Sport referees’ career commitment as a mediator between quality of work life (QWL) and turnover intent

Seungmo KIM, Wai Chi Yip

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    Referees as facilitators or conductors of every game play an extremely critical role in sports because they are one of the most important elements in providing pleasant and fair experiences to participants, spectators, and others in sporting events (Cuskelly & Hoye, 2013; Grunska, 2002). Referees’ role becomes even more significant in sanctioned, formal, or important competitions (Yip, Kim, & Love, 2017). To smoothly manage each game, referees should have not only sufficient knowledge of the rules and regulations of their sport but also a correct understanding of the aims of each event based on the level of competition so that they can adopt an appropriate standard in officiating in line with those aims. For instance, the objectives and values of recreational sports are fun, a healthy lifestyle, and skill development through sport participation rather than winning, which is the most highly valued element in competitive sports (Chelladurai & Kerwin, 2017). Therefore, referees’ approach to recreational sports should focus more on positive sport experiences and enjoyment than on winning.
    Sport officiating is a challenging and demanding task performed under great stress because referees are expected to continuously make correct, safe and fair judgments of every individual play during a match (Kim, 2017; Yip et al., 2017). Since referees are well aware of how important their calls are in a game, they make great efforts to remain focused on each play to meet these expectations. However, it is almost impossible for them to perform perfectly with no mistakes during every competition. Although bad calls unwittingly made by referees are often accepted as part of a game, it is not uncommon to see fans and media criticizing and blaming bad calls that may actually have altered the outcome of a match, which could ultimately intensify the stress and pressure on referees (Folkesson, Nyberg, Archer, & Norlander, 2002; Parsons & Bairner, 2015). Infuriated critics often go beyond merely blaming referees for bad calls. Players and coaches often verbally abuse and even physically attack referees when the players and coaches do not agree with their calls. For instance, soccer players who were angry about being shown a red card killed referees during amateur soccer matches in Argentina and Mexico in 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)160-172
    Number of pages13
    JournalInternational Journal of Applied Sports Sciences
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Sport officials
    • Career commitment
    • Work life
    • Turonover intent


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