In sport, decision-making research has identified consistent results among the three variations of the recognition primed decision (RPD) model. Despite the fact that officials in sport are a key component of sports systems, previous research has explored the RPD model in players only. This paper addresses this by applying the RPD model to examine the decision making of umpires in Australian Rules football (Australian Football League [AFL]). Method: Audible communication instances of AFL field umpiring teams overseeing three games were transcribed. The data were coded into “decision moments”; each decision moment was classified into one of the three RPD model variations. Results: Within the 6,025 communication instances, 887 decision moments were identified. Of the decision moments, 78.70% were classified as Variation 1, 19.75% as Variation 2, and 1.35% as Variation 3. Discussion: The results demonstrate that AFL umpire decision making can be characterized by a similar RPD breakdown as that by players in sport. RPD variation in AFL umpiring is influenced by the game situation and the type of adjudication being made. The implications for research and practice are discussed, including extending the analysis to multirole officiating teams (e.g., soccer) and the provision of tailored decision-making training.
Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making / Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.81-96