Employment relations in the context of professional Rugby Union: a case study

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




Alonso, A. D., O'Shea, M., & Morton, H. (2012). Employment relations in the context of professional Rugby Union: a case study. International Journal of Employment Studies, 20(1), 82-103. Available here


Organisations, including professional sport clubs and leagues, are experiencing significant change. Rapid technological developments, competition, and other impacts related to globalisation are affecting the sport business context. Professional sports' ongoing commercialisation, player salaries, player trading, and the emergence of social media are some factors influencing managers' and marketers' strategies to achieve competitive balance, and enhance organisation revenues. Recent events in the Southern Hemisphere's Super Rugby competition, with expansions at league and national team level, illustrate the dilemma organisations face in finding ways to secure their financial sustainability. The present study adds to the limited body of research concerning these recent developments, addressing them from the perspective of several professional sport organisation 'stakeholders', including managers, coaches, and players. The findings illustrate the constraints labour market controls in the form of salary payments pose, and the opportunities and challenges regarding the imminent Championship expansion. The implications of the findings are further discussed.