Why do men play more sport than women? From the “male warrior” to the “crazy bastard hypothesis”: an evolutionary perspective

Paulo Finuras, PhD

Guest Associate Professor at ISG – Business & Economics School of Lisbon

Associate partner Hofstede Insights Portugal

Synopsis

This article seeks to understand why sport in general, and certain sports activities in particular, tend to be more practiced by men. It is suggested that behind this phenomenon will be strategies associated with male and female behavior that are inscribed in the different signaling strategies with reproductive final objectives.

Understanding human behavior through evolutionary lenses implies going beyond immediate explanations and also seeking absolute explanations. To understand this, it is necessary to understand not only the ontogeny of the behavior (mechanism and development) but its phylogeny (function and origin). I propose that the “hypothesis of male warrior and the crazy bastard” together, can give a deeper explanation as to why men, more than women, practice more sports and some are even an exclusive male.

Key words

Evolution, Intra sexual competition, Men, Reproduction, Sexual Strategy, , Sport

Article structure

Introduction

Men, women and the practice of sport: what is hidden behind it?

What does our evolutionary psychology tell us about this?

Conclusion

Why do men play more sport than women? From the “male warrior” to the “crazy bastard hypothesis”: an evolutionary perspective

Introduction

An analysis of the main literature in the social sciences shows that there are multiple examples of human tribalism, as well as a propensity for individuals to categorize themselves based on their group affiliation favoring treatment of members of their group. Several authors, with particular emphasis on Mark van Vugt (2006), believe that this phenomenon is a group and adaptive response to the threats of the conflicting group coalitions of human males, both in ancestral environments and in modern environments, having affected the psychology of men and women in different ways.

In this article I seek a reflection from the evolutionary point of view that helps us understand and explain why men are more prone to the practice of sport and why some sports are practically a male exclusive.

Men, women and the practice of sport: what is hidden behind it?

That men die earlier and earlier than women, commit more crimes and more violence, have more accidents, take more risks, write more books, master humor, occupy most positions of power and leadership in societies and organizations and are war-takers, it is a fact based on history, our common experience and all available statistics.

I propose that the fact that men, more than women, are also playing and watching sports, is part of this evolutionary line of something that is more important to men than to women. The reason is also relatively understandable from the evolutionary point of view. It is that, as Steve Stewart-Williams (2020) pointed out, the “general rule remains: what females want, males evolve to provide it”.

On the whole, all this seems to be related to the so-called “male warrior hypothesis” proposed by Mark van Vugt, David de Cremer and Dirk P. Janssen (2007) and can help to understand and explain the difference that men have in their relationship with sports practice and also in their support of it as spectators,  which is significantly higher than that of women when compared. It is that, as in other activities mentioned above, sport and its practice are also essentially dominated by men, whether as practitioners or as spectators. And once again, the evolutionary paradigm can help us understand this if we perceive the origin and root of the phenomenon. That’s what I’m on next.

What does our evolutionary psychology tell us about this?

The answer will probably be for the same reason that they also commit more crimes, write more books, take more risks and have more need to occupy positions of power and leadership in all areas of life in society. It is that, whenever they can, men seek and try to signal their abilities, qualities and resources in the great storefront of reproduction.

As Lombardo (2012) argued[1], “sport evolved in the context of male intrasexual competition…a system that allows athletes to display, and male spectators to evaluate, the (physical) qualities of potential allies and rivals, particularly those necessary for warfare”

According to this author, sport began as a way for men to develop the skills needed in primitive hunting and warfare, and then developed to act primarily as a lek where athletes display, and male spectators evaluate the qualities of potential allies and rivals.

Again, as Lombardo put it, “the most popular modern male sports require the skills needed for success in male-male physical competition and primitive hunting and warfare, champion male athletes obtain high status and thereby reproductive opportunities in ways that parallel those gained by successful primitive hunters and warriors; men pay closer attention than do women to male sports so they can evaluate potential allies and rivals, and male sports became culturally more important when opportunities to evaluate potential allies and rivals declined as both the survival importance of hunting and the proportion of men who experience combat decreased.” So, in a way we should approach the practice and the evolution of sports as an adaptive hypothesis.

Sporting events, as the statistics of the live television broadcasts show it, are the ones that capture the most attention and the most audiences have in the world.

We’ll ask, why? Why are human beings in general, and men in particular, so attracted to this type of activity that they are thousands of years old? What does our evolutionary psychology tell us about this? In fact, it says a lot[2].

If we look closely, most sports activities have, in a sense, some whatsoever about activities that our ancestors had to perform simply to survive. Whether running, throwing, jumping, rowing, chasing or trying to dominate opponents, to conquer any goal, both physically and through some object (such as the ball, for example) are examples of this.

In sports with a strong physical component (which are the majority of them, in fact), men are more likely and numerous to practice them, either in quantity or in quality of their own performance. In addition, men have about 30 times more testosterone than women, being stronger, faster and more aggressive, something that, in ancient and adaptive times, has always been important to ensure the survival of themselves and their groups or tribes, both in war, as in the conquest of territories and resources, or in defense against predators or enemies,  or, still, simply, in the hunt.

The so-called “warrior man hypothesis”, coined and proposed by scientists Mark van Vugt, David de Cremer and Dirk P. Janssen (2007), seems to be the best way to understand this phenomenon from an evolutionary point of view.

This scientist suggests that male psychology was essentially shaped during our evolution by the need for cooperation within groups and competition between groups, whether to conquer, acquire or protect reproductive and scarce resources. Thus, gender-specific selective pressures will have favored cooperation among the group members, combined with the manifest hostility and aggression against foreigners. This hypothesis is supported by investigations (Bowles & Gintis, 2011; Halevy, Bornstein, & Sagiv, 2009) suggesting that the scenario of conflict between groups promotes cooperation and internal cohesion among members of the ingroup and aggression against members of the outgroup.

And there is yet another hypothesis, called, in the original, by “The Crazy Bastard Hypothesis” , which hold that taking risks, voluntarily, and engaging in dangerous nonviolent activities has, in itself, a signaling value of abilities and qualities of those who do so[3].

In fact, in 2014, researchers from UCLA (Fessler, D.M. T., Tiokhin, L. B., Holbrook, C., Gervais, M. M., & Snyder, J. K.) sought to find out why young people are disproportionately involved in both violent and nonviolent activities in which both entail high risks of injury or even death. This is how the so-called “crazy bastard hypothesis” came about. As mentioned above, this hypothesis proposes that young people are attracted to dangerous activities and to take risks, because they thus reveal their courage, a propensity that makes a man be faced either as a dangerous enemy and/or a potential useful ally. Interestingly, the researchers found also that people tend to conceive of men and their propensity to take risks as being larger and stronger, although in reality there is no link between size or physical size and the propensity to take risk. It is likely that this voluntary risk-taking guidance can serve as a capacity signaling function, so that risk-prone individuals are seen as “more formidable” than individuals averse to it. [4]

This is probably also, alongside the previous “male warrior hypothesis”, one of the reasons that helps us understand and explain why men, more than women, play more sports and, especially, why, also, some of these sports activities, which are dangerous, are typical when not exclusive to men.[5]

It is worth highlighting three important aspects: first, we know that men tend to expose themselves much more to dangerous displays and situations of greater risk (such as war), seeking, whenever they can, to display their capabilities and resources in the mating showcase. Corroborating this idea is the fact that, globally, men commit more than 85% of all homicides, 91% of all same-sex homicides and 97% of all homicides between men and women and the killer are unrelated to each other.[6][7].

Second, the “relative value” of men for reproduction is lower than that of women because the number of sperm of man is much higher than the number of eggs of a woman, which makes the latter “more” valuable and less risk-prone (since the potential danger that comes from the death of the mother to her descendants had always been a crucial factor for her survival).

Third, sports that imply more radicalism or extreme reach are more common among men than among women given the greater male variability of behaviour.

In this vein, a relatively recent study (Thöni & Volk, 2021) suggests that men are generally much more likely than women to make choices and make extreme decisions. In an investigation involving more than 50,000 participants spread across 97 samples, an investigation team sought to analyses sexual differences in areas such as altruism, cooperation, trust, justice and attitudes towards time and risk in economic decision-making. Evidence of greater and systematic male variability was found, and the results suggest that men’s most extreme choices and decisions may be both positive and negative. This study points out that men, compared to women, have much more possibilities of being at the extremes of the behavioral spectrum, acting in a way, now very selfish, or very selfless, now very confident or very suspicious, “[…] being more focused on both the very short and the very long term[8].

In short, when men show off and take risks by exercising in sports, what they do is continue to signal their abilities, qualities and resources in terms of their general condition. And they do so because the performance of such practices conveys valuable information in the mating market, a market that is characterized by a general rule that seems to remain this: men compete and women choose from where, any athlete to become a valuable asset in terms of potential mating value[9][10].

Put another way, “honest signaling of abilities”, or the “handicap principle[11], gains, here, a key highlight to understand and explain why men are more likely to practice all kinds of sports with strong physical component. And even in those who are highly mechanical and not fundamentally physical, they also serve to display the courage and resilience of their performers, or their intelligence (as in the case of chess).

