Organizational Justice: A Case Study of Female Sport Managers in Morocco

Organizational Justice: A Case Study of Female Sport Managers in Morocco

Kimberley Bodey Bio
Indiana State University



In recent decades, international sport reforms have been undertaken to challenge the status of women, create participation opportunities and increase the number of women in key decision-making positions. Recent social developments in Morocco including a greater number of women in the workplace, delayed marriage, decreased family size, and the new Family Law suggests a lasting change in the status of women has occurred. These notable social and political changes are likely to have a significant effect in the sport environment. Beugre [6] contends in the Spillover Model of Social and Organizational Justice that as social justice changes there is a corresponding change in organizational justice. In the case of female sport managers, as perceptions of fair treatment in society change there is a corresponding change in the perception of fair treatment in the sport environment.

The aim of this study was to examine the issue of fair treatment in women’s sport within the framework of organizational justice. More specifically, to what extent has social change “spilled over” into the sport environment in Morocco. Results indicated institutionalized practices that demonstrate responsiveness to global initiatives in women’s sport, consistency with the adopted new Family Law, and adaptation of the social trend to grant women more discretion in her choice of lifestyle have not occurred. However, there are signs of responsiveness which bodes well for the future.

Social justice refers to perceptions of fairness within a society. Sport is a highly pervasive institution, and it tends to permeate the entire social fabric of any given country. As a result, sport has the unique capacity to provide insight in the perceptions of fair treatment within a society.
In recent decades, international sport reforms have been undertaken to challenge the status of women, create participation opportunities and increase the number of women in key decision-making positions. Recent social developments in Morocco including a greater number of women in the workplace, delayed marriage, decreased family size, and the new Family Law suggests a lasting change in the status of women has occurred. These notable social and political changes are likely to have a significant effect in the sport environment. Beugre [6] contends in the Spillover Model of Social and Organizational Justice that as social justice changes there is a corresponding change in organizational justice. In the case of female sport managers, as perceptions of fair treatment in society change there is a corresponding change in the perception of fair treatment in the sport environment.
The literature suggests individuals evaluate fairness along three dimensions: (a) outcomes received (distributive justice), (b) formal processes used to determine outcomes (procedural justice), and (c) interpersonal treatment received from decision-makers (interactional justice) [21]. The aim of this study was to examine the issue of fair treatment in women’s sport within the framework of organizational justice. More specifically, to what extent has social change “spilled over” into the sport environment in Morocco.


This case study identifies, from the perspective and experience of two female sport managers, the current status of sport in Morocco. Participants were informed the investigation dealt with institutionalized practices which either promote or inhibit sport opportunities in Morocco. During the in-depth interviews respondents were encouraged to provide specific examples of issues and problems they had observed and/or experienced during her career. The underlying goal of the interviews was to understand, from the professional’s perspective, the nature of fair treatment in the sport environment. The following general questions guided the interviews:


  1. Explain your perception of the current status of sport in Morocco.
  2. What are the positive and negative aspects of the sport bureaucracy?
  3. Explain your perception of the current status of women’s sport in Morocco.
  4. Explain the organizational tructure of sport for women in Morocco.
  5. What are the challenges facing women in sport in Morocco?
  6. How has support for women in sport changed over the last 10 years?

Related Literature

To begin this discussion, it is necessary to review the concepts of organizational justice and, specifically, the Spillover Model of Social and Organizational Justice [6]. International effort to promote women in sport and the changing status of women in Morocco are presented next because it is my contention that these endeavors are “spilling over” into the sport environment. Finally, Muslim female sport participation is discussed because to understand the Moroccan sport manager’s experience we must understand the particular context in which she must work.

