Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Bob Heere

Second Advisor

Khalid Ballouli

Abstract

In this era of multi-million dollar paydays, the need to fill arenas and the pressure to win has increased dramatically. In order to build a winning program, the coaching staff turns to national and international recruiting. According to David Ching, Senior Contributor of Forbes, “Nearly every Power Five college athletics program spends more than $1 million per year on recruiting” (Ching, 2018). The fact that student-athletes have a limited time of four years of eligibility to perform for their institutions, results in a continuous influx of newcomers to the team. Student-athletes with a diverse cultural background have to adapt to a team culture in order to be able to perform at the highest level. Every sports team is situated within a unique environmental context (i.e., physical, task, social, personal) that is characterized by a distinct social reality (Martin, Bruner, Eys & Spink, 2014). Considering that, the integration of newcomer athletes is a process that happens on a large scale at the beginning of every season, delineating the tactics sports teams employ to facilitate this process warrants considerable attention (Benson, Evan, & Eys, 2016). Theory regarding organizational socialization offers a promising framework to examine how sports teams manage initial entry experiences because it presumes that teams are active agents in newcomer socialization – using tactics that ideally combine to maximize outcomes for the individual as well as the group (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979).

In collegiate athletics, the head coach has a major leadership role within the team. The high salaries that head coaches receive are just a reflection of how important the coach vi is within the collegiate athletics model. Nevertheless, very little is known about the effectiveness of the socialization process of student-athletes with a different culture (SADC), established by the coach.

In this study, the author focused on the organizational socialization process of newcomer student-athletes that have a significant difference between their culture and the team culture (e.g. a student-athlete from California who attends an institution in South Carolina). The author took special attention to the student-athlete’s perception of the ability of the coach to structure the socialization process. Based on the results from Jara-Pazmino, Heere, Regan, Blake, and Southall (2017) that state that each athlete has a different background and different factors that influence their reality, which might hinder the effectiveness of universal treatment.

Jara-Pazmino et al. (2017) proposed the use of a socialization process with five constructs (custom coaching, mentorship, team structure, all-inclusive family and support services). For this study, the author has conceptualized the five concepts proposed by Jara-Pazmino et al. (2017) based on an extensive literature review to coach’s cultural competence, mentorship, introduction to norms and roles, prosocial behavior and introduction to support services. Coaches face a challenge when trying to find a balance between accommodating SADC and findings ways to create a homogeneous culture for their team. For this reason, the purpose of this study is to develop a valid and reliable instrument to measure the SADC’s perceptions of the tactics used by their coach during the socialization process of newcomers into college athletics, based on the scale development procedure by Churchill (1979).

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