Research Feature with Dr. Daniel Wigfield | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Research Feature with Dr. Daniel Wigfield

Posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2024

Dr. Daniel Wigfield

Dr. Daniel Wigfield is a distinguished scholar in sport and recreation management, currently serving as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the International Institute of Sport Business and Leadership (IISBL) at the University of Guelph. He earned his PhD from the University of Waterloo, where his dissertation examined how amateur sport organizations outside federated systems establish and maintain legitimacy. He also holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management from Brock University, where he explored brand associations of minor hockey tournaments from the perspective of rep hockey parents.

Academic Background

Dr. Wigfield has collaborated with notable organizations such as Canada Basketball and the Canadian Paralympic Committee, contributing to strategy development, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives, and social media marketing. His research has attracted significant funding and resulted in 15 peer-reviewed publications. He works under the supervision of Dr. Ann Pegoraro, the Lang Chair in Sport Management, director of IISBL, and co-director of the National Network for Research and Gender Equity in Canadian Sport. The IISBL is a global leader in sport business research, aiming to connect academics and industry experts to advance the Canadian sport landscape through a focus on equity, diversity, and impactful research.

SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship Project

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, athlete participation in sports organizations across Canada has rebounded, but the return of volunteers and resources has not kept pace. This disparity has compelled many sport organizations to do more with less, risking a decline in sport participation and its broader health and social benefits. Inspired by these challenges, Dr. Wigfield's SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship Project aims to assess the recovery of Canadian sports organizations, from community to high performance, since the pandemic. By conducting case studies on sports with varying popularity and participation, Dr. Wigfield seeks to identify differing organizational strategies, their impact on popularity, and management approaches. The insights from these case studies will inform a national survey targeting parents to gauge their children's sport experiences and any changes noticed since the pandemic. This research aims to distill best practices, enhancing sport experiences across the Canadian sport system.

Other Research Areas

Dr. Wigfield is also interested in the success of countries like Norway, Finland, and New Zealand, which use sport structures that prioritize participation and the development of key athletic skills, such as coordination, over competition and high performance. He believes these examples offer valuable insights for diversifying sport strategies and balancing high performance with recreational engagement. Addressing the sports industry's reputation for slow adoption of change and innovation, Dr. Wigfield explores how amateur sport organizations can leverage AI and data analytics to improve operations and constituent experiences. At IISBL, he contributes to projects that enhance organizations' data-based decision-making capabilities. Additionally, Dr. Wigfield is committed to supporting local groups, such as the Guelph Minor Hockey Association and Guelph Girls Hockey Association, by assisting with strategy development and capacity building to ensure they deliver the best experiences to their community.

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