The title, Collective Leadership: Collective leadership, refers to the phenomena being studied, which is clear and accurate. A Case Study of the All Blacks, is ambiguous and short. All Blacks are New Zealand’s national men’s rugby team, which may not all readers be familiar with. More details about the population should have been included in the title.
The abstract offers a clear outline of the study. The research problem and sample are well stated, which is to develop a greater understanding of the organization and leadership culture that has maintained the All Blacks’ wining record in the changing socio-cultural environment. In addition, the abstract mentions how the data was obtained, highlights the key finding and suggests how these findings will be applied to different settings.
This report will critically analyse the findings of a qualitative research article written by Thomas Johnson, Andrew J Martin, Farah Rangikoepa Palmer, Geoffrey Watson and Phil L Ramsey (2012) entitled: Collective Leadership: A Case Study of the All Blacks. From 1950-2010. The researchers interviewed captains and coaches, who were members of All the Blacks, New Zealand’s national men’s rugby team (Johnson et al, 2012). The purpose behind the case study was to develop a greater understanding of the organization and leadership culture that has maintained the All Blacks’ winning record in a changing socio-cultural environment over the years (Johnson et al, 2012). Data for this study were collected using the analysis of semi-structured, in depth interviews with past and present All Blacks captain and coaches, over a period of 60 years. In the method section, the researchers offer justification behind the chosen method, which is designed to communicate understanding from the different interviews responses. The case study also investigates the development of leadership in different eras, more specifically the senior’s leadership role. The case study concludes by recognizing the significance of collective leadership approach (informal and formal) that has been a major factor in helping the maintenance of All Black’s successful winning record over the past 60 years (Johnson et al, 2012).
Research design and research tradition
The research design is identified in this section. A case study approach was used in this research to examining the leadership and organisational culture of the All Blacks over a 60-year period from 1950-2010 through interviews with selected captains. It was justified as the following “The case study method is chosen because it allows the integration and comparison of different perspectives which can give a detailed understanding of a context” (Andrew, Pedersen &McEvoy, 2011; Gray, 2009). The researchers also stated that “it also enhances the richness of the data (Collis & Hussey, 1997; Yin, 2009) by generating multiple perspectives and allowing the researcher to gain an in-depth understanding of the issues of interest (Merriam, 1998)”. As this tradition is concerned with providing an in-depth understanding of a case or cases (Creswell & Poth 2017;Yin, 2014).
The authors did not identify a potential ethical issue. However, they addressed the methodological difficulties usually associated with a longitudinal study such as time consuming, complex data analysis. This was managed by the the fact that the lead researcher had a long term involvement in the team as a long-serving representative rugby player and a councillor of the New Zealand Rugby Union. Which enhanced the accessibility of deriving data from interviewees. Due to the lead researcher easy access to the participants, a trust and rapport was established. Additionally, his experience as a player and administrator gives him an experiential lens to interpret the data in an empathetic yet critical manner (Johnson et al, 2012). The sampling method seems to be appropriate, since the case study about the leaders of past and present of the All Blacks.
The study data was analysed by the four principles of qualitative data analysis: (a) data reduction, (b) data display, (c) conclusion drawing, and (d) verification. To enhance the validity of the data, triangulating approach was used as the mixed method design in this case study, the rational behind it was to improve the credibility and dependability of the research (Stake, 2008; Yin, 2009), where relevant documentation (reports and biographies) were involved, the data collected from the interviews of the selected experts (captains and coaches), and the lead researcher with his previous extensive experience in rugby.
Its not clear if the participants were fully informed about the nature of the research. There was not any mention of informed consent before the in-depth interviews with captains and coaches of the All Blacks, which can result in an ethical misconduct. In addition, there was no mention of the sample size.
Result/ Data Analysis:
The results were presented clearly and supported with many evidences. The interviews were given a theme and represented different eras through the years 1950-2010. For example, the captain’s role: great man’s theory, the coach’s role: the amateur era and formalized collective leadership: the professional era. When applicable, reporting of the descriptive verbatim responses occur to convey the holistic and subjective understanding and meaning of the phenomena under study (Merriam, 1998).
Enhancement of Rigor:
The methods used to enhance trustworthiness of the data and analysis were effective, due to the use of triangulation methods of collecting data from the participants. Which, will minimise bias and enhance the trustworthiness of the data and analysis (Polit & Beck 2006).
Although, the authors stated that” The nature of qualitative and case study research seeks to form a unique interpretation of events rather than produce generalizations, but it is expected that the analysis of their interpretations could be related to, compared to and contrasted with other high performance groups in both business and team sports” (Johnson et al, 2012). The findings of this study could be applied mainly to male coaches, more specifically in the rugby field. Therefore, future studies should be directed to female sport coaches or to different sport setting and other professions also using triangulation method to ensure that an interpretation is rich, robust, comprehensive and well-developed (Cohen & Crabtree, 2006).
This research could contribute to practice by the adaptation of Schein’s theory to sport organization culture.
The rich description from the semi-structured interviews with captains and coaches of All the Blacks, can contribute to the methodology of future qualitative studies in the same field.
The researchers stated that the result of this case are directed to other businesses and team sport organizations, where they can benefit from the All Blacks leadership approach to maintain their winning legacy (Johnson et al, 2012).