A consumerist turn in Dutch voluntary sport associations?

Jan-Willem van der Roest, Janine van Kalmthout, Lucas Meijs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article focuses on the changing organizational arrangements within voluntary sport associations. It has often been suggested that members of sport associations are increasingly adopting consumerist attitudes towards these organizations, in which they might become less emotionally committed to the association and consequently might be less inclined to volunteer. Although it is still contested whether there is actually an increasing consumerist attitude among members, national sport organisations pressure associations to become more flexible and service-oriented. However, it is yet unknown whether these associations are indeed changing their membership arrangements into more customer oriented arrangements in response to this pressure. Using a two-wave dataset from the Survey of Dutch Voluntary Sport Associations (N?=?337), we researched whether voluntary sport associations are adapting practices to a supposed consumerist attitude among members and what the possible consequences of such a shift are for the involvement and commitment of members in these organisations. Our findings suggest that there is no evidence of an increasing number of voluntary sport associations becoming more flexible and service-oriented in their membership arrangements. Moreover, we did not find support for a negative effect of consumerist forms of membership on formal involvement and emotional commitment in the associations that have adapted their membership arrangements. We therefore conclude that there is yet no evidence for an actual consumerist turn in voluntary sport associations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal for Sport and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


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