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Understanding strategic decision-making through a multi-paradigm perspective: The case of charitable foundations in English football

Christos Anagnostopoulos (Faculty of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Molde University College, Molde, Norway)
Terri Byers (Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada)
Dimitrios Kolyperas (Department of Marketing and Retail, School of Management, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the efficacy of using a multi-paradigm perspective to examine the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and strategic decision-making processes in the context of charitable foundations.


This paper integrates and synthesizes the micro-social processes of “assessable transcendence” (Anagnostopoulos et al., 2014) with Whittington’s (2001) perspectives on strategy. “Assessable transcendence” was achieved from the constant comparison of categories developed through an early iterative process in which data collection and analysis occurred during the same period. In all, 32 interviews were conducted among a sample of key managers in the charitable foundations for the first two divisions of English football.


The present study illustrates empirically that strategic decision making in charitable foundations does not “seat” neatly in any one of Whittington’s perspectives. On the contrary, this study indicates a great deal of overlap within these perspectives, and suggests that conflicting paradigms should be celebrated rather than viewed as signs of theoretical immaturity. Multi-paradigm approaches can potentially reveal insights into the “mechanics” of managerial decision making that are not easily discernible from a mono-paradigmatic perspective.


This is the first empirical work that examines CSR in relation to strategy within the context of the English football clubs’ charitable foundations, and does so by employing a multi-paradigm perspective on strategy formulation and implementation.



Anagnostopoulos, C., Byers, T. and Kolyperas, D. (2017), "Understanding strategic decision-making through a multi-paradigm perspective: The case of charitable foundations in English football", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 2-20.



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