Organizational Justice

Scholars have shown considerable interest in examining organizational justice. Evidence suggests fair treatment is associated with favorable work attitudes and behaviors as well as higher job performance [4] [21] [48] [65]. However, organizational justice research has focused almost exclusively on Western cultures, specifically the United States. Work conducted elsewhere has explored primarily Asian countries [50], and until recently, few researchers have investigated African nations [6] [37] [42] [46].
James [43] indicated culture imparts important and wide-ranging effects on justice behavior including shaping the likelihood individuals will experience feelings of justice. Other scholars have suggested research on context effect is necessary to understand the role of cultural expectations in justice perceptions, and this may lead to a greater appreciation of the culture itself [33] [43] [57]. Speaking specifically about Africa, Beugre [6, p. 1092] identified two major advantages to conducting justice research: (a) contributes to the growing body of literature on organizational justice and considers the cross-cultural aspects of the concept, and (b) a context specific perspective may serve as a guideline for African managers to create fair working environments. This research is necessary because without it, “it is unlikely that genuine understanding of justice principles and practices will ever arise” [43, p. 44].
Organizational justice pertains to perceptions of fairness in the workplace, and can be discussed in terms of three dimensions: distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice [6] [20] [32]. Among the dimensions, distributive justice appears to be well-defined throughout the literature [19] [34]. However, scholars continue to debate whether procedural justice and interactional justice are different types of justice or merely different dimensions of the same construct. Early theoretical and empirical work treated interactional justice as unique from procedural justice [7] [9]. Later, researchers began to emphasize the similarities between the two types, and resulting empirical work collapsed the two concepts into a single measure [20] [69]. In recent years, the consensus for combining interactional with procedural justice has been called into question [8] [10]. In this paper, interactional justice will be treated as a separate dimension of organizational justice.

Distributive justice. Distributive justice refers to the perceived fairness of outcomes an individual receives [28] [67]. For example, in performance evaluation, distributive justice may be the comparison of specific job appraisal and the resulting change in salary. Several theories may be used to understand how individuals respond to unfair treatment or how individuals bring about equitable distributions of outcomes [18] [32].

Distributive injustice occurs when a person does not get the amount of reward he or she expects in comparison with the reward of his or her counterpart [23]. Scholars have stated when compared to procedural and interactional justice, distributive justice tends to relate more strongly to perceptions of the individual’s supervisor or the organization [29] [49] [65], and perception of unfair outcome distribution may lead to resentment and other forms of negative workplace behavior [33] [34] [44].

Procedural justice

Folger and Cropanzano [28] define procedural justice as the “fairness issues concerning methods, mechanisms, and processes used to determine outcomes” (p. 26). For instance, procedures that grant some control over the process and outcome attainment tend to be perceived by participants as fairer than procedures that deny participants the opportunity to communicate their views and opinions in a decision-making process. Employees are more supportive of decisions, decision-makers and the organizations when procedures are perceived to be fair [7] [11]. Numerous theories are proposed to explain employee’s reactions to outcome allocation as well as dispute resolution procedures [18] [32]. Authors have indicated that when compared to distributive justice, procedural justice impacts perceptions about human resource systems, senior management, and organizations rather than perceptions about specific outcomes [29] [64].

Interactional justice

Interactional justice refers to the quality of the interpersonal interaction between individuals [9]. This type of justice is likely to occur when decision-makers (a) provide subordinates with justifications or explanations, and (b) treat individuals with dignity and respect [12] [34] [69]. Scholars have stated there is a “universal norm” of politeness that determines the level of sensitivity of people’s interactions [60]. If this level is not met, people may feel they have been treated in a disrespectful or unfair manner. Conversely, when employees perceive they have been treated with dignity and respect greater feelings of justice result. When compared to distributive justice, and perhaps procedural justice, interactional justice was found to be a significant predictor of one’s reaction toward his or her supervisor as well as the immediate work environment [54]. The literature indicates that while separate dimensions of organizational justice exist, they work interactively and are associated with a variety of positive work attitudes and behaviors [4] [12] [29] [34].

Spillover model of social and organizational justice.

Using organizational justice concepts found in the literature, Beugre [6] developed the Spillover Model which outlines a relationship between social justice and organizational justice. The author contends that increases in social justice would spillover into the workplace in the form of organizational justice. Beugre [6] writes that if “managers were to respond positively to the quest for social justice by enhancing organizational justice, the subsequent result would be positive at both the individual and organization levels” (p. 1093). Essentially, the positive behaviors, organizational commitment, trust in management and organizational citizenship behavior would lead to higher organizational performance. Conversely, “if management were not to respond to the quest for social justice with increased organizational justice, the resulting individuals outcomes would be high frequency of counterproductive behaviors” (p. 1093). As a result, the outcome for the organization would be lower productivity.

