The under-representation of women in senior level athletic administration positions continues to attract the attention of scholars in sports studies. The most glaring lack of female representation occurs at the athletic director (A.D.) position, with women holding only 8.4% of those positions at the Division I level. Using the concept of causal attribution and role congruity theory, this project examined perceptions of success and failure of male and female candidates for either an athletic director or life skills director position. One hundred eleven female and 73 male (n = 191) administrators in athletics at the collegiate level participated. Contrary to previous research, which found that male candidates are attributed success because of internal characteristics, findings from this study indicated that both male and female candidates for A.D. were provided internal attributions for success and external attributions for failure. This may be due to the fact that so few women are represented at the A.D. position at the Division I level that an evaluator may attribute her success to internal characteristics because she “must be” outstanding in order to have achieved such a high position in the world of athletics. Results are discussed in light of causal attribution and role congruity theory in the context of such a rare role combination – being female and being an athletic director.
Henderson, Angela C.; Grappendorf, Heidi; and Burton, Laura
"Attributions for Success and Failure in Athletic Administration Positions,"
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics: Vol. 4, Article 14.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jiia/vol4/iss1/14