The Kingdom of Saudi Arabias Use of Sports as a Legitimation Strategy

Oliver Ingholt Alminde & Tobias Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to examine how sports can be used as a legitimation strategy and the effectiveness of this strategy. To examine this, a qualitative study of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s use of sports as a legitimation strategy and the effectiveness of this strategy was conducted. However, to examine the effectiveness of the strategy it was necessary to define a target audience. Hence, the effectiveness of the strategy was examined by studying the Western world’s perception of it. The research was solely based on secondary data, which was analyzed using Thematic Network Analysis. The results of the analyses showed how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia uses sports as a legitimation strategy to gain legitimacy by using sports as a means to signal conformity to the ideals, demands, and models of the Western World. However, the Western world predominantly perceives the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s use of sports as a legitimation strategy as an attempt to conceal The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s illegitimate practices and structures. Consequently, the Western world predominantly does not assign The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia legitimacy based on its use of sports as a legitimation strategy, revealing the strategy’s ineffectiveness. The thesis’ results contribute to the existing literature on legitimacy by examining how sports can be utilized as a legitimation strategy and the effectiveness of this strategy. Additionally, the thesis recognizes that the perception of sports as a legitimation strategy, and the strategy’s corresponding effectiveness, depends on the observer's socially constructed value system. Consequently, a limitation of this thesis is the sole examination of the Western world's perception of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s use of sports as a legitimation strategy to determine the strategy’s effectiveness, as it is possible that other audiences have different perceptions of the strategy, potentially affecting the strategy’s general effectiveness.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date15 May 2023
Number of pages125
SupervisorsSven Junghagen