Efforts to Promote Women in Sport

According to the literature, the relationship between men and women in the organization and administration of sport has been a tenuous one [36]. There is a significant imbalance in the placement of men and women in senior management positions in sport organizations [1] [4] [55]. Various organizations have worked tirelessly during the last 30 years, focused on challenging the status of women in sport, creating participation opportunities, and increasing the number of women in key decision-making positions [13] [35] [70]. In the early 1990s, the Islamic Federation of Women’s Sport (formerly Islamic Countries’ Women Sport Solidarity Council) held multiple congresses with representatives from 20 countries to discuss women in sport issues, and successfully implemented the first of four Muslim Women Games [38]. Atlanta Plus, which included women’s groups from France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the United States, lobbied for Olympic delegations which bar women from participating to be excluded from the summer games [58].

In 1994, the First World Brighton (England) Conference on Women, Sport, and the Challenge of Change set the stage for future efforts, and many key equality issues were discussed at subsequent International Conferences for Women and Sport in Lausanne (1996) and Paris (2000). The Third International Conference on Women and Sport, held in Marrakech in 2004, was a recent attempt to change the traditional under-representation of females in sport power positions. Sponsored by the International Olympic Committee and Sport England, the 600 delegates from 137 countries discussed issues related to promotion of women in and through sport including equality of opportunities as athletes and leaders [41]. This approach has been somewhat successful bringing to light disparities, but recent results show the IOC target of 10% of executive decision-making positions on NOCs be held by women has not been achieved [73].

Following the Brighton Conference, African representatives met with the Minister of Youth and Sport in the Republic of Namibia and created a taskforce. The taskforce was charged to create an organization, The African Women in Sport Association, which would provide a forum for women’s sport development in Africa [30]. During the last decade, AWISA has made significant strides. In a recent report, Secretary General Carol Garos outlined changes in 26 African countries. Improvements included creating national councils and associations, and holding subsequent seminars, conventions, congresses and championships. Awareness campaigns focused on women and sport issues were instituted, and in some cases, resulted in bans being lifted and laws changed. Further, organized training programs, workshops and sport activities for women and girls have been realized [72]. Conspicuously absent from the report was documented change in Morocco.

Women and the Moroccan State

Since 1991, there has been widespread debate regarding the status of women in Morocco. Efforts by women’s groups and liberal political forces promoting a modern perspective were vigorously opposed by entrenched conservative and Islamic forces that held fast to traditional views on women in society [52]. Significant social and economic changes have taken place in the last two decades generating a new set of dynamics and allowing new constituencies favoring change to emerge [61].

The population of Morocco is 32.8 million, of which 50.1% are women. The socio-demographic profile of the Moroccan population reveals 56% live in urban areas, rising 3% annually. Between 1995-2002, seven percent of all women 15 years and older were economically active (constituting 26% of all non-agricultural workers). The average age of marriage for urban women is 25 years, significantly older than 17 years reported in earlier decades. Presently, Morocco’s population growth rate is 1.6%, down from a 3% annual rate in the 1960 and 1970s. In terms of family size, the average woman bears three children compared to more than six thirty years ago [5] [26] [31] [51].
Research reveals one in six Moroccan households is headed by a women (22.9% in urban areas; 12% in rural areas) [17]; and in the workplace, 37% of Moroccan service enterprises are run by women, 31% in the trade sector, and 22% in industry [52]. Moroccan women are also becoming more visible as airline pilots, professors, doctors, and even athletes. Morocco was the first Arab country to produce a female Olympic medalist (i.e., Nawal el-Moutawakel – 400h in Los Angeles, 1984). Following the 2002 elections, the new Moroccan parliament includes three female ministers (of 29), the largest number of members to date [52].

Particularly noteworthy are recent changes in the Shari’a-based Personal Status Code (moudawwana). On October 10, 2003, King Muhammad VI formally presented the Moroccan parliament with his plan to replace the moudawwana with a new “modern Family Law” intended to free women from injustice, safeguard children, and protect men’s dignity. Muhammad declared the proposed reform should not be perceived as an indication he favored modern principles over traditional practice but rather as a gain for all Moroccans. Parliament ratified the new legislation in January 2004 [52].

Female Muslim Sport Participation

Although sport scholars have explored the relationship between ethnicity and sport, little can be found in the literature focusing on the sport experience in Africa. Fewer still are writings on the female athlete’s experience. While pertinent information may simply not be in wide circulation, the empirical work available focuses on three areas: (a) Islam, gender, and physical activity; (b) barriers faced by female participants interested in physical activity, and (c) points of entry for physical activity participation. Moreover, the available data regarding participation rate and major competitions is considerably out of date.

