Football Behaviour Management

Registration for this course is closed. Find our other courses here.

Professional football organisations are curious in how they operate.  In the past, such organisations would place heavy emphasis on entertainment, whereas in recent times, there has been a notable shift towards developing, signing, and trading the best players. With the dramatic increase in transfer fees, the organisations who best manage their finances are also those most likely to succeed. However, as the transfer fees increase, so do the risks. In many cases, the reward structures in place promote poor decisions. For that reason, it is essential to learn how rewards incentivise behaviour, and how we can promote the desired behaviour from football organisations whilst decreasing undesired behaviour within professional football clubs.

Session 2
20 July to 31 July 2020
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Co-ordinating lecturers         
Dr. Marius Rietdijk
Other lecturersPatrick Busby, independent international scout, has worked for Ajax, Groningen, HSV and Brighton.
Joost van der Leij, independent data scout, has worked for Heracles
Vincent van Kaam, independent video scout.
Wessel Weezenberg, KNVB licensed player agent.
Form of tuitionInteractive seminar
Forms of assessmenttba
Credits3 ECTS
Contact hours45 hours
Tuition fee€500, read more about what's included

How to apply
Find our application form here
This course is for students and professionals in the field of social, exact, or technical sciences who want to know more about changing organisational behaviour through positive reinforcement within professional football clubs. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.
This course focusses on three fields of science:

1.    Organisational Behaviour Management (OBM)
2.    Viable System Model (VSM)
3.    Cybernetic Big Five Theory (CB5T)

Organisational Behaviour Management is a sound practical application of behaviour analysis which was pioneered by Ivan Pavlov over a century ago. During the course, you will learn both classical conditioning according to the principles of Pavlov and operant conditioning according to the principles of Skinner. You will learn the principles and techniques of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). ABA is defined as the process of using systematic interventions derived from learning theory to improve socially significant behaviours, then demonstrating that those interventions are indeed responsible for the improvement.

Amongst the topics covered are the ABC model (antecedent-behaviour-consequence), the four behavioural consequences, and a protocol for shaping new behaviours. With a specific focus on professional football organisations, you will learn how to look for very particular behaviours of players with regards to the scouting and recruitment processes.

You will also learn how to model a professional football organisation according to the principles of the Viable System Model (VSM) in order to diagnose and optimise the management of the organisation. With VSM, you will learn how the team manager, sporting director, and head of recruitment can best communicate with one another. VSM teaches what channels to use within an organisation to promote desired behaviours and reduce undesired behaviours through the principles that OBM teaches us.

Finally, with the Cybernetic Big Five Theory, you will learn the necessary social skills needed to operate in the highly volatile environment that a professional football organisation can operate within. By learning how the dopamine reward system of the brain enables us to achieve our goals, you can combine knowledge of CB5T with the positive reinforcement of OBM to shape the organisation to your personal preference.
Upon completion of this course you should be able to:

● Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of organisational behaviour to achieve excellent results within a professional football organisation.
● Explain how OBM and ABA can help change organisational behaviour
● Show familiarity with the ABC model and ABC analysis.
● Discuss the main concepts in OBM/ABA and how they can help improve performance.
● Apply the OBM protocol to real-life behaviour.
● Model a professional football organisation with VSM.
● Use VSM to diagnose and optimise a professional football organisation.
● Use CB5T to understand people's needs, desires and goals.
● Understand how people’s needs, desires and goals can help an organisation achieve its goals.
Course reading
● Daniels, A. C. (latest edition), Bringing out the Best in People. New York: McGraw-Hill.
● DeYoung, C. G., & Weisberg, Y. J. (2019). Cybernetic approaches to personality and social behaviour. In M. Snyder & K. Deaux (Eds). Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology, Second Edition (pp. 387–414). New York: Oxford University Press. [PDF]
● Hoverstadt, P. The Fractal Organization: creating sustainable organizations with the viable system model
● Skinner, B. Science and Human Behaviour

Do you want to make the most out of your summer? You can combine this course with the following courses in session 1: