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A study of governance theory and board composition in Irish sporting organisations

Conroy, Sinead (2020) A study of governance theory and board composition in Irish sporting organisations. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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In recent times, many Sporting organisations in Ireland, and further afield, have fallen victim to high profile, damaging scandals often attributed to poor governance and financial mismanagement. Research has shown that boards of management are an integral part of the corporate governance structure in any organisation. However, in the case of organisations with a not-for-profit focus, such as those in the sport and charity sector, the literature points to how the widely applied theory of Agency adopted in many corporate governance environments does not fit the mould for member-led, organisations. These entities often have a far wider set of stakeholders and variety of structures through which governance practice flows. This study aims to determine whether a wider representation of stakeholders, in keeping with a Stakeholder theory of governance, would be welcomed and beneficial for the sporting organisations in Ireland? This will be investigated through establishing the existing process of board member selection, the barriers that must be overcome by organisations with respect to governance and what, if any, other theory of governance currently exists within the organisations in question.

Based on a review of the literature, a largely qualitative research approach was chosen and a purposeful sample of seven individuals was selected for in-depth semi-structured interviews. Responses were analysed thematically and demonstrated the current shortcomings of governance structures and the benefits of structural changes to the board. However, they also highlighted that while there are many benefits to wider stakeholder representation in theory, in practice the existing structures and constitutions of the organisations would not lend themselves to a stakeholder-focused model. Furthermore, the organisations would not be overly welcoming of a focus that would potentially displace their membership as the most central and valued stakeholder. The core finding of the study concluded that a Stakeholder theory model would not be a solution to existing barriers to governance. In practice, sporting organisations are democratic at their core and there is not, at this time, a desire to move that balance of power. However, there is potential to explore a paradox theory of governance to achieve greater diversity of skill, experience and representation. This study recommends that the existing gap in representation of stakeholder groups potentially be filled by compulsory independent experts and a more selective and strategic selection from within the membership - a potential paradox theory derived from the existing democratic practices. It also recommends focus and further study on the area of education and regulation with respect to governance.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Large Industry. Corporations. > Corporate Governance
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > Sports
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in International Business
Depositing User: Dan English
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 16:07
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 16:07

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