Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining implicit leadership theories among NCAA Division I baseball programs
by Zurcher, Jeffrey R., Ed.D., Indiana Wesleyan University, 2013, 441; 3615589
Abstract (Summary)

This purpose of this mixed model study was to ascertain the implicit leadership theory (ILT) content held by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I baseball teams. Data were collected during the 2012 baseball season from 34 Division I programs, and 1032 coaches and players participated in the research.

As an information-processing approach to understanding leadership, ILT is concerned with the knowledge structures persons maintain and utilize when identifying and interacting with leaders. Ample ILT research has examined such structures within the business context. This study, however, is believed to be the first in-depth exploration of ILT content within the sports domain.

Leadership categorization and connectionist architecture served as the theoretical bases for the study's four research questions, which addressed: the effect that the target cues leader and coach had on ILT (RQ1); the impact that team context (RQ2) and player tenure (RQ3) had on ILT; and whether a sports ILT existed—and if so, how it differed from a business ILT (RQ4). Research was conducted in four sequential steps using qualitative and quantitative methods. Importantly, no external or explicit measures were used to collect data, as such instruments can bias implicit perceptions. The primary tools for processing quantitative data were principal components analysis and confirmatory factor analysis.

A 21-item, 5-factor ILT model for NCAA Division I baseball was derived from factor analysis processes and generalized across two separate data sets. This model demonstrated the existence of a sports ILT, as it differed noticeably from models that explain ILT content within the business domain. Data also indicated that team context had some correlation with ILT differences, whereas player tenure did not. Furthermore, results showed that players do delineate between the targets leader and coach; that is, being perceived as a leader within Division I baseball may not correspond with holding an official organizational/team position.

This study's findings strengthen the idea that leadership is social-cognitive phenomenon that differs according to context. Implications for applying these findings within Division I baseball are discussed. Additionally, this research might be cause for revisiting some of the previous models of leadership within sports studies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Freemyer, James
Commitee: Kraai, James, Long, Al
School: Indiana Wesleyan University
Department: Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sports Management, Management
Keywords: Baseball, College sports programs, Implicit leadership theory, Leadership, Ncaa division i baseball
Publication Number: 3615589
ISBN: 978-1-303-81610-9
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