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Connecting Management Concepts to Major Games: New Avenues for Research

Saturday, May 25 - 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Hosting the 2019 ASAC Conference at Brock University offers a special opportunity to dialogue about the business implications related to a key industry in the Niagara Region – tourism, and more specifically, sport tourism. The Region has a long-standing history of staging sport events and will host the 2021 Canada Summer Games, a multisport event involving 5,000 athletes and coaches from across the country. Given this, the purpose of the symposium is to introduce and discuss the opportunities a Major Games context offers management research.


The directed and interactive session will involve panel expert and conference attendee input to explore various questions, such as “How to utilize a Major Games context to advance one’s research?”; “Which theoretical perspectives are best suited for exploration within a Major Games context?”; and “How might Major Games context help researchers address gaps that exist within various ASAC Division disciplines?” The symposium will conclude with Panelist summaries based upon their review of research opportunities related to various management disciplines/ASAC Divisions and the integration of attendee comments during the breakout. A compilation will be submitted for the conference proceeding as a future resource.


Moderator and Panelist
Dr. Julie Stevens, Special Advisor to the President – Canada Games, Brock University

Dr. Nick Burton, Brock University
Dr. Ryan Clutterbuck, Brock University
Dr. Laura Cousens, Brock University
Dr. Christopher Fullerton, Brock University
Dr. Shannon Kerwin, Brock University


As noted by Charlebois and Stevens (2018), tourism in the Niagara Region is a driving factor for economic activity and represents the largest employment sector within the local economy.[1] In Canada, sport tourism is reported as the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry (Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, 2016), accounting for approximately $6.5 billion of economic spending as a direct result of sporting tournaments, events, and conferences.[2] The scale of these events ranges from the community level (for example, a minor hockey tournament) to large international multi-sport undertakings such as the Pan American/Parapan American Games.


The Niagara Region is an internationally renowned tourism destination. While the main attractions focus upon the majestic Niagara Falls and bountiful wineries, there are several activities that drive sport-related tourism. In fact, the Niagara Region has a long-standing history of hosting sport events, including the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts national women’s curling championship, the rowing and canoe/kayak competitions at the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the 2016 U18 Women’s World Hockey Championship, the 2012 FINA Open Water Swim Championships, the 1995 Ontario Winter Games, and the annual Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.


Looking ahead, the Niagara Region will host the 2021 Canada Summer Games. Created as part of the 1967 Canadian Centennial, the Canada Games is a celebration of youth and nationhood. The event rotates between Summer and Winter competitions and follows a quadrennial cycle similar to the Olympic Games. However, it is a domestic event that involves more provincial and territorial athletes than the Olympic Games.


Staging a Canada Games is a massive undertaking. The business model of a Major Games ranges from an incorporated commercial or non-profit entity to an organizing committee within a larger international, national or provincial sport governing body. The Canada Games Council, a national sport federation, oversees each Canada Games and works with individual host organizations as they come and go from one city to another. At the same time, each host organization must incorporate, stage a Games, and disband, as its mandate is to deliver only one event.


On the operations side, a host organization workforce grows from a staff of one (Chief Executive Officer) to approximately 80. On a governance side, the host balloons from a governance structure of about 15 executive volunteers (Board of Directors) to nearly 6,000 planning and games-time volunteers when the event is held. In terms of design and structure, a host organization is a temporary entity with a lifespan of just over four years. During this time the host must plan and execute a broad scope of management responsibilities reflective of the ASAC Divisions, such as organization theory, marketing, human resources, strategy, social responsibility, and organizational behaviour.


The large-scale, time bounded nature of a Major-Games host organization offers a unique context for management research be it theoretical or empirical in focus. Exploring this opportunity is the emphasis of this symposium proposal.


Symposium Format

Part 1 – Setting the Stage (10 minutes)

Moderator – The symposium begins with an overview of the unique characteristics of a Major Games in relation to structure and management. The overview will explain the context and characteristics of a Major Games organization.


Part 2 – Interactive Discussion/Breakout (30 minutes)

Panelists - This part includes panelist facilitated breakout discussions guided by the questions listed in the previous section. Panelists will have prepared summaries and draw upon this to encourage attendee input. The intent is to encourage interactive dialogue among attendees according to an ASAC Division (i.e. table(s) focused upon HR, strategy, OB, etc). The Moderator will facilitate the breakout discussion for all ASAC Division members outside those listed among the Panelist expertise. Attendees may join discussions at two tables (switch at the 15 minute mark).


Part 3 – Panelist Summaries (45 minutes or more depending on time need for interactive segment))

Symposium attendees will briefly (approx. 8 minutes) share the key points gathered from both the interactive discussion and their prepared summaries related to their management area and the questions.


Part 4 – Final Comments (5 minutes)

[1] Charlebois, C. & Stevens, J. (2018, February). “More than Money: leveraging the benefits of sport hosting in Niagara”. Policy Brief #30, Niagara Community Observatory and Centre for Sport Capacity, Brock University.

[2] Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. (2016). http://canadiansporttourism.com/about-csta/about-csta.html.

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