The role of culture in decision/action models - Pt.12


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This presentation looks at the role cultural traditions play in decision-making in soccer. It combines the work of E. Hall, B. Sutton-Smith and J. Boyd. Without these traditions decision-making cannot happen beyond the most basic levels and patterns.

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
  • The exchange of ideas (coaches and players) between South America and Europe has been mutually beneficial. Dutch could not have been blind to the freedom in which Brazilians, Argentinians and Uruguayans roamed the pitch, freedom combined with supreme technical skills as well as tactical creativity... A combination which Spain has been putting to extreme and deadly use for the last 5 years.
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  • I have been reading and listening to Various Coaches for some time now who have been espousing the natural influences and patterns of play for their teams/countries playing style. This is an obvious observation and clear relationship with the variety of football styles being played around the world.

    The south American flair,in comparison to Italian and German disciplined Structure have been compelling encounters over the years. Since the advent of foreign players and Coaches participating in the top European leagues there has been a redefining of Playing style and cultural heritage combining or clashing for prominence in the fotball philosophy of a country.

    The Dutch model however fits in well with the Educated higher socio economic countries that have prominent football competitions and better financial rewards for the coaches and players as well as the status and reputation of the club.
    The best exponent of a country combining Philosophy and culture in the recent cycle of Football success is Spain. Here is a country of profound identity and food and language, climate and style as normal cultural attributes. Their style of football also reflected the colorful and natural expressive passion of the people. The expectation to play that way was also clear openly expressive and belief that football with style would and should win. When results {as usual} don't follow then the investigation will begin ,there is nothing like a countries national pride being hurt for a solution to be found as to how to succeed. The remedy arrived with the Dutch model of long term youth development and training methodology. At first there was a clash of the old and the new ,pride and passion versus science and discovery. As some time passed and no immediate results recorded for the better the criticisms became louder and the call for cancelling contracts of 'foreign employed football directors' . Fortunately Clubs also wanted success and Spanish clubs like their Italian counterparts had been signing a number of international players for some years. these new players clearly played a 'different way' from the locals and added to the attraction of the games melodrama and clubs national standing.

    As the quality and ability of the game improved naturally because of foreign influence ,the blending of local and international style of play created the 'New Culture' and Identity related to the teams new found results and proven performances against established identities and powers in European football.

    So another countries playing style and philosophy brought to another countries culture and Identity can be a benefit if all the associated parties,Clubs.Coaches,Federations and the people invest in the measured processes to achieve an outcome. In bringing a dutch Philosophy of learning about developing youth players and adding the qualities of the Spanish Culture, Spain has reinvented itself with its own unique brand of football which has seen them succeed at the biggest stage of all the WORLD CUP. The 2 contrasting elements the Dutch methodology and Spanish flair proved a working model where both elements balanced each other to produce the desired outcome for all.

    What is also to be acknowledged is that this model may not succeed with say African countries or South American countries where Cultural Identity has opposing factors . So in fact each footballing nation will show a reflection of the culture of their country
    in the playing style and philosophy of football.

    In Europe the cycle is changing again as the Germans are coming to the forefront of attention. Unless results follow the National pride may not allow, the current model to continue and a new model to be undertaken and implemented such is the expectation of International football.
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The role of culture in decision/action models - Pt.12

