From Complexity to Clarity : A Case Study of Strategic Player Recruitment in Football Through Integration of Big Data and Complementary Resources
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- Master Thesis 
The thesis examines the growing significance of "Big Data" in strategic decision-making, explicitly focusing on player recruitment in professional football clubs. Given the inherent complexity of football as a sport, clubs face a fundamental challenge in identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that genuinely reflect player performance. Employing strategic management theory, this thesis investigates how a Norwegian elite club, competing in the top two divisions and operating with limited resources, can leverage Big Data and integrate complementary resources to enhance its recruitment strategy. To explore this issue, the research encompasses two main analyses. Firstly, an investigation is conducted to identify the existing data metrics utilised in scouting. Subsequently, relevant personnel from a top-two-division Norwegian club are interviewed to gain insights into their scouting and recruitment strategies. The findings reveal several important factors. Firstly, the organisational culture emerges as a crucial determinant of success. Additionally, the club's distinctive style of play is identified as an essential internal resource that complements the recruitment strategy, thereby contributing to the creation of a sustainable team. Furthermore, it is discovered that the club under investigation heavily relies on intuition during the recruitment process, suggesting potential benefits in broadening their use of data. While the research highlights the value of data utilization, it emphasizes the complementary nature of combining subjective observations with data analysis. Keywords such as contextual data and psychological traits recur as important themes open to further discussion. The thesis also explores the practical implications and potential steps towards developing an effective recruitment strategy. However, it is important to acknowledge the limitations of a data-driven approach. Although the specific implementation of data-driven approaches is not extensively addressed, the study briefly mentions the importance of data management technology. In conclusion, this thesis seeks to address the key elements involved in formulating a recruitment strategy that takes into account the multifaceted nature of football and the human element, while integrating data-driven insights.