Thesis on Sporting Apparel

Sporting goods and apparel are the products most often presumed to be promoted through the vehicle of women’s sports. As consumers, women are known to make the majority of apparel purchases and recently have been found to comprise a large segment of the sporting goods consum­ers.

For example, Anne Flannery, the Manager of Spalding women’s Sports Division, found that women make 70% of the sporting goods decisions in this country. Many experts believe women represent a unique marketing opportunity because they buy for themselves, and they buy for their children and spouses.

All regions of the country are targeted by the typical corporation sponsoring women’s sport. However, the specific regions most often targeted appeared to bathe East and the West. This may be explained by the population density on both coasts. The marketing may appear to be focused more in these directions, simply because there are more people to target.

The recent growth in sponsorship of volleyball can be related to the development of beach volleyball. Tour promoters have indicated that corporate sponsorship has continued to increase resulting in more events, partici­pants, spectators, prize money, and sponsorship dollars. In addition, the 1996 Olympic Games will include beach volleyball as a medal sport.

This recogni­tion has helped establish beach volleyball as a legitimate and lucrative activity worthy of the sponsorship dollars and attention realized by other professional sports. In the collegiate segment, women’s basketball has experienced tremendous growth in attendance and media exposure. Indicators from the previous NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four tournaments show that growth and interest are continuing.

The event has already been sold out, one year in advance, for the 1995-1996 season, in addition, CBS sold the television rights for the Cabwomen’s Basketball Final Four to ESPN for $19 million. In the past, CBS has covered a few select games of the women’s tournament including the women’s championship. However, their efforts were more directed towards the Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship tournament. With ESPN covering the entire women’s tournament, sponsors will no longer compete for viewers on the same network that simultaneously covers the men’s tournament.

Thesis on Family Systems Approach

Family systems theory fits in the general systems theory, an approach that has been used mostly in the area co-counseling. Family systems theory views the individual as an organization of biological, psychological, and social components. Family systems theory posits that the family functions as an organizational system in which each family member affects and is affected by the others.

Each family member must be viewed in the context of his other life. This is similar to social learning theory and the social role-social system approach which utilizes both psychological and sociological variables in explaining behaviors. Social learning theory believes that social context interacts with an individual’s personal attributes in the process of learning a specific social role.

In the context of the family system, there are certain properties characterizing the system, one of which is wholeness. Wholeness refers to the relationship between family members. The behavior of each family member is related to and dependent on the behavior of all the others.

According to this concept, parents who participate in sport and fitness activities can serve as role models for children within the family context. These children should be more likely to be involved in similar activities than those who do not have such role models within the family context. Another property of the family as a system is feedback.

Feedback is the interactional process among the members of the family. Feedback can be either negative or positive. Negative feedback is the information that comes into the system and is used to maintain the status quo. Deviation in the system is corrected and prevented so that equilibrium is restored.

Positive feedback forces a system to change and prevents the system from returning to its previous state. In the process of socializing children into sport and fitness activity, encouragement and discouragement that children receive for participation from other family members, especially parents, reflect the feedback property of the family system.

It is the nature of the system’s organization and the interactional process that determines the results of the system. Relative to the study of sport socialization within the family context, it is meaningful to look at the influences of family socioeconomic factors, family structure, parents’ role models, and reinforcement patterns simultaneously.

Thesis on Social Role-Social System

The social learning framework utilizes both psychological and sociological variables in explaining behaviors and believes that social context interacts within an individual’s personal attributes in the process of learning a specific social role. Based on the social learning theory, sport sociologists have adopted the social role-social system framework which utilizes both personal and environmental variables in the study of sport socialization.

Specifically, sports role learning can be studied by looking at the influence of three factors, namely socialization situations, social agents (significant others), and the personal attributes of the socializee. This approach speculates that “role learning is accounted for by exposure of the role learner, who is already characterized by a set of physical and psychological traits, to a variety of stimuli and reinforcements provided by significant others” (e.g., parents, peers, coaches, teachers, professional athletes), “who act within one or more norm-encumbered social systems”  (e.g., family, church, community, peer group, or mass media).

Furthermore, within each social system, these significant others have the potential to facilitate or inhibit role learning depending on unique values, norms, sanctions, and opportunity sets. The socialization process is also influenced by a number of macro and micro-system factors, such as the dominant ideology within a given society, social class background, ethnicity, religion, gender, place, and type of residence, and age.

Therefore, the social role-social system model operates on a micro (individual and group) and macro (societal and cultural) levels and includes variables at both levels in its analysis of sport socialization. In the social role-social system framework, the family is considered a legitimate social system of socialization. In order to understand how the family functions in socializing its members, a brief review of family system theory is presented in the next section. The review provides a theoretical base for examining family as a significant context in which socialization occurs.

Thesis on Social Learning Theory

The social learning theory has been the theoretical foundation for the majority of studies on sport socialization. To date, this perspective has been the most popular and most productive framework in both theory and empirical findings. In an effort to explain why people behave as they do, social learning theory emphasizes the prominent roles played by vicarious, symbolic, and self-regulatory processes in psychological functioning.

Human thought, affect, and behavior can be markedly influenced by observation, as well as by direct experience. Observational learning and modeling are vital for the social transmission process in which the language, lifestyles, and institutional practices of a culture are taught to new members. According to social learning theory, modeling influences produce learning principally through their informative function.

During exposure, observers acquire mainly symbolic representations of the modeled activities. The capacity to use symbols provides humans with a powerful means of interacting with their environment. Through verbal and imagined symbols people process and preserve experiences and representational forms that serve as guides for appropriate performance and future behavior.

In addition to the real models, such as parents and peers, the abundant and diverse symbolic modeling provided in television and other audio-visual displays is also an influential source of social learning. Social learning theory also emphasizes the prominent role of self-regulatory processes. People are not simple reactors to external influences. Individuals process and interpret the environment, and can exercise some influence over their own behavior.

Self-influence, therefore, partly determines which actions one performs. To be sure, the self-regulatory functions are created and occasionally supported by external influences. According to this theory, most behavior, including the learning of specific social roles, is acquired by observing the behavior of significant others, or role models, and regulated by reinforcement contingencies. One’s cultural background alone is “insufficient to explain the varied socialization outcomes that typically exist even in relatively homogeneous sub-cultures.

These differences occur because organizational prescriptions for conduct must be implemented by parents and other societal agents. For instance, “parents who, for whatever reason, do not subscribe to organizational sanction codes of behavior, and who themselves display deviant characteristics, generally produce children who are also deviant”. In most cases, the environment and personal determinants are only potential influences on behavior until actualized by appropriate actions.

Thus, behavior partly determines which of the many potential influences will come into play and what forms they will take; environmental influences, in turn, partly determine what types of behavior are developed and activated.