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Research

Research interests

  • Social capital, social interaction, social networks
  • Sociology of sport
  • Sport policy
  • Governance, especially in non-profit and sport organisations
  • Corporate social responsibility, especially in non-profit and sport organisations
  • Realist evaluation

Research projects

  • Processes of governance within non-profit sport organisations: With Dr. Geoff Walters, I am conducting longitudinal, non-participant observation, semi-structured interviews and document analysis within a national governing body of sport in the UK. The research seeks to understand in detail how governance processes operate; how board members define and carry out their roles; and how the institutional context influences governance. This research was initially funded by a research grant from the School of Business, Economics and Informatics.
  • The development of social capital within voluntary sport clubs: My PhD research involved three case studies of voluntary sports clubs, in which I examined the social processes through which social capital develops. I conducted participant and non-participant observation and a series of semi-structured interviews, looking at people's experience of membership; how people interact; how people form social networks and what people get out of their membership of these networks.
  • Better Boards, Stronger Sport: Governance in non-profit sport in Europe: With Dr. Geoff Walters, I participated in an EU-funded project, led by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, aimed at improving governance within sport in Europe. We undertook a cross-national comparison of codes of governance in six European countries and compiled international case studies of governance processes.
  • Corporate social responsibility in European football: With Dr. Geoff Walters, I conducted survey research across all top division football clubs and national associations in 53 European countries. The survey examined key aspects of CSR and was the first pan-European survey of its kind. The research was funded by the UEFA Research Grant Programme and the final report can be found here.
  • Governance in national governing bodies of sport in the UK: With Dr. Geoff Walters and Dr. Linda Trenberth, I conducted survey research across all national governing bodies of sport in the UK. The survey looked at important aspects of governance and was the first national survey of governance undertaken. The final report can be found here.

Areas of research supervision

MSc/MRes students

I am happy to supervise students in the following areas:

  • Social capital, social networks
  • Sport policy
  • Governance
  • Sociology of sport
  • Project evaluation
  • Organisational ethnography

 

Richard Tacon