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Understanding coach dismissals in European professional football: A new institutional perspective

Rasmus Nissen (Department of Leadership and Corporate Strategy, University of Southern Denmark, Slagelse, Denmark)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 11 May 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline a theoretical framework that can be used to understand coach dismissals in professional football.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to embed the suggested framework empirically and thereby strengthen the argumentation, a total of 90 management accounts from 18 Danish professional football clubs have been analyzed using a qualitative content analysis approach. The accounts cover a period of five consecutive seasons.

Findings

The analysis shows that dismissing the coach is a frequent occurrence in Danish clubs. This finding is included in the discussion, in which it is suggested that a coach dismissal may be the outcome of mimetic, coercive or normative isomorphism.

Research limitations/implications

The applied methodology makes it difficult to assess whether coach dismissals actually stem from institutional forces. A more extensive research design and methodological setup is required in order to elaborate the proposed framework.

Practical implications

By focussing on the dynamics of club-stakeholder relationships, the proposed framework can be seen as an attempt to clarify key features of the decision-making process surrounding coach dismissals in European professional football. Furthermore, the framework suggests that in order for a club to stay attractive to its stakeholders, and thereby increase its chances of securing future financial support, club directors should pay attention to their external environment.

Originality/value

In contrast to existing research, this study does not aim at assessing whether a coach dismissal pays off in terms of wins on the pitch. Instead, a qualitative approach has been selected in order to offer a framework that aims at providing an in-depth understanding of coach dismissals in professional football.

Keywords

Citation

Nissen, R. (2015), "Understanding coach dismissals in European professional football: A new institutional perspective ", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 89-106. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-10-2013-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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