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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of demographic dissimilarity from others on subsequent perceptions of differences and affective reactions toward physical activity classes. Students (N = 384) from a large southern university participated in the study. Structural equation modeling indicated that actual demographic dissimilarity from others in the class was positively related to perceptions of such differences. In addition, perceived demographic dissimilarity was positively associated with perceived deep-level differences (i.e., differences based on values, attitudes, and personality), which in turn negatively impacted affective reactions toward the class. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical contributions and implications for teaching physical activity classes.

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George B. Cunningham

In this paper, from the Dr. Earle F. Zeigler Award Lecture presented in Austin, Texas, the author proposes that all persons have an obligation to ensure sport is inclusive and socially just. Works from a variety of disciplines, including religion, sociology, and social psychology, support the thesis. The author calls for collective action among sport management academicians, coalesced around teaching, research, and service to promote change. The final sections address potential counter narratives and provide an overview of the outcomes associated with an inclusive and socially just sport environment.

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George B. Cunningham

Previous research on diversity has been criticized for failing to include intervening and process variables. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence of two intervening variables, perceived group diversity and a common in-group identity, on the relationship between group diversity and group outcomes. Data were collected from 45 track-and-field coaching staffs (N = 175 participants). Hierarchical-regression analysis revealed that actual diversity was positively related to perceptions of such differences, and, in turn, perceptions of diversity were related to a common in-group identity. Finally, a common in-group identity was negatively related to organizational turnover intentions of the group and positively related to two measures of group effectiveness. Theoretical contributions and implications for diverse groups are discussed.

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George B Cunningham

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to examine the diversity-related change process a university athletic department was undertaking. A comprehensive model was developed by drawing from full integration theory and institutional theory. Following an organizational diagnosis perspective, data were collected through semistructured interviews, internal documents from the athletic department and university culture centers, associated websites, and press releases. Results indicate that political, functional, and social pressures for change influenced the implementation of various diversity initiatives. Despite these efforts, two primary groups of factors served to impede the progress: organizational factors, in the form of top management support and systemic integration, and perceptual processes, in the form of social processes and utility. Results suggest that for diversity-related change to be successful, it is important to consider how diversity impacts the entire sport organization, internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions, and the meaningful influence of organizational factors.

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence, antecedents, and outcomes of diversity training in intercollegiate athletics. Data were collected from senior level administrators and aggregated to the department level for NCAA Division I (n = 239), Division II (n = 205), and Division III (n = 231) athletic departments. Only 53% of the athletic departments offered training. Logistic regression indicated that gender diversity, sexual orientation diversity, divisional affiliation, and the presence of a proactive diversity culture were all predictive of whether the department offered training. Additional analysis indicated that sensitivity to individual needs and understanding different cultures were the topics most covered in the training. Finally, the motivation for training (either compliance- or effectiveness-based) and the degree to which the training was systematically integrated were predictive of transfer of training, with the latter variable holding the strongest association. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to understand (a) how participants conceptualized lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusiveness in their athletic departments, (b) the antecedents of such workplace environments, and (c) the outcomes associated with inclusion. To do so, the author conducted a collective case study of two college athletic departments located in the U.S. Northeast. Data sources included individual interviews with coaches and administrators (n = 17), a reflexive journal, websites, university materials, and external publications. Participants described the athletic departments as characterized by community and cohesion, respect and inclusion, and success oriented. Various antecedents contributed to these workplace environments, including those at the individual level, leader behaviors, inclusive organizational policies, and macro-level influences. Finally, while some negative outcomes were identified, LGBT inclusion was predominantly associated with a host of positive outcomes for the employees, athletes, and organizations as a whole.

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Melanie Sartore and George B. Cunningham

The purpose of the current study was to explore how a relatively overlooked population of sport-related professionals, female faculty members in health and kinesiology departments in the United States, have interpreted and navigated the cultural fields of gender, sport, and education. Employing qualitative methodology and coupling Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity with Bourdieu’s concepts of practice, habitus, field, capital, and agency, ten female faculty members from two health and kinesiology departments discussed sport, in relation to gender, as being both empowering and limiting during their respective lifetimes. Despite these two very different effects, gender, sport and sport participation were significant in shaping these women, both personally and professionally. The implications of the findings and suggestions for future works are provided.

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Michael B. Edwards and George Cunningham

Background:

Racial health disparities are more pronounced among older adults. Few studies have examined how racism influences health behaviors. This study’s purpose was to examine how opportunities for physical activity (PA) and community racism are associated with older racial minorities’ reported engagement in PA. We also investigated how PA levels influenced health.

Methods:

We analyzed survey data obtained from a health assessment conducted in 3360 households in Texas, USA, which included items pertaining to PA, community characteristics, and health.

Results:

Our sample contained 195 women and 85 men (mean age 70.16), most of whom were African American. We found no direct relationship between opportunities and PA. Results suggested that perceived community racism moderated this association. When community racism was low, respondents found ways to be active whether they perceived opportunities or not. When community racism was high, perceived lack of opportunities significantly impeded PA engagement. We found the expected association between PA and health.

Conclusions:

Results suggested that negative effects of community racism were counteracted through increased opportunities for PA.

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George B. Cunningham and Calvin Nite

Drawing from concepts in institutional theory, the purpose of this study was to examine how community measures intersect with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusiveness to predict organizational success. The authors collected publicly available data about National Collegiate Athletic Association departments (N = 65) and their communities. Moderated regression analyses demonstrated significant interactive effects, such that performance was highest when the department followed an inclusive strategy and (a) the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population density was high and (b) the state-level implicit bias toward sexual minorities was low. Importantly, there were no negative effects in following an inclusive strategy, even when institutional logics did not prescribe such an approach. The models explained 60–62% of the variance in performance. The authors discuss theoretical and practical implications.