Methodology is the analysis of methods used in the thesis (Maxwell, 2012). It will provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the thought behind the choice of method.
It is important to be aware of the philosophical commitments that are made when choos-ing the research strategy since it has a big influence on what the researchers do and how they understand what they are investigating (Clark & Johnson, 2006). A qualitative research is most often associated with the interpretive philosophy (Norman & Lincoln, 2005). Through an interpretivist’s perspective it is important for the researcher to understand that people are complex human beings that behave differently. Each human being interprets his or her reality through that person’s own set of meanings, and according to Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) this emphasizes the difference between doing a research among peo-ple rather than on objects. When having an interpretive philosophy it is crucial that the re-searchers adopt the ability to have an empathic stance. This means that the researchers have to be able to look through the eyes of the research subjects and understand the world as they do (Saunders, Lewies & Thornhill, 2012). Since this study focuses on sponsorship and the relationship between sponsor and sponsee, the understanding of the different mo-tives and goals of the different actors is very important. Therefore, interpretivism lies in ac-cordance with the research philosophy that the research group has for this study. It has al-so been said that the interpretivist perspective is highly suitable for business and manage-ment research, particularly in fields such as marketing, due to its complexity and unique-ness (Saunders et al., 2009).
The clarification of what research approach the researchers use provides a better under-standing behind the research design, it improves the choice of suitable research strategy and method and it helps realize the limitations of the research (Saunders et al., 2012). There are three different approaches to choose from, which are the deductive, inductive and ab-ductive approach.
The deductive approach emphasizes the need to explain relationships between variables and the collection of quantitative data (Saunders et al., 2009). This approach is aiming on explaining a causal relationship between two variables and to find the answer to a “what” question, which later on would be either accepted or rejected in a hypothesis.
The inductive approach focuses on qualitative data and aims on investigating the “why” question rather than “what”. Data is collected and then analyzed in order to develop a theo-ry as a result of the data collection. Induction emphasizes a close understanding of the re-search context and it has a more flexible structure, which enables the researchers to make changes as the research progresses (Saunders et al., 2009).
The abductive approach is a mixture between the deductive and inductive approach where the researchers are able to go back and forth between theory and data. It is aiming on de-veloping a new theory or to modify existing theories based on the found data. With the ab-ductive approach the researchers are able to alter the specific theories they find throughout the process (Saunders et al., 2012). This study examines qualitative data, which was gath-ered through interviews and was finally developed into a model, and therefore the abduc-tive approach was chosen for this thesis.
The term “method” is explained as the technique and procedures used to obtain and ana-lyze data. This includes questionnaires, observations and interviews as well as both quanti-tative and qualitative analysis techniques (Saunders et al., 2009).
When deciding upon using a qualitative or a quantitative approach the researchers have to thoroughly examine the problem statement and evaluate the context for the research. The qualitative method strengthens the understanding of meaning for the situations and events that are studied in the research as well as the understanding of the particular context in which all factors act and the reason why they act as they do in this setting (Maxwell, 2012). The questions and procedures may alter and emerge during the research process, which makes the data collection non-standardized (Saunders et al., 2012). Since this research is largely based upon data collected from interviews and the objective is to develop a model, the qualitative method was chosen. According to Maxwell (2012) the strengths of the quali-tative approach is “its focus on specific situations or people, and its emphasis on words rather on ’num-ber’” (p. 17).
Selection of Respondents
In the selection of respondents for the planned interviews the objective was to find suitable representatives from three areas; (1) highly knowledgeable people within the women’s football industry, (2) representatives from a top-level women’s football club and (3) spon-sors of the football club. People had to be chosen that best could bring light upon the pur-pose of this thesis. With this foundation in mind purposive sampling was chosen as sam-pling strategy for the interviews.
