Corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability: Why professional sport is greening the playing field

Corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability: Why professional sport is greening the playing field
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  Corporate   social   responsibility   and   environmental   sustainability:Why   professional   sport   is   greening   the   playing   field SylviaTrendafilova a, *,   KathyBabiak b ,KathrynHeinze b a University   of    Tennessee,   USA b University   of    Michigan,   USA Corporate   social   responsibility   (CSR)   represents   behaviors   that   have   strategic   importance   to   many   companies.   CSR    hasbeen   defined   as   a   company’s   commitment   to   minimizing   or   eliminating   any   harmful   effects   on   society   and   maximizing   long-term   beneficial   impact   (to   both   the   company   and   the   community   in   which   it   operates)   (Mohr,   Webb,   &   Harris,   2001).   OneCSR    area   that   is   growing   in   practice   and   academic   interest   is   environmental   sustainability.   In   recent   years,   issues   around   theenvironment   have   earned   a   place   on   the   agendas   of    most   firms   (Bird,   Hall,   Momente,   &   Reggiani,   2007;   Kassinis   &   Vafeas,2006;   Welford,   Chan,   &   Man,   2007).   In   particular,   in   the   professional   sport   industry,   where   businesses   and   teams   may   imposeadverse   effects   on   the   environment   (and   also   be   impacted   by   environmental   changes),   professional   teams   and   sport   leaguesare   turning   their   attention   to   environmental   CSR.Although   CSR    practices   have   drawn   substantial   interest   by   practitioners   and   academics,   the   institutional   forces   drivingthese   practices   have   received   little   attention   in   the   academic   literature,   especially   examining   the   adoption   of environmentally   sustainable   initiatives.   Institutional   forces   are   external   pressures   on   organizations   (also   reflected   throughinternal   social   controls)   that   can   ultimately   shape   organizations’   practices.   In   adapting   to   outside   forces   and   satisfyinginternal   interests,   organizations   follow   a   process   of    institutionalization,   ‘‘becom[ing]   infused   with   value   as   they   come   tosymbolize   the   community’s   aspirations’’   (Selznick,   1957,   p.   19).Those   aspirations   may   include   a   desire   for   organizations   to Sport   Management   Review   16   (2013)   298–313 A   R    T   I   C   L    E   I   N   F   O  Articlehistory: Received   26   March   2012 Receivedinrevisedform11December2012 Accepted   15   December   2012 Keywords: Corporate   social   responsibilityEnvironmental   sustainabilityInstitutional   pressuresProfessional   sportSport   organizations A   B   S   T   R    A   C   T Inthisstudy,weexploreinstitutionalforcesaffectingenvironmentalsustainabilityinprofessionalsportteamsandleaguesinNorthAmerica.Interviewswithsportexecutivesandexecutivesfrompartnergroups,122websitesandorganizationaldocuments,and56mediareportswereexamined.Datarevealedhowenvironmentalmanagementpracticesarebeingdiffusedinprofessionalsportorganizations.Evidenceindicatedassociativebehavioramongsportorganizationswithrespecttoenvironmentalmanagement.Dataalsoillustratedthatmediaplayedaroleindrivinganddefiningthetypeandextentof involvementinprofessionalsportteams’environmentalsustainabilityefforts.Wediscussenvironmentalsustainabilityasitaffectsateam’sorleague’sCSRrelatedinitiatives(i.e.,avertinglegalrecourse,savingmoney,aswellasbuildingstrongerrelationshipswithstakeholders(e.g.,customers,fans,localcommunities,federalgovernmentsandcorporatepartners)),andspeculatehowtheseeffortsmightevolveandinformthedevelopmentof environmentalsustainabilityinorganizationsinthesport,serviceandentertainmentsectors.  2012SportManagementAssociationofAustraliaandNewZealand.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.Allrightsreserved. *   Corresponding   author   at:   Department   of    Kinesiology,   Recreation,   and   Sport   Studies,   University   of    Tennessee,   1914   Andy   Holt   Ave,   HPER    349,   Knoxville,TN   37996,   USA.   Tel.:   +1   865   974   8891. E-mail   address:   (S.   Trendafilova). Contents   lists   available   at   SciVerse   ScienceDirect SportManagementReview jo   u   rn   al   h   omep   age:w   m/loc   ate/s   mr 1441-3523/$   –   see   front   matter      2012   Sport   Management   Association   of    Australia   and   New   Zealand.   