This chapter presents a descriptive study of the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and the change in communication patterns in Swedish sport associations over the period 1994 to 2003. The change is discussed in light of Internet and broadband diffusion. Results show that new channels for communication have been adopted, primarily Web sites and e-mail, but few established channels have been dropped. While there are associations that save time and money and increase the spirit of community using ICT, many organizations experience the increased number of communication channels as a burden since maintaining them takes extra resources but the benefits are not always easy to detect or measure. Certain characteristics common among nonprofit organizations (NPOs) as well as Internet and broadband access have influenced the development of ICT use.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Broadband: In this study we define broadband as a connection with a speed of at least 256 kbit/s in at least one direction.
Non-profit organization (NPO): A non-profit organization is an organization whose primary objective is to support some issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes. Nonprofits may be involved in an innumerable range of areas relating to the arts, charities, education, politics, religion, research, sports, or some other endeavor (Wikipedia, 2006).
Spirit of Community: Spirit of community is a translation of the Swedish word gemenskap or German Gemeinschaft which is best described as a feeling of belonging to the association and group/team spirit. The word is commonly used in Swedish.
Pull Perspective: Pull perspective is when the focus is on the receiver of information actively seeking information, for example, via Web page or a bulletin board (Westelius, 2006).
Organizational Identity: Organizational identity is a commonly held representation of the organization. “Commonly held” in this context is meant to exclude individual perceptions if they are not shared within a group. Organizations can have multiple identities depending on both differences in how different groups perceive the organization and ambiguities in the organizational identity (Pratt & Foreman, 2000). Organizational identity has a reciprocal relationship with individual behavior; organizational identity can affect individual behavior and individual behavior can affect organizational identity (Pratt & Foreman, 2000).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): ICT could refer to a wide range of communication tools. In this study we use a narrow definition of ICT. We include only modern ICT such as Internet and computerised communication channels and SMS. Of the channels named by the sport associations in this study, only e-mail, Web sites, and SMS are included in ICT.
Push Perspective: Push perspective is when the focus is on the receiver of information being alerted to information, for example, via letters or SMS (Westelius, 2006).