Crossing Boundaries: An Examination of Sustainability Department and Athletics Department Collaboration Regarding Environmental Issues Academic Article uri icon


  • Across the world, organizational personnel in various industries are integrating natural environment issues into existing organizational practices. In the intercollegiate sports world, environmental efforts are undertaken as part of a strategic effort involving collaborative processes across university units. The purpose of this study is to develop a more comprehensive and detailed understanding of collaborative processes and practices between personnel in athletics departments and sustainability offices at universities and colleges in the United States. In-depth interviews were conducted with athletics and sustainability department personnel at colleges and universities in the United States. A total of 13 schools were included in the study with 17 participants agreeing to be interviewed. All interviewees were from the middle management level and higher in their respective organizations. Five central themes related to these relationships were found : relationship development, relationship communication, relationship decision-making development, collaborative efforts, and relationship challenges. The themes raise important issues about the diversity of relationships, the communicative and decision-making processes, and the involvement of stakeholders in environmental efforts as well as future research in this area.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Pfahl, M., Casper, J., Trendafilova, S., McCullough, B. P., & Nguyen, S. N.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Pfahl, Michael||Casper, Jonathan||Trendafilova, Sylvia||McCullough, Brian P||Nguyen, Sheila N

publication date

  • March 2015