An Exploratory Study of the Nature of Social Capital in Local Area Leisure Clubs

Forsell, Thomas Edward (2013) An Exploratory Study of the Nature of Social Capital in Local Area Leisure Clubs. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The nature of social capital in local leisure clubs today has become an area of interest. Although research has mainly made inferences on the possible outcomes of social capital there is currently little agreement on its factors or its measurement. Therefore there has been an urgent need to examine the possible social capital factors present in leisure clubs and develop a tool to measure these. This research addresses these two aims through an analysis of social capital in local leisure clubs and the development of a scale to measure social capital. A mixed method was adopted with the initial qualitative phase informing the main (quantitative) phase of the research by identifying social capital concepts and contributing to scale development. Focus groups, interviews and a panel of experts were used with aspects of grounded theory to develop and refine items. The quantitative phase employed factor analysis for scale item reduction and multivariate analysis to test the scale. The ‘Club Social Capital Scale’ (CSCS) was distributed to Victorian leisure clubs generating 1079 returned questionnaires. The final version of the CSCS included the factors trusting/reciprocity, friendly/ acceptance, norms and governance. The scale was noted as a good tool for measuring social capital, with high reliability (Cronbach) and all scale items measuring social capital and its components, highlighting strong validity and reliability. Analysis of variance showed variation in levels in social capital with the demographic characteristics age, gender, education and income. Results showed reduced social capital levels with age, while men reported higher overall social capital, trust, and governance than women. Higher levels of education and income reflected lower social capital levels. Finally, recreation clubs scored higher governance than sport clubs. This research developed theory on the factors associated with social capital in leisure clubs and developed a short and easy to complete CSCS which would be a useful tool for further research.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1504 Services
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords social capital components, social networks, sport clubs, recreation clubs, leisure clubs, management, measurement, Melbourne
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