Whistleblowing of bullying in professional football: To report or not to report?

Newman, James, Warburton, Victoria ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7293-2657 and Russell, Kate ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4260-8631 (2022) Whistleblowing of bullying in professional football: To report or not to report? Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 61. ISSN 1469-0292

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Only recently has research begun to focus on workplace bullying within organizations outside of traditional white-collar industries, such as professional football. While this is an important development, there remains a lack of understanding around the reporting of bullying in professional sport. In this paper, the authors explore how the professional football workplace shapes perceptions of whistleblowing and unearths individual perceptions around reporting bullying behavior. We used a phenomenological approach to gain rich experiential data from eighteen male professional football players in the UK. Interview data were analyzed in accordance with the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Two superordinate themes were identified from the analysis, (a) professional football’s influence on whistleblowing, and (b) the challenges of reporting bullying. These themes highlighted that the unique, institutionalized nature of professional football interacts with participants’ ability to report bullying behavior. The participants’ accounts revealed divergent perceptions around how professional football shapes the degree to which players feel they can report bullying behavior. It was apparent that the authoritarian, often abusive and intimidatory nature of professional football significantly impacts whistleblowing. Our findings demonstrate the importance of workplace context when exploring the reporting of bullying behavior. They also demonstrate the need to address organizational culture and differentiate bullying education programs to alternative workplaces.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: interpretative phenomenological analysis,professional football,whistleblowing,workplace bullying,applied psychology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3202
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Sport, Health And Education
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2022 09:30
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 17:37
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/84202
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2022.102177


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