How Major League Baseball Teams Are Demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility on Instagram

Authors: Kevin Hull & Joon Kyoung Kim

Corresponding Author:
Kevin Hull, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
800 Sumter Street
Columbia, SC 29208
khull@sc.edu
803-777-4746

Kevin Hull (Ph.D., University of Florida) is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Carolina. Joon Kyoung Kim (M.A., Syracuse University) is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina.

How Major League Baseball Teams Are Demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility on Instagram

ABSTRACT
For decades, professional sports teams have worked with local and national charitable groups. These efforts are frequently reported on by the media, but teams now have a chance to showcase their charity work themselves. Through Instagram, teams can post photos and videos about their charity directly to their timeline. This exploratory research study examined how Major League Baseball teams were using Instagram to demonstrate their charitable efforts. A content analysis of 50 posts from every team (N = 1,500) was conducted, with the post content, hashtags used, and fan response analyzed. Findings demonstrated that teams were posting few photos and videos that showcase their charitable work. Additional examination revealed that fans were less apt to like and comment on charitable posts when compared to other types of posts. Implications regarding how professional sports teams should be using Instagram to showcase their charity work are discussed.

Keywords: charity, corporate social responsibility, Instagram, Major League Baseball

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General Managers and the Importance of Using Analytics

Authors: Dr. Rocco P. Porreca

Corresponding Author:
Rocco P. Porreca, Ed. D.
380 SE Mizner Blvd. Apt. 1718
Boca Raton, FL 33432
porreca.rocco@gmail.com
518-821-8070

Dr. Porreca is an adjunct professor in the College of Business and Management at Lynn University.

General Managers and the Importance of Using Analytics

ABSTRACT
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Sport is changing. Athletes are becoming faster and stronger. The rate and pace of play is steadily increasing. Therefore sport, as a result, adapts and evolves. Recently, the way in which franchises draft players and build rosters is beginning to change. In order to remain competitive, sport franchises are beginning to shy away from the conventional norm and are thinking outside of the box. Specifically, franchises are exploring analytics and how this type of statistical analysis can be beneficial.

Keywords: analytics, moneyball, moneypuck, statistics

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Transformational Leadership Behaviors of Winning College Athletic Program Directors: A Qualitative Exploratory Study

Authors: Michael Northington, Ph.D.

Corresponding Author:
Michael Northington, Ph.D.
101 Montreal Drive
Hurst, TX 76054
mnorthington@udallas.edu
817-485-4424

Dr. Michael Northington is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Dallas in the Graduate School College of Business. Also, he is the Distribution Manager for Dart Container Corporation in Dallas, TX.

TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS OF WINNING COLLEGE ATHLETIC PROGRAM DIRECTORS: A QUALITATIVE EXPLORATORY STUDY

ABSTRACT
This research study examined the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors. There have been many research studies on transformational leadership and influence on followers. Though there has been considerable research on transformational leadership behaviors, the studies primarily focused on leadership in a business environment. Very few studies have focused on the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors. Most of the research studies on the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors are quantitative studies. The purpose of this study was to use a qualitative exploratory methodology approach to explore the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of top-rated college athletic programs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 college athletic directors from the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs to identify the transformational leadership behaviors demonstrated by the college athletic directors. The results of the study revealed the transformational leadership behaviors of the college athletic directors. All 20 college athletic directors of the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs actually demonstrate transformational leadership behaviors. Among all 20 college athletic directors, three main themes were revealed from the analysis of the data: taking care of the student athletes, supporting the coaches, and adhering to the NCAA and NAIA rules.

Keywords: idealized influence, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation

INTRODUCTION
The demand on college athletic directors to build and maintain winning athletic programs has increased over the years, in part due to college athletic departments having become major business entities (Whisenant & Pedersen, 2004). No longer simply a form of entertainment, college athletics has evolved into a major component of American culture, with both social and economic implications (Drain & Ashley, 2000; Won, Bravo, & Lee, 2013). More than 3,000 institutions of higher education sponsor college athletic programs (Won et al., 2013), and the business of college athletics only continues to grow (Terry, Pjesky, & Kelley, 2011). Growth of the business of college athletics not only increases the costs of these programs, but also increases operating budgets (Whisenant & Pederson, 2004). Increased revenues and positive publicity are used to attract future student athletes, thereby perpetuating the cycle (Lee, Miloch, Kraft, & Tatum, 2008).

College athletes and coaches are integral to successful college athletic programs, but it is as equally important to consider the contributions made by the athletic director to success of teams and programs. Athletic directors bear responsibilities that are crucial to the success of the overall program, including ensuring that their teams adhere to the rules and regulations established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), satisfying the expectations of donors and alumni, and hiring coaches who can build and maintain winning college athletic teams (Won et al., 2013). Rising costs in both education and athletics mean there is a need for colleges to have college athletic directors who can motivate coaches to accomplish more with fewer resources (Yusof, 2002).

