Review of The Barcelona Way

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  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


Professor of organizational psychology and sports psychologist Damian Hughes details how Association football (soccer) clubs demonstrate the way to organize for successs. These international organizations show which corporate management cultures work and which fail as their results play out before millions of fans and the global sports media. More than any other football club, says Hughes,  the Catalan powerhouse team FC Barcelona demonstrates a winning “commitment culture.” Hughes provides an engaging history of FC Barcelona and explains how this great football club serves as a role model for successful businesses. 

About the Author

Damian Hughes is professor of organizational psychology and change at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a change management consultant and sports psychologist. 


Under coach Josep “Pep” Guardiola, FC Barcelona has become the world’s most admired and most copied football (soccer) team.

Hughes begins his tale in 2008 when Futbol Club Barcelona (BARCA), a world-famous club in European football (called soccer in the United States), had fallen from its peak as a championship organization. In 2005, it had won its league championship. In 2006, it won the European Cup, under the leadership of its stellar, highly paid players. Then the team stopped winning. The author reports that Coach Frank Rijkaard could no longer count on his players to listen to him. 

Barcelona’s executives decided to recruit a new coach. In Hughes’ analysis, their specifications closely matched the qualities that corporate culture expert Edgar Schein identifies as essential to top-performing organizations. They wanted applicants whose values fit the team’s values, who demonstrated acceptable behavior and who would fit well within Barcelona’s culture.

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