There has been extensive debate regarding the position of women in Islam. Some argue, in relation to men, women play a subordinate role, while others contend there is a logic and fair balance between both sexes [22] [63]. In fact, scholars write Muslim women have enjoyed certain rights long before women in the West [25]. These include the right to vote, hold property, and participate in physical activity [27]. The Quran (holy book) and Hadiths (practices and sayings of Prophet Mohammad) encourage physical activity as an important part of personal and spiritual development so long as it is conducted within the framework of Islam [24] [25] [39[45] [63]. Yet scholars have identified many obstacles female athletes face, bound by social customs and taboos (adat), which limit their access to sport [63].

While there are reports of increased involvement of female Muslim athletes, studies indicate significant religious and cultural factors hinder sport participation. Factors include lack of same sex activities and prescribed “acceptable” activities, segregated facilities and coaching staffs, and limitations resulting from modest dress requirements. Other reasons include lack of time, skill, interest, partners, positive experiences, and role models. Some have cited traditional practices such as adherence to parental wishes, abstention from activity during fasting, domestic chores and responsibilities, academic pursuits, early marriage, and safety as barriers to participation [14] [15] [16] [22] [39] [45] [63] [66] [68] [71].

Despite this, there seems to be an increase in the number of legitimate access points for female participants in a variety of Islamic countries [22]. Points of entry include physical education courses, extra-curricular school sports, and organized sport. In most Muslim countries physical education is a compulsory requirement in the primary and secondary school curriculum for boys and girls [63] [74]. However what are less clear, among the various countries, are specific records about program content, participation rates, and instructor qualifications [3] [63] [74]. In terms of extracurricular school sport, several authors report well organized interscholastic activities [47] [74]. At the post secondary level, the overlap between physical education and sport clubs is more apparent [47]. Sfeir [63] writes the link between sport clubs and schools and universities helps to legitimize physical activity was an appropriate outlet for girls. These affiliations buffer conflict with cultural norms because sport is tolerated and accepted when connected with education.
Studies investigating organized sport indicate the most popular team sports among Muslim female athletes are volleyball, basketball, track and field, swimming, gymnastics and team handball [63] [74]. Beyond the Olympic Games, participation in international events is growing at an incremental rate. Popular regional events include African Games, Arab Games, Asian Games, Muslim Women’s Games, and Mediterranean Games. While participation rates remain low (as best we can tell), this growth does suggest the “seeds” of modernization of Muslim women’s sport” have been sewn (p. 288) [63]. Sfeir [63] reports that due to increased globalization there has been a corresponding increase in nationalism in many Islamic countries. This has resulted in more liberal attitudes toward women, and more specifically, their involvement in sport.


This exploratory investigation asked two female sport managers to assess the current status of sport for women in Morocco. Participants were asked to describe the institutionalized practices they had observed or experienced which either promoted or inhibited sport opportunities for women. The primary goal was to understand the manager’s perception of fair treatment in the sport environment.

A convenience sampling was used. At the time of the study, participants were members of the Indiana State University – Morocco Sport Management and Leadership Capacity Enhancement Project. This project aimed to strengthen the administrative and managerial capacity of sport leaders in Morocco. To achieve this objective, ISU, in partnership with La Federation Royale Marocaine de Football, Hassan II University-Mohammedia, and E’cole des Lioceaux de l’Atlas de Football, developed an 18-month certificate-training program for 12 Moroccan sport coaches and administrators. The project management team in collaboration with the US embassy in Morocco selected participants.

The certificate program was delivered in two phases. The first phase was an in-residence Summer Sport Management and Leadership Institute delivered on the ISU campus in Terre Haute, Indiana. The second phase of the program was a series of in-country training workshops conducted at Hassan II University – Mohammedia. The goal of the project was for program participants to then serve as in-country instructors to provide training for Moroccan sport coaches, sport managers and administrators (ISU-Morocco Sport Management and Leadership Capacity Enhancement Project Executive Summary, 2005).

