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Theories, concepts and the Rugby World Cup: using management to understand sport

Andy Adcroft (School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Jon Teckman (Ashridge, Berkhamsted, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 2 May 2008




The aim of this paper is to consider the versatility of management theory by testing it in a non‐management context, in this case sport in general and the Rugby World Cup in particular.


The paper develops a theoretical discussion of performance and competitiveness into a conceptual model before using that model to analyse and discuss the causes of success and failure in the Rugby World Cup.


Understanding the outcome of sporting contests is a complex activity. In the examples discussed, success or failure is the product of both the internal characteristics of the contestants and the external conditions of the contest itself. The findings of the research are robust in their reliability and validity.


Originality lies in a number of areas. Theory is used to develop an original conceptual model and it is then tested in an original context. The value of the paper lies as much in the investigations it opens up as in the debates it closes.



Adcroft, A. and Teckman, J. (2008), "Theories, concepts and the Rugby World Cup: using management to understand sport", Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 600-625.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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