Beyond the Ice: An Exploratory Investigation into Social Responsibility within Major Junior Hockey
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Major Junior hockey organizations are viewed as the rallying point for many small communities throughout North America, and as their presence in society continues to grow as does their increased ability and desire to give back to their community. This study explored the nature of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) use within Major Junior hockey, highlighting the impact on organizational members, and what implications this can have on the field of CSR and sport. The findings from this research revealed that the organization engages in CSR in order to forge connections with their community members, establishing themselves as a community oriented organization, focusing on giving back in order to better themselves as an organization, and society. CSR has not only added value for the organization but also the athletes, as they harness the power of a good reputation, cultivated through their CSR involvement to differentiate themselves, crafting a specific goodwill image. The findings revealed that CSR is integrated through all levels of the organization, although mid-level managers were primarily responsible for planning and players were responsible for the delivery of CSR. The findings suggested that the overall effectiveness of CSR and the impact it could have on staff and players may be limited by these divisions. Lastly, the findings showed that CSR facilitated in the development of positive feelings of association between the organization and the participants, as CSR improved their perception of the organization, creating a sense of belonging that translated into increased commitment and pride. This study provides insight from internal organizational members, enhancing our overall understanding of reasoning behind CSR use in sport, as well as the significant impact it has in the development of the players, showcasing the ability for CSR to foster the success and betterment of their community, as well as their organizational members.