Participative Decision-Making

A Case of High School Athletics


  • Jen Zdroik Minnesota State University Mankato
  • Philip Veliz University of Michigan


Stakeholders, Decision Making, Participation, High School Sports, Athletic Administration


Nearly 8 million high school students participate in athletics in the United States (NFSHA, 2018), yet we know little about the management of this level of athletics.  This level of athletics is seeing increased involvement from parents and other stakeholders who provide resources to supplement declining athletic department budgets.  Critical resources could be volunteering time to take tickets and sell concessions, to managing fundraising efforts for large department purchases.  Athletic directors are left to make decisions to balance the needs of all the internal and external stakeholders.  The purpose of this paper is to understand the role of the athletic director in how they manage athletic department stakeholders.  Interviews were conducted using a stratified sampling technique with 30 high school athletic directors.  Inductive and deductive coding revealed that when it came to making larger decisions about hiring, policy changes, and budgetary moves, a stakeholder engagement tactic was used to manage relationships with cooperation and transparency.  Future research may look towards individual level or organizational level factors that lead an athletic director to use stakeholder engagement tactics.


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