Organisational cultures of two successful Scandinavian handball talent development environments: A comparative case study

Louise Kamuk Storm*, Lars Tore Ronglan, Kristoffer Henriksen, Mette Krogh Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The study explores the organisational cultures of two successful Scandinavian cases in handball to better understand how talent development environments can be different yet successful in developing international elite players within the same sport and sociocultural contexts. A professional club and a volunteer-based club recognised by the national federations for their talent development were selected for the study. Empirical data from four weeks of fieldwork in different settings (e.g., training, school, residence), and semi-structured interviews with different social actors (e.g., players, coaches and managers) were explored and compared through the principles of thematic analysis. Using Schein’s conceptualisation of organisational culture as the theoretical lens for the research, we identified similarities and differences of the talent development structure and culture. Specific for the professional club, coaches selected players who “fitted into their system”, collaborated with the schools to organise the players’ everyday life, the club took responsibility for the players’ wellbeing and established daily routines for the players. In the volunteer-based club, the players took responsibility for their own wellbeing and daily routines and stressed that success is achieved through autonomous decisions, and the coaches’ awareness of player differences was a means for facilitating talent development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Coaching Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)147-169
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Talent development environment
  • athlete development
  • autonomy support
  • cultural leadership
  • holistic ecological approach
  • youth sport


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