Leveraging Sport for Social Change

BATON ROUGE – Recently, LSU Sport Management Associate Professor Per Svensson, PhD, received a prestigious research award at a premier international research conference and was also invited to share his expertise with members of the United Nations.  

At the 50th annual meeting of the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) in Atlanta, Ga., Svensson was recognized for the Best Research Article of the Year in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly – the flagship peer-reviewed journal in the broader field of nonprofit management. He earned the award for an article he wrote with Dr. Tara Mahoney (SUNY-Cortland) and Dr. Marion Hambrick (University of Louisville), entitled, “What does innovation mean to nonprofit practitioners? International insights from development and peace-building nonprofits.”

photo of Per Svensson with ARNOVA award

Per Svensson at the ARNOVA conference with his award for Best Research Article Year.

Photo courtesy of Angie Franco from ARNOVA

Paloma Raggo and Mirae Kim, Co-Chairs of the ARNOVA Research Awards Committee, stated: “this article uses data…representing development and peace-building nonprofits across six continents to explore what innovation means to them. [Dr. Svensson and colleagues] delineate the discrepancies in the meaning of nonprofit innovation between theory and practice, but also identify the common themes. The article reminds us of the multi-faceted meanings of nonprofit innovation and the importance of context in understanding nonprofit innovation.” 

Svensson’s research article was inspired by years of his own research on the capacity of nonprofits around the world seeking to leverage sport as a vehicle for addressing critical social challenges. In his experience, some practitioners perceive they simply need more resources to be successful, but he has been inspired by many others who have pushed the boundaries and creatively developed transformative solutions within resource constrained environments. His research article with Tara Mahoney and Marion Hambrick provides field-sensitive knowledge of innovation through the voices of nonprofit practitioners. 

Based on his research, Svensson was also recently invited to share his expertise and train incoming delegates of the United Nations on the role of innovation in sport for development and peace through the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. His training emphasized how policymakers can better support innovation within the sport for development space.

As a faculty member in the School of Kinesiology, Svensson’s research primarily focuses on organizations operating sport-based programs aimed at addressing social issues in communities around the world. He is one of the leading experts on organizational capacity and innovation in Sport for Development and Peace. Svensson is the co-editor of the Journal of Sport for Development and also a co-editor of the forthcoming book, Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sport for Development and Peace.  

Per at ARNOVA conference

Per Svensson standing to accept award at ARNOVA conference.

Photo courtesy of Angie Franco from ARNOVA

About LSU School of Kinesiology (SOK)
A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, the SOK advances the understanding of physical activity, sport, and health to optimize the quality of life for diverse populations through excellence in teaching, learning, discovery, and engagement. SOK offers bachelor’s degrees in sport administration and kinesiology with a pre-athletic training, human movement or other related concentrations. SOK offers the state’s first accredited master’s in athletic training, a master’s in kinesiology, an online master’s in kinesiology (sport management) and a PhD in kinesiology. Graduates go on to successful careers in the health and fitness industry, corporate wellness, sport agencies and businesses, athletic administration, and K-12 educational settings. 
About LSU College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE)
Located on the flagship campus in Baton Rouge, the College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, the University Laboratory School and the Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool. These combined schools offer eight undergraduate degree programs, 20 graduate programs, and seven online graduate degree and/or certificate programs. CHSE current enrollment includes approximately 1,800 undergraduates and more than 1,900 graduate students. CHSE is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.