Developing a performance management process for Australian professional football league players

Document Type


Publication details

Morrison, V & Arthur, D 2010, ‘Developing a performance management process for Australian professional football league players’, paper presented to The inaugural International Conference on Sport and Society, Vancouver, Canada, 8-10 March.

Peer Reviewed



The Australian Football League (AFL) has been the subject of much controversy surrounding off field player conduct which, if not managed correctly, could result in stakeholder discontent. The recurring player conduct issue raises the question over the AFL having relevant performance management (PM) processes in place. It would be reasonable to expect a high level of professionalism and leadership in the AFL's complex administration, which would include a rigid employee PM system operating under the auspice of a Human Resource Management directorate. As well, while it could be argued that the relevant player associations are suitably equipped to offer a range of services a professional player may need, due to the limited amount of research available on this topic, it is difficult to ascertain what the actual uptake of these services is. It is interesting to note from a review of the literature that the sport industry as a whole is not as advanced as mainstream business in implementing formal human resource management (HRM) processes. In fact, it would seem that a large majority have no formal HRM policies in place at all. It should also be noted, however, that mainstream business reports a high dissatisfaction rate in the PM process which suggests that in many cases, the entire concept could be flawed. If, therefore, traditional PM processes are perceived to be an unsatisfactory tool for developing employees, and much of the sport industry does not even implement PM processes, there is plenty of scope for research and development in building from the ground up, an effective PM process relevant to sport management and case in point, the AFL.