Ethical strategists in Scottish football: The role of social capital in stakeholder engagement

Joshua McLeod*, Andrew Adams, Katherine Sang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Governance and leadership failings have been a common feature of Scottish football (McLeod, 2016). In response, many Scottish football clubs have adopted the approach of an 'ethical strategist' - meaning stakeholder engagement has become central to their strategies (Noland and Phillips, 2010). Such strategies are argued to necessitate sustainability (Mason and Simmons, 2012), but little is known about how they can be implemented effectively. The purpose of this paper is to address that gap and examine how social capital influences the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement-focused strategies in Scottish football. Using a multiple-case study approach, we make two contributions to the literature. First, we add to existing knowledge of how ethical strategists can utilise social capital to achieve strategic success. Second, we make a theoretical contribution to Nahapiet and Ghoshal's (1998) three-dimensional model of social capital by showing how contextual factors influence the interaction process between dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-316
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Business Governance and Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date13 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Board of directors
  • Ethical strategists
  • Football
  • Social capital
  • Stakeholder engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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