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What Can Business Leaders Learn From Sport?

Burnes B & O'Donnell H (2011) What Can Business Leaders Learn From Sport?. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 1 (1), pp. 12-27.

Purpose - There is a growing belief that business leaders can learn valuable lessons from successful sports coaches and athletes. This article seeks to examine the extent to which methods for achieving sporting success are applicable to business. Design/methodology/approach - The research utilised a qualitative, interview-based approach to data gathering. The data sample consisted of eight leading coaches. The interviews were analysed using template methodology. Findings - The research found that there are areas in which business leaders can learn lessons from sport, especially in terms of change and staff development. Research limitations/implications - The research is based on interviews with a small sample of coaches. In order to develop the research further, a more extensive sample is required. Practical implications - Business leaders should only focus on those aspects of sporting excellence which are applicable to the business world. However, they should also recognise that these are applicable to all levels of leadership in an organisation and not just senior managers. Originality/value - The research challenges some of the hype around the relationship between sporting excellence and business excellence, but it does show lessons can be learned in important areas of staff development, the most prominent being the ability to welcome and bring about change.

Business policy; Leadership; Leadership development; Organizational change; Sports

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal: Volume 1, Issue 1

Author(s)Burnes, Bernard; O'Donnell, Helen
Publication date31/12/2011
PublisherEmerald Publishing Group
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