At the time participants were interviewed, each worked in different cities. This representation helped insure the research patterns reported represented diverse experiences in the sport environment. Respondent A was a professor of physical education and had nearly 15 years experience coaching women’s soccer. Respondent B was a former national swimming trainer with nine years of experience. Each interview consisted of approximately six semi-structured questions covering topics such as the organizational structure of women’s sport, challenges faced by women, and changes that have occurred in women’s sport during the last ten years. The investigator attempted to create an environment where a free-flowing discussion of women’s sport issues could take place without strict adherence to the order and working of the interview items [62]. Follow-up probes were used to identify additional issues not previously discussed.

Interviews were digitally recorded and lasted one hour. A note log was developed following each interview outlining major issues/themes suggested by the participants. Interviews were subsequently transcribed. The initial analysis of data was guided by interview questions. However, since the questions were purposely designed to be broad and open-ended, the investigator worked through the interview data identifying particular themes discussed by respondents. Using the concepts of social and organizational justice, results were interpreted to better understand perceptions of fair
treatment in the sport environment.


This case study identifies, from the perspective and experience of two female sport managers, fair treatment in women’s sport in Morocco. Generally speaking, the participants were enthusiastic and had a strong desire to be heard. Respondents were eager to participate in training seminars and had articulated a willingness to share information with colleagues in the field. These sport managers were aware of international efforts and were proud the most recent International Conference on Women and Sport was convened in country. Participants were also aware of the current changes in the status of women in Morocco. They noted that while change was good for the country a fair amount of tension and resistance exists when cultural tradition gives way to modern practice. When asked their perceptions of how institutionalized practices either promote or inhibit sport opportunities for women in Morocco, three key themes emerged: political capacity, inequity, and support.


Political Capacity

Political capacity involves participant’s beliefs they are in a position to facilitate or at least encourage change. The two women expressed a level of frustration about the current political climate, stating, “We are in the beginning…there are no women in the ministry before (now) so it is very difficult…”. They expanded on this suggesting the need for women in the ministry of sport asserting, “If we had women in the ministries that this would be a good idea”. There was an expressed need for greater political support and commitment, “We need a clear policy and management so that we can have women’s sport. We need a policy for (women) from government”.
The ministry of sport is part of the government and reflects at a lesser level the recognition of the changing role of women in the Moroccan culture. Where there is growth in the commercial sector for women there is little evidence of change in the sport political sector, “we don’t have a political spot for women, we only have political spots for men” and “We can’t talk about the politics of sport in Morocco for women”.

There is an understanding that women in Moroccan sport are in the early stages of ascendancy, “We are in the beginning…it is very difficult…”. Yet, they have found champions in other women with political power, “We have some princesses and they encourage sport (for) women”, and they felt the princesses were accessible suggesting, “If we appeal to her then maybe she can help”. They also recognized the need to build a political base, “We want to have good plans and (sport) associations and to talk to the government, we need to be political”.

The development of a culture of sport management for women resides near the top of their concerns for political capacity. It was apparent that education and government support were perceived as equally important if sport for women is to grow. This is reflected in comments such as “we need to study sport management for women in (universities) and small associations” and “have more support from government to have more training”. Of similar importance was the recognition that grassroots training is essential with the need to “go to the small associations…to tell them that they can be good in management” and “that they can be independent” and “that they can be more creative”.


Inequity refers to perceived disparities in the sport environment. The sport managers in this study were disappointed with the available participation opportunities, stating, “There is no selection for sports (for women) in the University”. They suggested there was a link between participation opportunities and access to facilities, “With the team that I managed…we have no programs, (men) have the facilities and they can play any time”. Further, there is a larger problem of inadequate sport specific facilities, “Swimming is much harder than other sports like soccer because we can find a field and we can find a ball and we can play, but without a swimming pool you cannot play”.

There is a perception that women’s sport is a national issue, and responsibility is situated at the highest levels, “It is the government and the federation who have to give us some help for these experiences”. They believe governmental support for women’s sport participation ought to be provided on a level comparable to men, “Women and men can have the same budgets and facilities”. Yet this is not the case, comments such as “we need programs”, “they can play anytime”, and “It is very hard to find the swimming pool throughout the year because we need money for swimming and swimming pools” indicate a bias in access and resources exist.

