Building a Collegiate Athletic Leadership Model for NCAA Teams: Context, Leadership Behaviors, and Outcomes Mediated by Leader–Member Exchange Theory

By Neil Sinclair, Timothy Harper and Jeffrey Segrave.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 20, 2014 $US5.00

The purpose of this paper is to address a gap in the extant literature regarding leadership theory in the context of athletics. Specifically, the paper proposes a conceptual leadership model, namely, the Collegiate Athletic Leadership Model (CALM) for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams. The model is formulated on the basis of a review of leadership theory literature. The CALM provides clarity on the interaction and range of transformational and transactional leadership behaviors that foster positive outcomes at the team and individual level, which has not been studied for NCAA teams at the Division I, II, or III levels. A review of the literature suggests that CALM behaviors are best placed in three tiers. The first tier is “foundation behaviors,” which are contingent reward, articulating a vision, fostering acceptance of group goals, and providing an appropriate role model. The second tier, “supporting behavior,” refers to individual consideration, which is most effective at the individual level of analysis. Intellectual stimulation and high performance expectations are the third tier, “developmental behaviors.” The categorization of the Foundational, Supporting, and Developmental tiers leads to the FSD model. Leader–member exchange (LMX) is posited as the mediating variable between the CALM behaviors and outcomes at the team and individual levels. The CALM is viewed in the context of NCAA Division I, II, and III academic institutions. These institutions are inherently complex, both in terms of organization, personnel, and goals. Future research should focus on NCAA teams and case studies, as well as empirical investigation of the tenets of the proposed models.

Keywords: Context, Transformational Leadership, Transactional Leadership, Leader–Member Exchange, Team Performance Outcomes, Athletic Teams

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2014, pp.33-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 20, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 353.209KB)).

Neil Sinclair

Men's Ice Hockey Coach, Athletics Department, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Neil Sinclair is the men’s ice hockey coach at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Sinclair is entering his ninth season behind the bench at Skidmore. He was recognized as the ECAC East Coach of the Year in 2006–07. He began his coaching career at Middlebury Union High School (VT), leading his team to a state championship in 1996 and also serving as the high school and middle school athletic director. A graduate of Middlebury College (VT), he returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1999. In 2002–03, he served as the acting head coach and guided the team to a 22-5-2 record, including a regular season New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship, and a run to the NCAA Division III semifinals. He then moved to Williams College to coach the women’s team from 2003–05. He has been actively involved with USA Hockey since 1995.

Dr. Timothy Harper

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Management and Business, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Timothy Harper is the department chair and an associate professor in the Management and Business Department at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Dr. Harper’s research interests include NCAA athletics, faculty–librarian collaboration, case teaching methods, social categorization and stereotypes, and teaching effectiveness & assessment. He has recently published articles in College & Undergraduate Libraries, Business Renaissance Quarterly, Collection Building, and the International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Jeffrey Segrave

Professor, Department of Health and Exercise Sciences, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Professor Segrave is the David H. Porter endowed chair in the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. His research interests span the sociology of sport. More specifically, his main area of study encompasses the Olympic Games, the socio-linguistics of sport, and the role of media in sport. Particular areas of inquiry include the politics of the Winter Olympic Games, the use of sport metaphors, and cartoons and their role in sport.