University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Understanding Social Initiatives in Professional Sport: Content, Process and Outcomes

Richard Wolfe, Division of Kinesiology, University of Michigan
Kathy Babiak, Division of Kinesiology, University of Michigan

Professors Wolfe and Babiak received funding from CLOSUP's Small Grants Program (FY 2003) for this research project on corporate social responsibility and professional sport teams.

Abstract:
The literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is extensive. Much of this literature has focused on the relationship between CSR and economic performance. However, very little attention has been paid to the content and processes underpinning CSR efforts, or to the outcomes of such efforts on intended constituencies (Margolis & Walsh, 2003). The purpose of this research is to contribute to filling this void; its purpose is to investigate the content, processes and outcomes of CSR efforts initiated by a particular type of organization, professional sport teams. In investigating each of the above, the influence of team context will be addressed. As examples, the influence of such elements of team context as the demographics of a team's fans and players as well as team/sport dependence on local, state, and/or federal governments will be investigated. This exploratory, inductive, study, based upon developing strong, trusting, relations with the focal organizations' personnel, will result in generating knowledge that is relevant, timely, and actionable.

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