About the Project
Research objective 1: Provincial sport organisations’ relationships with their national superiors
(1) Characteristics and nature of the relationships/conflict;
(2) Contributory factors to the cooperation or conflict;
(3) Initiatives to alleviate the conflict or improve the harmony;
(4) Impact of the relationships/conflict on provincial sport organisations and teams.
Research objective 2: Provincial sport organisations’ elite sport strategy and sport prioritisation approaches
(1) Evidence of any prioritisation strategy amid all sports and types of sports prioritised;
(2) Endogenous factors considered for the strategy/selection;
(3) Exogenous factors considered for the strategy/selection;
(4) Impact of the strategy and evidence of and spurs for any changes.
The theory of interorganisational relationships (Parmigiani & Rivera-Santos, 2011) and interorganisational conflict (Das & Teng, 2000; Lumineau, Eckerd & Handley, 2015) will act as the main theoretical gateway directing the exploration of Objective 1, while Porter’s (1990, 1998, 2008) models on strategic planning and competitive advantage including the diamond model will underlie Objective 2.
A comparative case study research design (Camel, 1999) will be adopted and three provinces will be selected based on their significance (Denscombe, 2007) and representativeness (Stake, 1995) and the researchers’ ‘convenience and feasibility’ (Denscombe, 2007, p. 41). Data will be sourced from both semi-structured interviews (15-25, including 5-6 for each provincial-level organisation) and documents. Qualitative data collected will be subject to thematic analysis (Patton, 2002). Themes will correspond to the research questions and interview themes identified, espoused by Ryan and Bernard’s (2003) theme generation methods.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required (for this specific project, at least 7.0 overall and 6.0 in writing with 7.5 overall and 6.5 in writing preferred – Academic Test rather than General Training Test).
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
• A certain level of proficiency in Chinese writing, reading and speaking.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g., SF20/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Open
Start Date: October 2020 or March 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.
Enquiries can be directed to Dr Jinming Zheng (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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3. Zheng, J., Tan, T. C., & Bairner, A. (2019). Responding to globalisation: The case of elite artistic
gymnastics in China. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 54(5), 536-556.
4. Tan, T. C., Zheng, J., & Dickson, G. (2019). Policy transfer in elite sport development: The case of elite
swimming in China. European Sport Management Quarterly, 1-21.
doi:10.1080/16184742.2019.1572768. (SSCI). (Corresponding author).
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2012: A national team perspective. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 34(12), 1247-
1274. doi:10.1080/09523367.2018.1432599. (SSCI).
7. Zheng, J., & Chen, S. (2016). Exploring China’s success at the Olympic Games: A competitive
advantage approach. European Sport Management Quarterly, 16(2), 148-171.
8. Peng, Q., Skinner, J., Houlihan, B., Kihl, L., & Zheng, J. (Under Review). Towards understanding
change-supportive organizational behaviour in China: A qualitative investigation of the 2015 Chinese
national football reform. European Sport Management Quarterly. (SSCI).
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