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The trickle-down effect of ethical leadership in nonprofit soccer clubs

  • Constandt, Bram
  • Willem, Annick
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Nonprofit soccer clubs are currently facing many ethical challenges, such as abuse, doping and match fixing. While research suggests that organizational (board) ethical leadership may be effective to tackle these ethical issues, empirical support in the context of sport remains limited. Drawing on the perceptions of a sample of nonprofit soccer players (n = 438) and coaches (n = 106), we indicate that the coaches play an important mediating role regarding the associations between board ethical leadership and ethical climate. The theoretical underpinnings of ethical leadership—formed by social learning theory and social exchange theory—and the social distance between the board and the players in nonprofit soccer clubs provide support in this regard. In sum, our results demonstrate that the influence of board ethical leadership in nonprofit soccer clubs partly trickles down to the players via coach ethical leadership. Finally, practical implications for nonprofit soccer club management are discussed.

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