  1. 1. A Decision/Action Model for Soccer – Pt 12 How Culture Influences Decision Making “Culture is not made up but something that evolves which is human.” Edward T. Hall “Everything man is and does is modified by learning and is therefore malleable. But once learned, these behavior patterns, these habitual responses, these ways of interacting gradually sink below the surface of the mind and, like the admiral of a submerged submarine fleet, control from the depths. The hidden controls are usually experienced as though they were innate simply because they are not only ubiquitous but habitual as well… The only time one is aware of the control system is when things don’t follow the hidden program.” [9] 1
  2. 2. “Edward T. Hall’s Cultural Iceberg Model” Using objective and subjective information Pyramid above from [5] Iceberg on right [17] 2
  3. 3. “Edward T. Hall’s Cultural Iceberg Model” Using objective and subjective information Culture is made up of three parts; 70% Internal/subconscious – below the water/wave line, 20% External/conscious – above the water/wave line, 10% +/- the gray area/the wave line - exposed/hidden by wave action.* “Hall suggests that the only way to learn the [unspoken/unconscious] beliefs, values and thought patterns of others is by actively participating in their culture.” [5,6,9] “Behavior, surface appearances, external conscious [20%]. The cultural characteristics at this level are visible, obvious, and easy to research. They include number, language and so on.” [5,6,9] “Beliefs, unspoken rules, gray/wave areas [10%]. The cultural characteristics at this level are somewhat obscured. You need to identify the context first. Examples are business etiquette and protocol.” [5,6,9] “Values & thought patterns, unconscious rules, internal subconscious [70%]. These cultural characteristics are out of conscious awareness and difficult to study. Examples include nonverbal communication, a sense of time and physical distances and so on.” [5,6,9] *Figures used for illustration only. The ‘gray/wave’ area is in constant flux. 3
  4. 4. Values and Thought Patterns in Industrialized Culture Key unconscious global rules that help shape beliefs and behaviors “Positivism is a philosophy of science based on the view that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, and that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in scientific knowledge.” Wikipedia Decisions have to make sense, rational thinking is ‘a must’, fact based approach to life. “Determinism is a metaphysical philosophical position stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.” Wikipedia Reality is linear. If B follows A and A occurs B must follow. Randomness and chance are not part of the equation. “Reductionism is a philosophical position which holds that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents. This can be said of objects, phenomena, explanation, theories, and meanings.” Wikipedia Reductionism ignores synergies, the added value of interactions between simple systems. These three ‘ism’s’ are global, culturally neutral and are rational processes. Reductionism, determinism and positivism are the same to a Frenchman, Englishman, German or a Japanese. 4
  5. 5. How Did We Get Here? Key historical events in modern culture The Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution laid the ground work for the industrialization of institutions. Bureaucracies, based on the principles of scientific management became necessary to supervise the increasing size and scope of businesses, militaries, economies and governments. Rationality, supported by science and mathematics became the default methodology for control. It was the best way to manage these large institutions, maintain order and could be easily taught (cultural transfer) on a mass scale. Faith in omniscient beings, magic, fate and myth was replaced by measurable data, statistics, empirical facts and methods. [14,16,19,20] The benefits to society through the advancements in science, technology, engineering and math were obvious. Reductionism, determinism and positivism are fundamental to the STEM model. Their adoption as ‘the methodology’ was logical and would soon “sink beneath the surface to exert control” on the people and institutions that used them. They became “non-human technologies” derisively known as ‘the system, the man.’ Drawbacks were ignored or could be overcome by continued progress in these fields. Given time, this coalition promised to contain a solution to any conceivable problem. Reliance on the STEM model, coupled with an exploding population, shrinking resources and increased competition saw an industrial scale rise in four other ism’s. These four operated at the local, human level. They would shape national, regional and local cultures by helping to define who individuals were, what separated them from others and how they should act. 5
  6. 6. Beliefs That Shape Cultural Behavior Nationalism, patriotism, militarism, imperialism “Nationalism is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one's nation. Nationalism involves national identity, by contrast with the related construct of patriotism, which involves personal behaviors that support the nation's decisions and actions.” Wikipedia  To help promote nationalism and patriotism “invented traditions were widely practiced and celebrated, as in the annual Empire Day observances and massed drill parades of school children.” [16] Youth team chants and banners. “In 1886, Herbert Spencer had referred to militarism as a ‘a military type of society, in which the process of regimentation… affected the whole of society” Alfred Vagts wrote that militarism ‘“presents a vast array of customs, interests, prestige, actions and thoughts associated with armies and wars and yet transcending the true military purposes’… the military mentality as well as the modes of action and decision-making intrude into the civilian sector of society.” [16] Prematch warm-ups.  “War with all its evil calls out and puts to the proof of the highest and best qualities of man. Fearlessness, daring, contempt of death, self-sacrifice, readiness to die for country or some other sacred cause… The training involved in all this preparation for war is an invigorating antidote against that luxury and effeminacy which destroys nations, as well as individuals.” General Lord Wolseley, United Services Magazine, March 1897 [16] 6