Published   by   Elsevier   Ltd.   All   rights   reserved.  behave   in   socially   responsible   ways.   Thus,   a   better   understanding   of    the   institutional   forces   and   internal   interestssurrounding   the   adoption   of    environmental   CSR    can   help   clarify   why   organizations,   such   as   professional   sport   teams,   areengaging   in   this   behavior.Major   league   professional   sport   is   an   industry   in   which   CSR    is   playing   an   increasingly   important   role   (Babiak   &   Wolfe,2006,   2009;   Brietbarth   &   Harris,   2008;   Sheth   &   Babiak,   2010;   Smith   &   Westerbeek,   2007;   Walker   &   Kent,   2009),   and   sportteams   and   leagues   have   begun   to   turn   their   attention   to   the   impact   of    sport   on   the   natural   environment   (Babiak   &Trendafilova,   2011).   Many   teams   have   adopted   environmental   CSR    initiatives   that   attempt   to   mitigate   the   adverse   effects   of sport   on   the   environment.   These   sport   organizations   operate   in   a   similar   institutional   environment,   made   up   of    a   variety   of common   stakeholders.   Thus,   major   league   professional   sport   is   an   appropriate   context   in   which   to   look   at   the   nature   of    thesebroader   pressures   and   interests   surrounding   CSR    practices.   By   looking   at   the   role   of    these   forces,   we   can   learn   more   aboutwhat   is   driving   the   adoption   of    environmental   CSR    in   the   sport   industry.Like   most   institutional   environments,   within   broad   trends   of    adoption,   there   is   variation   among   professional   sportorganizations   in   terms   of    the   extent   to   which   they   are   embracing   and   enacting   environmental   CSR.   For   example,   teams   maydo   a   few   cursory   activities   (e.g.,   planting   trees,   encouraging   public   transportation,   collecting   gently   used   athletic   shoes)   or   aseries   of    large-scale,   integrated   initiatives   (e.g.,   forging   partnerships   with   environmentally   focused   vendors,   utilizing   solarand/or   wind   power,   renovating   their   facilities).   Increasingly,   the   institutional   theory   literature   recognizes   and   examines   thiskind   of    heterogeneity   within   institutional   constraints   (e.g.,   Dacin,   Goodstein,   &   Scott,   2002;   Greenwood,   Raynard,   Kodeih,Micelotta,   &   Lounsbury,   2011;   Kraatz   &   Block,   2008).   However,   we   know   less   about   institutional   pressures   andorganizational   responses   in   the   context   of    CSR    in   professional   sport.   In   this   paper,   we   will   focus   on   exploring   the   institutionalforces   leading   to   the   broad   adoption   of    environmental   CSR    in   sport,   but   also   acknowledge   heterogeneity   in   the   extent   of adoption   by   highlighting   a   few   cases   that   illustrate   this   variation.   Our   central   research   question   is:   how   are   institutionalconditions   leading   professional   sport   organizations   in   the   US   to   address   environmental   sustainability   as   a   priority?   Inaddressing   this   question,   we   employ   a   semi-inductive   approach   within   the   framework   of    institutional   theory   and   look   at   therole   of    interactions   between   teams   and   leagues   and   other   stakeholders,   and   the   influence   of    the   regulatory   environment.   Wealso   consider   whether   there   is   any   resistance   to,   or   constraints   around,   adopting   environmental   CSR    initiatives   and   how   thisaffects   variation   within   the   trend. 1.   Literature   review 1.1.   Corporate   social   responsibility   and   institutional   theory In   the   past   decade,   efforts   have   been   made   to   link   CSR    and   more   traditional   corporate   objectives   (Margolis   &   Walsh,   2003;Porter   &   Kramer,   2006)including   the   link   between   these   actions   and   strategic   responses   to   pressures   in   the   externalenvironment   such   as   consumer   demand,   regulation,   and   changing   societal   norms   and   expectations   about   the   role   of    businessin   society   (Beliveau,   Cottrill,   &   O   Neill,   1994;   Hess   &   Warren,   2008;   Hess,   Rogovsky,   &   Dunfee,   2002;   Marquis,   Glynn,   &   Davis,2007).   