An examination of the early career experiences among graduates of sport management program degrees
McNiff, Jillian L
MetadataShow full item record
This qualitative study used a grounded theory approach to analyze the early career experiences of graduates of sport management degree programs. Participants (n=32) were drawn from a sample of graduates of bachelor's or master's degree programs in the United States within six years of graduation (2006-2011). Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2012 to explore the experiences of this population. Participants were asked to consider their experiences as students, practical industry experiences, and the process by which they obtained their first positions in the sports industry. A thematic analysis revealed several factors that were identified as having a substantial impact. The factors identified were personal characteristics, academic experiences, experiences in sport management, internships in the sports industry, and the influence of significant individuals. Expectations were a key element present with all identified factors. Graduates of sport management degree programs use a multi-directional and interactive approach to set expectations for their future careers in and out of the sports industry. A theory was proposed to show how factors influenced expectation setting which ultimately influenced career decisions. A flow diagram was created to explain decisional pathways that participants followed to obtain their first sports industry positions. Results indicated that participants could be divided into four categories: participants who obtained a position in the sports industry and remained in the field (n=16), participants who obtained a full-time position in the sports industry and left the field (n=3), those who obtained part-time position in the sports industry (n=5), and those who did not obtain a position in the sports industry (n=6). Two participants had obtained full-time positions in the sports industry and reduced to part-time status. Participants who obtained full-time positions in the sports industry generally remained in those positions. However, challenges existed for participants to obtain their first full-time positions. For participants who were unable to obtain positions in the sports industry, cited barriers for entry were competition for positions and lack of sports industry network. Implications for the development of sport managers from a degree perspective and retention of sports organization employees are discussed.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Boston University