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The micro-politics of organizational change in professional youth football: Towards an understanding of ‘the professional self’

Gibson, L and Groom, Neil (2018) The micro-politics of organizational change in professional youth football: Towards an understanding of ‘the professional self’. Managing Sport and Leisure, 23 (1-2). pp. 106-122. ISSN 2375-0472

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Abstract

Organizational and managerial change plays a significant role in the employment and working lives of coaches in professional football. However, research that explores how individual coaches experience the change process is limited. The aim of this article is to explore the experiences of Ian (pseudonym), a professional football academy youth coach, during the process of organizational change. Data were collected through field notes, informal observations and meetings, formal academy team meetings, co-worker interviews, and four semi-structured in-depth participant interviews. Findings were analysed through a micro-political framework, with a focus on professional self-understanding. They reveal the importance of micro-political literacy in understanding the impact of organizational change on the participant’s working conditions and continued employment. It is proposed that an understanding of micro-politics, professional self-understanding, and micro-political literacy should be developed in formal coach education programmes to better prepare coaches for the realities of employment in professional football.

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