Competent, dependable and respectful: Football refereeing as a model for communicating fairness

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Abstract

Attitude to the fairness of decisions is often influenced by attitude to the decision maker. Football referees communicate hundreds of decisions in each game and perceptions of fairness are difficult to achieve. This study examines the qualities of football referees that influence perception of fairness, and the way those qualities are communicated. It reports that players esteem competence, dependability and respectfulness as the model qualities of a 'fair' referee. Players use an array of communicative heuristics to discern the fairness of referees. The accordance of these findings with previous justice studies suggests the model can be used to train professionals in other contexts where decisions and judgements are communicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalEthical Space: the international journal of communication ethics
Volume8
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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