Isomorphism in NCAA Athletic Departments: The Use of Competing Theories and Advancement of Theory Academic Article uri icon


  • In a study of managerial duties performed by Canadian intercollegiate athletic directors, Danylchuk and Chelladurai(1999) noted the presence of isomorphic tendencies, or the process that forces organisations within a population to resemble one another. The purpose of this study is to expand those findings and investigate the presence of isomorphism in National Collegiate Athletic Association athletic programs. To achieve this end, we incorporated competing theories (population ecology, institutionalism, and strategic choice) while analysing the perceptions of athletic directors and their assistants regarding the importance and delegation of managerial activities. Results of the study lent substantial support for the strategic choice perspective as structural variation was present between athletic departments of similar success, thus indicating that the environment in which athletic departments operate is not as deterministic as once thought. Implications of the findings and future directions are discussed. 2001 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand.

published proceedings

  • Sport Management Review

author list (cited authors)

  • Cunningham, G. B., & Ashley, F. B.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Cunningham, George B||Ashley, Frank B

publication date

  • January 2001