Research has consistently revealed that team cohesion is positively related to team performance under certain conditions. In response to the need for understanding this relationship more fully, and because of the promising new insights that can be garnered with the use of social network analysis (SNA), this study employs SNA as a tool to explore a case study of the structural cohesiveness of two women’s collegiate basketball teams. Members of the two teams completed online roster-based surveys related to different types of structural cohesion levels at four points during the season. This case study revealed that the higher performing team showed improved structural cohesion in the efficacy network over the four phases, and highlighted the movement of key players in the different networks (friendship, trust, advice, and efficacy) over time. These patterns demonstrate the potential for SNA to function as a diagnostic tool for organizations and researchers to generate testable hypotheses even in instances where statistical inference may be precluded by sampling constraints. In short, SNA was found to be a valuable new tool for exploring, depicting, and informing explanations about the individual relationships that impact team dynamics.
Warner is with the Sport Management Program, East Carolina University, Greenville, SC, and the Sport and Life Quality Lab, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. Bowers and Dixon are with the Sport Management Program, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.