As we know, all this information is important in the market and in the mating showcase. It should not surprise us, therefore, that, in our societies, the best male athletes (regardless of the sport practiced) are individuals with more demand for the mating value they represent. Therefore, looking at this phenomenon from this perspective, it is best to see why sports are so important, in particular, for men. Perhaps this will help explain why in some motor sports it is found that there are almost no women doing so (formula 1 or motorcycle racing, etc.).

Conclusion

If we want to understand human behavior through evolutionary lenses we need to look for absolute explanations and not just approximate. Thus, it is as important to perceive the ontogeny of behaviors (mechanism and development) as their phylogeny (function and origin). Only in this way will we be able to fully understand what explains certain differences between men and women as an integral part of deeper strategies that are associated, although not so, with reproductive strategies inscribed in nature, beyond cultural differences and not because of them.

If we accept both hypothesis (“male warrior and the crazy bastard”)”, combined with the “handicap principle”,  we will better understand and explain why men, much more than women, are the main protagonists and sports practitioners.

References and other recommended bibliography and readings

Bowles, S. (2009). Did warfare among ancestral hunter-gatherer groups affect the evolution of human social behaviors. Science, 324 (5932), 1293-129–8. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1168112.

Daniel. T et all. “Foundations of the Crazy Bastard Hypothesis: Nonviolent physical risk-taking enhances conceptualized formidability”, Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 35, Issue 1,  2014, p. 26-33,

Lombardo MP. On the Evolution of Sport. Evolutionary Psychology. January 2012. doi:10.1177/147470491201000101

Massar, K. (2022). Men’s Intrasexual Competition. In T. Shackelford (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology, pp. 84-110). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108943543.006

Miller, G. (2001). The mating mind. Nature. London: Random House.

Moller (Eds.), Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences: Vol. 907. Evolutionary perspectives on human reproductive behaviour (pp. 114-131). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.

Thöni, C., & Volk, S. (2021). Converging evidence for greater male variability in time, risk, and social preferences.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(23), e2026112118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2026112118.

Tracy, J., & Robins, R. (2004). Show your pride: Evidence for a discrete emotion expression. Psychological Science, 15, 194-197. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.01503008.x.

Trivers, R., & Seger, J. (1986). Asymmetry in the evolution of female mating preferences. Nature,

Van Vugt, M. (2008). Follow me: The origins of leadership. New Scientist, June 11.

Van Vugt, M. M., King, A., Johnson, D. (2009). The origins and evolution of leadership. Current Biology, 19, R911-R916. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.027.

Van Vugt, M., & Giphart, R. (2016). Mismatch – How our stone age brain deceives us every day & what we can do about it. London: Robinson.

Van Vugt, M., & Spisak, R. (2008). Sex differences in the emergence of leadership during competitions within and between groups. Sage Journal, 19. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02168.x.

van Vugt, M., de Cremer, D., & Janssen, D. P. (2007). Gender differences in cooperation and competition: The male-warrior hypothesis. Psychological Science, 18(1), 19-23. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01842.x.

Zahavi, A., (1997). The handicap principle: A missing piece of Darwin’s puzzle. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[1] Lombardo MP. On the Evolution of Sport. Evolutionary Psychology. January 2012. doi:10.1177/147470491201000101

[2] Maybe you don’t know, but men are also much more likely to watch sporting events involving physical confrontations (such as boxing or martial arts), or in which cooperation plays a key role, such as football, basketball, handball, hockey or any other team games. In fact, statistics suggest that men, on average, watch three times more than women at sporting events and experience these same events in a much more intense and dramatic way, often ending in  physical confrontations or hospitalizations.

[3] See on this subject, Daniel M.T. Fessler, Leonid B. Tiokhin, Colin Holbrook, Matthew M. Gervais, Jeffrey K. Snyder, In “Foundations of the Crazy Bastard Hypothesis: Nonviolent physical risk-taking enhances conceptualized formidability,”, Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 35, Issue 1, 2014, pp. 26-33,

[4] In fact, other researchers had already described this tendency of young people to take risks as something designated as “young male syndrome”.

[5]Despite more than 900 drivers having participated in F1 Grand Stakes in the past 73 years, only two riders have been women (i.e., 0.002%): Maria Teresa de Filippis (1958) and Lella Lombardi (1975 and 1976).

[6]For example, with the say  , for every 100 women aged between 20 and 24 who die of homicide, thus die 717 men, and for every 100 women who are in adult prisons, there are 1,000 men (Sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons, National Center for Health Statistics, cited by author Thomas Mortenson and Congressional Research Service; ScienceDaily; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Census Bureau).

[7] To learn more, see McAndrew (2009).

[8] Previous research involved two large-scale meta-analyses of economic decision-making studies and organizational citizenship behavior with more than 20,000 participants. Although the researchers found no differences in the degree to which men and women behaved cooperatively on average, they found strong evidence of greater male variability in cooperation. It seems clear to me that these differences will most likely have evolutionary roots, coexisting with other alternative explanations for the existence of what is often referred to as greater male variability of behavior..

[9] In particular , their mental and physical abilities, their flexibility, endurance and courage, as well as dexterity and coordination skills

[10] This makes perfect sense, because if women prefer to mate with men with more abilities, qualities or resources, then men seek to increase their reproductive prospects by displaying their abilities, and sports activity is a good means to signal it, not being very different from the “peacock tail”.

[11]Originally formulated by biologist Amot Zahavi. To learn more, Vd. Zahavi (1975); Zahavi and Zahavi (1997). In short, the principle of handicap, as is known, postulates that all behaviors (or characteristics) that are costly to their holders (and are therefore difficult to fake) tend to be an honest way of signaling the qualities and resources of their owners.

Research The Factors Contributing To Foreign Players’ Success In The J-League – Interviews With Their Interpreters

Kei Hisanaga (Okayama university of science)

Abstract

In professional sports such as soccer and baseball, players are increasingly moving around the world. In this context, some top professional players with high technical, tactical, and physical characteristics are able to play in foreign countries, while others are not. This phenomenon can also be seen in the J-League, Japan’s professional football league. In this article, these factors are identified from a CQ (Cultural Intelligence) perspective through interviews with their interpreters on how three foreign players who played in the J-League were able to adapt to different cultures and perform at a high level on the pitch.

They were able to gather information about the country they were playing in on their own, and with their interpreters’ help, they could create an environment in which they could concentrate on their playing. The similarities between their cultural background and Japanese culture also helped their cross-cultural adaptation. From their case studies, it became clear that gathering information in advance, learning from experience, building relationships, and having supportive staff are necessary elements for cross-cultural adaptation in the J-League.

Keywords

soccer, foreign players, interpreters, cross-cultural adaptation

Introduction

In professional sports, including soccer and baseball, transnational player transfers are common. Many teams have scouting staffs worldwide looking for talented foreign players who can play as an immediate asset. In European soccer, since the Bosman ruling in 1995, players with EU nationality are exempt from the foreign quota in the European countries leagues. In Japan, players with non-Japanese nationality are restricted from playing in matches as foreign nationals. Before the start of the 2022 season, the total number of players in the J-League, Japan professional football league (Divisions 1-3), was 1,759, of which 156 were foreign nationals, the largest number being 89 from Brazil, followed by 21 from South Korea, six from Spain. The entry restrictions in the COVID-19 pandemic probably impacted the registration of foreign players, but many teams still had foreign players as helpers. In the 2021 season, LEANDRO DAMIAO, who belonged to J-League Division 1 champion Kawasaki Frontale won J-League MVP. This is the second consecutive year a foreign player has won MVP, following OLUNGA (Kashiwa Reysol) in the 2020 season. In addition, four or more foreign players have been selected for the Best Eleven Players Award for four consecutive years. While some foreign players play an active role in the J-League every season, others leave the team without having achieved the success they were expected to. Since the beginning of the J-League in 1993, world-famous players joined several teams and were expected to play a significant role. However, some players have left Japan without achieving the desired results. For example, players who played for their national teams at FIFA World Cups such as LINEKER (England, 1993-1994, 18 appearances, four goals), BEBETO (Brazil, 2000, 8 appearances, 1 goal), and FREDRIK LJUNGBERG (Sweden, 2011, 8 appearances, 0 goals). It is not that they were not talented, but that they could not show what they had in the J-League. Thus, a team needs to acquire competent players and, at the same time, have the management skills to ensure that the players can show their abilities.

  1. Overview of the research

2.-1 Objective

As mentioned in the introduction, some talented foreign players can play an active role in the J-League while others do not. The author considered that the country’s cultural background might impact the factors that make the difference. For example, there are different difficulties for players brought up in a European culture playing in Japan, which is part of Asia, compared to playing in the same European countries. One of these is language, and when a J-League team acquires a foreign player, they usually provide the player with an interpreter to cover the language differences. The interpreter’s role is to support communication between the player and the coaching staff and between the players and eliminate any inconvenience in their lives. Therefore, interpreters always think about how they can help their foreign players perform better in Japan. With the support of these interpreters, the foreign players live in Japan and try to show their true potential on the pitch. This suggests that the role of interpreters significantly impacts the performance of foreign players in the J-League. Therefore, the aim of this article is to clarify the factors that contributed to the players’ adaptation to a different culture, Japanese soccer, from the perspective of the interpreters of foreign players who played an active role in the J-League.

