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UNSW Researchers: sporting organisations should ‘embrace bad behaviour’

UNSW Researchers: sporting organisations should ‘embrace bad behaviour’
June 26, 2010

Business researchers at the University of NSW have suggested that sporting organisations should embrace bad behavior by players and officials.

Dr James Connor and Jason Mazanov, from the School of Business at UNSW@ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy), analysed a series of scandals in the National Rugby League (NRL) competition as part of a just published research paper, âThe inevitability of scandal: Lessons for sponsors and administratorsâ.

As Dr Connor explains "in 2009 the NRL experienced one of the worst seasons on record for player, coach, club and official poor behaviour. However, they did not lose any sponsors."

Strategies to mitigate scandal, especially what they call 'panacea' options such as education, only offer short-term reprieve and can end up further damaging a sport when another scandal occurs, the authors argue. Instead, the researchers suggest that more consideration should be given to a surprising strategy of "embracement.".

As Dr Connor continues, "the problem should be re-framed not as 'prevention' of bad behaviour but as management of the likelihood of scandal and control for the consequences."

Connor and Mazanov even go as far as suggesting that "savvy sponsors should take advantage of the possibilities scandals can offer, especially around brand image - where 'tough' or 'rebellious' might be brand attributes they seek - or around the possibility of their product 'fixing' or ameliorating a scandal."

Dr Connor is a former Tom Brock Scholar for research into rugby league (a grant awarded by the Australian Society for Sports History).

The inevitability of scandal: Lessons for sponsors and administrators is published in the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship.

For more information go to www.imrpublications.com/journal-landing.aspx?volno=L&no=L


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