The   focus   of    much   of    this   academic   research   is   on   the   link   between   an   organization’s   financial   and   social   performance(Margolis   &   Walsh,   2003).   As   Campbell   (2006,   2007)   argued,   however,   there   are   a   number   of    other   factors   in   the   relationshipbetween   organizations   and   society   that   can   help   shed   light   on   why   companies   behave   in   socially   responsible   ways.   Inparticular,   as   others   have   noted,   we   need   to   pay   more   attention   to   the   institutional   forces   driving   CSR    (Campbell,   2006,   2007;Doh   &   Guay,   2006;   Matten   &   Moon,   2008).Organizations   are   shaped   by   their   institutional   environments   which   provide   general   rules   for   organizing,   andcorresponding   meanings,   values,   and   behaviors   (Barley   &   Tolbert,   1997;   Meyer   &   Rowan,   1977).   In   order   to   be   legitimatewithin   a   given   environment,   organizations   follow   these   ‘‘rules’’   and   norms   and,   over   time,   their   structures   and   practicesembody   and   perpetuate   institutional   characteristics   (Haveman   &   Rao,   1997;   Selznick,   1957);   consequently,   organizations   inthe   same   environment   become   isomorphic   with   each   other   (DiMaggio   &   Powell,   1991;   Meyer   &   Rowan,   1977;   Scott,   2008).Thus,   in   the   context   of    CSR,   institutional   theory   suggests   that   organizations   adopt   CSR    practices,   not   necessarily   because   theyguarantee   an   increase   in   efficiency,   but   because   they   are   deemed   appropriate   and/or   legitimate.   Legitimacy,   in   turn,   can   leadto   the   acquisition   of    important   resources.In   striving   for   legitimacy,   institutional   theory   suggests   that   there   are   three   main   forces   driving   organizational   actions:coercive,   mimetic,   and   normative.   Together,   these   forces   lead   to   isomorphism   by   constraining   organizations   in   a   populationso   that   they   resemble   other   organizations   that   face   the   same   environmental   conditions   (DiMaggio   &   Powell,   1983).Additionally,   institutional   forces   are   reinforced   by   mechanisms   that   create   individual   commitment   to   the   institution,including   identities,   ideologies,   and   incentive   systems   (Thornton,   Ocasio,   &   Lounsbury,   2012).Others   have   theorized   aroundthese   institutional   forces   in   the   context   of    CSR    (Campbell,   2007);   we   consider   how   these   pressures   might   lead,   in   actuality,   toenvironmental   CSR    in   sport.Coercive   pressures   areone   type   of    force   that   may   be   driving   CSR    (Campbell,   2007).   This   force   includes   formal   and   informalpressures   exerted   by   other   organizations   (on   which   the   focal   organization   may   be   dependent)   in   the   form   of    persuasion,   force,or   an   invitation   to   change   or   adopt   a   new   plan   (Slack   &   Hinings,   1994).   Often,   this   form   of    institutional   pressure   comes   from   theexternal   regulatory   environment   that   drives   isomorphism   through   codified   rules,   norms,   or   laws   that   assign   legitimacy   tocertain   organizational   practices,   such   as   CSR.   In   other   words,   regulatory   organizations   may   scrutinize,   foster   and   encouragesocially   responsible   behavior;   responding   to   these   pressures,   organizations   may   develop   explicit   CSR    policies   in   order   to   be S.   Trendafilova   et    al.    /    Sport    Management    Review   16    (2013)    298–313   299  legitimate   in   the   eyes   of    constituents   and   continue   accessing   important   resources.   The   media   can   also   serve   as   a   vehicleimposing   coercive   pressures   through   scrutiny   and   through   communicating   about   other   regulatory   and   monitoring   groups   andforces.   We   will   consider   these   coercive   forces   as   potential   drivers   of    environmental   CSR    and   shed   more   light   on   how   theyoperate   in   the   professional   sport   context,   including   offeringa   better   understanding   of    which   ones   are   central   to   this   context.In   addition   to   coercive   forces,   imitating   other   organizations   perceived   as   successful   may   lead   to   the   adoption   of environmental   CSR    practices   (Campbell,   2007).   