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An Evaluation of the Transition from an Amateur to Professional Culture within Hong Kong's Elite Rugby Program

Hall, Andrew J.A.; English, Cedric; Jones, Leigh; Westbury, Tony; Martindale, Russell


Leigh Jones


Currently little is known about the development of high-performance cultures in emerging nations. This study is the first of its kind examining an emerging rugby nation’s transition from an amateur to a professional full-time fifteen-a-side programme. Eleven full-time professional male rugby union players, the Head of the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s (HKRU) Elite Rugby Programme(ERP) and the HKRU’s peripatetic sport psychologist were interviewed. Inductive thematic analysis of semi-structured interview data revealed four emerging themes, namely; 1) an amateur environment that required change; 2) ERP’s professional culture building blocks; 3) leadership strategy and managing key stake holders and 4) managing on-going challenges in the ERP’s professional culture. Theoretical and applied implications for practitioners and programme leaders responsible for driving cultural change in their respective environments are discussed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 3, 2022
Online Publication Date May 16, 2022
Deposit Date May 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2022
Print ISSN 2164-0629
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Coaching, high performance culture, cultural change, emerging nations
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