A Multiple-Case Study of University Leverage and the Commonwealth Games: Legacy or Missed Opportunity?
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This thesis investigates why, how, and what legacies universities have sought to achieve through leveraging a major sport event, the Commonwealth Games. Stakeholder theory and interorganisational relationship literature provide the theoretical framework to uncover the complexity of Commonwealth Games stakeholder interactions and the barriers to achieving legacy. Although previous research has investigated primary sport event stakeholder groups, such as sponsors and organising committees, there has been a lack of research specifically examining secondary, but nevertheless salient, sport event stakeholders, such as universities. This thesis contributes to sport event management knowledge and scholarship on this topic. A qualitative multiple-case study of three Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006, Glasgow 2014, and Gold Coast 2018) was conducted. Data were collected through a document analysis of primary and secondary sources and semi-structured interviews with key informants from universities, the Commonwealth Games Federation, Games Organising Committees, governments, and other Games’ stakeholders within the three case regions. Data analysis was managed using NVivo10 software and included inductive within-case and cross-case analysis. The results evidenced similarities and differences between universities in each Games city as well as between each case study. Melbourne universities did not attempt to leverage the 2006 Commonwealth Games to achieve legacy. Although there was some university-Games involvement, it was informal, and respondents perceived a missed opportunity. Universities in Glasgow attempted to leverage the 2014 Commonwealth Games, for example, by forming research partnerships. Some Glasgow universities continued to collaborate with Games stakeholders post the event. Evidence from the Gold Coast case suggested that universities are taking a more strategic approach to legacy by engaging with the 2018 Games earlier and in a more formal capacity, including through sponsorship. Examples of intended positive university legacies include student and staff opportunities, new or improved physical infrastructure, interorganisational relationship development, and brand awareness. Three key themes emerged from cross-case analysis of the data: (1) stakeholder leverage; (2) barriers to achieving positive legacy; and (3) intended and unintended legacies. Overall, results highlight that universities are complex social organisations that are dependent on the external environment. Over the past few decades, the university context has changed. An increasing importance is being placed on university enterprise activities, links with industry, brand awareness, and community collaboration. Concurrently, expectations from Games legacy have grown, and therefore the salience of universities as Games stakeholders has increased, so has the willingness of universities to become Games stakeholders. Results of this thesis can inform universities located in future Commonwealth Games host regions on how to strategically leverage their Games involvement. The results may also advise Organising Committees, the Commonwealth Games Federation, and relevant government authorities about the challenges and benefits of stakeholder and interorganisational relationship management.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dept Tourism, Sport & Hot Mgmt
The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
Universities and sport