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An interpretive analysis of interpersonal communication: a case study from elite rugby union match officiating

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During the last two decades there has been a rapid expansion in the study of interpersonal communication. This has coincided with a move towards increasingly interpretive or cultural perspectives to examine the stories, symbols, rituals, roles, and communication practices and performances of organisations. In this paper a methodological protocol is presented for researching the communication behaviours of elite match officials in rugby union. Critical incident data from referees on the International Rugby Board's merit-based list were captured during international matches during the 2001-2002 season. They were then subjected to expert review (by panels including referees, referee coaches, referee managers, assessors and performance analysts), and later to content analysis (which established stable patterns of referee behaviour). This process generated an empirically derived theoretical model of referee communication which was then evaluated from within the practice community of rugby union referees. It received support from them for its accuracy and as a pedagogic tool for explaining effective referee communication practice.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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