Institutional   theory   suggests   that   when   organizations   are   faced   withuncertainty   and   ambiguity,   they   look   to   other   organizations   that   have   adopted   successful   practices   (DiMaggio   &   Powell,1983).   Mimetic   isomorphism   ensues   with   the   spread   and   awareness   of    the   ‘‘practices’’   of    the   field,   or   effective   policies   andstrategies   based   on   management   concepts,   ideologies,   and   technologies.   These   ideas   may   spread   through   sharing   and   dialogsbetween   organizations   in   the   field;   or   by   organizations   and   their   leaders   looking   to   key,   individual   role   models   (in   the   sportcontext   examples   include   Green   Sports   Alliance,   Natural   Resources   Defense   Council)   (Campbell,   2007).Building   on   theseideas,   we   look   at   the   role   of    mimetic   forces   as   potential   drivers   of    environmental   CSR    and,   specifically,   how   they   operate   inthe   professional   sport   community.Finally,   institutional   theory   suggests   that   normative   pressures   may   lead   to   isomorphism   around   CSR.   In   particular,   thesepressures   come   from   educational   and   professional   authorities   who   set   standards   for   ‘legitimate’   organizational   practices;   aswell   as   from   the   media   that   communicates   and   reinforces   desired   and   expected   practices   (Campbell,   2007).   Constituents   of similar   professional   groups   might   interact   through   professional   meetings   and   conferences,   business   coalitions,   alliances,partnerships   and   other   collaborations   that   further   diffuse   ideas   and   practices   in   a   given   organizational   field   (Mizruchi   &   Fein,1999).   These   communications   and   interactions   between   members   of    a   profession   serve   to   foster   shared   value   and   meaningaround   CSR,   and   may   help   to   develop   and   guide   behavior   in   organizations   (Meyer   &   Rowan,   1977).   In   other   words,   widelyunderstood   and   accepted   norms   about   engaging   in   socially   responsible   behavior   may   take   root   in   the   professionalcommunity   or   industry.   Particular   conditions,   and   forces   or   groups   that   scrutinize   or   observe   the   behavior   of    a   company   orteam,   may   help   to   reinforce   and   ensure   norms   around   responsible   behavior   are   followed   (Campbell,   2007).   In   addition,internal   forces   such   as   employees’   own   norms,   values   and   beliefs   play   a   role   in   the   corporate   culture   and   could   influence   CSR behavior   (Hemingway   &   Maclagan,   2004).   The   question   is:   are   normative   pressures   driving   environmental   CSR    inprofessional   sport,   and   if    so,   which   ones?A   number   of    institutional   thinkers   (Campbell,   2007;   Doh   &   Guay,   2006;   Galaskiewicz   &   Burt,   1991;   Matten   &   Moon,   2008;Scott,   2008)   argue   that   the   institutional   forces   discussed   above   may   be   at   play   in   determining   whether   a   company   behaves   ina   socially   responsible   manner.   These   forces   lead   to   the   distillation   of    activities,   forms   and   practices   that   the   ‘newinstitutionalism’   (DiMaggio   &   Powell,   1991;   Scott,   2008)argues   points   to   increasingly   uniform   institutional   environments.In   other   words,   broad   trends   in   the   adoption   of    environmental   CSR    activities   may   be   driven   by   organizations   or   teamsexperiencing   these   institutional   pressures,   and   attempting   to   conform   to   the   institutional   environment   to   gain   legitimacy.This   process,   however,   needs   to   be   unpacked   and   better   understood   in   the   context   of    professional   sport.Within   broad   trends   around   the   adoption   of    organizational   practices,   like   CSR,   in   institutional   environments,   there   isoften   variation   in   how   these   practices   are   enacted   (Lounsbury,   2001).   In   other   words,   organizational   responses   toinstitutional   pressures   can   differ.   