Innovation in community sports organizations


“Many community sports organizations are underfunded, do not have many resources, and rely heavily on volunteers,” says Larena Hoeber.

An associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina, Hoeber led a study that examined innovation in community sports organizations.

“The project’s initial phase was to find out if community sport organizations were innovative,” Hoeber says. “What we found out was that they were attempting to do things that were new to them.”

Hoeber’s background is in sport management. Her research has focused on diversity-related issues in sport organizations, including gender equity in university athletics, and Indigenous volunteers.

“With this study, we wanted get a better understanding of the processes that these organizations were using, and how it influenced their innovativeness,” says Hoeber.

Hoeber admits that the research has been slow to get out, and that its impact has not yet been realized. However, her work sheds light on a growing body of knowledge in the area of sport management. Her findings may contribute to how sports organizations grow and retain their membership—by adopting new processes, structures and programs to encourage the positive social and physical effects of sports participation.

This research was funded by Sport Canada through the Sports Participation Research Initiative.