Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Kinesiology

Document Type



Although multi-organizational collaborations have become a trend in the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) sector, existing research remains limited to collaborations between two organizations. Further, researchers continue to report managerial challenges of the multi-organizational collaborations and emphasize leadership as a key component for achieving desired outcomes in SDP collaborations. Thus, the purpose of this research was to explore the role of shared leadership in multi-organizational SDP collaboratives. Three research questions guided this study to explore the role of shared leadership through the lived experiences of SDP practitioners: (a) How is leadership shared between members in multi-organizational SDP collaboratives?, (b) What potential benefits do SDP practitioners perceive shared leadership may have for the multi-organizational SDP collaboratives?, and (c) What challenges may limit the development of shared leadership? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 30 representatives involved in citywide multi-organizational collaboratives (i.e., Laureus Sport for Good Coalitions). Publicly available organizational documents were also examined as supplemental data source.

Four themes emerged in response to RQ1: (a) strategic planning, (b) support from vertical leaders, (c) shared events, and (d) personal characteristics. Further, five elements were identified addressing RQ2: (a) collective impact, (b) capacity building, (c) organizational learning, (d) cohesion, and (e) shared responsibilities. Four elements also emerged concerning RQ3: (a) leadership dynamics, (b) level of information sharing, (c) level of understanding about shared leadership, and (d) quality of engagement. Theoretically, these findings lead to a deeper understanding of development, benefits, and challenges of shared leadership as well as multi-organizational SDP collaboratives. In addition, the findings from this study have important practical implications. A set of specific strategies were identified based on the findings of this study to help guide SDP leaders and practitioners to fully leverage the potential of shared leadership in multi-organizational collaboratives. Overall, findings from this study help practitioners understand that employing shared leadership takes time and leaders need to be mindful of common challenges while being intentional about their actions. A number of ready-now strategies are presented, which SDP organizations and leaders can utilize to develop and support the use of shared leadership.



Committee Chair

Svensson, Per G.