Strategic thinking in sport management

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While strategic management in sport organisations is a growing, though still underrepresented field of study, research on strategic thinking in the context of sport is even more sparse. This article addresses this gap and explores the links between strategic thinking and the realisation of competitive advantage in sport organisations. To do so, it is necessary to first distinguish strategic thinking from the closely related terms of strategy, strategic management, and strategic planning. This allows us to delve deeper into dissecting the concept of strategic thinking and to understand its core components of rational planning and creative, divergent thinking. Recognising how creativity occurs at the individual manager level is key, but equally critical is appreciating how we can anchor creativity at the wider organisational level. The rational planning behind instituting appropriate structures, systems and processes that network creatives to each other and reward innovative, forward thinking serve to instil an environment for strategic thought. This balance of rationality and creativity forms a critical ingredient of an intelligently opportunistic posture in which sport managers become adept at balancing the certainty of well-articulated strategy against the risks of alternative strategies that may be better suited to realising positive organisational outcomes. Strategic thinking that is founded upon creativity and forward thinking is also supportive of entrepreneurship and innovation, which are at the very core of strategic management and the pursuit of competitive advantage in the emerging and extremely dynamic environment of international sport.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Resources Online - Sports Studies
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2023


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