Perspectives of Leadership Behavior in Women’s Collegiate Tennis from Leaders and Followers: A Test of Social Role Theory

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 The University of Tennessee
  • 2 University of Louisville
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Several studies in business and sport have noted systematic differences in leadership behavior between men and women. Many of these studies only examined leadership behavior from the perspective of the leader or the follower. This study’s purpose was to examine the impact that a coach’s gender may have on leadership behavior indicators as reported by leaders and followers. Collegiate women’s tennis coaches (M = 40; F = 71) and female collegiate tennis players (n = 167) participated in separate studies and completed the Revised Leadership Scale for Sports (Zhang, Jensen, & Mann, 1997), which assesses the following six leadership behaviors: training and instruction, democratic behavior, autocratic behavior, social support, positive feedback, and situation consideration. Study one examined self-reported leadership differences on the basis of sex from the leader’s perspective and found female coaches reported significantly less (p = .048) autocratic behavior than male coaches. Study two examined leadership differences from the female athletes’ perspective and found no significant differences in perceived leadership behavior based on the coach’s sex. These findings are subsequently discussed within the context of social role theory. The results of this study support the notion that perceived gender role orientations become linked to the social roles occupied rather than the leader’s gender.

Damon P.S. Andrew, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Sport Management University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN 37996 Email: Phone: (865) 974-8891 Fax: (865) 974-8981

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