Building public health capacity through organizational change in the sport system: A multiple-case study within Australian gymnastics

Publication Name

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Sports clubs increasingly are settings for health promotion initiatives. This study explored organizational change processes and perceived facilitators and barriers relevant to implementing a health promotion initiative within gymnastics settings in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A multiple-case design investigated the experiences of the state association (Gymnastics NSW) and five clubs from one region of NSW in a participatory Health-Promoting Gymnastics Clubs (HPGC) program. The program aimed to build the capacity of Gymnastics NSW to support affiliated clubs to become health-promoting settings. Interviews with organizational representatives explored their experiences of the program and identified factors that enabled or inhibited program adoption, implementation and sustainability. Facilitators and barriers identified included leadership and cham-pions; organizational capacity and culture; priorities and timing; and characteristics of the HPGC framework. This multi-level, organizational change intervention demonstrated potential to create health-promoting gymnastics settings. Tailoring strategies in diverse club contexts required involvement of organizational leaders in program development and action planning. Despite positive impacts, pre-existing organizational culture inhibited integration of health promotion as a core value. Sustained organizational change may result from professional regulatory requirements (e.g., accreditation and affiliation), and policy directives and funding (for organizational change, not program delivery) from relevant government departments.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



Link to publisher version (DOI)