AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

HRM in the A-League: an interpretive study investigating recruitment and retention practices in the 'Global Game'

by Alec John Wilson

Institution: AUT University
Year: 0
Keywords: Football; Human Resource Management; Professional sports organisation; Recruitment; Retention; Interpretive
Record ID: 1317263
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10292/7464


Professional sports teams according to Madura (1982) possess very similar Human Resource Management (HRM) characteristics to those on display in many other business entities, especially those located in the small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector. Research investigating the HRM processes of Professional Sports Organisation (PSOs) has predominately focused on player recruitment systems, with little attention being given to the degree which sports organisations apply established workplace HRM selection processes to athlete selection procedures (Bradbury & Forsyth, 2012). Other aspects of the HRM framework (e.g. orientation and socialisation, training and development, and retention) have, to date, largely been ignored from a sport management perspective. The football-related literature in this area, for example, is dominated by examples of labour migration, which is heavily influenced by World System Theory (Magee & Sugden, 2002). While further suggesting that football players are nothing more than commodities which can be sold or traded resulting in either a net profit or loss (Maguire, 1999). European clubs at the core of world football dominate the transfer market and acquire the best talent. The financial muscle of these particular clubs along with other “push” and “pull” factors has led to a global migration of playing talent, as players now of all ages seek new opportunities to continue plying their trade. To date, current sports migration literature has neglected the connection between player migration and organisational HRM practices, a connection that needs to be established given that a PSO’s success significantly relies on their ability to arrange their playing resources into a collective group, a process that has the potential to generate a competitive advantage. Currently, player registration periods in professional football are a hive of activity, as players and their agents seek new opportunities to advance or prolong their athletic careers, while the clubs utilise these periods to restructure their own human resource portfolios, to satisfy the needs and wants of their key stakeholders (fans, sponsors and financial investors). Traditionally, football clubs recruited players from their own local community, but with the diffusion of the “global game” clubs are increasingly looking further afield to uncover new playing talent, searches that typically occur across the following three distinct levels; (1) between clubs competing within the same competition in the same country, (2) between clubs competing in different competitions in the same country, and (3) clubs competing in different leagues in different countries. This thesis adopts the traditional HRM framework provided by Hoye, Nicholson, Smith, Stewart, and Westerbeck (2012) to identify and analyse the recruitment and retention processes employed by football franchises in Australasia’s only full-time professional league (the A-League). The interpretive investigation was completed via an abductive mixed-method case study approach,…