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Playing field workplace: what managers can learn from professional kickers

August 18, 2016

A game lasts ninety minutes and the ball is round – soccer is full of wisdom for life. The fact that this wisdom can also be applied to business, that managers and companies can learn from the successes and failures of professional soccer is demonstrated by the recently published book “Playing Field Workplace. Management Know-How with a Kick.” One of the authors is Sven Voelpel, Professor of Business Administration at the international Jacobs University.
In soccer as in business, the key factors are promotion of individual skills, motivation, cooperation, leadership, and strategy, says Professor Voelpel. However, the purpose of the book is not to illustrate parallels between the worlds of business and football. It is a vivid, entertaining, and practice-oriented presentation of current management knowledge.
“The great strength of the book, above all, is the extremely solid technical foundation,” writes Roland Berger, founder and Honorary Chairman of the Board of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, in his preface. The authors have succeeded in “closing the substantial gap in quality between the often impressively long-winded textbooks on business management and the often entertaining, but not very well founded, works of popular nonfiction,” praises Berger.
The lead author is Ralf Lanwehr, Professor of Business Psychology at the Business & Information Technology School Iserlohn (BiTS); co-author is Professor Henning Staar, Expert Lecturer for Business Psychology at BiTS. Numerous experts contribute short guest articles portraying their experience, including Klaus Filbry, Chairman of Business Management of the soccer team SV Werder Bremen, Henning Lühr, State Counselor for Finance, Personnel, and IT of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.
The authors approach their topic in chapters with titles such as “Players,” “Team,” “Coach,” and “Club.” Concrete recommendations for action and tests add value and help promote self-reflection along with assessment of management personnel and organizational structure. Unlike a soccer game, the reading takes longer than 90 minutes – but it has the same lasting impact as a good kick. 
Lanwehr, R., Staar, H. & Voelpel, S. C. (2016). Playing field workplace! Management Know-How with a Kick. For management personnel and committed employees. Erlangen - New York: Publicis, Price: € 27.90
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Prof. Sven Voelpel| Professor of Business Administration | Tel.: +49 421 200-4773/3467