2.-2 Subjects and methods

Subjects:

Interpreter-A: Japanese nationality (interpreter of Japanese and Spanish).

  • Player-a: Spanish nationality. Represented the national team. he played five seasons in the J-League, with 108 league-matches appearances and 21 goals (as of 15 August 2022).

Player-b: Spanish nationality. Represented the national team. He played one season in the J-League, with 28 league-matches appearances and 13 goals.

Interpreter-B: Japanese nationality (Japanese and English interpreter).

  • Player-c: Swedish Nationality. Represented the national team. He played three seasons in the J-League, with 90 league-matches appearances, and seven goals.

Method:

An unstructured interview was conducted with each interpreter. Then, utilizing CQ’s six-dimensional model, the elements of the success of foreign players were considered from the interview contents. CQ (Cultural Intelligence) is a score of cultural differences proposed by Dr. Geert Hofstede and expressed in six dimensions: PDI (Power Distance), IDV (Individualism), MAS (Masculinity), UAI (Uncertainty Avoidance), LTO (Short vs. Long Term Orientation), IVR (Indulgence vs. Restraint)

  1. Interview results and discussion

3.-1 Japanese soccer from the CQ perspective

The scores of the six-dimensional model of CQ for Japan as a comparison for consideration from the interviews are as follows.

Country

PDI

IDV

MAS

UAI

LTO

IVR

Japan

54

46

95

92

88

42

Table 1. Scores for Japan (prepared by the author based on Miyamori et al. (2019))

As shown in Table 1, Japan is characterized by rather high scores for MAS and UAI. These are likely to significantly impact the J-League itself, which takes place in Japan. Due to MAS and UAI scores, passing soccer tends to be favored in Japan. England, with its low UAI score (35), delights in kick-and-rush and 1vs1 battles, while many teams in Japan prefer soccer that is more focused on passing, where the ball can be reliably carried.

Japan also has a medium level of PDI and IDV, which means that Japan can understand both sides of the power divide – high and low power inequality, collectivism and individualism.

3.-2 Interpreter-A for Spanish national Player-a

 

Country

PDI

IDV

MAS

UAI

LTO

IVR

Spain

57

51

42

86

48

44

 

Japan

54

46

95

92

88

42

 

 

Table 2: Comparison of scores between Spain and Japan (prepared by the author based on Miyamori et al. (2019))

According to Interpreter-A, the following are some characteristics of the support he provided to Player-a.

▪ It was the first time for him and his family to live in a foreign country (beforehand, he had heard from an acquaintance that Japan was safe)

  • The family had a positive impression of Japan as soon as they arrived. They were not approached when they walked around the city and were gently left alone. They could go where they wanted to go when they wanted to go. The family could live in their own rhythm.
  • The most worrying thing was finding a hospital for the children.

The fact that Player-a had collected information about Japan in advance of playing in his first foreign country shows that he could solve the uncertainty avoidance problem. From this, it can be read that Player-a valued his family life, which is reflected in the MAS score in the six-dimensional model. And the fact that interpreter-A provided solid support to ensure the quality of life, such as finding a hospital for the children, helped create an environment in which Player-a could concentrate on playing soccer without worrying about their families.

  • He always pointed out the quality of the team’s playing position when they had the ball.

Concerning the soccer aspect, as mentioned in 3.-1, many teams in Japan are oriented toward passing-oriented soccer. This is also the case for the team that Player-a belonged to. Spain also traditionally has a soccer orientation with an emphasis on passing. Still, both countries have high UAI scores and similar soccer styles, which led to Player-a’s ability to play an active role in the J-League.

3.-3 Interpreter-A for Spanish national Player-b

Interpreter-A was also the interpreter for Player-b. According to him, the characteristics are as follows.

  • He had played in foreign countries and was used to living in different cultures.
  • The city where the team is located was originally a city with a large foreign population.

Unlike Player-a, Player-b and his family had lived abroad in the past and were used to living in a different culture. This could have been a plus for them, whose Spanish culture tends to avoid uncertainty (UAI). In addition, the city where Player-b and his family spent most of their time is inhabited by foreigners and were less likely to be singled out. Again, this is similar to Player-a.

  • Player-b, whose job is to score goals, was committed to scoring points, and to achieve this, he put a lot of effort into building relationships with his teammates. For example, he went to dinner with his teammates and gave them gifts to strengthen their friendship. But unfortunately, the achievement-oriented (MAS) Japanese are hesitant to talk to each other for fear of miscommunication. Therefore, while the Japanese players were asking how Player-b was doing, Player-b had an open mind to the Japanese players, calling them by name frequently and talking to the younger players about their hair and other unimportant topics, thus proactively closing the distance between them.

This can be read as a sign of the combination of the proximity of IDV to Japan, where they can take a moderate position and the Spanish cultural characteristic of focusing on the quality of life (MAS).

3.-4 Interpreter-B for Swedish nationality Player-c

Country

PDI

IDV

MAS

UAI

LTO

IVR

 

Sweden

31

71

5

29

53

78

 

 

Japan

54

46

95

92

88

42

 

 

Table 3: Comparison of scores between Sweden and Japan (prepared by the author based on Miyamori et al. (2019))

Interpreter-B said that he had noticed the following in supporting Player-c with English.

  • Respectful as a person. Always positive, always without any hidden side. Considerate of others. Encouraging young players. He is ranked No. 1 in Sweden in terms of players he would like to pass on to the next generation.
  • Picturesque family. Values his family. Balances home and work. Conveying love. As he came to Japan alone, it was difficult in some aspects to control the loneliness.

The Swedish cultural traits of emphasis on quality of life (MAS) and high orientation towards fulfillment (IVR), in which everyone supports each other, can be read from these.

  • He was very frustrated when the team lost, or he didn’t get a chance to play. He was frustrated, but he practiced hard. He always gave his best. He was a very competitive person, always trying to improve his condition through diet, treatment, and, if necessary, running on his days off.

This aspect of being competitive and willing to work hard to improve can be interpreted as high individualism (IDV).

There are relatively significant differences in CQ scores between Sweden and Japan. If Player-c had pushed his cultural background as it was, he would not have performed well in the Japanese culture. This is where the support of Interpreter-B would have been significant. Interpreter-B had himself studied in the USA and knew the difficulties of living in a different culture. Therefore, Interpreter-B judged that he was expected to stand up to Player-c like a friend, family member, and lover, and he supported him with these things in mind. For example, he accompanied Player-c to the hospital and explained Japanese culture to him so he could play comfortably. The fact that such a relationship between the two was established, with the interpreter providing support and the player accepting it, can be attributed to the low power distance of the Swedish culture (PDI).

Conclusion

As has been mentioned, the three players could play an active role in the J-League because they could adapt to the Japanese culture, either on their own or with the help of interpreters. However, the three cases showed that prior information gathering, learning from experience, building relationships, and a supportive staff were necessary for their adaptation. In particular, in the J-League environment, where the main language is different from their countries, it became clear that it is essential to support foreign players in a way that goes beyond simply conveying the language. It is also significant that Interpreter-A and Interpreter-B, the subjects of this interview, have a Japanese cultural background and were able to take a middle ground, which made it easier for them to support players to adapt to different cultures.

On the other hand, when foreign players transfer between countries that speak the same language, such as English-speaking countries, interpreters may not be necessary. In such cases, for the foreign player to be successful in that country, it may be essential to have staff who support cross-cultural adaptation in a form other than interpreting or for the player to have knowledge of cross-cultural adaptation.

Finally, in the interviews conducted for this research, both interpreters were seen to lump together the factors that contribute to the success of foreign players, such as ‘professionalism’ and ‘great human qualities. While there may be such factors, it was realized that a CQ perspective could help in a way that considers the differences in cultural background between the players and the countries in which they play. From this point of view, it would be of great significance to spread knowledge of CQ to many people in the professional sports world, including soccer.

References

(1) J. LEAGUE Data Site

https://data.j-league.or.jp

(2) Chikako Miyamori, Ryukichi Miyabayashi. [Cross-cultural adaptability as a management strategy] Keieisenryaku toshiteno ibunkatekiouryoku (in Japanese). JMA Management Center Inc. 2019

(3) Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov. [Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 3rd ed: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival] Tabunkasekai (in Japanese). Yuhikaku Inc. 2013

(4) Wursten Huib. The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and managing in a globalized word (2019)ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

Coaching In The UK (Arsenal) And Germany (Wolfsburg) How I Adapted.

Jan van Loon

International soccer coach

When I was asked as a Dutchman to work for Arsenal FC Academy in London UK, I was 49 and had many experiences doing multiple, but short coaching clinics worldwide.

This job was different because at Arsenal I would work with players and coaches for a longer period. In practice it became three years. Because my children where in their 3rd/4th grade in school and had to do exams in two or three years we didn’t want to make them move to the UK because the school systems are totally different from each other’s.  They were also too young to leave them alone in the Netherlands. So, I went without wife and kids to the new job. I decided to choose for a guest family and that worked out well.