There is concern among the women that withholding support is a means of control, stating, “the small associations who have been created recently need some support, and (the federation doesn’t) do anything for them”. There is an overt attempt by those in power to suppress awareness of women’s sport activities, “They never deliver the matches… in the media, the TV, the newspaper…for women to see that women can play soccer and they can run and jump just as much as men. This never happens…” as well as actions intended to limit actual participation, “Last year we had a national championship for women…every club and association…participated. This year the federation told us that just associations or clubs that have money can participate…if not, you cannot participate”.

A more covert attempt to block women’s sport development is seen in the lack of positions available for women in sport management, “There are lots of opportunities but only for men”. This awareness comes from personal experience, “I want to talk about a big problem that we have in the ministry. We have a training that lasts four years and after that we have no job. This is a big problem because our country needs coaches, and we don’t have the opportunity to do that…”. The women were troubled by this turn of events because they see themselves as worthy of respect and fair treatment, “How can this country think about sport if they don’t think about us? They don’t give (female sport managers) opportunities or help”. Yet they admit this is nothing new, “women are not encouraged by men in the profession”, and “We’ve had this problem for nine years and this is a big problem”.


Support focuses on perceptions of encouragement and assistance. There is a feeling of dissatisfaction with what is perceived to be second class status. This is reflected in comments like, “They don’t think about women’s sport.”, and “Women come every time in second place or second-level behind men in Morocco”. They acknowledge rare opportunities for women’s participation to be promoted, “We do not see or listen to things about women…just when it is a big event like Olympic Games or championship, then you can hear someone talking about the woman that year”. However, they were frustrated by the general attitude of indifference, “They have this idea in their mind (men’s) soccer is the last one for animation. They think oh yes maybe we will have some girls, but they don’t think about the planning for the annual decision…they don’t plan for women’s soccer”. And, this mindset is reflected in lackluster promotional attempts, “for the final of the (women’s) national championship there were 15 or 20 people watching because no one knew about (the championship game)…and at the last moment television came to take some pictures and do some advertisements”.

There is the belief that given the opportunity, female sport managers could demonstrate their capacity to develop women’s sport. This is reflected in statements such as “we can give the opportunity only to women to manage the sports” and “we can give the responsibilities to women to prove that we can do this in this place, in this post”. Within the sport hierarchy, they would be strong advocates for women’s rights, “we can speak about the way that we could do this in the media”, and acknowledge those that provide support, “We will speak all the time about the people in the department who give the opportunities”.

This advocacy would benefit women throughout the country, “We should be able to do this for women in sports and people in Morocco”. Women can have positions “not only in government but also in sport”. And female sport managers will serve as role models, “I speak not only about sport but of management and other things and that you would be able to see the effects…if we have women in sports and they can be anywhere”. They have already begun their campaign, “I am here as a representative to speak for women”.

However, they acknowledge a strong cultural tendency to protect women remains. There are barriers to be overcome, “we have to work hard in our country because we have many traditions, perspectives”. Like in many parts of the world, there is a tendency to protect daughters, “(Parents) came and saw all the girls playing soccer with the coach and all the staff and they did not accept that.”, and wives, “her husband doesn’t give permission to work”. An additional barrier is the lack of female and male mentors, “there are no older women managers”, and “(Men) don’t want to share the information”. However, despite these difficulties, they are strong in their conviction,
We speak for all Moroccan population, do not accept this, we need to change the model…the government should give parity for women, for the coaches, and the players…to have a good bureaucracy, good promotions, and organize the championships…to give us money in order to meet our needs…this would be good for our daughters.

As a result, the female sport managers in this study were willing to share their perceptions of fair treatment with those who would listen.

Discussion and Conclusions

The aim of this study was to examine the issue of fair treatment in women’s sport within the framework of organizational justice. More specifically, to what extent has social change “spilled over” into the sport environment in Morocco. Organizational justice is important because perceptions of fairness can be a source of conflict. Positive justice beliefs may lead to greater cooperation [56] and positive work attitudes and behaviors [60]. According to Konovsky [48], considerations of fairness are appealing because this unifying value has the potential to bind social groups together and create stable environments.
Beugre [6] contends employee behavior is shaped by the social context in what an organization operates. Similarly, sport’s permeable nature suggests it will reflect aspects of the society in which it is conducted. According to the Spillover Model, social justice will lead to organizational justice. Social changes such as increased democracy, rule of law and political governance would spillover into the workplace, and the presence of organizational justice would result in greater satisfaction, commitment, trust and organizational citizenship behavior. These outcomes would be positive at the individual and organizational levels [6].