  7. 7. Beliefs That Shape Cultural Behavior Nationalism, patriotism, militarism, imperialism “Once a nation had embarked upon a course of imperial expansion, a sense of destiny and even divine purpose tended to accompany the process. Joseph Chamberlain… ‘the archimperialist of the age’ claimed in 1897; ‘It seems to me that the tendency of the time is to throw all power into the hands of the greater empires, and the minor kingdoms – those which are non-progressive – seem to be destined to fall into a secondary and subordinate place [The Matthew Effect]. For imperialism to function it is, then, necessary to distinguish between states whose arrogated role is to dominate and those ‘non-progressive’ states whose function is to be submissive to the will of the former… ‘a nation like an individual, is better for having great responsibilities and great obligations.’ As early as 1775 reference was made to the supposedly divine nature of imperialism. On 22 of March of that year Edmund Burke spoke of ‘a great empire’ which ‘went ill with little minds,’ and declaimed: ‘We ought to elevate our minds to greatness of that task to which the order of Providence has called us’… The emergence of a popular, mass circulation press provided opportunities for imperialist policies to be presented non-intellectually… The Daily Mail (1896) and Daily Express (1900) voiced: ‘Our policy is patriotic; our policy is the British Empire’.” Textbooks and children's readers also “drew the attention… to the glorious empire on which the sun never set, and to the ‘servants of empire’.” [16]  However “Those principles were easier to enunciate than to execute when Britain's rivals were also in search of ‘great and worthy occasions’.” [16] An active opponent thinks the same way and has veto power over your plans. These ism’s work at the local level, are culturally specific, learned through imitation and practice They can carry great emotional weight building love of country or die hard fans and players. But patriotic rhetoric to one man can be seen as an imperialistic threat by another. It influences how we view ourselves and others as well i.e. supporters stands at an Old Firm Derby. 7
  8. 8. Seven Rhetoric's of Play When we communicate with ourselves and others, we are engaged in the art, science and practice of rhetoric [18] “Each is called a rhetoric because its ideological values are something that the holders like to persuade others to believe in and to live by. Much of the time such values do not even reach a level of conscious awareness. People simply take it for granted, for example, that children develop as a result of their playing; or that sports are a part of the way in which different states and nations compete with each other; or that festivals are a way in which groups are bounded together; or that play is a desirable modern form of creativity or personal choice; or that, contrary to all these, play is a waste of time.” [21] 1. “The rhetoric of progress… is the advocacy of the notion that animals and children… develop through their play. This belief in play as progress is something that most Westerners cherish… Most educators over the last two hundred years seem to have so needed to represent playful imitation as a form of children’s socialization and moral, social, and cognitive growth that they have seen play as being primarily about development rather than enjoyment.” [21] Teaching curriculums and periodization models are based on the idea of engineered progress through scientific management. Learning can be made to happen. 2. “The rhetoric of fate is usually applied to games of chance, and it contrasts totally with the prior rhetoric… resting as it does on the belief that human lives and play are controlled by… luck, but very little by ourselves.” [21] When hope, luck and magic are all that’s left. 3. “The rhetoric of power usually applied to sports, athletics, and contests is… about the use of play as the representation of conflict and as a way to fortify status… or heroes… It is an anathema to many modern progress and leisure-oriented play theorists.” [21] We’re #1! 8
  9. 9. Seven Rhetoric's Thinking and talking about play 4. “The rhetoric of identity… is seen as a means of confirming, maintaining, or advancing the power and identity of the community of players.” [21] Joining the club, one for all-all for one. 5. “The rhetoric of the imaginary usually applied to playful improvisation of all kinds… This rhetoric is sustained by modern positive attitudes towards creativity and innovation… The rhetoric of progress, the rhetoric of self and the rhetoric of the imaginary constitute the modern set of rhetoric's, with a history largely elaborated ideologically only in the past two hundred years.” [21] “You must have fantasy” Joe Mallett. 6. “The rhetoric of the self is usually applied to solitary activities like hobbies or high-risk phenomena like bungee jumping… These forms of play in which play is idealized by attention to the desirable experiences of the players – their fun, their relaxation, their escape – and the intrinsic or aesthetic satisfactions of the play performances.” [21] Objective results be damned, as long as they’re having fun, individual satisfaction, it’s good. 1. 7. Some sports sports psychologists and Player Development Models use the rhetoric of self to justify Csíkszentmihályi’s Flow theory in competitive team sports. However in these games players need to take into account teammates and opponents. This places constraints on how much Flow an individual can achieve, usually at the expense of another. These sports are better understood through the rhetorics of identity, progress and power. “The rhetoric of the frivolous is usually applied to the idle or the foolish.” Childish play is seen as a frivolous waste of time in a ‘serious setting’ like an Academy. “We have work to do (progress), stop wasting time.” [21] 9
