Inter-organizational relationships are a necessity for sport organizations to obtain resources, maintain efficiency, and be effective.


More than 50% of the inter-organizational collaborations fail due to inadequate governance of the collaboration. We study collaboration types, decision-making mechanisms, and processes in place on practitioners, organizational, and policy level.


Research on collaborations is in partnership with the N-lab of Ghent University.


The sport world has a complex relationship with ethics and values. On the one hand, a lot of benefits come with the practice and organization of sport, such as health, social cohesion, social capital,…

On the other hand, sport is suffering from a moral crisis: matchfixing, bad governance, doping, .. are featured in the media every day. This paradox has to be managed and guided in the right direction. 


We study how sport can be good (sport ethics) and do good (corporate social responsibility). ​Research on sport ethics and Olympic values is embedded in the Olympic Chair Henri de Baillet Latour-Jacques Rogge.



Marlier, M., Lucidarme, S., Cardon, G., De Bourdeaudhuij, I. and Willem, A. (2016). Capacity building through cross sector partnerships: a multiple case study of a sport program in disadvantaged communities in Belgium. BMC Public Health, 15:1306.
Dobbels, L., Marlier, M., Cardon, G., Voets, J., De Waegeneer, E. and Willem, A. (2016). Why network structure and coordination matters: a social network analysis of sport for disadvantaged people. International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

Lucidarme, Steffie; Babiak, Kathy; and Willem, Annick (2017) Governmental power in elite sport networks: a resource-dependency perspective. European Sport Management Quarterly.

Babiak, K.; Thibault, L., and Willem, A. (2017) Mapping Research on Interorganizational Relationships in Sport Management: Current Landscape and Future Research Prospects; Sport Management Journal, accepted.

Willem, A., Girginov, V., & Toohey, K. (2018). Governing bodies of sport as knowledge brokers in Sport-for-All communities of practice. Sport Management Review.

Marlier, M., Constandt, B., Schyvinck, C., De Bock, T., Winand, M., & Willem, A. (2020). Bridge over troubled water: Linking capacities of sport and non-sport organizations. Social Inclusion, 8(3), 139-151.


Theme 1: Ethics


Constandt, B., De Waegeneer, E., & Willem, A. (2018). Coach ethical leadership in soccer clubs: An analysis of its influence on ethical behavior. Journal of Sport Management, 32(3), 185-198.

Constandt, B., & Willem, A. (2019). The trickle-down effect of ethical leadership in nonprofit soccer clubs. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 29(3), 401-417.

Constandt, B., De Waegeneer, E., & Willem, A. (2019). Ethical code effectiveness in football clubs: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 156(3), 621-634.

De Waegeneer, E., Constandt, B., Van Der Hoeven, S., & Willem, A. (2019). Badminton players’ moral intentions: A factorial survey study into personal and contextual determinants. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(2272), 1-9.

Van Der Hoeven, S., De Waegeneer, E., Constandt, B., & Willem, A. (2020). Match-fixing: Moral challenges for those involved. Ethics & Behavior, 30(6), 425-443.

Constandt, B., Parent, M.M., & Willem, A. (2020). Does it really matter? A study on soccer fans’ perceptions of ethical leadership and their role as “stakeowners.” Sport Management Review, 23(3), 374-386.

Theme 2: Corporate Social Responsibilty


Schyvinck, C., & Willem, A. (2018). A typology of cause-related marketing approaches in European professional basketball. Sport Management Review, 21(4), 347-362.

Schyvinck, C., & Willem, A. (2019). From cause-related marketing strategy to implementation in professional basketball organizations: A matter of alignment. European Sport Management Quarterly, 19(1), 58-79.

Zeimers, G., Anagnostopoulos, C., Zintz, T., & Willem, A. (2018). Organisational learning for corporate social responsibility in sport organisations. European Sport Management Quarterly, 1-22.

Zeimers, G., Anagnostopoulos, C., Zintz, T., & Willem, A. (2019). Organisational learning for corporate social responsibility in sport organisations. European Sport Management Quarterly, 19(1), 80-101.

Zeimers, G., Lefebvre, A., Winand, M., Anagnostopoulos, C., Zintz, T., & Willem, A. (2020). Organisational factors for corporate social responsibility implementation in sport federations: A qualitative comparative analysis. European Sport Management Quarterly, 1-21.



Stef Van Der Hoeven

Cleo Schyvinck

Corporate social responsibility in professional sport organizations

Tom De Clerck

Measurement of effectiveness of an intervention to increase the policy-making capacity of sports clubs

Thomas De Bock

The role of federations in delivering Sport-for-all

Gema Souvenir

Prevention of Fraud in Sport

Tassilo Tissot

Prevention of Fraud in Sport



Dr. Anne-Line Balduck

Effectiveness in Sport on Micro and Meso Management Level.

Dr. Mathieu Marlier

The value of intersectoral partnerships in sport - Promoting sport participation, physical activity, social capital and mental health through a sport development program in disadvantaged communities

Dr. Steffie Lucidarme

Governance of Sport and Physical Activity Policy Implementation Networks: key determinants, configurations and processes

Dr. Géraldine Zeimers

Corporate Social Responsibility institutionalization and implementation in sport organizations

Dr. Bram Constandt

Ethics management in football clubs

Research Projects


Prevention of Sport-related Match Fixing


An Erasmus + Sport partnership between academic and non-academic organizations that explores sport-related match fixing in different sport disciplines at European level. In addition, this project will also organize tailor-made training sessions.



"Increase knowledge, awareness and moral judgment about sport-related match fixing among people involved in sport, through a science-based approach that can inspire others."


"Ensuring fair play in sports by striving for a competition without match fixing."


  • Raise awareness about the prevalence of sport-related match fixing.

  • Encourage the moral judgment that sport-related match-fixing is wrong. After all, sport-related match fixing threatens the credibility and attractiveness of sport.

  • Sharing and transferring knowledge about sport-related match fixing through the organization of tailor-made training sessions.


Sport clubs are growing and evolving enormously. In addition to day-to-day operations, board members also want to grow their sport club and evolve in the right direction. But what is the best way to do that?

Clubgrade helps sport clubs at the administrative level and strengthens their management where necessary. Sport clubs get to work together with the Clubgrade team. They receive the necessary support and tools to take their club to the next level. In short, this is a project for clubs with a desire to grow and professionalize.



De Clerck, T., Willem, A., Aelterman, N., & Haerens, L. (2019). Volunteers Managing Volunteers: The Role of Volunteer Board Members 'Motivating and Demotivating Style in Relation to Volunteers' Motives to Stay Volunteer. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 1-14.

De Clerck, T., Aelterman, N., Haerens, L., & Willem, A. (2020). Enhancing volunteers capacity in all ‐ volunteer nonprofit organizations: The role of volunteer leaders' reliance on effective management processes and (de) motivating leadership. Nonprofit Management and Leadership.


Onderzoeksplatform Sport 2017-2022 is the scientific research program of the Flemish government in the policy domain Sport. Researchers from KU Leuven, UGent and VUB will conduct scientific research in three lines of research for 5 years.


Thomas De Bock of the UGent Sport Management team works on the low-threshold sport research line within the OPS.



Fraud in sport needs to be tackled in an integrated way through cooperation between sport organizations and public and private organizations, so that sport can fully exploit its positive role.


The PrOFS project offers an ambitious, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary scientific approach. The project aims for a systemic change implied by the close collaboration between a wide range of researchers and key stakeholders in the fight against fraud in sport. Read all about it on the PrOFS page.


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