July Member Showcase – Dr. Ashley Thompson


I did my undergrad, master’s, and Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa. During my master’s and Ph.D., I focused on understanding organizational change in nonprofit sport organizations in Canada in hopes of helping these organizations better manage change. I also had the opportunity to work on a SSHRC-funded project which set the stage for the research I do now. 


This year, my courses include SPMA 4P25 –  Strategic Alliances, SPMA 2P98 – Sport Event Management, and SPMA 3P98 – Sport Event Critical Issues Management. Strategic alliances is essentially a course about managing a sport organization’s strategy – what is called strategic management. To practice developing and executing a strategy, the students participate in a semester-long simulation called The Business Strategy Game, where they run an athletic show company (think Nike or Adidas) and compete against each other. Sport Event Management introduces students to the world of sport events. We discuss events of all sizes, including small-scale, medium-sized, large-scale, major, and mega events such as the Olympic Games. Students go out into the field and evaluate a sport event themselves, connecting their experiences back to what we learn in the classroom. Finally, Sport Event Critical Issues Management can be considered an advanced course in sport events. The goal of this course is to bridge the gap from the classroom to industry practice; it’s designed for those students looking to work in sport events in the future. 

Research Work/Project

My research focuses on three interrelated streams: governance, strategy, and organizational change. One major project recently concluded was a study focusing on understanding the impacts of certain dynamics on the success or failure of organizational change initiatives. Specifically, the project focused on exploring how culture, politics, capacity, and technology, enabled or constrained (blocked) organizational change from happening. In addition, I was part of a SSHRC-funded project which examined the interrelationship between governance, brand, and social media in Canadian national sport organizations. From a governance standpoint, the project focused on understanding the structure and design of these contemporary sport organizations. 

Are you involved in any clubs/associations?

North American Society for Sport Management; European Association for Sport Management; Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand.

What’s your favourite TV show right now?

Friends, it’s always Friends. Or Suits. 

What are your current hobbies/interests?

I like to be outside and physically active as much as possible. My favourite hobbies include golf, hiking, basketball, and cycling. 

What’s your favourite book?

I don’t know if it’s a favourite, but one book that profoundly impacted me during my graduate studies was “Lean In for Graduates” by Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell. It’s a great book for young professionals – particularly women – entering the workforce. I highly recommend it. 

Categories: Member Showcases