  10. 10. Seven Rhetoric's The implicit meaning in language “The word rhetoric is used here in its modern sense, as being persuasive discourse, or an implicit narrative, wittingly or unwittingly adopted by members of a particular affiliation to persuade others of the veracity and worth whileness of their beliefs. In a sense, whenever identification is made with a belief or a cause or a science or an ideology, that identification reveals itself by the words that are spoken about it… the rhetoric's of play express the way play is placed within broader value systems, which are assumed by the theories of play.” [21] The limits of the rhetorical model: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in communication   “These seven rhetoric's can be illuminated by contrasting them… with rhetoric's that are broader… and… narrower. Of the broader kind are those that derive from the beliefs about religion, politics [and so on] – that is, from the matters that priests, politicians… constantly harangue folks about… People cannot live without them… They constitute the incessant discourse about who we are and how we should live… The rhetorics of science are generally of a narrower and more explicit kind. Science, after all, has its own epistemological rhetorics of reliability, validity… All of these scholarly and scientific tenets are also rhetorics, because they assume and propogate the view that there is a knowable world, or a knowable text, and then, acting as if that assumption is real.” [21] An idea can have different meanings when viewed through different rhetorical lenses. For example, when a coach discusses a child's “playing development” with a parent it will likely mean different things to each party. The difference will be influenced by the rhetorical lens each uses. This is one of the problems with “parent education” initiatives. Before education can take place the rhetorical form has to be understood and agreed to by all of the parties. Otherwise a “platform problem,” [18] will exist. The same words will mean different things and mutual understanding breaks down. 10
  11. 11. When Does Being In A Groove Become Stuck In A Rut?  Rhetoric's serve as a template for our internal monologs, i.e. constructing a narrative account of our observations for our own use. This step has to happen before external communication is possible. The seven rhetoric's of play form the basis for understanding the game and frame those internal and external communications. When we fail to appreciate our own, or others, rhetorical framework miscommunication and harmonized action becomes difficult at best.  These rhetoric’s are learned through observation, experience and practice. They become culturally habituated. This is part of what differentiates English ‘doggedness,’ German ‘precision’ and Brazilian ‘flair,’ as national rhetoric's. In turn these are framed through their historical narrative writ large. Each nation has it’s own unique cultural myths and history while modern history is greatly influenced by the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment.  On the smaller scale of soccer, nationalism becomes belief in the club/team; patriotism is buying into the clubs/teams practices and rituals; militarism are the methods used to maintain order and discipline; imperialism is the desire to test and validate one’s beliefs, practices and order against a worthy opponent in a meaningful match. 11
  12. 12. The Role of Cultural Traditions in Decision-making Try Orientation without it Boyd includes Cultural Traditions in Orientation. It helps to frame decision-making by 1) limiting the external search field. Cultural Traditions i.e. biases help you to have some idea what you’re looking for and where to look by reducing options. 2) Filters new information to fit previous experience and concepts. 3) It establishes common ground for communication with others. Implicit dialog is possible. Without Cultural Traditions you lack the narrative/rhetorical capacity to make sense of the world and communicate with others. Communication is reduced to slow, explicit language and simple behavior patterns;  • “When persons of the same culture meet, they have some common understandings that do not need to be stated explicitly. Hall emphasizes that: ‘It is important for conversationalists in any situation… to get to know each other well enough so that they realize what each person is and is not taking into account.” [1] “Note how orientation shapes observation, shapes decision, shapes action, and in turn is shaped by the feedback and other phenomena coming into our sensing or observing window.” Cultural traditions play a vital role in this process. [4,15] Orientation, Boyd’s OODA Loop – from Wikipedia 12
