19 April 2015

Call for papers: "Contextualising Positive Organisational Behaviour: The Case of Sport Organisations"

For a special issue of the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing.

Nearly two decades ago, Doherty (1998) called for closer attention to be given to human resource management (HRM) issues within the context of sport organisations. More recently, Todd and Kent (2009) offered the theoretical insight that a critical area that distinguishes sporting contexts more than other organisational settings may be the psychology of employees. Although psychology has been criticised as being primarily dedicated to addressing mental illness rather than mental “wellness” (Bakker and Schaufeli, 2008), the seminal work by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) placed more emphasis on positive psychological traits, states and behaviours. This “positive psychology” (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) – to which Todd and Kent (2009) implicitly refer – has subsequently had a great effect on the field of organisational behaviour (OB). For example, both Luthans (2002) and Wright (2003) argued that framing research with a positive lens through so-called positive organisational behaviour (POB) should be the way forward for organisational and management scholars.

According to Luthan (2002), POB is “the study and application of positively oriented human resource strengths and psychological capacities that can be measured, developed and effectively managed for performance improvement in the work place” (p. 59). While such an organisation-centred view has its value, Wright (2003) argued that the mission of POB should also encompass the pursuit of employee happiness and health as viable goals in themselves. Bakker and Schaufeli (2008) went even further and drew on the work of Zwetsloot and Pot (2004) to integrate the above-mentioned organisation-centred (Luthan, 2002) and employee-centred (Wright, 2003) views into a “positive business value model of employee health and well-being” (p. 148).

Although more than 3000 articles have been published relating to POB in various contexts (Rothmann and van Zyl, 2013), the sport management scholarly community has failed to explicitly address the matter in its respective context(s). The increase in publications outside the sport industry, however, indicates the need for and impact of positive psychological behaviours within organisations. This special issue seeks to cast a fresh and state-of-the-art eye on how POB shapes and influences the workplace within the sport organisational context. There is still much to learn about how and why POB and a variety of outcomes at work are interlinked, let alone when “there is extensive variability in the scope and size of sport organisations” (Taylor, Doherty and McGraw, 2008, p. 2).

Conceptual, theoretical and empirical works drawing on and engaging with POB are welcome for this issue. We hope that this issue will inspire and encourage scholars to expand their research horizons to investigate employees in flourishing sport organisations. Exploring and/or explaining the applicability/presence of POB in sport organisations is needed to discern (possible) differences highlighted by the sport context, and thus to address the need for theory development whilst acknowledging the various characteristics associated with sport (Chalip, 2006). Indeed, we strongly believe that POB offers a great platform to do what Slack (1998) called for nearly two decades ago: to use sport as a means of extending existing theory.

Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Passion at work: harmonious versus obsessive passion in sport organisations
  • Thriving and flourishing at work: what's the score?
  • Resilience: sport executives and team sport organisations
  • Happiness at work: beyond the team's results?
  • Virtuousness in sport organisations
  • Hope and optimism that sport (organisations) can lead to positive social change
  • Employees' emotional competence and customer satisfaction linkages
  • Satisfaction and work performance
  • Organisational commitment in sport charitable organisations
  • Feel-good factor of "mega events": beyond the organisation?

Important Dates
Submission of manuscripts: 31 March, 2016 (extended)
Notification to authors: 30 June, 2016
Final versions due: 31 August, 2016

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