Pursuing an international career in sport: Challenges for athletes, families and sport organisations

21 Jun 2017 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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Quad Block B, Room 1 (QB1)

Presenter: Professor Harald Dolles

Professor in Sports Management

Molde University College, Specialized University in Logistics, Molde, Norway (harald.dolles@himolde.no)

Visiting Professor at Massey University (h.dolles@massey.ac.nz)

There are complex and multi-layered sets of interdependencies outlining an athlete’s international career path integrating economic, political, historical, geographical, social and cultural factors. The motivations behind an athlete’s decision to pursue a career overseas are not simply based on financial rewards or the opportunity to ‘broaden one’s horizons’, but more for the opportunity to improve sporting performance and seek sporting success. The sport industry is a forerunner in the international quest for talent as the search by sport clubs and the corresponding so called ‘self-initiated expatriation’ of athletes starts at a very early age.

The presentation will address self-initiated expatriation in sport. Based on narrative interview experiences of talented young footballers, the coping strategies applied in their transition into senior-level professional football abroad will be analyzed across six dimensions – three individual and three cultural. An overall finding indicates that an athlete’s international career path is a complex journey affected by many events, expectations, conditions and pressures which affect the athlete, her/his resources of support and individual decision-making. It appears that the predominant attention in this process of sport organizations is focused on the athletic dimension, whereas non-athletic aspects that may affect a young athlete’s sport career (the psychological and psychosocial dimension) are not considered equally.

Dr. Harald Dolles is Professor in Sport Management at Molde University College, Specialized University in Logistics, Molde (Norway). He also holds a (part-time) Professorship in International Business at the University of Gothenburg, Centre for International Business Studies, Gothenburg (Sweden). He is the immediate past-chair of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Strategic Interest Group - ‘Managing Sport’, a network of academics, practitioners, athletes and sport officials whose interests revolve around aspects of internationalization, professionalization and commercialization of sport. Harald has a publication stream of articles and books (see his profile at google scholar), among others most recently ‘Emerging frontiers in sport management research’ (Sport Business and Management, 2016, with Winand), ‘Advancing knowledge about governance, sponsorship and talent development in sports’ (Sport Business and Management, 2015, with Winand), and ‘Handbook of Research on Sport and Business’ (Edward Elgar, 2013, with Söderman).


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