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Organisational change in local sport clubs: the case of Flemish gymnastics clubs

Jochen Perck (Department of Sport Policy and Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)
Jo Van Hoecke (Department of Sport Policy and Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)
Hans Westerbeek (The Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Diane Breesch (Department of Political and Social Sciences and Solvay Business School, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 9 May 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the quality assurance system IKGym (Quality Management System for Gymnastics Clubs), on professionalisation, homogenisation and organisational performance in a sample of gymnastics clubs affiliated to the Flemish Gymnastics Federation.


Data were drawn from a sample of 55 non-profit local Flemish gymnastics clubs, evaluated twice by IKGym between 2004 and 2010. Using a longitudinal analysis of quantitative data of the IKGym data set a paired samples t-test was conducted to measure the impact of IKGym on the sample of gymnastics clubs. Besides, the Pitman-Morgan test was conducted to measure if the gymnastics clubs have become more isomorphic because of IKGym.


First, the results identify different levels of progression towards professionalisation between various quality and performance targets of the gymnastics clubs and depending on the structural design types of these clubs. Second, it was found that during the organisational change the sample of clubs also started to resemble each other more. However, this homogenisation process seems restricted to the organisational management and strategic planning of the clubs and appears especially to clubs belonging to the volunteer structure. Third, the present study also indicates that IKGym has influenced clubs to perform better.


IKGym is considered as a pioneering project where a federation stimulated their clubs to professionalise by means of a system of quality assurance. Several federations and sporting leagues (Deutsche Bundesliga, English Premier League; Belgian Basketballiga, etc.) followed this lead and introduced a similar system to evaluate and direct the management of their clubs.



The authors would like to acknowledge the support received from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, without which the IKGym tool would not have been developed. This manuscript is the result of scientific research funded by the Onderzoeksraad (OZR) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB).


Perck, J., Van Hoecke, J., Westerbeek, H. and Breesch, D. (2016), "Organisational change in local sport clubs: the case of Flemish gymnastics clubs", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 158-181.



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