Social Responsibility in Sports: A Call for a Systematic Approach
There appears to be a general understanding among stakeholders in the sports industry that its organizations have a distinct responsibility to engage in socially responsible behavior and works. This has resulted in a plethora of types of activities undertaken as part of this social responsibility of sports (SRS). However, efforts to measure and systematize SRS activities to gauge effectiveness and impact have proven to be a challenge. Much as with corporate social responsibility efforts in other industries, the sheer breadth and diversity of motives and modes of engagement for SRS activities often obfuscate goals and metrics for success. This paper outlines such challenges and provides a framework for engaging in SRS in a manner that advances both organizational and societal goals. It also argues that the desire to “do good” among sports organizations must be complemented by a systematic approach and consistent program evaluation using mixed methodological methods to maximize the impact of SRS dollars. Should the sports industry be able to agree and commit to such an approach, it can serve as an example for responsible and effective social engagement to other industries.