Creating public value through parasport events: enabling progressive opportunity

Gayle McPherson, Laura Misener, David McGillivray, David Legg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
    173 Downloads (Pure)


    The hosting of major events presents an opportunity to shape public policy and potentially enable social change. Herein, we discuss two different parasport events, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Parapan American Games that espoused a philosophy of social inclusion and creating social change in sport for persons with disabilities as an outcome of the events. We contend that, as in wider policies for sport, social inclusion has been more illusory than real, sometimes based on increases in facility usage rather than necessarily developing a broader base of participation. Such outcomes stand in contrast to Bozeman and Johnson’s (2015) criteria for public value enabling ‘progressive opportunity to ensure that members of society have equal access to achieve goals they have set for themselves’ (p. 62). We argue that the two parasport events were used by policy makers to demonstrate meaningful avenues to social inclusion, social change and how those in public policy positions have the power to influence and create potential. We examine key policies and policy decision-maker’s perspectives, utilising Bozeman’s theory on progressive opportunity, regarding the value of two major para sport events in creating social change for persons with disabilities. We conclude that Bozeman’s model of progressive opportunity allows for a more sustainable model for bringing the interests of the market and government agencies together to lead to foreseeable and sustainable social change. Notwithstanding, a clear understanding that policy makers need to realise that structural and societal change will not necessarily happen during the lifecycle of Games time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-199
    Number of pages15
    JournalEvent Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


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