Master of Arts
Hall, Craig R.
Benson, Alex J.
The ways in which new members are integrated into a particular group environment—also known as organizational socialization processes—have been shown to be a powerful predictor of newcomer adjustment in the workplace. Yet, there is a scarcity of research on how sport teams manage the integration of new team members, and the consequences of different tactics. The current research uses the recently developed Sport Team Socialization Tactics Questionnaire (STSTQ) to evaluate how socialization processes are systematically related to youth athletes’ perceptions of their group environment. Across two time points, 202 competitive adolescent ice hockey players (Mage = 14.47, SD = 1.23, 26.24% female) completed the STSTQ processes near the beginning of the season, and then measures of group conflict, social identity, and cohesion later in the season. As hypothesized, coach-initiated role communication tactics positively predicted task cohesion (p p
Keywords: newcomer integration; socialization; cohesion; social identity; relationship conflict; group dynamics; sport psychology
Summary for Lay Audience
Summary for Lay Audience
Peer relationships are important for the social development of adolescents. As peer groups can help facilitate these peer relationships, the environment associated with adolescent peer groups should be optimized. Sport teams are an example of these peer groups, as sport teams are a context with rich peer interactions. The current study assesses the potential of newcomer integration tactics to improve perceptions of the youth sport team environment. Newcomer integration tactics are strategies to aid the transition process for athletes joining a new team, and include veterans sharing information about tasks, role discussions with the coach, and scheduled team events outside of regular games and practises. Using a recently developed questionnaire (the Sport Team Socialization Tactics Questionnaire) measures these tactics, I assessed how team member integration processes were associated with athletes’ perceptions of team cohesion, social identity, and relationship conflict.
To conduct this investigation, I recruited 16 competitive hockey teams, male and female, from Southwestern Ontario. Participants were between 13 and 18 years of age, competing at one of the highest skill levels for their respective age group. Following formal consent, players completed the questionnaire package once near the beginning of the season, and once towards the end of the season. Results indicate that the STSTQ is generally a reliable measure for youth sport populations. Furthermore, open dialogue between players and their coaches regarding a player’s role on the team appears to be of particular salience for competitive youth ice hockey players. Shared group entry experiences (i.e., team activities outside of games and practises) appear to be closely linked to social cohesion levels within the team. The impact of veterans sharing task-based information with newcomers was less robust, although it is still encouraged. This research contributes to the novel area of study regarding the integration of newcomers into an existing sport group, demonstrating that specific socialization processes can potentially impact relevant constructs of group dynamics.
Chamberlain, Jeffrey J., "The Relations between Newcomer Integration Processes and Youth Athletes’ Perceptions of the Group Environment in Competitive Ice Hockey" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6536.
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