UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Perspectives of change management and dimensions of performance management contributing to achieving sustained success in high performance sports organisations Finlay, Oliver James Anderson


Background: High performance sports organisations (HPSOs) operate in highly complex environments, with multiple stakeholders demanding performance, entertainment and financial results. The sports industry has evolved to create a professional domain characterised by organisational change and demands for sustained success, which has elevated leadership roles to highly skilled positions. Leaders are responsible for building, supporting and empowering multiple-discipline groups, whilst concurrently managing a plethora of change management (CM) and performance management (PM) dimensions. Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the objective markers that define sustained success in HPSOs and understand how leaders undertake CM and PM to that end. By comparing current practice with evidence-based research, the investigation sought to identify the skills leaders require to proficiently develop programs supporting sustained optimal performance. Methods: Senior leaders of HPSOs were engaged in semi-structured interviews and informal conversations to understand how each managed CM and PM in their own environment. Data was interpreted using thematic analysis and compared to peer reviewed research in order to create an understanding of the current environment. Results: From a micro perspective of CM, HPSOs demonstrating a punctuated equilibrium model of change, favoured change driven from within the organisation. Those demonstrating an emergent model of change, exhibited a bias towards change led from owners or senior executives. From a meso perspective of CM, successful change was culturally supported and guided by evidence-based systems and processes at each stage of research, planning and implementation. From a macro perspective of CM, successful initiatives were underpinned by the communication of a shared vision, process, roles and responsibilities and expectations between major stakeholders. Additionally, communication throughout the HPSO minimised organisational resistance. Strategic and operational dimensions of PM demanded a variety of “hard skills”, whilst individual management and leadership dimensions required different “soft skills”. Conclusion: Leaders must understand the micro, meso and macro perspectives of CM and demonstrate the “hard” and “soft” skills related to PM dimensions, in order to support HPSOs in achieving sustained success. These attributes must be considered during recruitment, with underdeveloped skills acknowledged by leaders and their organisations, and developed through appropriate training, coaching and mentoring.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International