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Fair play and team spirit: what entrepreneurs and athletes can learn from each other

13 April 2018 | By:
EBS Institute presents first values study

At the beginning of this year, the EBS Universität published its Values Study for 2017, together with the Values Foundation and with the support of the Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe (German Sports Aid Foundation). Researchers at the Strascheg Institute for Innovation, Transformation & Entrepreneurship (SITE) investigated and compared the personal values of athletes and founders. It emerged that both groups have a similar set of values but can still learn from each other in crucial areas.

The researchers asked themselves what athletes and founders have in common, what distinguishes them from each other and what influence values have on personal success. In a standardized survey of 641 athletes and 237 founders, they inquired into a total of 19 values and also examined team trust as a key factor for entrepreneurs and athletes alike. It turned out that performance and responsibility are among the top 4 values for both entrepreneurs and athletes. For the most successful participants in the study, values are generally a central aspect. Therefore, conveying values with regard to personal success is of particular importance.

Due to the similarities between successful entrepreneurs and top athletes regarding their personal values, in this respect athletes have favourable conditions for a subsequent career as entrepreneurs. But what else can both groups learn from each other? Athletes can teach entrepreneurs how to act within defined “rules of the game”, while entrepreneurs can introduce athletes to self-determined thinking and acting. Sporting fair play, designed for long-term competition with frequent contacts to opponents, is a valuable stimulus for entrepreneurs.

“Due to a similar value structure, there is potential for fruitful cooperation between entrepreneurs and athletes with regard to joint educational initiatives, which deal in particular with performance and competition-related topics,” according to Christoph Schneider, Research Director in the field of Innovation Management at SITE. The value study is the first scientific survey within the scope of cooperation between the Values Foundation and the EBS. The researchers are currently planning two further studies. The current study focuses on the perception of personal values in the age of digital communication, focusing in particular on the question of whether and to what extent values are perceived differently through the use of digital communication media such as e-mail, instant messaging, audio and video messages.

Further information on the Values Foundation: http://www.wertestiftung.org/

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