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A champion sport off the diamond: Softball New Zealand and their structural relationships with associations

Murphy, Rachel Christine
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::150404 Sport and Leisure Management
Softball New Zealand (SNZ) currently adopts a district model of governance, where the national sport organisation (NSO) works directly with 22 affiliated district sport organisations (DSOs) of which clubs are affiliated to. Softball is one of only two sports that use this model. Most other sports in New Zealand adopt a four-tier model, known as the traditional model, where clubs are affiliated to DSOs that affiliate to a regional sports organisation (RSO). Those RSOs affiliate to the NSO who are the head of the sport in the country. Nine in depth semi-structured interviews took place and document analysis was employed to determine why SNZ uses a district model, why they haven’t changed to a different model, what benefits and drawbacks are of the different models, and what model SNZ should be using. Most people interviewed from the softball community believed that SNZ should change their structure and, considering their recent decrease in staff, it could be timely to do so. Under a district model, SNZ have to manage relationships with 22 DSOs, but if they move to a traditional model, as recommended, they will only have approximately eight regions to work with. It would then be the RSO’s responsibility to assist the DSOs. A key drawback of a traditional model of governance is the possibility that DSOs may not be well supported but this can be overcome by DSOs, RSOs and NSOs entering into interorganisational relationships. Considering the organisations are all trying to achieve similar goals, they could support each other and share resources and knowledge in an interorganisational relationship.