Title: Appointed on responsibility, sacked on accountability: understanding involuntary termination in football management. What can we learn from coaching studies?

Authors: John Lyle

Addresses: Centre for Sport Coaching, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Headingley Campus, Leeds LS6 3QS, UK

Abstract: This conceptual review paper explores the decision practices that lead to the pervasive practice of short-term tenure and involuntary termination of managers' employment in professional soccer. The underlying assumptions are unsustainable; managers are hired on responsibility for performance and fired on accountability for results. Having critically appraised relevant literature to interpret and restate the problem, concepts associated with sport coaching provide a clearer and novel articulation of the decision factors in soccer organisations. An appreciation of expertise, goal management, role clutter, impression management and celebrity offers relevant insights. At an individual level, managers' attributions in relation to positive and negative outcomes may sow the seeds for subsequent dismissal. Managers would benefit from raising awareness of the distinction between responsibility and accountability, showing greater humility in claiming role impact, and demonstrating expertise in aspects of management for which they are directly responsible.

Keywords: professional soccer; organisational decision making; sport coaching; expertise; football manager; goal threat; compensation culture; involuntary termination.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMDM.2024.137014

International Journal of Management and Decision Making, 2024 Vol.23 No.2, pp.210 - 227

Received: 30 Aug 2022
Accepted: 03 Nov 2022

Published online: 01 Mar 2024 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article