How interacting constraints shape emergent decision-making of national level football referees

RUSSELL, Scott, RENSHAW, Ian and DAVIDS, Keith (2018). How interacting constraints shape emergent decision-making of national level football referees. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.

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Here we sought to add to understanding of how and why football referees make decisions. A grounded theory methodology was undertaken to tap into the experiential knowledge of 9 national level referees (aged 23 to 35 yrs). Results indicated that referee decision-making actions were not predominantly aimed at traditional notions of decision-making accuracy (e.g., correctly identifying rule transgressions), but were instead focussed on meeting two overarching task goals: maintaining control and preserving the integrity of the competitive game. These objectives were, in part, informed by co-invested task outcomes which referees perceived that players, spectators, coaches and fellow referees had about 'how the game should be played'. Analysis revealed ‘four pillars’ used to meet these expectations, which were conceptual notions of: safety, fairness, accuracy and entertainment. These findings showed that: (i) referees co-construct the game with players, and that (ii), referee decision-making is an emergent process of the performer-environment relationship nested within task goals. It was concluded that: (i) decision-making accuracy should be viewed very much within the context of a competitive match, and (ii), distinctions should be made between types of bias and the complex strategies that referees use to manage the game.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ecological dynamics, referee, football, decision-making, grounded theory, constraints, complex systems, soccer, emergent, behaviour
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
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Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2018 13:10
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:49

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