Title: Playing the game: how football directors make sense of dismissing the coach

Authors: Rasmus Nissen

Addresses: Department of Leadership and Corporate Strategy, University of Southern Denmark, Sdr. Stationsvej 28 – 4200 Slagelse, Denmark

Abstract: Coach dismissals are frequently carried out in European club football, and the decision to dismiss a coach is generally depicted as a very simple organisational measure: A club is not able to fulfil what is expected of it, and as a consequence, the directors of this club decide to make a change. From such a perspective, however, the decision and the intended outcomes are reduced to a desire to improve sporting performance. Indeed, low sporting performance often functions as a key trigger when the decision to dismiss is being made, but exactly how dismissals make sense to the decision makers has not yet been examined in academic terms. Based on interviews with eight Danish football directors, this study explores how these directors make sense of dismissing coaches. This sensemaking can contribute to explaining the increasing frequency of coach dismissals in contemporary club football and provide insights into the management of and decision making in professional football.

Keywords: European football; soccer; coach dismissals; football management; decision making; sensemaking; institutionalisation; football directors; sport management; sporting performance; Denmark; professional football.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2014.072009

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2014 Vol.15 No.3/4, pp.214 - 231

Available online: 28 Sep 2015 *

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