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Title: Towards a new athlete leadership classification: Using Social Network Analysis to investigate the leadership role of the team captain
Authors: Fransen, Katrien ×
Van Puyenbroeck, Stef
Loughead, Todd M.
Vanbeselaere, Norbert
De Cuyper, Bert
Vande Broek, Gert
Boen, Filip #
Issue Date: Oct-2014
Publisher: Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Conference: Association for Applied Sport Psychology: Annual Conference edition:29 location:Las Vegas, Nevada, USA date:15-18 October 2014
Article number: 206, p. 131
Abstract: Although coaches and players recognize the importance of leaders within the team, research on athlete leadership is sparse. The present research expands knowledge of athlete leadership by developing a new athlete leadership classification and exploring the importance of the team captain as formal leader of the team.
In Study 1 (Fransen et al., 2014), an on-line survey was completed by 4,451 participants (3,193 players and 1,258 coaches) within nine different team sports. Results revealed that the roles of task, motivational, social, and external leader were perceived as clearly distinct leadership roles. Furthermore, almost half of the participants (44%) did not perceive their captain as the principal leader on any of the four roles. These findings suggest that the leadership qualities attributed to the captain as the team’s formal leader are overrated.
Study 2 (25 teams; 308 players) and Study 3 (21 teams; 268 players) used social network analysis to provide a deeper insight in the leadership role of the team captain. Participants rated the leadership quality of each of their teammates; in Study 2 teammates’ general leadership quality, in Study 3 teammates’ leadership quality for each specific leadership role (i.e., as task, motivational, social, external leader). Social network analyses, using indegree centrality as leadership quality measure, revealed that in about half of the teams (44% in Study 2; 57% in Study 3) the captain was perceived as best all-round leader. Study 2 demonstrated that the captain was perceived as best task leader in 57% of the teams and as best external leader in 71% of the teams. The motivational and social leadership roles were fulfilled by informal leaders, rather than the captain. It can be concluded that leadership is spread throughout the team; not only the team captain, but also informal leaders are perceived to take the lead, both on and off the field.

References:
Fransen, K., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (in press). The myth of the team captain as principal leader: Extending the athlete leadership classification within sport teams. Journal of Sports Sciences. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2014.891291
ISBN: 978-0-9855310-2-7
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Physical Activity, Sports & Health Research Group
Social and Cultural Psychology
Department of Health and Technology - UC Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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