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Personal goals, group performance and ‘social’ networks: participants’ negotiation of virtual and embodied relationships in the ‘Workplace Challenge’ physical activity programme

Evans, Adam and Bishop, Daniel and Middleton, Geoff and Carter, Alice (2016) Personal goals, group performance and ‘social’ networks: participants’ negotiation of virtual and embodied relationships in the ‘Workplace Challenge’ physical activity programme. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 8 (3). pp. 301-318. ISSN 2159-676X

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) epitomise the growing reliance upon building networks and partnerships sports delivery. This study investigated how social networks were created and contested in a CSP-led programme entitled the ‘Workplace Challenge’ (WPC). The WPC used a web-platform to encourage workplace-based teams to engage in physical activity by self-recording their activity over an eight-week period. Points were awarded for activity completed and a peer-challenge facility was promoted via online league tables, prizes and the opportunity to ‘challenge’ other users. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of seventeen participants recruited from one public and one private sector workplace and from a sample of participants registered as individuals. Two programme planners employed by the CSP also took part. A figurational framework was utilised to investigate participants’ negotiation of networks of embodied and virtual relationships within the programme. Findings suggest the messages promoted in the WPC were disseminated and transformed according to the organizational structure of these networks. Embodied social relationships within workplaces reinforced peer support in professional I-we identities, whereas virtual networks sometimes highlighted participants’ isolation. Moreover, emphasis upon competition within and between teams caused some to question their performance. Often, competition motivated engagement. For less active participants, constant comparison could prove discouraging, particularly if participants felt they had let their colleagues down. Planners of similar programmes must be cognizant of the uneven manner of programme dissemination. Contextual differences at the point of delivery including existing organizational structures and power hierarchies have an impact upon participants’ perceptions of a programme.

Keywords:Physical activity, Sport, Social networks, Figurations, Online intervention, Employment, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:22266
Deposited On:10 Feb 2016 18:00

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