I was connecting with the whole family and friends who were also all lifelong Gunners. I was invited for dinners, birthdays and Sunday roasts which helped me socially.

Language

At the Arsenal I experienced my English was not good enough yet to follow discussions

between staff at lunchtime. Afterwards I would sit down and write down all the words and sayings the staff used to express themselves. During training sessions and games of the players aged 12-16 years old, I had to learn the UK football language very quick. I asked the players to help me and write down 5 important coaching words that would help me forward and create a better understanding between me, the players, and coaches.

Multi-Cultural environment, club philosophy and identity.

After a few weeks I also worked with players from 16-22 years old. The background of the players was very diverse because London is a multi-cultural city and employees, and players were put at Arsenal in a multicultural environment. Next to that we had trialist worldwide who often didn’t speak English. Arsenal FC has a clear club philosophy on diversity. They used to say difference is a positive. The first few weeks I followed the clubs on boarding process for newcomers. I felt responsible for being a good employee for Arsenal FC with respect for the values of the club, cultural background of players and staff and didn’t want to leave my own upbringing too much.

Preparation

Before I moved to London, I was able to attend the course “Coaching across culture” by Huib Wursten and learn about the 5D Model of Gert Hofstede. And the culture clusters developed by Huib.

The culture clusters taught me the following.

The Network (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands) put a strong emphasis on equality, Autonomy, Sympathy for underdog, People are suspicious about winners and heroes, “Truth is found in the middle, Decisions based on “shared interest”, Reflect before you act and there is reluctance to enforce rules.

The Contest: (UK, USA, Australia, Canada) put emphasis on Competition, Accountability, Winning/losing, Success breeds success, Sympathy for winners and best practices.

Reflection

I was well prepared and felt comfortable working at Arsenal FC. Specially because besides my cultural background I also have a personal preference and that is competition driven. Somehow, I couldn’t develop and show that as much in the Netherlands as in my time the UK.

I learned how important it is to teach newcomers the values of the company and develop a on boarding process for new players, parents and staff.

Germany

In the cultural framework the Well-Oiled Machine (Germany, Austria, Hungary, German speaking Switzerland) High need for structures and process, Autonomy within structure, Standardization, Belief in experts, Reflect before you act.

After three years Arsenal in London, I got the opportunity to work in the highest professional football league in Germany (Erste Bundesliga) I became assistant coach at VFL Wolfsburg the VW (Volkswagen) club.

Preparation

My previous reparation was met by reality. Wolfsburg is a very well-organized football club with both men and women sites with also academies on both sides. The club was big on high tech and data. VW had all IT resources to support. For all jobs there was a clear standardization with structures and process in place.

Task

I was head analyses of the first team and responsible for the analyses of the next opponents and assistant coach, who would look after the B-team players that trained with the first team. The club wanted all departments to work together in one digital platform from the youngest boys and girls in the academy till the first team men and women could all use the digital platform.

A case about expert expectations

When I was 4 weeks in the job, I got an invitation to listen to a presentation of a digital platform, the club wanted to use for all departments. I met all departments of the club who would work with the digital platform, and we were together with 20 German colleagues (+ me) in the room to listen to a high-tech presentation of the biggest IT company in Germany. 14 of the 20 colleagues I had never seen before. The digital platform was shared in a presentation of 50 slides and was worked out to the smallest detail. After the presentation which I saw for the first time, everybody looked at me and asked what my thoughts were. I felt people expected me to take the lead and guide the process forward. I am used to make people responsible and work in teams who would work together and then to coordinate a bottom-up approach. Afterwards it became clear to me the people in the room expected me to lead and be very clear what everybody should do and when they would have to report to me. That was an important lesson in cultural diversity between my expectations and the expectation of my German colleagues. A possible explanation of miscommunication or different expectations could be found in the cultural reference.

Next step

My experience now is that it pays o become more aware of expectations and dig deep to understand what is required for the job. Not only the job description but also the individual and collective programming. For me it helped to reflect in different ways after an event/activity what everybody’s experience was and take time off for myself to reflect what the changes did with me personally.

This drives me now that I am working in India for one of the biggest football clubs. A club with great ambition with first team and academy. This time I will ask and explain more in detail what my reasons are for acting.

New approach

India is part of the Family system. Like China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore. Keywords: Strong hierarchy, paternalistic leadership strong in-groups/out-group thinking. Harmony is important and loss of face unacceptable.

Literature:

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

Wursten Huib. The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and managing in a globalized word (2019) ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

Applying Cultural Theory To Sports Coaching

Applying Cultural Theory To Sports Coaching

Wim Koevermans

Head of Coach Education for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

Introduction:

In 2012 I signed a contract as Head Coach of the Indian National Football (soccer) Team.

With my experience of 4 years working in the Republic of Ireland as High-Performance Director for the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) with not too big a difference in cultural behavior between Ireland and the Netherlands, I knew I had to study quite a bit more about India and the differences in leadership and behavior before traveling to this amazing country.

I studied and learned about the cultural dimensions of Prof. Geert Hofstede.

Incredible valuable information to understand the differences between people of different backgrounds.

I was invited to India for four days first to experience the different environments and to have meetings with the staff of the AIFF (All India Football Association).

As I never walked away from new challenges, I decided to take the job.

Preparation:

My preparation for the job started back home.

I got in touch with Huib Wursten of ITIM (Institute for Training Intercultural Management), explained my personal situation, and asked Huib if he could brief me on the cultural aspects of leadership and coaching in India. I met Huib for the first time when I was working for the KNVB (Dutch Football Association). I was given, together with a colleague, two assignments in Asia, one in China and one in Japan. Both were Youth Coaches Coaching Courses.

We got a short briefing by Huib before travelling to China. I remember that the information provided by Huib made it possible that we had a successful course in both countries.

We decided to have the meeting at Amsterdam International Airport hours before my departure to Delhi. I also invited the Technical Director of the AIFF (All India Football Federation), a Dutchman as well, to join me. He was already in the job for a little over a year.

The briefing was very to the point and aimed at specific coaching aspects on- and off the pitch and daily life aspects. During the presentation and after looking at all the information, the TD started laughing and told us that, looking at the presentation, he had already made quite a few mistakes in managing staff in the office in his first year in Delhi. He was unaware of the impact of the difference in leadership between the two societies.

To better understand the differences between societies, it is essential to know who you are and where you come from!

Theory:

The knowledge used to understand the differences in cultural values and behaviors comes from the empirical study by Professor Geert Hofstede and the book 7 Mental Images written by Huib Wursten, who combined these different values.

Professor Dr. Geert Hofstede (Hofstede et al. 2010) carried out fundamental research into the dominant values of countries and the way in which they influence behavior in organizations.

Original data were based on an extensive IBM database for which, between 1967 and 1973, 116,000 questionnaires were used in 72 countries and 20 languages. The results were validated against about 40 cross-cultural studies from various disciplines. Analyzing his data, Hofstede found four value clusters (or “dimensions”) to be the most fundamental in understanding and explaining the differences in answers to single questions. He measured the differences and calculated scores for 56 countries on these four dimensions. Later research partly done by others has extended this to 85 countries and six dimensions. The combined scores for each country explain variations in the behavior of people and organizations. In addition, the scores indicate the relative differences between cultures.

The first four dimensions of national culture identified by Hofstede are:

  • Power Distance (PDI),
  • Individualism/Collectivism (IDV),
  • Masculinity/Femininity (MAS),
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)

Huib Wursten (Wursten 2019) developed a tool describing the effects of combining the four single dimensions and reducing the complexity. This led to 6 culture clusters (mental images) that can be more easily referred to, in order to understand cultural differences in practical terms.

Six mental images of society©

Each mental image represents a cluster of countries with specific characteristics (scores).

* The contest model (`winner takes all’) Competitive Anglo-Saxon cultures with low power distance, high individualism and masculinity, and low scores on uncertainty avoidance. Examples: Australia, New Zealand, UK, and USA.

* The network model (consensus) Highly individualistic, `feminine’ societies with low power distance like Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Everyone is involved in decision-making.

* The organization as a family (loyalty and hierarchy). Found in societies that score high on power distance and Collectivism and have powerful in-groups and paternalistic leaders. Examples: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.

* The pyramidal organization (loyalty, hierarchy, and implicit order) is found in collective societies with large power distance and uncertainty avoidance. Examples: much of Latin America (especially Brazil), Greece, Portugal, Russia, and Thailand.

* The solar system (hierarchy and an impersonal bureaucracy). Similar to the pyramid structure, but with greater individualism. Examples: Belgium, France, Northern Italy, Spain and French-speaking Switzerland.

* The well-oiled machine (order) Found in societies with low power distance and high uncertainty avoidance, carefully balanced procedures and rules, and not much acceptance of hierarchy. Examples: Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, and German-speaking Switzerland.

 

Note: In the book 7 Mental Images, Japan is the 7th mental image as a stand-alone cluster as no other country has the same combination of dimensions.

The differences between India and the Netherlands.

