Title: The value of human resources in non-public sports providers: the importance of volunteers in non-profit sports clubs versus professionals in for-profit fitness and health clubs

Authors: Steven Vos; Diane Breesch; Stefan Késenne; Wim Lagae; Jo Van Hoecke; Bart Vanreusel; Jeroen Scheerder

Addresses: Research Unit of Social Kinesiology and Sport Management, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; Policy Research Centre for Culture, Youth and Sport, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium. ' Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences, Solvay Business School, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, Belgium. ' Research Unit of Social Kinesiology and Sport Management, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; Economics Department, Universiteit Antwerpen, City Campus Prinsstraat 13B, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium. ' Research Unit of Social Kinesiology and Sport Management, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; Department of Business Studies, Lessius University College, Korte Nieuwstraat 33, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium. ' Faculty of Physical Education and Physical Therapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, Belgium. ' Research Unit of Social Kinesiology and Sport Management, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium. ' Research Unit of Social Kinesiology and Sport Management, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Abstract: There is a growing debate on the professionalisation of non-profit sports clubs (e.g., more paid staff) and the remuneration of sports volunteers. These voluntary sports organisations are, together with for-profit fitness and health clubs, the main types of sports providers at the grassroots level in Flanders (Belgium). They both are non-public organisations, active in the same market, but differ regarding to their objectives and their human resources (i.e., volunteers versus paid staff). Hence, the purpose of this paper is to analyse and compare the hypothetical HR-cost of volunteer work in non-profit sports clubs, based on a market price of equivalency model, with the actual HR-cost of for-profit sports providers. The results show that fitness and health clubs are found to be more efficient, in terms of the unit human resources cost. However, non-profit sports clubs have a distinctive economic structure and own rationality. Hence, it seems not appropriate to transfer the economic efficiency approach of for-profits blindly to non-profit sports clubs as the added value of volunteer work to individuals, organisations and the society as a whole (c.f., positive externalities) are neglected.

Keywords: fitness and health clubs; human resources; professionals; sports volunteers; non-profit sports clubs; sport management; professionalisation; volunteer remuneration; paid staff; Belgium; human resource costs; for-profit sports providers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2012.045487

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2012 Vol.11 No.1/2, pp.3 - 25

Received: 20 Dec 2010
Accepted: 02 Aug 2011

Published online: 19 Feb 2012 *

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