For   example,   organizations   (or   sport   teams)   may   fully   embrace   new   practices   around   CSR,or   they   may   adopt   a   few   cursory   practices   simply   to   demonstrate   conformity   with   the   institutional   environment.   Previouswork   suggests   this   variation   in   organizational   behavior   may   be   due   to   a   variety   of    factors,   including   temporal   or   spatialdifferences   in   institutional   processes   (Davis   &   Greve,   1997;   Thornton   &   Ocasio,   1999);   idiosyncratic   characteristics   ortechnical   demands   of    organizations   (Kraatz   &   Zajac,   1996;   Westphal,   Gulati,   &   Shortell,   1997);   or   the   influence   of    field-levelorganizations,   such   as   social   movement   organizations   (Lounsbury,   2001).   In   the   environmental   CSR    context,   in   particular,studies   indicate   that   top   management’s   green   commitment   could   be   a   factor   influencing   the   formulation   of    different   types   of corporate   environmental   practices   (Lee   &   Ball,   2003;   Matten   &   Moon,   2008).Although   the   main   focus   of    the   current   study   is   on   the   institutional   forces   leading   to   broad   trends   in   adoption,   werecognize   variation   exists   in   how   organizations   respond   to   these   pressures   and   enact   environmental   CSR.   To   that   end,   we   useseveral   examples   of    professional   sport   teams   to   highlight   heterogeneity   within   CSR    practice,   and   provide   a   useful    jumping   off point   for   further   research   into   the   dynamics   of    both   institutional   homogeneity   and   heterogeneity. 1.2.   CSR   in   sport  Sport   is   an   industry   in   which   a   variety   of    stakeholders   in   the   institutional   environment   are   involved   in   shaping   sportorganizations’   behavior.   Scholarly   work   indicates   that   over   the   past   twenty   years,   there   has   been   a   growing   adoption   andimplementation   of    CSR    related   practices   in   major   league   professional   sport   in   the   US   (Babiak,   2010;   Robinson,   2005;   Sheth   &Babiak,   2010).   This   institutionalization   of    CSR    in   professional   sport   is   reflected   in   some   initiatives   becoming   increasinglyformalized,   strategic,   and   integrated   into   core   business   functions.   In   fact,   almost   every   professional   sport   team   in   NorthAmerica   has   either   a   community   outreach   department   or   a   foundation   (Babiak   &   Wolfe,   2009;   Robinson,   2005)   associatedwith,   and   responsible   for,   overseeing   the   delivery   of    socially   responsible   initiatives.   Teams   are   incorporating   strategiccorporate   partnerships   into   their   CSR    programs;   and   they   are   using   CSR    initiatives   to   generate   favorable   brand   imaging,   fanloyalty,   sport   development,   and   ticket   sales   (Sports   Philanthropy   &   Project,   2007).Despite   this   limited,   but   growing,   work   on   CSR    in   professional   sport,   we   know   little   about   the   institutional   conditionsleading   to   these   CSR    behaviors.   And   while   there   is   growing   research   on   CSR    in   general,   the   nature   and   role   CSR    plays   in   a   sport S.   Trendafilova   et    al.    /    Sport    Management    Review   16    (2013)    298–313 300  organization   may   be   different   than   the   way   CSR    operates   in   other   businesses   (Babiak   &   Wolfe,   2006,   2009;   Smith   &Westerbeek,   2007;   Walker   &   Kent,   2009).   Therefore,   we   must   consider   the   differentiators   and   institutional   conditions   of    thesport   industry   to   understand   how   and   why   CSR    practices   are   being   adopted   –   and   in   particular   in   the   case   of    this   study,environmentally   oriented   CSR. 1.3.   CSR,   sport    and   the   environment  There   has   been   a   growing   academic   interest   in   the   phenomenon   of    sport   and   the   environment   recently   with   a   burgeoningliterature   examining   and   describing   practices   in   a   variety   of    contexts.   For   instance,   McCullough   and   Cunningham   (2011)investigated   the   recycling   intentions   of    fans   in   a   youth   baseball   setting.   