In the book “7 Mental Images ” (Wursten2020), India is described as The organization as a Family while the Netherlands is described as the ‘Network System’.

SCORE IN THE DIMENSIONS SCORE IN THE DIMENSIONS
Netherlands

PDI     38

IDV     80

MAS   14

UAI    53

India

PDI     77

IDV     48

MAS   56

UAI    40

 

The images above show considerable differences between India and the Netherlands regarding Power-distance (PDI), Individual/Collectivist (IND) and Masculinity/Femininity (MAS) dimensions.

With this knowledge in mind I would like to share with you my experiences in Indian society as a football coach for the Indian National Team.

Practice:

Leadership

Being a coach in India or the Netherlands is a big difference. In India, players and staff expect you to be the leader who takes all the decisions and has all the answers. No discussions.

In the Netherlands, coaches expect players to come to you when they have questions or suggestions.

We say: “The door is always open”. For example, players will give their opinions during training sessions when they don’t agree with certain situations or behavior by players or the coach.

Coaching in the Netherlands is also involving the player in ‘solving’ certain situations during sessions.

The coach can ask you what you think the solution should be in a specific tactical situation on the field or why you made that decision at that time. Then, the players will give their responses—discussions for the team’s development.

My vision about coaching football is that players’ involvement in how we want the team to play will help the team to improve faster and with higher quality, i.e., better communication between players on the pitch. I realize that this vision has developed in the Netherlands, where hierarchy is not very strong, and speaking up is learned at a very young age.

In India, it is the opposite.

These differences are shown in the images above and scores on the dimension PDI: Power Distance.

Realizing the differences between the two countries, I chose to implement my coaching style with the Indian national team as I believed in the strength of better communication and understanding.

Another vital leadership aspect for Dutch coaches/managers going abroad and highly underestimated is related to ‘loss of face.’ In the Netherlands, correcting players in front of the group or having strong discussions is not a big problem. It is seen as helpful for the development of the player or team (Teambuilding). It’s related to a high score on the Individual dimension of Hofstede.

In India, with a low score on the Individual dimension meaning Collectivism in general, the coach strives for harmony and will choose his words carefully. No loss of face as loyalty plays an important role.

Dutch people abroad are often seen as very direct or even rude in their approach, not realizing the significant impact of their actions. Throughout the years, I have seen enough examples of coaches being fired and up today not realizing that they made the big mistake of insulting people, often in higher positions such as a President or owner of a club. Just behaving or acting the way you are used to back home clearly shows a lack of understanding and respect for the people you are working with abroad.

Plan of action

First, I decided to only work with local staff members as I wanted to leave a legacy for them in the years ahead.

In the office in New Delhi, I first met with my assistant coach, a former national team player and interim head coach of the national team. I explained to him my vision of how I want to play with the team and how to coach the players. He is from Goa, a small state in the south of India famous for its beautiful white beaches and holiday resorts. I built a great relationship with him and still consider him a friend, although he still calls me Mister Wim! Even after all these years (from 2012) it feels strange to me, but I understand where it comes from. Dutch people are not used to hierarchy in their society compared to India, where it is quite strong and accepted.

In those first days at the office, I also met with my team manager, a young enthusiast former professional player originally from Bengaluru, a big city in Karnataka, in the south of India. Every time I spoke to him, he stood up straight like a military, saying ‘yes Sir’ after every sentence.

After a few days, I managed to make him a little more relaxed. I also build an excellent relationship with him. I met his family, father, mother, and close relatives. Two years later, after I left India, I returned to Bengaluru as I was invited to his wedding. During my time as a coach, he spoke about and explained the process of his Hindu family finding a woman for him in his hometown he could marry. He was very open about it, and every time he flew back home, he told me he would meet a few women to see if the right one was there for him.

The wedding was a wonderful experience. My wife and I were treated as high-profile guests for this 3-day wedding. Ever since, I have stayed in touch with him and his family. In 2019 because of work, I revisited them.

My other staff members send me messages yearly around Christmas and New Year.

Relationships in India are for life.

In the office, I also organized a meeting with the captain of the national team, a well-accepted, highly appreciated, and experienced player, the top striker who, at that time, was playing for Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. He proved to be a big help for me in teambuilding on the training pitch.

After a few weeks of preparation, a training camp was planned in a great sporting facility south of New Delhi. We had five weeks to prepare for a friendly international tournament in Delhi: The Neru Cup.

First, all staff members were invited to have a few meetings about the program and management of players and staff. Then, I informed them about my vision of leadership, so everyone was aware of the differences to be expected.

Then I explained to the technical staff members, my assistant coach, goalkeeper coach, and fitness coach my coaching style and how I wanted to implement it for the players, particularly on the pitch.

The day after all players assembled and in the first meeting, I explained what to expect from the staff and me, the style of play, the coaching style, and the changes they could expect.

Daily life.

Being appointed National Team Coach of the Indian football team doesn’t mean you are only dealing with football matters on the pitch. You also become part of daily life in India, which is a big difference compared to the Netherlands. You cannot learn everything from a book. You have to experience and literally feel the difference in daily life.

Early mornings I read the Times of India to understand what was happening in this vast country daily.

It would be easy to say one understands everything immediately, it simply is not, but the knowledge and awareness about the existing differences I gained before travelling made me much more alert and accessible to them. Nearly everything you see around you is different compared to what you have ever experienced before.

As a National Team Coach, you are not working with your players daily compared to a coach at a professional club. Therefore, there are only a few moments a year where you have the opportunity to work with the national team.

FIFA windows are planned for International competitive and friendly matches. Also, through AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and SAFF (South Asian Football Federation), the national teams’ matches and tournaments are organized.

On days not working with the national team, during the week, I was in the office of the AIFF (All India Football Federation) in Delhi. On weekends, I travelled to the various stadiums around India to watch my players perform for their respective teams. I have seen all corners of India through my work but also made some trips to lovely places around the country. Every day I met different people and engaged with them. People like to know where you are from when you travel or stay overnight in a hotel in big cities like Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, and Bangalore. When asked about aspects of daily life in India, I learned a lot from my staff members.

Once I heard someone say the phrase: “Adapt or die”…  I know that’s a bit harsh and should not be taken literally, but the message is clear.

Once you blend in, life becomes much easier.

On the pitch

The first training session is vital as a first attempt to start creating the style of football with the players and staff.

In preparation for the first team meeting, I had a special meeting with my team captain and my assistant coach about the coaching style and the implementation for the team. I explained the exact meaning and how I wanted him to help me on the ground with the players. His experience playing for a Portuguese club in Europe helped me a lot as he was used to different styles of play and coaching.

The respect for him by the other players was immense. Hierarchy is clearly defined.

I will never forget the first training session the day after briefing the players. In that briefing, I explained the most significant difference for them and the reason behind it: the coach will, at a specific moment during the session, stop the play and ask for your opinion in that particular moment and what could have been done differently. I told them I knew they were not used to that but would try. So be prepared! My captain repeated it in Hindi to make sure everyone understood.

So, the training started the following day.

At a certain moment during the tactical exercise, I stopped the play and asked a player what he thought of this particular situation and, if he could do it again, would he change something? Just as I mentioned the day before and enforced by the captain.

The player concerned appeared to be in shock, looked at the ground, and didn’t say a word. Then my captain stepped in and helped the player (and me) to solve this ‘awkward’ situation for the player.

He just shouted: “answer the coach! We discussed this yesterday, so what do you think?”

To make a long story short, I knew the players had to get used to this new situation. Still, only step by step they felt more comfortable with my approach and, after a couple of sessions, even started discussions amongst themselves in situations on the pitch (not with the coach, though…!). It helped communication between the players and me but most of all between the players themselves. And that is very convenient when they are out on the pitch during a football match as most decisions are made by themselves and not by the coach.

I also realized that when the players return to their respective clubs, the situation would be ‘back to normal “for them. But during my time in India working with the national team, I managed to install this specific coaching style with my Indian staff with the Dutch low hierarchy aspects opposite the higher hierarchy in India.

I prefer to call my leadership style in India a ‘Situational leadership– style. I was the boss/father figure for my staff and players during most of the day but could switch easily to

‘consensus/negotiation ‘style on the pitch with my players.

The Captain

My captain of the team in 2012 already had quite some status back then. Today, his status has grown to that of a real celebrity like a Bollywood star. He is now also the all-time top scorer of the Indian National Team.

The players of the team had and still have a huge respect for him. I have tried to use his status and strong influence in my attempt to implement the new coaching style with the players. His role was accepted by everyone in the team, staff included.

During press conferences for me it was no problem to compliment him on his performance and emphasize the importance of his leadership role for the team.

I even got to know and meet the former captain and top scorer of the national team and experienced the status he had in India already back then. He still is a very famous personality.

For the players the position of the captain has never been a problem. I’m sure this would not have been the same in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands people say ‘if your head sticks out above the ground level, it will be cut off’…there is a strong emphasis on equality amongst people.

The captain though, never tried to use his status to influence me for his own benefit. In my opinion because of his personality.

