Corporate governance in the Australian Football League: a critical evaluation

Foreman, Julie A (2006) Corporate governance in the Australian Football League: a critical evaluation. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Corporate governance has received considerable attention from academics, regulators and the wider business community for several years. This attention intensified following significant corporate failures such as Enron and HIH Insurance. These failures, as well as general perceptions of lack of effective oversight, lead to increased regulation and a heightened awareness of the role of the board of directors and their responsibilities. This study uses the Australian Football League (AFL) as a means of exploring several themes emerging from the nonprofit literature including the increasingly deliberate recruitment of volunteer boards and the desire for corporate expertise. This study examines the extent to which these themes are present in the AFL clubs and identifies any idiosyncratic governance processes of those clubs. It further investigates the impact these governance attributes and processes have on club performance. The objectives of this study were to firstly, identify governance practices in AFL clubs, secondly, determine club performance, thirdly, examine potential links between governance and performance, and finally, to identify common governance features of successful clubs. The field work involved semi-structured interviews with randomly selected directors from each AFL club and a comprehensive document analysis. A grounded theory methodology was employed in the study and the results of the field work, together with the literature, were used to formulate a governance-performance framework to facilitate data analysis. The results of the study were multi-faceted. The first set of results indicated a high level of awareness of governance by AFL club directors, and provided detailed insights into board processes at each AFL club. The identified governance practices were compared to the literature in an attempt to identify a best practice. The second set of results presented club performance over a range of measures utilising theoretically informed frameworks to determine effective or ineffective clubs. Finally, governance attributes, common to effective and ineffective clubs, were identified. This study contributed to the body of knowledge in several ways. It is the first major study to identify detailed governance processes of AFL clubs and significantly, it explored the link between governance practice and club performance. These outcomes will inform both future academic enquiry and provide guidance for practitioners. The study developed a robust framework for the evaluation of governance and presented and populated innovative measures of performance. Finally, the study provided significant scope for further examination of detailed aspects of governance.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Historical > RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Keywords corporate governance, Australian Football League (AFL), AFL clubs
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login