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

49 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2012 Last revised: 28 Nov 2012

See all articles by Daniel Hoegele

Daniel Hoegele

EBS Business School

Sascha L. Schmidt

EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht - Institute for Sports, Business & Society

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology; CREMA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Date Written: October 26, 2012

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.

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

JEL Classification: L83, J0, M0, Z13

Suggested Citation

Hoegele, Daniel and Schmidt, Sascha L. and Torgler, Benno, The Influence of Superstars on Organizational Identification of External Stakeholders: Empirical Findings from Professional Soccer (October 26, 2012). EBS Business School Research Paper No. 12-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2171682 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2171682

Daniel Hoegele (Contact Author)

EBS Business School ( email )

Gustav-Stresemann-Ring 3
Wiesbaden, 65189
Germany
+491753185806 (Phone)

Sascha L. Schmidt

EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht - Institute for Sports, Business & Society ( email )

Gustav-Stresemann-Ring 3
65189 Wiesbaden, Hessen 65189
Germany
0611 7102 2064 (Phone)

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

CREMA

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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