Expert comment Leicester Citys decision to sack Claudio Ranieri symbolic of obsession with change

Professor Stephen Wood, from the University of Leicester, has discussed the controversial sacking of Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri in an interview with Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester.

Professor Wood, Professor of Management in the University’s School of Business and a lifelong Leicester City supporter, suggested that the decision to sack Ranieri can be seen within modern society’s increasing “obsession with change”.

He explained that the idea of ‘liquid modernity’, introduced by Zygmunt Bauman who suggested that modern life is characterised by constant uncertainty and ambivalence, can be seen clearly in everyday life and recent global events.

The issue of loyalty was at the centre of the interview, with Professor Wood highlighting the paradox of the huge investment by the club’s owners being dependent on the continued support of the fans.

The fact that fans-favourite Ranieri has been sacked just nine months after the club’s historic title win has caused a great deal of controversy among Foxes fans.

The Leicester academic echoed Gary Lineker in his criticism of the dismissal of the Italian and rejected claims of a crisis at the club.

He said: “If someone had said two years ago, to the owner and the fans, would you be happy with being champions this year and relegated the next? You would have bitten their hand off!

“I’m currently down in London, next to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal fans have been moaning for years that they haven’t won a championship – we did it! What’s the crisis?”

Professor Wood did acknowledge that it was a difficult decision to make and suggested that, if rumours of discontent about Ranieri’s management were true, he could see some arguments in favour of making the decision.

“If, in a conflict in the workplace, it is simply a task conflict, whether to play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 for example, most organisations can handle that without an effect on performance.

“But once it moves into interpersonal conflict or relationship conflict, then that does impact upon performance.”

And, despite vast experience of managerial roles in universities and a proven record of managing student’s dissertation projects to great success, Professor Wood ended the interview by declining Ben Jackson's suggestion that perhaps he should throw his hat into the ring for the vacant job.

Listen to the full interview with Professor Wood here (begins at 1:07:04)