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Leader succession and effectiveness in team sport. A critical review of the coach succession literature

Hallgeir Gammelsæter (Faculty of Economics, Informatics and Social Sciences, Molde University College, Specialized University in Logistics, Molde, Norway)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 7 October 2013




The purpose of this paper is to critically review the part of the leader succession literature which is based on coach turnover in sport teams. The aim of this paper is to assess the state of the art and the relevance of this literature for sport management and further research.


A comprehensive reading of the extant scientific literature and a critical assessment of its conceptual and methodological foundations.


The assumptions guiding the coach succession are not based on insights about the idiosyncrasies of team sport and its management. These flaws render the research findings of the research dubious and leave us with little reliable information of what influence coaches have on their teams and what the impact is of the high turnover of head coaches in professional team sport.

Research limitations/implications

Leader succession research in sport is heavily flawed because it has not been informed by qualitative studies exploring the contextual conditions under which the coaches work. It follows that qualitative studies of the impact of coaches is highly wanted. Furthermore, the generalization from findings in sport across other spheres of social life should be addressed with caution because sport is much more idiosyncratic than has been assumed in the coach succession literature.


This is the first review of the leader succession literature from a sport management perspective. It provides a profound critique of the research on coach succession in team sport.



Gammelsæter, H. (2013), "Leader succession and effectiveness in team sport. A critical review of the coach succession literature", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 285-296.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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