Rationale for the Leisure Management Special Interest Group (LM SIG)

The rationale for the LM SIG will be more meaningful if an explanation of leisure management is provided. Leisure management is the means by which organisations manipulate their resources to deliver leisure programs, facilities and services to stakeholders and the general community (Veal, 2003). The programs, facilities and services fall within the range of leisure, recreation, sport, tourism and events industry (Tower & Zimmermann, 2016) within the mixed economy of leisure provided by government, non-profit, commercial organisations and households (Veal, Darcy & Lynch, 2013). A particular characteristic of the mixed economy of leisure is the capacity for government, non-profit and commercial organisations to collaborate in program, facility and service delivery.

Leisure management has evolved over the decades to steadily increase the range of management responsibilities and tasks required to deliver leisure programs, facilities and services. Leisure management books have covered the fundamental management responsibilities such as planning, delivery, management and control of services (Torkildsen, 1983). More recent publications include the fundamentals but also address quality and performance management, financial considerations, legal responsibilities, enterprise (Taylor, 2011), community planning, accountability, partnerships, and inclusion of diversity in the community and workplace (Edginton, Hudson, Lankford & Larsen, 2015). Leisure management was recently explained as a focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘who’. The ‘what’ relates to the leisure organisation’s understanding of the key leisure concepts, how organisations function and manipulate their resources to deliver programs, facilities and services. The ‘who’ is about the understanding of leisure service consumers and key stakeholders (Zimmermann & Tower, 2017).

Leisure management is more than working to achieve effective and efficient programs, facilities and services. Often leisure projects are designed to address issues of inequality, access and to help make the world a better place based on leisure’s contribution to a community’s quality of life. It is this focus on leisure impacts that provides a context for the LM SIG. There is a need to clearly articulate and document the ‘why’ of leisure services.

A Victorian government report identified the need for leisure centres and many other community services to justify their ongoing investment and to better document the outcomes they have achieved. Monitoring and measuring leisure services facilities and programs often focuses on outputs such as participant numbers, member retention, skill development, etc. But, there is limited reporting of the wellbeing, social and health outcomes that leisure services often have as part of their objectives (Victorian Auditor General Office, 2016).

The rationale for the LM SIG is the need to better coordinate and collaborate regarding measurement of the outcomes that leisure management initiatives are achieving. In a general sense it would be useful to document the achievements that are contributing to local communities’ quality of life. At a more specific level, there is value to focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to document how leisure programs, facilities and services are working to achieve the SDGs.

The LM SIG will complement the WLO vision by documenting how leisure programs, facilities and services are enhancing the human condition and contributing to communities’ quality of life. Furthermore, the LM SIG will complement WLO’s focus on the UN SDGs by documenting successful leisure achievements and sharing the success stories via WLO and the wider leisure communities’ information sharing systems.


  • Gave ten LM presentations at the 2019 ANZALS Conference
  • Established an LM theme session as part of the 2019 ANZALS Conference
  • Gained input from the LM SIG to share ideas for themes/topics for the 2019 WLO Expo/Forum in Hangzhou
  • Established an LM SIG Trello site

Planned Activities

  • To set priorities for the SIG for 2020
  • To assist in reviewing papers for the 2020 WL Congress in Pinggu-Beijing
  • To hold an LM SIG meeting at the 2020 Congress in Pinggu-Beijing
  • To present at the 2020 Congress in Pinggu-Beijing under the Leisure Management thematic area

Leisure Management Webinar Series

Designing Experiences – A Conversation with JR (Bob) Rossman

Recording of the webinar is now available!


Dr John Tower and Dr Jo An Zimmermann


  • Establish the LM SIG to share information about leisure management research, practices and publications.
  • Establish a database of leisure management researchers and their areas of expertise.
  • Document research about how leisure programs, facilities and services are contributing to communities’ quality of life.
  • Document research about how leisure programs, facilities and services are achieving the UN”s SDGs.


Edginton, C. R., Hudson, S., Lankford, S. & Larsen, D. (2015). Managing Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services: An Introduction – 4th Ed. Urbanna, IL: Sagamore.

Taylor, P. (Ed.) (2011). Torkildsen’s Sport and Leisure Management – 6th Ed. Milton Park: Routledge.

Torkildsen, G. (1983). Leisure and Recreation Management. London: E & F. N. Spon.

Tower, J. & Zimmermann, J.M. (2016). Setting the scene for the WLJ special edition on leisure management. World Leisure Journal. 58(1), 3-11.

Veal, A. J. (2003). Leisure Management in J.M. Jenkins and J. J. Pigram (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Leisure and Outdoor Recreation. London: Routledge.

Veal, A.J., Darcy, S. & Lynch, R. (2013). Australian Leisure – 4th Ed. Frenchs Forest, NSW Australia: Pearson.

Victorian Auditor General Office. (2016). Local Government Service Delivery: Recreational Facilities. Melbourne: Victorian Government.

Zimmermann, J. M. & Tower, J. (2017). Leisure management: All about the “what” and the “who”. World Leisure Journal, 59 (1), 2-5.