Organisational Change: The Future of Community Football Organisational Capacity Within New Zealand’s Northern Region
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In recent years, within New Zealand, there has been growing expectations of Community Sport Organisations (CSO’s) to professionalise their governance and operations (New Zealand Football, 2021; Sport New Zealand, 2021). Such a change of professionalisation is underpinned by a CSO’s ability to develop their organisational capacity (Kitchin & Crossin, 2018). Organisational capacity is related to an organisation’s ability to implement their available resources, which include financial, human, physical and information resources (Ingham & Joyce, 2002). A widely utilised model of organisational capacity in not-for-profit organisations is Hall et al’s (2003) model, which acknowledges organisational capacity is fundamentally reliant on human capital, which influences other dimensions such as financial, infrastructure and process, planning and development and relationship and network capacities. However, to date, there has been limited research conducted on organisational capacity in relation to CSO’s (Doherty et al., 2014). To contribute to the literature regarding organisational capacity in CSO’s, the current study sought to understand: “How can community football organisations within New Zealand’s Northern Region develop their organisational capacity by diversifying their portfolio offerings?”. The research question was explored further through three sub-questions: 1) What is the current level of understanding towards organisational capacity within community football in New Zealand’s Northern Region? 2) What areas/avenues of portfolio development and diversification exist for New Zealand’s Northern Region community football organisations looking to develop their organisational capacity? 3) To what extent are members of community football organisations based within New Zealand’s Northern Region open to the idea of changing their organisational structure, increasing their organisational capacity, diversifying their portfolio offerings, and developing new organisational capabilities? In order to address the research question and sub-questions, a qualitative study was conducted, which incorporated a multiple case study approach. Rich Data was gathered through the completion of nine semi-structured interviews conducted with club representatives from across New Zealand’s Northern Region. The case studies revealed that the current understanding of organisational capacity within CSO’s in the Northern Region is consistent with Hall et al’s., (2003) model of organisational capacity. Human capital was the most prominent dimension, with the case studies highlighting the importance of volunteerism in the functioning of CSO’s and a trend towards greater employment in CSO’s to meet the demands of institutional and stakeholder pressures. The dimensions of financial capacity, strategic capability and facilities were identified as dependent on human capital. Consistent across the nine case studies was the challenges of CSO’s in governance and operations and how this impacts organisational capacity. Sub-themes included governance and operational balance and professionalisation. As volunteer-driven organisations, CSO’s struggle to maintain a clear delineation between governance and operations (Doherty et al., 2014; Cuskelly et al., 2006). Recruiting individuals with the appropriate skills required for individual boards was the key challenge of professionalisation (O’Boyle & Shilbury, 2016). These findings highlight key challenges faced by CSO’s in the Northern Region in developing their organisational capacity. These findings will assist Northern Region Football in focusing their resources to support CSO’s in developing their organisational capacity, which are focused on the dimensions of human capital, financial capacity, facilities, and strategic capability.