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Developing a professional leadership identity during organisational change in professional youth football

Gibson, Luke and Groom, Ryan (2019) Developing a professional leadership identity during organisational change in professional youth football. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. pp. 1-17. ISSN 2159-676X

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the construction of a professional leadership identity of an outsider appointed to implement organisational change within the academy of a professional football club. Data were collected through field notes, informal observations and meetings, formal academy team meetings, three in-depth co-worker interviews and four semi-structured in-depth participant interviews, which were subjected to an iterative analysis. Findings highlighted how the appraisal of others and their appraisal of the participant were affected by employment vulnerability, and that ‘identity work’ when leading organisational change was intertwined with micro-political literacy and micro-political action. This study furthers understanding of the development of a leadership identity as a fluid and fragmented struggle, by demonstrating that the process of identity construction is emotional work and is entwined in a complex interplay of micro-political literacy and action, and employment vulnerability.

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