Learning to Make the ‘Right’ Decisions - the Epistemological Chain in Action: An Investigation and Guide for Elite Golf Practice.

Grecic, D orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1487-8327 (2015) Learning to Make the ‘Right’ Decisions - the Epistemological Chain in Action: An Investigation and Guide for Elite Golf Practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The role and impact of decision-making (DM) has evoked much research interest. The link between philosophy and behaviour via the decisions that practitioners make has also been established. In elite sport however there has been little research to show how philosophy can shape and impact DM in this high performance domain. Furthermore, to this point epistemology has not been considered as a potential tool that could help guide and directly influence DM in such an environment. Given the pressures evident in elite golf, the demand for success, and the need to make decisions that will have positive outcomes for players, coaches and the sport itself the focus of this thesis was on developing a bespoke understanding of how those working in elite golf can make "the right decisions".
In order to support the investigation an Epistemological Chain (EC) that links the higher order beliefs to practical behavioural outputs was conceptualised. Reflecting a growing interest and awareness of how practitioners and organisations make decisions the aim of this thesis was therefore to provide an exploration of DM in elite golf with a specific focus on the EC. Accordingly interviews were undertaken with coaches in order to gain a better understanding of the ECs existence, operation, application and potential utility. To further understanding of the EC’s wider impact on DM, a series of studies were undertaken, this time examining the EC at the coach-player, inter-coach, and organisational level. Findings from these studies demonstrated that the EC did exist, as did many potential benefits for its implementation. To further test these assumptions and propositions that had emerged an action research project was undertaken with England Golf. This study supported and confirmed the value and practicality of the EC as a reflection tool for uncovering existing interactions and as a framework against which to initiate change and base organisational management operations and decisions.
Overall, this thesis represented an interesting study of DM interpretations in the elite golf domain. More significant however is that it has provided elite golf with an evidence-led framework against which to base its decisions.

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