Effect

Changing a style of play knowing that the players at their clubs overall used another style of football is not easy, especially when you don’t have the players available every day. One of my tasks mentioned by the TD of India was changing the play style and searching for new young talent.

Analyzing the players’ potential made me believe that it was possible to change the style based on more possession, attacking driven with a solid defensive organization. This development was shown in recent years in world football.

After our five-week preparation, we played the tournament in Delhi with three other higher-ranked National teams. Eventually, we reached the final, playing against a very strong National team from Cameroon, and won the match after penalty series.

The quality of football was of a high level and the players showed they could play the style we wanted them to play. The joy after the final was incredible.

Literature:

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

Wursten Huib. The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and managing in a globalized word (2019) ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

Could National Culture Influence Football Referees?

Could National Culture Influence Football Referees?

Huib Wursten, Public speaker, Author and Consultant

E-mail: huibwursten@gmail.com

Paulo Finuras, Ph.D.

E-mail: paulo.finuras@isg.pt

 Abstract

Football is the most popular sport on the planet. It contains tribal elements adorned by rituals that summon emotional aspects and ancestral elements associated with the evolution and interaction of human groups, including competition and cooperation. National culture, understood as the groups wise collective mental software is present in all societies and penetrates them in all areas so that the practice of this game cannot be, in different ways, immune to it or “cultural free”. In this article we propose to analyze the influence of cultural values both on the disciplinary aspect (total cards shown by referees in the games of various European Football Leagues) as well as the effective time played (ETP) that is, the one that results from the non-interruptions per action of the referee in response to situations that he interprets as being sanctioned (therefore the time required to mark a ball that comes out or a corner that is considered as playing).

Our research hypotheses are that the values of national cultures also influence both the number of cards shown and the effective playing time which means that effective playing time of a football match and the cards showing greatly varies according to cultural environment football leagues.

This should not, in fact, be a huge surprise because the human activities of interpreting the rules of the game and the use of the power instituted in the figure of the referee are not exempt from the unconscious influence of the cultural context of the referees’ origin.

In short, with this research we may claim that the cultural background of the origin of referees tends to promote inevitable distortions in the way they intervene in the game to exercise their regulatory power.

Keywords

Individualism, National Culture, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Effective Playing Time, Total Cards Shown

Content

 

Abstract 1

  1. Introduction: The Hofstede Model and the Culture shock: 3

1.1 The implications for relationship trainer and player. 4

  1. Objective. 6
  2. Methods. 6
  3. Hypothesis, Discussion  and Results. 7
  4. From moderate (*) to strong (**) significant correlations. 14

Conclusion. 19

1. Introduction: The Hofstede Model and the Culture shock:

 

In an interview ( 20-12-19) with newspaper Nice-Matin, OGC Nice and Danish international striker Kasper Dolberg complained about the style of refereeing in Ligue 1. Comparing with his experience in the Netherlands with his new environment, France, he said:

“You can’t even speak with them (the referees) here. In the Netherlands, you speak man to man, you can ask for an explanation when a decision seems strange. Here, you get a yellow card even without looking at them! I don’t know if they don’t like me or whether there is another reason, but it is crazy. I’ve understood that I should not even try to speak with them.”

It is a clear example of that cultural differences can cause in playing soccer in different cultural value systems. Even if the countries are not very far away.

The social scientist Geert Hofstede proposes and defines culture as “a collective mental program of the human mind that characterizes and distinguishes one group or category from another”. In other words, culture is understood as a system of patterns and meanings about how to think, feel and act on common existential issues: how to deal: 1). with hierarchy; 2) the balance between the Individual and group loyalty; 3) the direction of motivation: competition or consensus seeking; and (4) the need to control uncertainty.

In its proposal, national culture, seen as mental software, is composed of ‘layers’. At its core are the values, understood as ‘general preferences for one state of affairs in relation to another, to which very strong[1] emotions and feelings are associated’.

The first three layers consist of symbols, heroes and rituals and are the most permeable to change and the most visible. The latter (values) is not visible mainly to a foreigner.  The dimensions, which are analytical constructions, reveal the meaning (high or low) and the intensity (strong or weak) in the way societies solve the four existential issues listed above. This is where the variations in values arise in the understanding of G. Hofstede (see next figure).

Figure 1

National Culture as a central tendency

The model based on the seminal study known today as the “IBM Study” has since been reinforced by the outcomes of repeat research, (Hofstede, 2010). The underlying idea is that when we compare the distribution of values between populations the rule of large numbers allows to find a central trend (what most people do most of the time) that can be compared to other national distributions.

Fig. 2

The first 4 Dimensions of the original Hofstede Model

 

Source: Authors adaptation from Hofstede, 2010

This model allows to anticipate some behaviors as more likely (because statistically predictable), from the comparison of central trends between national cultures. Let us look further as an example to the four dimensions and same of the characteristics more likely to happen in the relation between coach and players:

1.1 The implications for relationship trainer and player.

 

Low…………………. Power Distance ………………..High

 

Coaches expect/accept that players to initiate communication Players tend to wait until the Coach begins to communicate.
Players can/should find their own way, show initiative. Players know that coaching determines the direction.
Players can spontaneously open their mouths Players wait to speak until they are asked or invited to do
Players can ccontradict if they have different opinions Players in general never contradict the Coach.

 

Low IDV

(collectivist)

 

Individualism

High IDV

(individualistic)

 

Coach nor player should lose face Confrontation can be useful
Great loyalty to “in” group.

Other rules for outsiders.

Face loss is not that important.
Harmony must remain Coaches are impartial
Of coaches is accepted that they are traits based on background or recommendation of important person.  

The same rules for everyone

 

Consensus Masculinity Competitive

 

Players are supposed to be modest. Stars are allowed to profile and expect other treatment.
Coaches should avoid to publicly praise good players too much. Coaches can praise good players publicly.
Be critical to each other = keep each other sharp.

Help each other

Criticizing = negativism

Competition between colleagues is tolerated

If you come up with your head above ground level… you will pay the consequences Players very visible.

 

Low/Weak Uncertainty Avoidance High/Strong

 

Coaches don’t lose credibility right away when they say, “I don’t Know” Coaches are expected to have all the answers.
Players are rewarded for flexible solutions in the field and for creativity. Players are rewarded for precise follow-up of tactical clues.
Coaches are expected to suppress or control showing emotions during the game. Coaches may be emotional in public and private
Coaches interpret discord as potentially stimulating. Coaches see discord as personal disloyalty.
Coaches accept in principle input from all involved. Coaches see themselves as experts who can learn nothing more from others.

 

2. Objective

Following cross-cultural psychology Hofstede Model, we postulate that cultural values matters in referees’ preferences regarding the tendency to show more or less cards in football games (i.e., exercise sanctioning power) and in the impact, as consequence, on final effective playing time.

3. Methods

We present a study of original data to assess the amount of yellow and red cards showing and the effective playing time in several European football leagues with statistical and analytical methods including correlations between cultural values and those statistics (EPT, TCS). All the statists were kindle provide by the CIES Football Observatory, 2018

We have specific statistics of Red Cards Shown (RCS) from 25 football leagues in 2016-2017 and yellow and red cards from 2018-2019 and 2019 and 2019-2020 (until 17/02/2020) including statistics from the Effective Playing Time.

Our research hypothesis is that the dimensions characteristics from the cultural environment of the matches could influence referees in showing more or less cards and therefore the effective playing time could be reduced.

4. Hypothesis, Discussion  and Results

In addition to the actual time played we will analyze the total cards shown, red cards and yellow cards in 25, 31 and 73 leagues around the world,

We will consider several hypothesis, namely:

H1: In cultures with a higher PDI, referees show more cards in general (yellow and red)

H2: In cultures with higher PDI referees show more red cards than in cultures with lower PDI

H3: In cultures with a higher UAI, referees show more cards in general (yellow and red)

H4: The cultural dimensions PDI, IDV and UAI influence the effective playing time

H5. In cultures of strong uncertainty avoidance, the referees try to control the game by displaying yellow and red cards

The findings are consistent with the Hofstede Model theory presented here revealing great discrepancies according to the cultural background environment of the football leagues.

Our research suggest that referees are unconsciously influenced by Power Distance, Individualism, and Uncertainty Avoidance values where the match occur showing more or less cards and intervening and interrupting more or less the matches.

In conclusion, our data suggest that referees are more likely to demonstrate the power in high power distance societies, special with stronger uncertainty avoidance.

Fig. 3

Where Refs brandish yellow and red most

Source: CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Graphic 1

Source: Author’s research & data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

 

Table 1

Correlations Average Red Cards Shown in 2016-2017 for 25 European Leagues

RC

2016-2017

PDI IDV MAS UAI
Red Cards

2016-2017

Pearson Correlation 1 ,504* -,415* ,263 ,761**
Sig. (2 tails)   ,010 ,039 ,204 ,000
N 25 25 25 25 25
PDI Pearson Correlation ,504* 1 -,637** ,230 ,574**
Sig. (2 tails) ,010   ,000 ,184 ,000
N 25 35 35 35 35
IDV Pearson Correlation -,415* -,637** 1 ,000 -,573**
Sig. (2 tails) ,039 ,000   1,000 ,000
N 25 35 35 35 35
MAS Pearson Correlation ,263 ,230 ,000 1 ,177
Sig. (2 tails) ,204 ,184 1,000   ,309
N 25 35 35 35 35
UAI Pearson Correlation ,761** ,574** -,573** ,177 1
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,000 ,309  
N 25 35 35 35 35
*. The correlation is significant at level 0.05 (1 tail).
**. The correlation is significant at level 0.01 (2 tails).