Both   Babiak   and   Trendafilova   (2011)   and   Pfahl   (2010)considered   strategic   and   efficiency   elements   of    the   adoption   of    environmentally   oriented   CSR    in   sport   organizations,concluding   that   these   types   of    CSR    practices   can   have   both   economic   and   legitimacy   benefits   for   sport   organizations.Similarly,   recent   work   by   McCullough   and   Cunningham   (2010)   drew   upon   institutional   theory,   upper   echelon   theory,   andidentity   theory   to   examine   how   and   why   sport   organizations   might   engage   in   environmentally   friendly   business   practices.Their   conceptual   model   posited   that   functional,   social,   and   political   pressures   might   be   likely   to   direct   environmentalbehaviors   in   sport.   Casper,   Pfal,   and   McSherry   (2012)   also   offer   insights   into   the   adoption   of    environmentally   oriented   actionin   the   setting   of    NCAA   athletic   departments.   The   increasing   emphasis   on   the   link   between   the   environment,   CSR,   and   sportorganizations   is   being   reflected   in   the   growing   body   of    academic   work   in   this   area.Other   research   has   explored   environmental   CSR    as   a   function   of    employing   sustainable   building   products   and   facilitymanagement   (Leonardsen,   2007;   Lippiatt,   1999;   Loland,   2006;   McNamara   &   Gibson,   2008;   Pfahl,   2010;   Suggett,   2001).   Inaddition,   environmental   sustainability   has   been   discussed   in   the   context   of    the   Olympics   (Belli,   2008;   Lenskyj,   1998;Leonardsen,   2007),   emphasizing   the   complexity   of    the   relationship   between   sport   and   the   environment   and   the   challengesassociated   with   this   relationship.   The   nuances   of    the   issues   and   pressures   faced   by   sport   organizations   in   regard   toconsidering   and   implementing   environmentally   oriented   initiatives   are   still   unclear.Sport   hasuniqueimperatives   in   therealm   of    environmental   responsibility   given   its   demandson   theenvironment(Smith   &   Westerbeek,   2007).Forexample,sportfacilitiesandsportevents   concentratelarge   numbers   of    people   in   aconfined   space   overa   relatively   smallperiod,and   as   a   resultcanpose   riskstothe   natural   environment   within   which   theyoperate(Chernushenko,1994).   Some   sportsareaffectedbythe   environment   –   andthusviewit   as   theirresponsibility   toimprove   environmental   damage   thataffects   theirsport.   Hockeyforinstance   is   affectedbyenvironmentalissuesrelatedtowater.   ‘‘Water   is   in   theDNA   of    the   NHL.Many   of    ourplayers   growupskatingon   frozenponds.Freshwater   scarcityaffectstheir   opportunity   to   learn   andplaythe   game   outdoors.’’   (NHLGreen,2012).   TheNHLis   focusing   on   reducing   waterconsumptionin   team   facilities.   TheLeaguehas   developedandimplemented   NHL    Metrics,   ‘‘ ..   . an   onlinetooldesignedforall30teams’   venues   totrackandanalyze   data   specific   towasteoutput,   energy   usageandwater   consumption.NHLMetricsencouragesa   behavioralchangein   NHLvenues   across   North   America,   reducing   hockey’senvironmental   impactbyincreasingawarenessof    theresourcesusedandthe   financialcostsincurred’’   (NHLGreen,2012).   Theregularefforts   of maintainingandmanaginga   sportfacilityandteam   areresource   intenseandrequire   substantialuseof    energyinparticularrelatedto   thepower   needsof    a   venue,team   travel,andfieldmaintenance   (Covello,   2008).SmithandWesterbeek   (2007)argue   that   ‘‘socially   responsiblesportacknowledgesthisburdenanddevelopspoliciesto   avoidenvironmental   damage’’(p.25).Heedingthiscall,   many   sportsorganizationsandvenues   are   nowimplementing   environmental   initiatives.   Inparticular,   mega-events,   suchas   the   SuperBowl,   the   Olympics,   andWorld   Cupsoccertournamentshave   environmentalprograms   or   guidelines.   These   include   efforts   suchas   tree   plantingtooffset   carbon   emissions   of    spectatorstraveling   toevents,   in-stadiarecyclinginitiatives,   recovery   anddistributionof    ‘preparedfood’,   and   environmental   guidelinesforuseby   vendorsandcontractors(Babiak&   Wolfe,2006;GlobalForumforSport   &   theEnvironment,2008;Mallen,Stevens,&Adams,2011;   Paquette,   Stevens,   &   Mallen,   2011).   