Was sacking Steve Bruce the right move for Sunderland?
(1 December 2011)
Birgit Schyns, Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Durham Business School and expert in leadership and followers' perception of leadership, comments on the dismissal of Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.
"The position of football managers is becoming increasingly hazardous with tenures having gone down constantly over the years. The sacking of Steve Bruce from Sunderland is just the latest example of this tendency. Interestingly, we know from prior research that changing managers is not necessarily the best way to increase performance. Indeed, teams that keep their managers tend to perform slightly better than teams who change their managers often.
"Football managers are constantly in the lime light and when their team's performance is not satisfactory, they tend to be blamed, irrespective of other influencing factors on team performance. They are convenient scapegoats. Fans have prototypes of their preferred football manager. Sunderland's manager Steve Bruce was born in the neighbouring city of bitter rivals Newcastle United. This likely has not helped his case as fans seem to have often viewed him, unfairly, as an 'infiltrator' sent to sabotage Sunderland's progress.
"It is interesting to see how an industry that is worth so much money, ultimately often reacts unprofessionally when it comes to management. Managers are sacked without a clear succession plan, adding instability to a team that is already not performing well."
For more information or to speak with Professor Schyns, please contact Tania Vie Riba, Andrew Adam or Sarah Evans-Toyne, Broadgate Mainland, 020 7726 6111.