Doing hybrid management work in elite sport: The case of a head coach in top-level Rugby Union

Edward Hall*, Shirley Gray, Amanda Martindale, John Sproule, John Kelly, Paul Potrac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines a head coach’s enactment of their hybrid role (i.e., it was comprised of leadership, management, and coaching responsibilities) in an elite level sport organization. A methodological bricolage comprising a) participant observation and reflexive field notes, b) ethnographic film, and c) semi-structured and stimulated recall interviews was used to generate data during 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork with an international rugby union team. Data were iteratively analysed using Crossley’s (2011) relational theorizing. The head coach was found to strategically manage nuanced relations with, and between, more and less trusted collaborators in the organization. This positioned her to maintain oversight and to influence the support, capital, resources and information flowing through relational networks towards the organization’s key mission. Strategic interaction that responded to others’ thoughts, feelings and interests was used to generate buy-in, space and time to carry out the manager’s agendas. The findings highlight the importance for researchers, policy makers, sport organizations, educators and practitioners of further engaging with management as an ongoing exercise in collective behaviour, which includes micropolitical struggles and exchange.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-296
Number of pages26
JournalSport Management Review
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

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