Examplesof    environmental   practicesbysport   teams   include   theincorporationof    energyefficient   photovoltaicsolarpanels,‘greenroof’   on   facilities,water-conserving-fixtures,recycledbuilding   materials,   bicycleparking,   andconvenient   accessforpublictransit   usersand   pedestrians   (GreenSportsAlliance,2012).   There   appearsto   begrowingagreementamong   sportpractitionersthat   environmentallyresponsiblemanagement   practicescanmake   a   substantial   positive   impactboth   on   the   environment   andon   cost   savings   fortheorganization.Given   these   changing   trends   in   sport   practice,   this   paper   will   focus   on   CSR    in   professional   sport,   and,   in   particular,   onunderstanding   the   nuances   of    the   institutional   forces   and   pressures   leading   to   environmental   initiatives   and   programs.   Itwill   extend   the   work   of    Babiak   and   Trendafilova   (2011)   and   McCullough   and   Cunningham   (2010)   by   offering   depth   in   theexploration   of    trends   toward   homogeneity   in   environmental   CSR    efforts   as   well   as   variations   in   rates   of    adoption,   including   aconsideration   of    factors   which   may   lead   sport   organizations   to   resist   efforts   to   adopt   environmentally   focused   initiatives.   Indoing   so,   this   paper   makes   several   contributions.   First,   it   provides   a   better   understanding   of    institutional   factors   central   tothe   professional   sport   industry   that   can   constrain   organizational   behavior   and   lead   to   the   adoption   of    practices   such   as   CSR.Second,   it   illustrates   how   institutional   forces   around   CSR    work   in   a   real   world   setting   (beyond   theorization)   and   in   real   time,rather   than   retrospectively.   Finally,   in   general,   we   can   learn   more   through   this   work   about   how   industries   respond   toexternal   and   internal   pressures   in   various   ways,   how   they   adapt   their   CSR-related   practices   to   institutional   forces,   howvalues   shift,   and   the   conditions   necessary   for   CSR    behaviors   to   become   institutionalized. S.   Trendafilova   et    al.    /    Sport    Management    Review   16    (2013)    298–313   301  2.   Methods Given   that   this   research   begins   with   the   broad   theoretical   categorizations   of    institutional   theory,   we   employ   a   semi-inductive   approach   to   our   analysis.   Westart   from   the   framework   of    the   institutional   forces   and   from   this,   we   use   aninductive   approach   to   gain   a   clearer   understanding   of    the   specific   elements   of    the   institutional   forces   leading   to   the   adoptionof    environmental   CSR    practices   in   sport;   as   well   as   a   better   understanding   of    variation   in   the   adoption   of    these   behaviors.Below   we   describe   in   more   detail   our   methodological   approach.  2.1.   Participants Weinvestigated   the   factors   leading   to   the   adoption   of    environmental   practices   within   four   major   professional   sportleagues   in   the   U.S.   These   include:   National   Basketball   Association   (NBA),   National   Football   League   (NFL),   Major   LeagueBaseball   (MLB)   and   the   National   Hockey   League   (NHL).   The   sport   leagues   for   this   study   were   chosen   based   on   the   rationalethat   NFL,   NBA,   MLB   and   NHL    are   the   four   North   American   leagues   with   the   most   media   attention   and   the   largest   attendancenumbers,   which   potentially   leads   to   environmental   impact   that   is   much   bigger   than   the   impact   from   leagues   such   as   theNational   Soccer   League   (NSL)   and   the   National   Lacrosse   League   (NLL).   Also,   as   the   leagues   with   the   largest   attendancenumbers,   they   are   most   likely   to   drive   changes   in   regards   to   the   environment,   considering   the   size   of    their   fan   base   and   thenumber   of    individuals   that   could   be   exposed   to   environmental   awareness   messages.   In   addition,   those   leagues   have   league-wide   green   initiatives   established   in   partnership   with   the   Green   Sports   Alliance   and   the   National   Resources   Defense   Council,the   focus   of    which   is   on   an   inter-league   alliance   between   sports   teams   and   associations   to   place   the   spotlight   on   the   sportsindustry’s   responsibility   for   taking   care   of    the   environment.   