Theory of Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SPLISS)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The elite sports policies of nations have one common aim: to perform successfully against the best athletes, mostly during international competitions. In spite of increasing competition and high investments in elite sports systems by many countries, an optimum strategy for delivering international success is still unclear and complicated to realize. This makes it difficult for sports managers and policy makers to prioritize and to make the right choices in elite sports policy. In this chapter, we present an overview and account of the development of a conceptual framework: the Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success, also known as the SPLISS model (De Bosscher, De Knop, van Bottenburg, & Shibli, 2006). This model is the result of joint efforts of a consortium group of international researchers established in 2002. That group wanted to develop a model that could be used by policy makers and high performance managers to compare and benchmark nations in elite sport; to measure the performances of their organizations; and to evaluate the effectiveness of national elite sport policies (De Bosscher et al., 2006). The model was subsequently tested in an empirical environment first with six and then later with 15 nations. While the model addresses the evaluation at the national level of elite sport policy, how it can be implemented at other levels has also been explored; for example, by national governing bodies (in specific sports), for regional elite sport development, in cities, or by digging deeper into specific policy areas (Pillars). The basic ideas of this model are related to the generic competitiveness literature, in which researchers seek to determine what makes one firm or nation more successful than its competitors. The measurement of world competitiveness is routinely used in economic studies to provide a framework “to assess how nations manage their economic future” (Garelli, 2008, p. 1). In the SPLISS project we attempted to replicate this approach in an elite sport setting. Accordingly, we developed a framework and explored a method “to assess how nations can manage their future success in international sporting competitions” (De Bosscher, van Bottenburg, Shibli, De Knop, & Truyens, 2010, p. 568). The term ‘manage’ indicates that the focus is at the meso-level factors, or those determinants that can be influenced by human intervention; in this case, by national elite sport policies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Theory in Sport Management
EditorsGeorge B. Cunningham, Janet S. Fink, Alison Doherty
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge International
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-80384-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSPLISS congress - Antwerp
Duration: 13 Nov 201314 Nov 2014


OtherSPLISS congress
Other‘Elite Sport Success: society boost or not’
Internet address


  • Elite sport policy
  • theory of policy evaluation


Dive into the research topics of 'Theory of Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SPLISS)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this