‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!’ The Development of the Sport and Physical Activity Value (S&PAVAL) Model for use in the Leisure Industry

  • Paula Kearns

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Physical inactivity has been recognised as one of the 21st Century’s contemporary public health issues (WHO, 2009). Given the prevalence of inactivity among the adult population, it is anticipated that the greatest public health benefits will come from decreasing the number of individual living a sedentary lifestyle. The physical inactivity status-quo is not therefore acceptable, as Henry Ford once said ‘if we keep on doing what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got’. It is therefore essential that new thinking, from a different perspective is needed to readdress the general participation apathy and inequalities that exist (Fahey et al., 2004; Sport England, 2009; Sport Scotland, 2006; Sports Council for Wales, 2005).This research is central to this ‘new thinking’. This thesis represents the first examination of the value construct as it pertains to the consumption of sport and physical activity which contributes a more developed understanding of the consumption values that underpin an active adult’s participation. Whilst, the antecedents and determinants of an individual’s participation in sport and physical activity have been considered from a range of academic perspectives. A review and synthesis of theories and models from the fields of leisure studies, behavioural psychology and consumer behaviour identified a significant gap in the extant literature which related to expectancy-value process underpinning the concept of exchange and the importance of value of outcomes to the adoption of a healthy behaviour, such as physical activity.Despite the emerging importance of value as an incentive for customers to perform desired behaviours, there is little research that considers value or value creation from a sport and physical activity context or indeed from the participant’s perspective. In exploring the consumer value construct, a social marketing perspective was adopted as its central tenet is to achieve a voluntary, not forced or coerced, behaviour change. In this regard participation in sport and physical activity was viewed as consumer behaviour, here physically active adults are consumers, and exercise is an offering in an already crowded market place, where value expectations influence an individual’s health behaviour intentions.The boundary of knowledge this thesis contributes to is a deeper and more meaningful understanding of customer value in a sport and physical activity setting. One of the key theoretical contributions is the creation of the original Sport & Physical Activity Value (S&PAVAL) Model, which is comprised of 8-consumption values : Physical Environment – ambiance (0.77), Physical Environment – surroundings (0.68), Altruistic Value, Benefits of Exercise (0.67), Quality of Service Experience (0.62), Cost of Exercise (0.60), Fun & Enjoyment Value (0.58) and Social Value (0.50), which informed by both theoretical and empirical considerations defines the dimensions of consumer value in a sport and physical activity setting. The study makes a second original contribution by offering the first examination of gender, age and social status as it pertains to consumer value theory and reveals that active adults consumption values differ with gender, age and social class. Following Sheth & Uslay (2007, p.303) called for marketers to use the value creating paradigm to ‘reach beyond value in exchange and even value in use’ to think about other types of value, a third significant contribution is made as insights gained from the study questions the simplicity of value being conceived as an either (value-in-exchange) or (value-in-use) concept and proposes that the multi-dimensional nature of consumer value may be better conceptualised as a value continuum. The final theoretical contribution this thesis makes is the development of the S&PAVAL Consumption Process Model which through the consolidation and synthesis of the three distinct literature strands (leisure studies, behavioural psychology and consumer behaviour) represents the re-conceptualisation of the consumption process through the common perspective of the 8-consumption values as ‘facilitators’ to participation, as ‘triggers’ for behaviour change and finally as ‘sources of value’.The boundary of management practise this thesis contributes too is the skilful application of the S&PAVAL consumption values to the design of products, services and offerings that entice and motivate individuals to become more physically active. The S&PAVAL Model is a significant contribution towards understanding what ‘it’ is that adult’s value from being physically active, it also allows policy-makers and leisure providers to present physical activity opportunities to both new and existing audiences that add value and make sense in individual everyday life (Holt, 2003; Zainuddin et al., 2011; Andreasen, 2012). Value creation is a central marketing concept which has been under investigated in general (Hunt, 1999) and not at all within a sport and physical activity setting. In this regard, the S&PAVAL Value Creation Framework and S&PAVAL Consumption Process Model both represent significant and ground breaking advancements regarding understanding how, through a service providers interaction with its customers, value can be co-created at various stage of the consumption experience (Russell-Bennett et al., 2009; Zainuddin et al., 2008; 2011) by translating the mindset of value creation and co-creation of value into the sport and physical activity setting for the first time. The final practitioner contribution is in terms of customer insight, by fully comprehending how gender, age and social status modify the S&PAVAL consumption values this extends practitioners understanding of sporting behaviours and attitudes, which in turn can be used to develop more effective targeted communications through an understanding of what messages adults will identify with in order to embrace encourage, and maintain a physically active lifestyle.
Date of AwardMay 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of South Wales
SupervisorHeather Skinner (Supervisor)


  • Exercise
  • Health aspects
  • Physical fitness
  • Academic theses
  • lcgft

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