Why Ref? Understanding sport officials' motivations to begin, continue, and quit

David J. Hancock, Donald J. Dawson, Denis Auger
2015 Movement & sport sciences  
With attrition rates of 30% (Deacon, 2001) , organizations need to understand sport officials' motivations to become and remain officials rather than quit. The purpose of this study was to assess these motivations. Using questionnaire data from an existing survey, we categorized participants (N = 514) as interactors, monitors, and reactors (MacMahon & Plessner, 2008) . Sport officials were motivated to begin officiating for intrinsic and for the sport reasons. For continuing officiating,
more » ... pants cited intrinsic and social motivations. Finally, interactors, monitors, and reactors cited lack of respect, too much stress, and lack of recognition, respectively, as their main beliefs for why sport officials quit. Practical recommendations are provided, which might assist sport governing bodies in recruiting and retaining sport officials. , for example, linked soccer officials' (N = 529) stressors with burnout and intention to terminate. The authors reported fear of failure and interpersonal conflict (amongst others) as indirect factors leading to termination. While this was a valuable first step in understanding sport officials' pathways, the authors targeted termination and did not consider the impetus for beginning officiating. Similarly, VanYperen (1998) identified that commitment scores could accurately predict volleyball referees (N = 326) that continued as opposed to quit. Again, this information is beneficial, but does not describe the full picture of sport officials' developmental pathways. One study that began to assess motivation was Scott and Spinks (2002) . Here, the authors noted that professional ice hockey referees scored higher on dominance, optimism, and arousability -concepts that were connected to high motivation -than their amateur counterparts. The authors, however, compared referees (N = 180) from the National Hockey League and Australian amateur leagues. The use of a highly expert group limits the generalizability of these findings, as most sport officials do not acquire such expertise. Further, the authors did not track motivations to begin as ice hockey referees -merely continued participation. Gray and Wilson (2008) also conducted a study on motivation to continue officiating. Herein, the authors found that track and field officials' (N = 80) perceived relatedness predicted motivation to continue officiating. Once again, this is important knowledge to the sport officials community, but does not present a complete account of the process of beginning, continuing, and quitting officiating. More recently, researchers (Auger, Fortier, Thibault, Magny, & Gravelle, 2010) conducted a profile assessment on sport officials (N = 469) from 16 sports, with the specific purpose of understanding motivations, expectations, and perceptions of officiating. Additionally,
doi:10.1051/sm/2014018 fatcat:o27buxxrqjalbo2utdudv35qmi