Tactical Innovation in New Zealand Representative Rugby: A Grounded Theory of Developing

Kwok, Kim
Dickson, Geoff
McCallin, Antoinette
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

The purpose of this grounded theory research is to understand the process of tactical innovation in New Zealand rugby. Tactical innovation is an important resource for successful rugby. Understanding how the process occurs offers the potential to better generate, direct, and control tactical innovative efforts. Data were collected by interviewing rugby coaches. Data were analysed using the constant comparative method and the inductive-deductive analytical process. Data collection included theoretical sampling. Findings suggest that the main concern of coaches is winning. This is resolved using the process of developing. Developing is comprised of three sub-processes, innovating, influencing, and implementing. The first sub-process, innovating is the assessing of opportunity that secures potential advantage. Innovating is comprised of two categories, identifying and questioning. Whereas identifying is openness to new possibilities, questioning is the subjecting of those opportunities to critical assessment. The second sub-process influencing is the securing of buy-in from anyone whose cooperative efforts are required in the developing process. Influencing is effected by structuring and persuading. Structuring is an indirect means of influencing, which seeks to control the tacit messages within the team environment. In contrast, persuading involves direct intervention that controls the thinking and actions of others. The third sub-process implementing refers to the developing of resource reliability. Resources include any player or procedure which contributes to winning. The categories of implementing are deciding and applying. Deciding involves the choice of appropriate resources, while applying is the arranging and testing of resources so that they perform under pressure. There are overlaps between the business literature and the theory of developing and how organisations pursue ambidexterity. Ambidexterity, which is an organisation’s ability to simultaneously explore new opportunities and exploit existing capabilities, is also required when coaching representative rugby teams. These findings highlight the diversity of mental, organisational, technical, and inter-personal skills coaches utilise in the developing process.

grounded theory , rugby , tactics , coaching , developing , innovating , influencing , implementing , ambidexterity
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