Lastly,   NFL,   NBA,   MLB   and   NHL    are   the   top   revenue   earnersamong   the   sport   leagues   in   North   America.  2.2.   Data   collection Weused   three   primary   approaches   to   data   collection   that   provided   for   a   source   of    triangulation   (Denzin   &   Lincoln,   2005).First,   we   examined   media   coverage   of    professional   sport   team   and   league   involvement   in   issues   related   to   the   environment.We   included   media   reports   related   to   professional   sport   and   their   environmental   initiatives   from   2000   to   2011.   Weexplorednewsprint,   magazine,   and   periodicals   from   national   sources.   The   media   reports   were   reviewed   by   year   to   identify   any   growthin   media   attention   to   this   issue   in   general.   The   media   can   be   a   source   of    institutional   pressure,   since   the   media   communicatesand   helps   reinforce   accepted   practices   (Barley   &   Tolbert,   1997).   In   addition,   media   data   sources   have   been   found   to   offer   richinsight   into   institutional   matters   such   as   legal   violations   and   sanctions,   the   adoption   and   implementation   of    new   initiatives,and   the   formation   of    partnerships   which   can   be   useful   for   studying   institutional   processes   (Barley   &   Tolbert,   1997). Semi-structured   interviews   were   conducted   with   23   team   and   league   senior   executives   and   partner/consulting   executives.Table   1   indicates   the   breakdown   of    team/league   executives   and   partner   participants   in   this   study.   These   individualsrepresented   the   most   senior   executives   in   their   organization   responsible   for   creating,   designing   and   implementing   theirorganization’s   environmental   efforts.   Many   of    them   were   intimately   involved   in   their   organizations’   environmentalinitiatives   and   were   knowledgeable   about   the   history   and   future   plans   for   their   environmental   CSR    programs.   Their   positionsranged   from   VP   of    Facilities,   to   Environmental   Coordinator   of    a   league,   to   Sr.   VP   of    Community   Relations.   Our   sampleincluded   an   array   of    representatives   from   sport   organizations   ranging   from   those   that   demonstrated   higher   and   morefocused   commitment   to   the   environment   and   those   that   were   either    just   beginning   to   engage   or   who   had   not   widely   adoptedenvironmental   CSR    as   part   of    their   portfolio   of    socially   responsible   initiatives.Each   interview   ranged   between   .5   and   1.5   h   and   was   conducted   over   the   phone   or   in   person.   Respondents   answeredquestions   pertaining   to   the   reasoning   and    justification   behind   their   organization’s   involvement   in   environmental   initiatives.We   asked   in   depth   questions   not    just   about   the   pressures   they   faced   to   engage   in   environmental   CSR,   but   about   the   extent   of the   organization’s   commitment   to   the   environment,   the   factors   that   inhibited   their   engagement   in   environmental   CSR,   andtheir   intentions   to   engage   in   the   future   and   what   form   this   might   take.   Follow   up   questions   developed   from   the   broadtheoretical   framework   of    institutional   theory   and   the   associated   forces   were   then   posed   in   order   to   uncover   the   impetus   toengage   and   adopt   environmental   practices,   the   perceived   pressures   and   expectations   from   stakeholders,   the   stakeholdersthat   had   legitimacy   in   this   conversation,   and   the   decision   drivers   regarding   the   nature   and   focus   of    their   sustainabilityrelated   efforts.   We   encouraged   participants   to   discuss   the   benefits,   unique   challenges,   and   obstacles   that   they   perceived  Table   1 Overview   of    Informants.Type   of    organization   #   of    respondentsNBA   5NFL    4NHL    3MLB6PARTNER    5TOTAL    23 S.   Trendafilova   et    al.    /    Sport    Management    Review   16    (2013)    298–313 302
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