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behavioural perspective theory;Canadian national sport organizations;strategic human resource management;volunteer management


Jess Dixon



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Sport organizations and events rely heavily on volunteers to achieve their goals and missions. Currently, volunteer research is heavily focused on the experiences of individual volunteers and the management of volunteers in continuous positions. This research takes a different approach by examining managerial perceptions of the relationship between volunteer behaviour and event performance at Canadian national amateur sport championships. Drawn from the field of strategic human resource management, behavioural perspective theory was used to understand if volunteer managers are linking strategy to their human resource management (HRM) systems, what desired role behaviours they are expecting from volunteers, what HRM systems they put in place to influence volunteer behaviour during these events, and if they believe volunteer behaviour is mediating the relationship between strategy and event performance. To carry out this research, semi-structured interviews took place with volunteer managers from Canadian national sport organizations (n = 11). Interview transcriptions were coded using thematic analysis based on behavioural perspective theory. This research found that volunteer managers are inconsistently linking strategy to their HRM practices, they expect positive and productive role behaviours from their volunteers, they use various HRM systems to influence behaviour, and believe volunteer behaviour greatly mediates the relationship between strategy and performance. From a practical perspective, this study provides important information for event managers utilizing volunteers. Managers can learn from the experiences of others in their field, along with theory, to guide future practice.