Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Managerial Ability, Players' Cultural Diversity, and Sporting and Economic Performance in English Soccer

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Managerial Ability, Players' Cultural Diversity, and Sporting and Economic Performance in English Soccer

Article excerpt

Abstract

We use a large homemade database on professional soccer in England to estimate the relevance of managerial ability on performance and the managerial skills in keeping up cultural diversity. The team manager faces a set of very complex tasks. Not only he is the head coach of the soccer team, thus influencing sporting performance, but he can also have an impact on performance, by improving economic efficiency or by limiting the organization innovation in order to foster the creation of organizational routines. The sporting competitive advantage translates into economic and financial performance; therefore the manager is a dominant voice in the financial viability of the club, too. We also measure the impact of cultural diversity: attendance appreciates home-grown and talented players, and dislikes cultural diversity.

Keywords: managerial capabilities, performance of soccer clubs, cultural diversity and xenophobia in sports

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Managerial ability is a source of value creation and organizational performance, and firms with superior managerial ability can realize superior performance advantage (Adner & Helfat, 2003; Hansen et al. 2004). We focus on the managerial endowment in professional soccer clubs in the English Premier League and in the English Championship League. An empirical study devoted to a professional soccer as a single industry is interesting for two reasons: i) clubs are organizations primarily composed of experts; ii) innovation is sought season after season; iii) the context is rich of cultural diversity. The soccer industry is an interesting point in case because sports teams have comparable characteristics and societal goals, they share the common factor market and general environment (Holcomb et al. 2009: 459), therefore inter-industry comparisons can be made at a micro level (Peteraf & Barney, 2003; Mahoney 1995). Resource productivity and performance can also be easily correlated to quality of the resources controlled within the club's boundaries. Our paper also belongs to the strategic management literature as far as contexts in strategy formation are concerned.

We concentrate on the role of the manager (we do not use capital letter), the head coach of a soccer club, who is responsible for the sporting performance and hence for all the aspects that concern the "production function" of the franchise. He is the head of the sporting team and supervises buying and selling players, hence a pivotal figure in resource bundling. He is also responsible for building and innovating capabilities in the team, for example by allowing home-grown players to rise to the first team, and in all the aspects that concern the well-being of the players, such as reducing their proneness to injuries and fastening their recover from forced rest period.

The sporting competitive advantage translates into economic and financial performance, therefore the manager is a dominant voice in the financial viability of the club, too. He is the protagonist in building the club's capabilities. He contributes to developing organizational capabilities, because he establishes organizational routines. He conducts the training, coordinates with the medical centre, establishes off-training days, decides whether players must retire in isolation to prepare for a match -a delicate decision, since it influences upon the sexual activity of the players and their private life. He is crucial in building up routines and therefore in developing organizational capabilities. Moreover, he supervises cross-functional integration among the administrative staff, medical staff, and the players. He is also responsible for higher-level capabilities to integrate lower-level capabilities (players) with other actors in the sporting arena, among which, we can list the media, the player's agent, competing clubs that offer to buy or sell players, the National teams and Federations which require players to participate to international country-based competitions such as the World Cup. …

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