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ERIC Number: ED546904
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 237
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-0494-4
Key Actor Perceptions of Athletics Strategy
Collins, William Thomas
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
Athletics strategy refers to specific initiatives within the intercollegiate athletics program that are designed to meet the broader strategic goals of a post-secondary institution. This case focused on athletics strategy decisions that were enacted within the context of organizational change as Cartwright College, a pseudonym, transitioned from a liberal arts junior college to a four-year baccalaureate institution. The findings from this study are presented as a historical narrative based upon key actor descriptions of changes in athletics alignment, conference affiliation, administrative structure and sport sponsorship that were necessitated by the change in institutional mission. Athletics strategy emerged from key actor interpretations of the environmental context as Cartwright College sought to find the appropriate structure and level of competition for its athletics program as a four-year institution. The interpretive role of key actors surfaced as a key finding from this study. Formal leadership also played an important role in strategy formation. Leaders were responsible for framing the issues, articulating vision, addressing resistance, and shaping the strategic process. Strategy was enacted through an iterative process of information sharing. Reliable information was critical as key actors considered alternatives, reached convergence, and collectively enacted strategic decisions. Interpretations were enhanced as participation in the decision-making process increased and new participants contributed information based on their unique experiences. Key actor descriptions of anticipated outcomes were framed by comparisons with aspirant and peer institutions, or linked to prevailing perspectives that key actors held relative to the purpose of intercollegiate athletics at Cartwright College. A model of athletics strategy enactment is presented based on the findings from this study. Key actors are depicted at the center of strategy enactment. Collectively, their interpretation of the environmental context influences the emergence of athletics strategy, the information sharing process, and the anticipated outcomes. The model builds on Pettigrew's (1987) contextualist model and incorporates Weick's (2001) conceptualization of strategy formation as a three-stage interpretive process. This study contributes to existing literature related to the reclassification of intercollegiate athletics programs, however it is unique in that it focuses on reclassification to NCAA Division II. Recommendations are offered for administrators considering Division II membership as an athletics strategy. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A