Online Strategies for Sport Organisations in Western Australia

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Business


Faculty of Business

First Advisor

Dr Sue Stoney


The globalisation of communications has brought with it the ability to increase the efficiency of various business aspects of sport organisations. Although the use of the Internet may be seen as a promotional and strategic eBusiness tool, there is little empirical evidence or analysis of the influence of organisational strategy on Internet initiatives within sport organisations. Little is known about the nature and effects of eBusiness developments in voluntary sport organisations and the extent that various sport management constructs influence organisational strategy to deliver sport business growth. Most of the existing research on the subject has simply provided what amounts to check lists of desired outcomes, or descriptive analysis of use of the Internet by sport organisations. This study has sought to investigate factors that contribute to voluntary sport organisations in Western Australia developing online strategies. To do this it was necessary to define characteristics of online sport organisations and development of a framework through an extensive literature review. Using sport strategic types from the literature, 5 imperatives of sport organisation strategy were identified and used to assist in developing research questions for the study. Specifically, the research sought to investigate what computer technologies are currently being utilised by sport organisations, how the Internet was being used by sport organisations, what were the features of sport organisation websites, which strategic imperatives contributed to the development of online strategies, and how do these strategic imperatives contribute to the development of online strategies. The research utilised complementary methods incorporating both qualitative and quantitative measures. The study used descriptive methodology to report what actually happened whilst examining relationships between strategic imperatives and the sport organisations through case study analysis. The major methods of data collection were survey analysis and interviews with key stakeholders within the sport organisations. The use of computer technology by sport organisations, and the use and role of the Internet within sport organisations was investigated. This was followed by an exploration of the features and characteristics of sport 2 organisation web sites which was analysed and contrasted with previous studies. This survey analysis provided a starting point for the main part of the study that entailed interviews with a number of participants from volunteer sport organisations in Western Australia. Using an interview guide approach, participants provided responses grouped around strategic imperatives for sport strategy that included fundability, the size of the client base, volunteer appeal, support group appeal, and total costs. Phenomenological nodes that arose from the research based on the qualitative method were analysed using a statistical computer program, NUD•IST. Using a case study analysis, the study explored a number of themes and issues that emerged from the data which influenced the development of Internet strategies within sport organisations. These included themes of strategic capability, intermediation effects, financial aspects, the issue of control, as well as measuring value. A plan of strategic preparedness for the online sport organisation was subsequently developed utilising the themes and results that emerged from the data coupled with planning models identified from the literature. The results of this research have many implications for the voluntary sport organisation in maximising online innovations to drive sport business growth. At the conclusion of the thesis, extensive recommendations for further research are provided.

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