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A social identity perspective on the job attitudes of employees in sport

Samuel Todd (Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, USA)
Aubrey Kent (School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 6 February 2009




The purpose of this paper is to provide a foundation for future research pertaining to establishing the distinctness of the sport industry from an employee psychology perspective.


This conceptual paper is rooted in social identity theory which maintains that certain levels of self‐esteem and psychological fulfillment can be derived from one's membership in particular groups. The authors have developed a model of positive social identity in sport organizations that details the benefits and consequences of psychological fulfillment related to employment in the sport industry.


Within the proposed model, the paper outlines how particular elements of social identity derived from one's employment in sport may play an active role in particular job attitudes by enhancing the employee's self‐esteem and contributing to overall self‐evaluation. It further explains how social identity in the workplace may influence individual outcomes such as organizational citizenship, commitment, satisfaction, and job involvement, depending on the strength of the attitude. The elements of the model are explored and future research directions are given.


A key question to be addressed is whether or not sport is a distinct context within which to apply management theory. This paper proposes a conceptual model and research agenda surrounding the idea that one critical area of distinction may be the psychology of employees.



Todd, S. and Kent, A. (2009), "A social identity perspective on the job attitudes of employees in sport", Management Decision, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 173-190.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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