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Power, performance, and expectations in the dismissal of NBA coaches: A survival analysis study

David B. Wangrow, Donald J. Schepker and Vincent L. Barker

Sport Management Review, 2018, vol. 21, issue 4, 333-346

Abstract: Researchers focusing on coach dismissal often examine organizational performance as an antecedent; however, there has been minimal attention to the ways in which countervailing dimensions of power associated with coaches and ownership influence dismissal decisions, while still considering performance as well as expectations. To understand how power, performance and expectations affect coach dismissals, the authors examine the tenures of coaches in the North American-based National Basketball Association and use survival analysis to test a model of coach dismissals using 31 years of observations. The authors find that coach dismissal is a process influenced not only by team performance, but also expectations and a coach’s power that accrues from both structure and prestige. Additional findings suggest that expert power influences the likelihood of coach dismissal, but only after the coach has been in the job for several years. Finally, the authors found a non-linear relationship between performance and the probability of coach dismissal, suggesting that single events (i.e., wins or losses) have less influence on the probability of dismissal when performance is very poor or above average.

Keywords: Coach dismissal; Power; Reputation; Expectations; Governance; Cox proportional hazard model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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