According to Saunders et al. (2009) the research questions and objectives of the research should be the base for the logic behind the choice of strategy for selecting the cases for a purposive sampling. Maxwell (2012) states that this is a strategy where events, settings or persons are deliberately chosen in order to provide important information. For example the way Weiss (1994) put it ”people who are uniquely able to be informative because they are experts in an area or were privileged witnesses to an event” (cited in Maxwell, 2012, p. 70) was highly applicable on this research.
In order to get an understandable foundation about the history and development of wom-en’s football, representatives with a lifelong career within football were chosen to provide information in this area. These interviews were also intended to discuss prospects about the future development within sponsorship and to get a deeper understanding about the over-all football environment in both Sweden and internationally today.
Furthermore, insights about the clubs’ perspective, knowledge and experience about spon-sorship through a CSR perspective was needed to continue the research. The prerequisites were that the club’s women’s team had to be in the highest league in Sweden (Damallsven-skan) and it had to have an extensive background and history of successful development during the past years.
To be able to get the balanced perspective that this thesis was aiming on, representatives from the sponsors of the football clubs had to be interviewed as well. The prerequisites for the sponsors were that they had to be a medium sized or main sponsor to the football club. In order for the interview to benefit the thesis as much as possible the authors wanted the sponsor to have an extensive understanding and involvement in the sponsorship of the football club. The objective of these interviews was to understand the vision behind using CSR as a sponsorship potential strategy and to get hands-on insights of the most important and valuable factors for the firms to engage in sponsorship. Furthermore, the interviews could also shed some light on what prospects people in this industry have for the future development of women’s football in relation to CSR sponsorship.
A case study is used when one wants to understand a real-life phenomenon in depth (Yin, 2009), which is why a case study about women’s football clubs and their relationship with the sponsoring entities was conducted for this research. Schramm (1971) defines a case study as: “The essence of a case study, the central tendency among all types of case study, is that it tries to illuminate a decision or set of decisions: why they were taken, how they were implemented, and with what re-sult.” (cited in Yin, 2009, p. 17).
The aim for this case was to investigate the context of women’s football clubs that are play-ing in the Swedish top-level league for women. Furthermore, in order to fulfill the purpose of the study it was necessary to examine the perspectives of two stakeholders as well as sponsors and key persons within the football industry. The clubs had to have a recorded history of successful development the past years and also a series of sponsors supporting them. In order to investigate the commercial value aspect of women’s football in relation to sponsorship it was decided that a case study would be the best method to gain in-depth understanding. Because of the examination of three different units within one context, the case study was labeled as a single embedded case study (Yin, 2009).
By using this method the authors were able to gather highly relevant and detailed data through real-life situations which otherwise would be difficult to find due to the lack of rel-evant academic secondary data. The abductive approach allows the authors to be flexible and go back and forth between theory and data, which aligns with the choice of doing a case study (Saunders et al., 2012). Also, the use of the interpretive philosophy assumes that there are several different perspectives of one matter, which made it possible for the au-thors to interpret the findings on a wide scale, making the underlying motivations and be-haviors visible for analysis (Saunders et al., 2012).
In cases where surveys or experimental strategies are not sufficient enough for data collec-tion, case studies are used to explain the presumed causal links in real-life interventions (Yin, 2009). This was highly relevant for this thesis since the case study provided a struc-ture with key-findings that were helpful for the in-depth understanding of the issues as well as the fulfillment of the purpose of this thesis.
1.2 Problem Discussion
1.3 Problem Statement
1.7 Thesis Disposition
2 Frame of Reference
2.1 Sports Marketing
2.2 Sponsorship and Sport
2.3 Corporate Social Responsibility and Sponsorship
2.4 Women’s Football and Sweden
3 Methodology and Method
3.3 Qualitative Data Analysis
4 Empirical Findings
4.1 Key Persons
5.1 A Model of Increased Commercial Value
5.2 Level 1
5.3 Level 2
5.4 Level 3
5.5 Level 4, 5 and 6
6.3 Further Research
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Increasing the Commercial Value of Women’s Football Through a Holistic View on Sponsorship