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The Influence of Superstars on Organizational Identification of External Stakeholders: Empirical Findings from Professional Soccer

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  • Daniel Hogele

    ()
    (EBS Business School)

  • Sascha L. Schmidt

    ()
    (EBS Business School)

  • Benno Torgler

    ()
    (QUT)

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of superstars on external stakeholders' organizational identification through the lens of sport. Drawing on social identity theory and the concept of organizational identification, as well as on role model theories and superstar economics, we develop several hypotheses regarding the influence of soccer stars on their fans' degree of team identification. Using a proprietary dataset including archival data on professional German soccer players and clubs as well as survey data of more than 1,400 soccer fans, we find evidence for a positive effect of superstar characteristics and role model perception. We further find that players who measure up to the definition of a superstar are more important to fans of established teams than to fans of unsuccessful teams. The player's club tenure, however, seems to have no influence on fans' team identification. We argue that the effect of soccer stars on their fans is comparable to that of CEOs on their organizations' external stakeholders and consequently apply our results to the business domain. Our results contribute to organizational identification research by extending the list of determinants related to individual persons.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 294.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 25 Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:294

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Keywords: Organizational identification; superstars; role model; fans; soccer;

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  1. Bush, Alan J. & Martin, Craig A. & Bush, Victoria D., 2004. "Sports Celebrity Influence on the Behavioral Intentions of Generation Y," Journal of Advertising Research, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(01), pages 108-118, March.
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  3. Leif Brandes & Egon Franck & Stephan Nuesch, 2006. "Local Heroes and Superstars - An Empirical Analysis of Star Attraction in German Soccer," Working Papers 0046, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised 2007.
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  15. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  16. Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio & Francesc Pujol, 2007. "Hidden monopsony rents in winner-take-all markets-sport and economic contribution of Spanish soccer players," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 57-70.
  17. Empson, Laura, 2004. "Organizational identity change: managerial regulation and member identification in an accounting firm acquisition," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 759-781, November.
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