Categorizing Behavioral and Formed Concepts in Sports Marketing Research

Tobias Müller*, Florian Schuberth, Jörg Henseler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Sports marketing and sponsorship research is located at the intersection of behavioral and design research, which means that it analyzes the current world and shapes a future world. This dual focus poses challenges for formulating and testing theories of sports marketing. Design/methodology/approach: This article develops criteria for categorizing theoretical concepts as either behavioral or formed as different ways of expressing ideas of sports marketing research. It emphasizes the need for clear concept categorization for proper operationalization and applies these criteria to selected theoretical concepts of sports marketing and sponsorship research. Findings: The study defines three criteria to categorize theoretical concepts, namely (1) the guiding idea of research, (2) the role of observed variables, and (3) the relationship among observed variables. Applying these criteria to concepts of sports marketing research manifests the relevance of categorizing theoretical concepts as either behavioral or formed to operationalize concepts correctly. Originality/value: This study is the first in sports marketing to clearly categorize theoretical concepts as either behavioral or formed, and to formulate guidelines on how to differentiate behavioral concepts from formed concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-329
Number of pages20
JournalInternational journal of sports marketing & sponsorship
Issue number2
Early online date6 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2024


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Behavioral concept
  • Emergent variable
  • Composite model
  • Measurement
  • Latent variable
  • Formed concept


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