Hancock et al. (2017) established that sport officials identify as operating in a team and being members of a group. Group membership was described through examples of the characteristics required for group classification (self-categorization, common fate, mutual benefits, social structure, and quality interactions; Carron & Eys, 2012). Despite demonstrating unique characteristics (i.e., transience/intra-team competition) not typically discussed in sport group dynamics research, the generalizability of group processes across group contexts (Forsyth, 2014) suggests certain constructs (e.g., cohesion) to be critical for officials’ individual and group performances. To support further qualitative research on officiating groups, we conducted a descriptive study of officials’ responses to a modified cohesion measure and relationships between officiating group cohesion and key demographic constructs. Officials (N = 106; Mage = 46.3 years; Mexperience = 20.4 years) completed an online, modified Group Environment Questionnaire comprised of four subscales: Attraction to the Group-Task (ATG-T), Attraction to the Group-Social (ATG-S), Group Integration-Task (GI-T), and Group Integration-Social (GI-S). Officials represented basketball (n = 62), football (n = 42), baseball (n = 1), and volleyball (n = 1). A series of paired t-tests compared responses on the four subscales, demonstrating the following significant differences (p < .05): ATG-T > ATG-S; ATG-T > GI-S; GI-T > ATG-S; GI-T > GI-S). When comparing officiating leaders with non-leaders, independent t-tests showed that leaders scored higher on all subscales, although results were not statistically significant. Finally, in relation to sport type, independent ttests demonstrated that football officials scored higher than basketball officials on all subscales, though only ATG-S and GI-S reached statistical significance (p < .05). We discuss why officials differed with regard to task and social orientations for cohesion, the link between leadership roles and valuing cohesion, and directions for future research.
|Journal||JOURNAL OF SPORT & EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Jun 2018|