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Doctor of Philosophy




Danylchuk, Karen


One of the primary criticisms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is that any resources allocated to social programming may detract from an organization’s economic returns. Porter and Kramer (2011) argue that social and organizational returns do not have to be mutually exclusive, and that a shared value approach can effectively improve the environment and social conditions in which a company operates, while simultaneously enhancing the firm’s long-term business. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine a health initiative, aimed at male ice hockey fans and implemented within a Canadian Major Junior hockey context, through the lens of shared value. This dissertation follows the integrated article format, which consists of three separate, but related studies conducted in order to achieve this purpose. Specifically, the three studies examine: (a) how shared value can be created within a non-professional sport context, (b) the initiative’s social impact, and (c) the various means of optimizing a program to meet stakeholder needs.

In Study 1, the purpose was to examine how shared value can be generated by incorporating social concerns into an organization’s business operations and interaction with stakeholders. Those that participated in the men’s health initiative were invited to take part in two focus groups following the completion of the program, of which 15 volunteered to participate (Site 1, n = 5; Site 2, n = 10). To enrich the data and further explore their perspectives, those who participated in the focus groups were also interviewed as well as an additional 13 program participants (n = 28) and other stakeholders, including the program designer (n = 1), session instructors (n = 4), representatives from the associate hockey organizations (n = 3), and a representative from the associated fitness facility (n = 1). The qualitative data were analyzed using Porter and Kramer’s (2011) concept of shared value and the Shared Value Strategy and Measurement Process (SVSMP) (Porter, Hills, Pfitzer, Patscheke & Hawkins, 2012). The findings from Study 1 revealed themes that were related to the creation of shared value in sport, including: (a) the initiative’s area of focus, (b) the initiative’s goals, (c) motives for collaboration, (d) co-creation of an initiative, (e) shared value evaluation, (f) moral ownership, and (g) program outcomes.

A defining component of a shared value initiative is that, in addition to providing organizational benefits, it must also generate social returns. Therefore, the assessment of an initiative’s social impact is warranted. The purpose of Study 2 was to examine the social impact of the men’s health initiative and was guided using Inoue and Kent’s (2013) integrative framework of CSR impact. Objective health measures and physical activity levels of the program’s participants (n = 80) were assessed at baseline, and follow-up assessments occurred at 12 weeks and 12 months to determine the intermediate and long-term impact. At 12 months, qualitative data were collected through one-on-one interviews with the program’s participants (n = 28). The findings revealed that the program had a positive social impact on those who participated in the program, as well as other members of the community who were not directly involved. Specifically, the intermediate impact on the program’s participants included a reduction in their weight, body mass index, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and improvements in physical activity, diet, and self-rated health. The long-term impact at 12 months indicated that the participants maintained a reduction in their weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, and improvements in diet. The changes to the community were reported as improvements in family bonding time, diet, physical activity levels, and awareness of health programs and components.

Although many sport organizations offer social initiatives, few undertake any formal program evaluation to determine whether stakeholder needs are being met and whether resources are being used in a strategic manner. Thus, the purpose of Study 3 was to evaluate the design and implementation of the men’s health initiative from the perspective of its stakeholders. One-on- one interviews were conducted with each stakeholder (n = 37) and was guided using Chen’s (2015) program theory. The findings identified several themes that either facilitated or impeded the design and delivery of the program including the managing of partnerships, psychological and social supports/barriers, delivery agents, hockey content, and capacity building.

Sport is often positioned as a vehicle for achieving social change. This dissertation supports this notion and reflects how organizations are capable of creating shared value by addressing social needs and developing business returns, benefiting both the organization and community alike. By understanding how shared value can be created, managers are able to rationalize current social programming to stakeholders and make the necessary adjustments to contribute to meaningful social change. Through the assessment of an initiative’s social impact, we can examine whether programs are truly benefiting the constituents and communities for whom they were intended. Lastly, the use of program evaluation allows managers to ensure that stakeholder needs are being met and feedback can be used to optimize future programming.

Summary for Lay Audience


Certificate of Examination.pdf (1374 kB)
Certificate of Examination

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