Development of a model of diversity, equity and inclusion for sport volunteers: an examination of the experiences of diverse volunteers for a national sport governing body

Eric Legg, Erika Karner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the meaning of inclusion among Black, Brown and Indigenous Persons of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQI+ volunteers of a national sport governing body. The study situates itself within socio-ecological and critical race theories to (a) examine the experience of inclusion (or lack thereof) for minoritized volunteers and (b) identify hindrances and enablers of inclusion. Volunteers perform essential roles within sport organizations, and increased diversity, equity, and inclusion is central for justice and performance reasons. However, limited research exists which critically examines the experience of volunteers from traditionally underrepresented populations. This study seeks to fill that gap. Improving diversity and inclusion within NGBs is not only likely to improve organizational performance, but also addresses issues of good governance and social justice. Semi-structured interviews coupled with narrative inquiry were employed to collect and analyze data. Findings suggest that volunteers experienced inclusion, or lack thereof, across four layered systems–personal, interpersonal, organizational and community. Within those layers, we identified the following subthemes: unique experience and viewpoint, personal responsibility, assimilation (individual); political/social capital, mentors (interpersonal); required commitment, inclusion not embedded in organizational cultural (organizational); implicit bias, microaggressions (community). From this model, we suggest characteristics of inclusive and non-inclusive organizations across a continuum of inclusion. Furthermore, the presented model fills a gap in existing literature and provides guidelines and specific actionable areas for organizations to develop environments that are more inclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSport, Education and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • critical race theory
  • inclusion
  • socio-ecological theory
  • volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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