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Great Expectations: How Role Expectations and Role Experiences Relate to Perceptions of Group Cohesion

Alex J. Benson, Mark A. Eys, and P. Gregory Irving

Many athletes experience a discrepancy between the roles they expect to fulfill and the roles they eventually occupy. Drawing from met expectations theory, we applied response surface methodology to examine how role expectations, in relation to role experiences, influence perceptions of group cohesion among Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletes (N = 153). On the basis of data from two time points, as athletes approached and exceeded their role contribution expectations, they reported higher perceptions of task cohesion. Furthermore, as athletes approached and exceeded their social involvement expectations, they reported higher perceptions of social cohesion. These response surface patterns—pertaining to task and social cohesion—were driven by the positive influence of role experiences. On the basis of the interplay between athletes’ role experiences and their perception of the group environment, efforts to improve team dynamics may benefit from focusing on improving the quality of role experiences, in conjunction with developing realistic role expectations.

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Valued Insight or Act of Insubordination? How Context Shapes Coaches’ Perceptions of Challenge-Oriented Followership

Marcus Gottlieb, Mark Eys, James Hardy, and Alex J. Benson

Effective leadership is a collaborative effort, requiring a degree of complementarity in how people enact roles of leadership and followership. Using a novel online vignette methodology, we experimentally tested how three contextual factors influenced coaches’ responses to challenge-oriented acts of followership, as well as investigated two potential mechanisms. Coaches (N = 232) watched videos of an athlete provided unsolicited challenge-oriented feedback to a coach. Videos varied by the (a) athlete’s status, (b) presence of third-party observers, and (c) stage of the decision-making process. Following the video, we assessed coaches’ evaluations of the athlete. Challenge-oriented followership was perceived more favorably when enacted by an athlete in one-on-one (vs. in a group) and before a decision has been reached (vs. after a decision is reached). Coaches may appreciate proactivity from athletes in positions of followership, but challenge-oriented followership behaviors enacted at the wrong time and place can elicit negative reactions.

Open access

The Psychometric Properties of Two Brief Measures of Teamwork in Sport

Desmond McEwan, Eesha J. Shah, Kaitlin L. Crawford, Patricia C. Jackman, Matt D. Hoffmann, Ethan Cardinal, Mark W. Bruner, Colin D. McLaren, and Alex J. Benson

In the current study, the structural and external validity of data derived from two shorter versions of the Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport (MATS) were examined using multilevel analyses. Evidence of model–data fit was shown for both a 5-factor model comprising 19 items (with subscales assessing teamwork preparation, execution, evaluation, adjustments, and management of team maintenance) and a single-factor model comprising five items (providing a global estimate of teamwork). In general, data from both versions were positively and significantly correlated with (and distinct from) athletes’ perceptions of team cohesion, collective efficacy, performance satisfaction, enjoyment in their sport, and commitment to their team and their coaches’ transformational leadership. The measures appear well suited to detect between-teams differences, as evidenced by intraclass correlation coefficients and acceptable reliability estimates of team-level scores. In summary, the 19-item Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport-Short and five-item Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport-Global provide conceptually and psychometrically sound questionnaires to briefly measure teamwork in sport.

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“Beyond the Rink”: A Multilevel Analysis of Social Identity Behaviors Captured Using the Electronically Activated Recorder

Jordan D. Herbison, Luc J. Martin, Alex J. Benson, Colin D. McLaren, Richard B. Slatcher, Ian D. Boardley, Jordan Sutcliffe, Jean Côté, Justin M. Carré, and Mark W. Bruner

This study used ecological sampling methods to examine associations between youth athletes’ experiences receiving and engaging in behaviors indicative of in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and in-group affect (i.e., social identity) during a 3-day competitive ice hockey tournament. Forty-five youth (M age = 12.39 years; SD age = 1.14 years; 94% male) from nine teams wore an electronically activated recorder that captured brief (50-s) audio observations throughout the tournament. Participants also completed daily diary questionnaires for each day of competition. Multilevel structural equation modeling demonstrated that athletes were more likely to engage in behaviors indicative of in-group affect and cognitive centrality on days when they received as higher-than-average frequency of behaviors indicative of cognitive centrality from teammates, coaches, and parents. The findings suggest that when team members interact in ways that demonstrate they are thinking about their team, they influence fellow members to behave in ways that promote a sense of “us.”