  13. 13. Culture Is Not Stable The status-quo will resist change, but the attack is relentless Cultures are open systems and autodidactic. They are subject to the properties of emergence, “touch a culture in one place and everything else is influenced.” [9]   Ajax’s and Holland’s “Total Football” emerged from the combination of Neeskens defensive ferocity with Vasovic’s insight to play offside; “’Yes, this is how we do it’ Rinus Michels”. The attacking revolution was based on a defensive reorientation in part due to one player’s extra qualities. [27] Jonathan Wilson’s “Inverting the Pyramid, A History of Football Tactics” illustrates how football adapts itself to cultural change, upheaval and the influence of outliers. [26] Elvis and the Beatles changed popular music which changed cultures world-wide. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, air conditioning, home computers, the internet and Einstein’s theories are examples of culture bearing technologies and ideas. These are often called “revolutionary” when compared to the staus quo. Sometimes cultural change arrives unexpectedly, sometimes leaders engineer it. [10] One cultural clash that’s guaranteed is between the young and the old, new-comers and old-timers. The former want a say in the process, the later want to maintain the status quo or at least control the direction and pace of change. When Vasovic joined Ajax, as a newcomer, he brought a fresh definition of professionalism that challenged the Ajax old-timers. This challenge helped to raise the level of the teams play. Cantona had much the same impact at Manchester United. 13
  14. 14. Summary Cultural traditions play a vital role in decision-making. They help to frame preferences, (good/bad, right/wrong) and baselines of acceptable behavior, (act-how/wait-for what). Cultural traditions are learned through explicit and implicit experiences. These experiences sink down to become “unspoken and unconscious rules” [9] which shape how we perceive things and act in the world. They become deep seated beliefs and values that are accepted as ‘reality, the way to think and take action.’ Unless contrasted against a different culture they are rarely thought of or questioned. Left alone they can lead to dogma and single solution problem solving. Rites of passage, external rewards, appeals to shame/guilt/glory, imitation, policies, procedures and rituals are some of the methods that societies use to shape desired behaviors. In essence they create the popular culture, appealing to and controlling the masses. These methods appeal to the rhetoric of identity, the need to belong. Your behavior reveals if you are, or are not, one of the group. Culture shapes and is shaped by people, their environment and previous experience. Individuals and groups can change entirely, soften or harden existing beliefs, habits, and routines. These changes maybe intentional/engineered or unexpected/emergent. An emergent example; publication of Charles Reep analysis that most goals are scored from “fewer than three passes” [26] gave rise to the idea of ‘route one football.’ Since it had ‘statistical, therefore scientific’ credibility it was a rational way to play appealing to the rhetoric of progress. This in turn hardened groups that either supported or loathed its implications and results. Entire coaching curriculums would be built to support or refute his work. The Vasovic example on slide 13 shows how cultural change can be engineered. 14
  15. 15. Selected references 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. ACHILLES, C. & CRUMP, H. April 1978, Why Can’t They Be Like We Were (Educational Leadership: 509515). BOYD, J. 2011, Conceptual Spiral ( BOYD, J. 1976, Destruction and Creation ( BOYD, J. 2010, The Essence of Winning and Losing ( CONSTANTFOREIGNER.COM, October 11, 2013, ( GALDO, M. & NIELSEN, J. 1996, International User Interfaces (New York: John Wiley & Sons). GATTO, J. 2010, Weapons of Mass Instruction, A School Teachers Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling (Gabriola Island, B.C: New Society Publishers). GOFFMAN, E. 1959, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York: Anchor Books). HALL, E. 1976, Beyond Culture (New York: Doubleday). KUHN, T.S. 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). KUMATA, E. Feb 25, 2010, Importance of Learning a Culture ( LAVE, J. & WENGER, E. 1991, Situated Learning, Legitimate Peripheral Practice (New York: Cambridge University Press). McCHRYSTAL, S. Aug. 3, 2012 Encouraging Cultural Change ( MITRA, S. Feb. 27, 2013 Build a School in the Clouds ( OSINGA, F. 2007, Science, Strategy and War, The Strategic Theory of John Boyd (New York: Routledge). 15
  16. 16. Selected references 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. PENN, A 1999, Targeting Schools, Drill, Militarism and Imperialism (London: Woburn Press) PENSTONE, J. OPENGECKO, October 20, 2013 ( PIRSIG, R. 1974, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, An Inquiry Into Values (New York: Harper Perennial). RITZER, G. 2008, The McDonaldization of Society 5 (Thousand Oaks Ca: Pine Oaks Press). ROBINSON, K. Oct. 14, 2010, Changing Education Paradigms ( SUTTON-SMITH, B. 1997, The Ambiguity of Play (Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press). THOMAS, D. Sept. 12, 2012, A New Culture of Learning ( VYGOTSKY, L.S. 1978, Mind in Society, The Development of Higher Psychological Processes (Cambridge Ma: Harvard University Press). WEICK, K. SUTCLIFFE, K. 2007, Managing the Unexpected, Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty, (San Francisco, Ca: John Wiley & Sons, Inc). WENGER, E. 1998, Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning, and Identity (New York: Cambridge University Press). WILSON, J. 2008, Inverting the Pyramid, A History of Football Tactics (Great Britain: Clays Limited). WINNER, D. 2000, Brilliant Orange, The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football (London: Bloomsbury). WOOD, J. PETRIGLIERI, G. 2005, Transcending Polarization: Beyond Binary Thinking (Transactional Analysis Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1, 31-39). 16
  17. 17. Thank you “I’ll live or die by my own ideas.” Johan Cruyff Presentation created November 2013 by Larry Paul, Peoria Arizona. All references are available as stated. All content is the responsibility of the author. For questions or to inquire how to arrange a consultation or workshop on this topic you can contact me at, subject line; decision/action model. For more information visit the bettersoccermorefun channel on YouTube, or Street soccer, a guide to using small sided games at Udemy, 17