Relative Age Effects: Implications for Leadership Development

By Jess Dixon, Sean Horton and Patricia Weir.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Relative age effects (RAEs) have been widely studied in the contexts of education and sport over the past 25 years. The RAE phenomenon is concerned with identifying age (dis)advantages relative to other children within a pre-defined age group. While intended to promote equality and fairness through the maintenance of general developmental similarities (e.g., cognitive, physiological), age-based grouping policies common to most educational and sport development systems have had the unintended consequence of advantaging “relatively” older children, while disadvantaging those who are “relatively” younger within the same cohort. Differences in developmental outcomes as a result of relative age have been shown to persist throughout adulthood resulting in considerable long-term social, emotional, and economic benefits (or detriments). The purpose of this review paper is to introduce readers to the RAE phenomenon, explore its underlying causes, examine its short- and long-term discriminatory effects, and provide directions for future research in this area, particularly as they pertain to leadership development.

Keywords: Relative Age Effects (RAE), Sport, Education, Leadership Development

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.343MB).

Dr. Jess Dixon

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Jess C. Dixon, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor. His primary research and scholarly interests are in the areas of strategic management in sport. His secondary interests include executive leadership and human resource management in sport, sport finance and economics, and sport management pedagogy. He currently teaches classes in sport management, strategic management in sport, human resource management, and sport finance. He has experience working within the golf and retail sporting goods industries, as well as with a boutique sport agency. He belongs to the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) and has made numerous presentations at its annual conference.

Dr. Sean Horton

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Sean Horton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor. His research interests lie primarily in the area of skill acquisition and expert performance, both in young athletes and as individuals age. Recent projects have focused on various environmental factors that influence talent development.

Dr. Patricia Weir

Professor, Department of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Patricia L. Weir, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor. Her primary research and scholarly interests are in the areas of psychosocial factors that influence skill acquisition across the lifespan, the maintenance of expert performance with age, and the role of physical activity in the development of successful aging. She currently teaches classes in human movement and aging and human performance. She is an active member of many professional societies and has presented her work both nationally and internationally.