Graphic 2 – RED CARDS & PDI

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Graphic 3 – RED CARDS & IDV

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Graphic 4 – RED CARDS & UAI

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Red Cards, Yellow Cards & Effective Playing Time in 2018-2019

Table N.º 2

Correlations TCS, EPT YC, Y2CRC & Cultural Values – 2018-2019

TCS EPT YC Y2C RC PDI IDV UAI MAS
Total Cards Shown

TCS

Pearson Corr. 1 -,560** ,996** ,826** ,370* ,377* -,557** ,623** ,314
Sig. (2 tails) ,003 ,000 ,000 ,029 ,026 ,001 ,000 ,066
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
Effective Playing Time

EPT

Pearson Corr -,560** 1 -,581** -,380 ,037 -,151 ,475* -,537** -,370
Sig. (2 tails) ,003 ,002 ,055 ,856 ,463 ,014 ,005 ,063
N 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26
Yellow Cards

YC

Pearson Corr ,996** -,581** 1 ,782** ,332 ,364* -,539** ,602** ,326
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,002 ,000 ,051 ,032 ,001 ,000 ,056
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
Second Yellow Card

Y2C

Pearson Corr ,826** -,380 ,782** 1 ,258 ,419* -,616** ,606** ,194
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,055 ,000 ,134 ,012 ,000 ,000 ,265
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
Red Cards

RC

Pearson Corr ,370* ,037 ,332 ,258 1 ,069 -,092 ,346* ,032
Sig. (2 tails) ,029 ,856 ,051 ,134 ,696 ,597 ,041 ,857
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
PDI Pearson Corr ,377* -,151 ,364* ,419* ,069 1 -,637** ,574** ,230
Sig. (2 tails) ,026 ,463 ,032 ,012 ,696 ,000 ,000 ,184
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
IDV Pearson Corr -,557** ,475* -,539** -,616** -,092 -,637** 1 -,573** ,000
Sig. (2 tails) ,001 ,014 ,001 ,000 ,597 ,000 ,000 1,000
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
 

UAI

Pearson Corr ,623** -,537** ,602** ,606** ,346* ,574** -,573** 1 ,177
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,005 ,000 ,000 ,041 ,000 ,000 ,309
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
MAS Pearson Corr ,314 -,370 ,326 ,194 ,032 ,230 ,000 ,177 1
Sig. (2 tails) ,066 ,063 ,056 ,265 ,857 ,184 1,000 ,309
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
*. The correlation is significant at level 0.01 (2 tails).

           Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and

Hofstede Database

 

Graphic 5 – PDI & Effective Playing Time

Graphic  6 – IDV & Effective Playing Time 2018-2019

Graphic N.º 7 – UAI & Effective Playing Time 2018-2019

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 8 – PDI & Total Cards 2018-2019

Graphic 9 – IDV & Total Cards 2018-2019

Graphic 10 – UAI & Yellow Cards 2018-2019

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

 

5. From moderate (*) to strong (**) significant correlations

 

There is a strong negative association between Effective Playing Time and

  • Total cards shown (r = -, 560 n= 26 football leagues)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (r= .537 n= 26 football leagues)

There is a moderate positive association between

Effective Playing Time (EPT) and

  • Individualism – IDV – (r= 475, n = 26 football leagues) and

There is also a moderate positive association between Total Cards and

  • PDI (r=.377 n= 35 football leagues)
  • UAI (r= .623 n= 35 football leagues)

There is a negative and strong correlation between Total Cards Shown and

  • IDV (r=.557 n= 35 football leagues)

There is a positive and strong correlation between Total Cards Shown and

  • UAI (r=.623 n= 35 football leagues)

 

Red Cards & Yellow Cards 2018-2019

Worldwide -73 National Leagues

Table N.º3

Association Between National Cultures and Total Cards Shown, Red Cards & Yellow Cards

2019-2020 for 73 Countries/Football Leagues Worldwide

 Correlations

TCS RC YC PDI IDV UAI MAS
TCS Pearson Correlation 1 ,752** ,997** ,294* -,453** ,524** -,018
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,012 ,000 ,000 ,880
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
RC Pearson Correlation ,752** 1 ,701** ,298* -,480** ,470** -,047
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,011 ,000 ,000 ,693
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
YC Pearson Correlation ,997** ,701** 1 ,285* -,436** ,515** -,014
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,015 ,000 ,000 ,906
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
PDI Pearson Correlation ,294* ,298* ,285* 1 -,704** ,310** ,129
Sig. (2 tails) ,012 ,011 ,015 ,000 ,008 ,278
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
IDV Pearson Correlation -,453** -,480** -,436** -,704** 1 -,330** ,104
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,000 ,000 ,004 ,381
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
UAI Pearson Correlation ,524** ,470** ,515** ,310** -,330** 1 -,060
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,000 ,008 ,004 ,612
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
MAS Pearson Correlation -,018 -,047 -,014 ,129 ,104 -,060 1
Sig. (2 tails) ,880 ,693 ,906 ,278 ,381 ,612
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
**. Correlation is significant at level 0.01 (2 tails).
*. Correlation is significant at level 0.05 (2 tails).

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 11

PDI & TOTAL CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 12

PDI & RED CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 13

Yellow Cards Shown associated whit PDI

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 14

IDV & TOTAL CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 15

IDV & RED CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 16

IDV & YELLOW CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 17

UAI & TOTAL CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 18

UAI & RED CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 19

UAI & YELLOW CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Conclusion

Football is a universally appreciated and practiced game and is based on relatively simple and equal rules wherever the game is played. The application of the rules resulting from its interpretation is however not exactly the same in all games and in all cultural contexts where the game is played.

Although the football teams of the top leagues in each country are increasingly composed of players from diverse cultures, in general the refereeing teams are composed of individuals from that specific league.

This is of course different in international games It is known that when a group (i.e., more than 3 people) moves from one cultural context to another, it carries with it the central tendency of the national culture of origin, that is, the characteristics of the mental software of their country and, probably, this can make oneself feel, albeit unconsciously, in the way the referees interpret what is happening in the field and if this is considered worthy of interruption and disciplinary sanction.

What the data seems to suggest is that, unconsciously, there is a sharp and persistent tendency for refereeing teams from cultures with mental software characterized by high power distance and a strong need for control, to show more cards.

Our suggestion is that the best way to cope with this reality is to make referees and players  aware of it. As it has long been known that it is part of cockpit resource management in aviation to train crew members for more direct communication that allows co-pilots, in particular, to be able to make negative criticisms in a constructive sense to captains, and not to hesitate to call attention to errors or even correcting them.

It might be a good idea to integrate this also in the training of soccer referees and coaches a set of knowledge about cultures as mental software’s that work unconsciously on individuals in order to gain awareness of their characteristics and, eventually, adopt other behaviors that reduce not only the number of cards shown in football matches, but also allow, in this way, to increase the effective playing time.

To think that the referees, coaches and players will be able to improve behavior themselves is a mistake. Why? Because the truth is that “the fish don’t know that they live in the sea”.

Literature:

CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

Wursten Huib. The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and managing in a globalized word (2019) ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

[1] In fact, they are so strong that there are people who fight and give their lives for them.

Invisible cultural differences in Sports How do we study – How do we see the invisible cultural values?

Invisible cultural differences in Sports How do we study – How do we see the invisible cultural values?

Associate Prof.Dr. Mikael Søndergaard, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

Introduction

A picture sometimes tells more than a thousand words!

Do you see the cultural aspects in the picture of Tour de France winner Vingegaard waiting for his rival Pogacar?

Does the picture reflect invisible cultural differences?

An episode during the Tour de France 2022 was used in the New York Times to approach the story of the winner Jonas Vingegaard from Denmark showing this picture. (Mather, 2022)  It is a puzzle why this picture was selected rather than showing the final victory. The article stressed the sportsmanship demonstrated by Vingegaard

There had been two moments of drama on the descent before the big climb as Pogacar, looking for any opening, and Vingegaard, watching his every move, zipped downhill together. But, first, Vingegaard, negotiating a gravelly road, wobbled and nearly fell,  one foot popping out of his pedals to keep his balance.

A moment later, Pogacar did fall, but he immediately climbed back on his bike, seemingly not injured too much. Vingegaard slowed to allow him to catch up, a show of sportsmanship acknowledged by a touch of hands between the rivals when Pogacar reached him again. (Mather, 2022)

The invisible aspect of cultural differences is shown in two main perspectives. First, the US New York Times readers have a cultural software that produces a mental image that the winners take all in continuous competition. The journalist has selected the surprise that the leading Vingegaard does not take all but waits for his opponent to catch up. Therefore, this indicates a curiously interestingly different way of understanding competition. Second, Vingegaard from Denmark and Pogacar from Slovenia are socialized into functioning well in societies with low degrees of “masculine” values. For them, the cultural software of the mind tells them you win but want to race again, so you do not destroy your opponent/ you want to keep your opponent safe to race you again.

