis Slacks research (1985), which employed acase study methodology to trace how aCanadian voluntary sports organization wastransformed from a loose organizationalstructure to a rational bureaucracy. Thelatter is a type of structure which is charac-terized by division of labour, increased</p><p>professionalization and agreed rules andregulations. Slack pointed to the growth ofthe size of the specific sports organization toexplain the factors that influence this trans-formation, without denying the instrumentalrole of charismatic leadership. Furthermore,the qualitative results of Pitters study (1990)from a small local sports club vividly high-lighted how structures are used to empowerindividuals who control organizational re-sources.</p><p>In the same line of theorization, the work ofThibault et al. (1991) in provincial sportsorganizations in Canada showed that theintroduction of professionals is associatedwith significant changes in the structuralvariables of specialization and formalization.However, these changes are manifested morein the technical than the administrativesystems of the organizations. This may becharacteristic of the sports organizationssince technical-oriented professionals areusually more qualified and competent. Simi-larly, Slack and Hinings (1994) have exploredhow institutional pressures tied to financialdependence have caused isomorphic organi-zational changes towards more professionalbureaucratic operations in national sportsorganizations in Canada.</p><p>Kikulis et al. (1989) and Theodoraki (1996)developed structural taxonomies of amateurCanadian and British sports organizationsrespectively, based on measures related tothree structural variables: specialization,standardization and centralization. Theirfindings pointed out the increasingly bureau-cratized and professionalized nature ofoperation of the two sets of national sportsorganizations. However, they showed thatnot all organizations transfer uniformly tothis type of structure, especially as far as itconcerns changes in relation to their deci-sion-making systems.</p><p>Finally, Frisby (1985) proposed theoreticaland operational definitions of the most com-monly used contextual and structural vari-ables in voluntary leisure service</p><p>Amateur structures and voluntary Greek sports clubs 207</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Rad</p><p>boud</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>iteit </p><p>Nijm</p><p>egen</p><p>] at</p><p> 05:</p><p>33 0</p><p>8 D</p><p>ecem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>organizations. In the contextual variables,Frisby included organizational size, age, de-pendence on other organizations and thelevel of technological expertise, whereasformalization, specialization and centraliza-tion compose the structural variables sug-gested in this conceptual framework. In lightof the assertions that voluntary sports orga-nizations, especially local ones, hardly ap-proach the degree of bureaucratizationusually met in profit-making sports organiza-tions or large national sports agencies, it isimportant to employ simple criteria for dis-tinguishing a formally organised from aninformal sports organization.</p><p>The studies cited above, while systematicand theoretically sound, are limited in theirability to enhance our understanding aboutthe structural arrangements of small localsports clubs. They focus on comparablylarge, usually national sports organizations,which are characterized by stable organiza-tional relations and increased availability ofstate or private resources. This has resultedin significant gaps in the depth of our under-standings of the extensive number of non-profit sports organizations that contributesignificantly to the sport system of manycountries. This void is problematic giventheir important role, their structural pecu-liarities and the fact that they are enforced toundergo adaptation processes as a result ofchanging service-related demands and cul-tures. There are a number of common issuesthat relate to these voluntary sports organi-zations in different countries, which necessi-tate systematic stu...</p></li></ul>