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The authors use data on British football managers and teams over the 1994-2007 period to study substitution and complementarity between leaders and subordinates. They find for the Premier League (the highest level of competition) that, other things being equal, managers who themselves played at a higher level raise the productivity of less-skilled teams by more than that of highly skilled teams. This is consistent with the hypothesis that one function of a top manager is to communicate to subordinates the skills needed to succeed, since less skilled players have more to learn.
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