Vingegaard explained that he expected to race many more times against Pogacar in the future and intended to have a good competitive climate with fair racing. Pogacar understood  Vingegaard perfectly, illustrated by his gesture of the hand. There was a tacit consensus between the two competitors. Intuitively, on their own, they acted intending to have a good working climate in years to come. The act of sportsmanship was also routed in invisible cultural similarities. Several interactions between Pogacar and Vingegaard during the Tour de France support this interpretation. Cultural differences interplay with other not culturally related factors. For readers with a masculine mindset, this situation was interestingly unexpected.

By using constructs such as values and dimensions of cultural differences between countries, we explain parts of individual behavior from a framework at the social level. Indivisible aspects of cultural differences in telling and acting in professional sports using two levels of analysis on qualitative data. The invisible cultural difference becomes visible in the process of combining levels of analysis.

Quantitative data show the importance of cultural diversity in professional teams is demonstrated in studies. Several studies have empirically addressed the relationship between cultural diversity and team performance.(Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt, & Jonsen, 2010) The number of nationalities of team members affects performance. The role of cultural diversity in teams is a double-edged sword.

Apart from these points of agreement, the results seem mixed. For illustration, one large study across comparable countries over a period finds that nationality impacts team performance in professional sports teams. (Maderer, Holtbrügge, & Schuster, 2014) A quantitive case study in Germany supports this finding.  (Brandes, Franck, & Theiler, 2009)

On the other hand, if one compares teams in the same international competition beyond national borders, results from a study on the impact on team performance from the UEFA Champions League (2003–2012)  indicate that more heterogeneous teams outperform less diverse ones. (Ingersoll, Malesky, & Saiegh, 2017)

The results of mixed results and the double-edged sword nature of cultural diversity are thus supported in sports team research as well, But also that the influence of cultural difference may vary depending on levels of analysis as this finding may illustrate contrasting results from studies on teams within and with teams across national borders.

Clearly, cultural differences have an invisible hand in team performance. How to manage it and use it to improve performance? How do we make the hidden aspects of cultural differences in sports teams visible? We will focus on the choices of what methodology considerations and tools to use.

Methods of seeing and telling the invisible cultural differences in professional sports teams

Humans have observed and talked about cultural differences forever. Since the cave age, we have come a long way in developing study methods and reporting on cultural differences. Plato’s cave analogy(Macintosh, 2012) offers the basics of the dynamics of observing the other’s “truth” and how challenging it is to report on it. The Plato caves are often used to illustrate the complexities of intercultural sensitivity. (Lowe, 2002)

Both examples of the introduction illustrate ways of seeing the invisible cultural sides of professional sports as a social phenomenon in its context. These two examples are very different ways of seeing hidden aspects of cultural differences. The qualitative and quantitative analysis required interpretation, allowing for factors other than culture to be part of the explanation. Understood in this way, cultural differences are only part of other factors that may explain the situations I used as examples in the introduction.

Cultural differences are part of a context in different ways. Visible cultural differences are, for example, institutions, e.g., national federations, that influence the members of the sports teams and their organizations in important ways. To study the invisible aspects of culture, we need to use a special case research methodology that allows us to explore invisible cultural differences in their setting, without interference from the observer or the research design, such as in a lab setting.

The choice and application of methods are mainly 1: the data collection and 2. The levels of analysis issue in the analysis of the data as we make the invisible cultural difference visible by combining levels of analysis.

How to isolate invisible cultural differences.

Suppose we accept that values related to culture are amongst other influencers of behavior and attitude. In that case, we need to find a way to illustrate the relationship between cultural differences and the social phenomenon that we seek to understand or explain. The search for cultural differences is a search where we take away other possible explanatory factors in our attempt to understand. Within-group variation can be larger than group variations, e.g., elite sports teams vary significantly from spare time teams within the same sport and country. Therefore, we need to compare top professional teams of the same sport across countries, i.e., sports teams that are as much alike as possible apart from the country of origin.

Sampling of data

In the selection data, equivalence is a primary concern of cultural studies. Here is a recent example showing current concerns regarding equivalence. (Fischer, Karl, & Luczak-Roesch, 2022) Berry’s contribution to the field is to explain the importance of functional equivalence in cross-cultural research. (Berry, 1969, 1989) A narrow, precise sampling has clear advantages. A broader sampling is comparatively less fruitful. Representative samples are the least productive, per se.

Professional sports teams competing internationally are a useful social group for studying groups across cultures using functional equivalence. Controlling factors are important and high in number as they do the same, follow the same rules, etc. More insights on the influence of invisible dimensions of cultural differences may result from further development in the usage of equivalence when studying professional sports teams.

Selection of data sources

Opportunistic and convenience sampling, e.g., using consulting clients as research sites, require several controls and transparent checks vis a vis equivalence. On the other hand, purposive sampling respecting equivalence may have the challenge of access to data.

The importance of equivalence is valid both for primary data and secondary data. Primary data requires greater access to sites. Interview notes, transcripts, recordings, notes from field observations, and reflective data from individual (diaries) internal records are primary data. In contrast, publicly available are secondary data. Annual reports, articles, books, and transcripts of public meetings, e.g., court cases, social media, and library databases, are secondary sources of information(Taylor & Søndergaard, 2017). Some of the articles mentioned in the introduction use both primary and secondary quantitative data.

An estimate of the quality of the source is a concern in both types of data in terms of how well positioned the source is concerning the information under study.

If transparency is respected, it would be fine to select a football coach who has worked in the same position in different national leagues with the same level of direct exposure to the players if this person’s personal information is compared with other independent sources of information, such as an assistant or relevant secondary data. The next step then becomes the one of accessing the data.

Access to data

Once the selection is made, accessing the data involves choices that impact the study. These choices may constrain the analysis and the content of the reporting. In the case of research methodology, this is called gatekeeper management. The relationship with the gatekeeper requires consideration as the researcher can become highly dependent on a gatekeeper. Unforeseen events such as job mobility and sickness may impact the access even with initial success(Taylor & Søndergaard, 2017)

An effective way to get to the source of data is through recommendations. Snowballing is a version of this type of access once you specify the qualities of the data source. Another choice here is the degree of involvement of the researcher. Here is the choice of covert or open entry and data collection. The more intimate the insights need, the greater the time the case research will need to be present in the organizational context. Another important consideration is confidentiality issues and handling expectations to maintain a public image. Textbook authors on case research methodology stress that it is important to be conscious of the possible steps in the entry process that must be managed. (Taylor & Søndergaard, 2017)

In short, the invisible aspect of cultural differences surfaces in professional sports teams in the process of data selection and data access important to make the secret of cross-cultural research happen in the combination of levels of analysis maintaining the unit of analysis, i.e., what we are interested in understanding.

We assume that invisible cultural differences are part of many factors to account for differences between comparable sports teams. We also believe that the relationship between the cultural contexts and what we study needs to be respected. We approach the subject as a case study defined as

A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context where the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident, and multiple sources of evidence are used. (Yin, 1984)

The real-life contexts are social and cultural contexts at one level of analysis with sports teams and the individual behavior of team members on different levels of analysis.

Studying Professional Sports Teams as Social Phenomena in Cultural Contexts

To simplify the many cultural country contexts pointing to the professional work organizations, country cluster studies group countries a reduced number of countries keeping the important differences in respect to work organizations in which professional sports teams are part. (Ronen & Shenkar, 1985, 2013) From the cultural context, it is possible to formulate questions to the data set of importance to the hypnotized invisible cultural differences. For example, (Wursten, 2019a) developed a model of country clusters with similar values indicated as “mental images,” helping to clarify the difference of what is seen as important in social phenomena such as sports teams.

The country clusters are based on the empirical research by Geert Hofstede and are shown below.

⇙ ⇘

Professional Sports Team

Figure Social phenomenon in cultural contexts

Wursten has demonstrated its usefulness in explaining differences between other social phenomena. (Jacobs & Wursten, 2019; Wursten, 2019b, 2020a, 2020b)

Both these frameworks, Hofstede and Wursten, are recommended for their usefulness in the systematic research into Cultural differences

Conclusion

I want to conclude by citing one of the fathers of the research method. Robert Yin said

“check your data and tell a good story.”

A participant of a Ph.D./junior faculty workshop at Sandberg Manor, August 1989, where we in Europe first met Robert Yin, reminded me about this advice which helped the participant in his career. (Jon, 2022) Yin’s words are, in a nutshell, the point I have been trying to make.

Here several points to check our data have been dealt with. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix in checking your data regarding a case study of invisible aspects of cultural differences.

References

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Mather, V. (2022, July 22). Jonas Vingegaard All but Clinches Tour de France With Win in Pyrenees. A Danish rider looking to defend his lead instead widens it, effetively finishing off his biggest rival with only days to go. New York Times.

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