In Morocco, social change reflected in the willingness to host an international conference on women and sport, the new Family Law, and the elevated status of women would spillover into the sport environment. The presence of organizational justice would be indicated by institutionalized practices that demonstrate responsiveness to global initiatives in women’s sport, consistency with the adopted new Family Law, and adaptation of the social trend to grant women more discretion in her choice of lifestyle. These outcomes would be positive at both the individual and collective sport level. The perception of fair treatment in the sport environment can be discussed along the three dimensions of organizational justice.

Distributive Justice.

Distributive justice, or perceived fairness of outcomes an individual receives, was seen as an issue in the sport environment. Equity theory [2] and relative deprivation theories [53] involve individual comparison of outcomes with significant others. When an individual does not receive outcomes he or she expects in relation to counterparts distributive injustice occurs. In this case, respondents spoke about the need for women’s sport programs, facilities and resources. Further, despite formal training opportunities, few professional positions for women in sport management exist. Presently, women in favor of sport development are placed in high government positions (e.g., ministers, princesses), yet there are no women in senior positions within the sport hierarchy. This is problematic because while support exists there is no clear policy to provide direction or individuals in a position to implement policy directives. We may conclude, in the sport environment, women are not attaining outcomes comparable to men.


Procedural Justice

Procedural justice refers to the processes used to determine outcomes. The participants indicated that given the opportunity, women could demonstrate their capacity to develop women’s sport. Although the reality is they need training and mentorship in order to develop critical management skills, and adequate representation in the media to overcome traditional barriers. Further, women need to be placed within the sport hierarchy. In senior management positions, female sport managers would be better positioned to guide policy development, facilitate grassroots effort, and manage the planning and promotion of large scale sporting events for women. According to the informed self-interest model [18], when individuals have to cooperate with others to achieve outcomes, their focus shifts way from possessing decision control (e.g., choice in a system) to possessing process control (e.g., voice in a system). In this case, the respondents indicated a strong political base is needed (e.g., voice) to overcome bias in the allocation of resources as well as overt and covert attempts to restrict sport development for women.

Interactional Justice

Interactional justice pertains to perceptions of interpersonal treatment. Martin [53] reported that under some conditions, disadvantaged group members, especially those whose ideology did not justify their low status position, would compare themselves with members of a higher status group and find inter-group inequality to be “expected, dissatisfying, and unjust” (p. 316). The perception of being inferior or possessing second class status is evident in this case. Respondents discussed being frustrated with what they believed was an attitude of indifference toward women’s sport. A position and attitude they believe to be unjustified. They were adamant that a change in the current status of women’s sport (i.e., “we need to change the model”) is warranted and are willing to enthusiastically champion its cause.

The Spillover Model suggests social justice will lead to organizational justice. In Morocco, the presence of organizational justice would be reflected in institutionalized practices that demonstrate responsiveness to global initiatives in women’s sport, consistency with the adopted new Family Law, and adaptation of the social trend to grant women more discretion in her choice of lifestyle. While the Women and Sport Progress Report [72] shows significant changes across Africa, none have been documented in Morocco. However, Morocco willingness to host the International Conference on Women and Sport does show an awareness of this issue which may be the first step in responsiveness. Institutionalized practices which demonstrate consistency with the new Family law do not yet exist. While there is support in high levels of government, political positions and tangible resources have not yet been allocated for women’s sport. Perhaps this is because the change in legislation has only recently occurred and key initiatives promoting equality may not be fully implemented. Finally, it does not appear that sport has adapted to social trends. There are few opportunities for women in sport management, and a strong mindset of protectiveness or indifference remains.

The Moroccan sport environment does not yet reflect the changes occurring in the larger social context. A spillover has not occurred. Perhaps, however, given the support of key women in government and initial signs of responsiveness, we may construe a trickle has started. And therefore, reason to believe there is hope for the future.


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Kimberly J. Bodey Ph.D. Bio
Kimberly J. Bodey is an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation and Sport Management at Indiana State University. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in administrative theory and management practice, organizational leadership and ethics, and policy development and governance in recreation and sport management. Her research interests include how governance structure impacts ethical decision making and practice in sport organizations. Currently, she is working on special projects related to management theory, policy development and governance with sport administrators and educators in Morocco and Cyprus.


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