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Strategic Capability in Community Sport and Physical Activity

Peel, Jordan (2019) Strategic Capability in Community Sport and Physical Activity. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Restricted to Repository staff only until 20 February 2021.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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Abstract

The construct of strategic capability and emergent theory of board strategic balance (Ferkins and Shilbury, 2015a) is currently unexplored in the community sport context in the UK and requires critical examination through empirical research. The strategic capability construct provides a useful lens through which to explore the setting of Greater Manchester (GM), UK, where developments in the governance of community sport use integrated working between national and regional entities, a central component of the theory of board strategic balance. The new approach integrates Sport England in direct partnership with the National Health Service in GM (NHSGM) and GM Combined Authority (GMCA) through a programme board, the GM Moving Executive Group. Due to the infancy of the new approach to governance, the strategic capability factors that influence the board’s ability to make an optimal strategic contribution remain unexplored, supporting the need for empirical research in this context. Optimal performance is of critical importance, due to the requirement for improved effectiveness of services in regions such as GM to reduce long term inequalities. Improving effectiveness is made more challenging due to austerity measures and a growing deficit between the cost of public services and the amount of tax raised. Empirical evidence has been collected, following an interpretive case study design, using semi-structured interviews and corroborated with document analysis across three areas of data collection: board member perspectives of the GM Moving Executive Group; management level perspectives from the three partner organisations; and local commissioner and provider perspectives from localities and key organisations in GM. Key findings support the notion that the strategic capability of the GM Moving Executive Group is enhanced by integration between national, regional and local entities; in the context of GM this is through integrated governance mechanisms and architecture. To further optimise performance, board, strategic management and wider system inputs are integrated through systems leadership and organisational learning processes. These findings require a revised conceptualisation of strategic capability in the community sport and physical activity context to support the emergent theory of integrated community sport governance: the theory of integrated board strategic cycles.

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