Role Ambiguity in Sport Teams

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Mark A. Eys University of Western Ontario

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Albert V. Carron University of Western Ontario

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Mark R. Beauchamp University of Leeds

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Steven R. Bray University of Lethbridge

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The general purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of role ambiguity in sport teams and to explore the construct validity of the operational definition of role ambiguity developed by Beauchamp, Bray, Eys, and Carron (2002). Role ambiguity was operationalized as a multidimensional construct (Scope of Responsibilities, Behavioral Responsibilities, Evaluation of Performance, and Consequences of Not Fulfilling Responsibilities) that occurs in two contexts, offense and defense. Consistent with the a priori hypothesis, perceptions of role ambiguity exhibited some degree of within-group consistency and group-level variability, but most of the variance in role ambiguity was seen at the individual level. Also, perceptions of role ambiguity decreased from early to late season. Finally, veteran athletes experienced less role ambiguity than first-year athletes at the beginning of the season, but not at the end. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

School of Kinesiology, Univ. of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7

Institute for Sport & Exercise Sciences, Univ. of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, U.K.

Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education, Univ. of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1K 3M4.

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