Corporate Social Responsibility at London 2012: discourses of sport and activity promotion at the Olympic Games

2014-11-11T12:27:30Z (GMT) by Paul Bretherton
The unique potential of sport as a site for the delivery of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has received increasing academic attention in recent years (e.g. Smith & Westerbeek, 2007). However, this literature has been said to have held “relatively static conceptualisations of CSR through sport” (Dowling, Robinson & Washington, 2013, p. 270), and it could similarly be argued that insufficient attention has been given to the broader social contexts in which it has been delivered. This study therefore aimed to understand more about sport - and the Olympic Games - as a site for the delivery of CSR, using the specific context of private sector sponsor-led CSR schemes based upon the sport and physical activity participation legacy of London 2012. Three separate stages of qualitative data collection were conducted. The first comprised a thematic analysis of macro level policy discourse produced by official Olympic ‘legacy actors’ in relation to the proclaimed sport and activity legacy of the Games. The second stage also used thematic analysis in order to establish how 20 sponsors rationalised their CSR activity around the Games and how six who organised programmes involving either sport or activity participation justified these. The third stage comprised a series of semi-structured interviews with representatives of three Olympic sponsors and three charity delivery partners who co-operated in the delivery of specific CSR schemes. Once data was organised into themes, data analysis was informed by a governmentality perspective in order to help understand the respective roles of public and private sector organisations in not just the delivery of CSR, but also in ‘governing’ society in the broadest sense of the term. [Continues.]