Research Project Information
The idea behind Navigating Two Worlds (N2W) began in 2016 by gathering insights from Pacific people within the New Zealand rugby community in Auckland, about their perspectives on Pacific contribution to non-playing roles in rugby (see Ferkins, Dee, Naylor, & Bryham, 2017). This was because New Zealand Rugby recognised a gap that exists between the number of Pacific rugby players, and the number of Pacific people participating in non-playing rugby roles, particularly in Auckland.
In 2017, the research team were asked to present a series of workshops to the New Zealand Rugby community including the Wider Auckland Governance Group meeting (mixture of NZR board and staff) (February 2017), Auckland Rugby club chairman’s meeting (May 2017), and the Provincial Union CEOs and Chairpersons forum in Wellington (July 2017). There was strong support by these groups for the project to move forward. Since then, the initiative has grown into an action research program of work that is seeking to create change by exploring: How cultural intelligence can be enhanced to develop leadership within the New Zealand Rugby system.
The Pacific community play a vital part in our national game of rugby from the community level through to the professional game. This contribution is, however, largely on the playing field and it is not similarly reflected in coaching, refereeing, management and governance roles. Rugby is therefore missing out on the untapped potential of a collective group of people to further develop and enhance aspects of the game. In addition, there is growing recognition by global leadership researchers as to the value of a collective, relational and service orientation to leadership (Jackson & Parry, 2018), an approach embedded within Pacific culture (Ferkins et al, 2018). The opportunity exists to not only create greater Pacific contribution to non-playing roles within rugby but to also enhance approaches to leadership within rugby. Such approaches have largely relied on Western and leader-centric ‘ways of doing leadership’ that prioritise formal roles and the individual ‘in charge’, and do not necessarily value a more distributed, informal or relationship based approach to leadership (Crawford, 2018).
As describe above, N2W has a vision to generate greater Pacific contribution to non-playing leadership within the New Zealand Rugby system as well as develop greater cultural intelligence within rugby in New Zealand. If we can do these two things, then we think leadership practices within rugby at all levels will be enhanced.
To further explore the opportunity of bringing together both Pacific and Western worlds, two key programs within the Auckland region will be implemented. These active research programs will largely focus on two specific groups, namely a leadership program for emerging Pacific leaders, and a cultural competence and leadership development program for current rugby leaders at national, provincial and club level. These two programs will be overseen by a Pacific advisory group as detailed below and set out in Figure 1.
A summary of the action elements of N2W (2017-2020)
1. Pacific Advisory Group (2017-2020): To oversee the project to completion. In 2017, a Core Advisory Group (subgroup of the advisory group) was initially established to determine the full advisory group membership and to provide ongoing advice and guidance to the project team.
2. Club Leadership and Mentoring Program (2018-2019): Aims to develop understanding of Pacific culture within the New Zealand Rugby community. This cultural intelligence and leadership development program is for current office holders/influencers within rugby. It beings with a Club Leadership workshop (x20 for pilot) and then a mentoring and coaching follow up program (x40 pilot).
3. Pacific Leadership and Mentoring Program (2018-2019): A leadership development and mentoring program for Pacific people with aspirations to contribute to non-playing roles within the New Zealand Rugby system. It involves a Pacific Leadership workshop (x20 for pilot) and then a mentoring and coaching follow up program (x 40 for pilot).
Figure 1: Action Elements of N2W:
Uniqueness of the Project
N2W is a unique project that focuses on a mutual exchange and development of capabilities of both current office holders and emerging Pacific leaders in coaching, refereeing, management and governance roles within the New Zealand Rugby system. It is a leadership and cultural development program situated within a sport of significance for New Zealand society. As such it has the capacity to impact beyond rugby by generating know how, learning and experience for other sports in New Zealand seeking to embrace greater diversity in organisational leadership.
N2W is also encapsulated within an action research framework, underpinned by global leadership research. The iterative, practical, and collaborative nature of action research provides multiple points for reflection, feedback, and evaluation during the project and at project completion (Bradbury, 2015). It also allows for each key stakeholder group (AUT SPRINZ, New Zealand Rugby, Auckland Rugby, including the Pacific community members) to be important contributors on all aspects of the project planning, implementation, delivery and evaluation.
The changes and learning through this research are intended to offer insight about culture and leadership within New Zealand society, by drawing on the context of rugby. Such insights, also relevant for the world stage, will potentially place New Zealand as a lead contributor to changing the conversation about leadership within sport and the influence and contribution of non-western culture. More specific KPIs and outcomes include:
*Marked increase in the number of Pacific people in non-playing leadership roles in rugby.
*Enhanced cultural intelligence in current office holders within rugby (determined in benchmarking interviews and survey).
*Enhanced understanding of Pacific culture within the New Zealand Rugby community (determined in bench marking interviews and survey).
*Enhanced understanding of Pacific cultural obligations and how that affects involvement and engagement in non-playing leadership roles in sport (determined in bench marking interviews and survey).
*Enhanced leadership practice through encompassing Pacific and Western worldviews (determined in benchmarking interviews and survey).
*Generation of learning and know how captured and available to share with other sport entities in relation to the development of cultural intelligence and leadership.
Bradbury, H. (2015). The Sage handbook of action research (3rd ed., pp. 2-9). London, England: Sage.
Crawford, S. (2018). The influence of board leadership and governance on club capability within New Zealand community sport clubs. Masters thesis, AUT Sport Performance Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.
Ferkins, L., Dee, K., Naylor, M. & Bryham, G. (2017). Navigating Two Worlds: Report for New Zealand Rugby on Pacific Island Involvement in Non-playing Rugby Activities. Auckland: New Zealand Rugby.
Jackson, B., & Parry, K. (2018). A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying leadership (3rd ed.). London, England: Sage.