There has been previous research conducted with a focus on college athletic directors. For example, Branch’s (1990) quantitative study provided insight on associate college athletic directors’ perceptions of college athletic directors’ leadership behaviors and revealed that associate college athletic directors’ perceptions of their superiors’ leadership behaviors did not significantly contribute to predicting the success of their college athletic programs. Branch implied that the pressure to win and remain ethical in college athletics may impede the nurturing of personal relationships between college athletic directors and associate college athletic directors. Findings from a quantitative study conducted by Doherty and Danylchuk (1996) on college head coaches’ perceptions of college athletic directors’ and associate college athletic directors’ leadership behaviors revealed that head coaches perceived that both directors’ and associate directors’ leadership behaviors contributed to effectiveness of the college athletic programs. The leadership profiles of the college athletic directors and the associate college athletic directors were predominantly transformational (Doherty & Danylchuk, 1996). Doherty and Danylchuk implied that the pressure to do more with less demands innovative and inspiring leadership to encourage subordinates to pursue organizational success, which provided support for Bass’s (1985) theoretical framework on transformational leadership.

Yusof’s (2002) quantitative study on the relationship between transformational leadership behaviors of college athletics directors and college coaches’ job satisfaction revealed that college athletic directors’ transformational leadership behavior increased coaches’ job satisfaction. The author implied that transformational leadership behaviors of the college athletic directors increased coaches’ job satisfaction, which motivated coaches to perform at a higher level. A quantitative study by Rocha and Chelladurai (2013) on the importance college athletic directors placed on goals revealed that college athletic directors emphasized both developmental goals and performance goals. The findings of the study showed that the college coaches perceived that the college athletic directors placed equal emphasis on developmental and performance goals. An implication of the study is that college athletic directors communicate to the college head coaches the importance of both the developmental goals and the performance goals to the college athletic programs. While these previous research studies shed light on the leadership behaviors of college athletic directors, all of these studies were quantitative in nature, affording little insight into the behaviors of these leaders. Findings from a qualitative study could provide rich data regarding behaviors critical to college athletic directors’ success. This qualitative research study examined the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors.

Leaders who practice transformational leadership behaviors motivate followers to achieve the goals of the organization and perform beyond expectations (Bass, 1985). Transformational leaders have a positive influence on the performance of followers (Bass, 1985). The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs. Employing a qualitative design allowed the researcher to explore college athletic directors’ transformational leadership behaviors according to the four components of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.
The overall question that guided this study was, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?” This study has implications for leaders of college athletic programs concerning the performance outcome of winning athletic teams. Also, a study investigating the top-rated college athletic programs would further the scholarly literature in the field of transformational leadership and college athletics. The study included 20 college athletic directors from the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs using a semi-structured interview method.

METHODS
Research design
A generic qualitative exploratory methodology design was used to explore transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs. Vallée and Bloom (2005) followed a qualitative exploratory research design, including conducting semi-structured interviews, to examine how college coaches built successful athletic programs. Semi-structured interviews provided the opportunity for study participants to freely answer questions. Therefore, a more detailed understanding of transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors was obtained through semi-structured interviews. As Yusof (2002) explained, examining the behaviors of transformational leaders in a qualitative research study allows the actual transformational leadership behaviors of leaders to be determined. In this study, following a qualitative exploratory method and conducting semi-structured interviews allowed the researcher to search for a deeper understanding of college athletic directors’ actual transformational leadership behaviors.

Population and sample size
The population investigated in this study was college athletic directors in the NACDA (n.d.) 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs. College athletic directors were selected from a list of the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated college athletic programs. The sampling frame for this study was college athletic directors in the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs. A sample of 20 college athletic directors from the population in the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs was chosen. A small sample size is appropriate for a qualitative research study. In Kihl’s (2007) qualitative study, a sample size of 10 athletic compliance officers was chosen from NCAA colleges. The inclusion criterion was being listed as a college athletic director from the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs. Long, Thibault, and Wolfe (2004) addressed the attributes of those who are perceived to have influenced an exclusive sponsorship decision, the methods of influence used to influence this decision, and the extent to which athletic department policies and procedures influenced the process in the athletic department of a Canadian university. Long et al.’s sample consisted of 15 college athletic personnel. The researcher of the present study used Long et al.’s study as a guide; therefore, a sample size of 20 was used for the study to explore transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors in the NACDA (n.d.) 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs.

In this study, saturation of the data occurred before the completion of all 20 semi-structured interviews. There was not a need for additional interviews. The concept of data saturation involves interviewing more participants until data replication occurs (Marshall, Cardon, Poddar, & Fontenot, 2013); that is, when the data from participants have characteristics in common (Morse, 2015). Before all of the semi-structured interviews were completed, replication of the responses from the participants occurred. Theoretical saturation is the continued sampling and analyzing of data until there is no new data and the development of the concept in the theory (Morse, 2015). Scope refers to the exhaustiveness of the data and the thoroughness of the topic, which means that the phenomenon has been explored from all aspects (Morse, 2015). There was continuous comparison of the data until no new scopes emerged (Holton, 2010). Furthermore, the researcher did not observe any new themes before the end of the data collection. Participants may have the same responses to different experiences (Morse, 2015), and in this study participants were making similar responses to the interview questions.

Sampling technique
Purposive sampling was the technique used for this study because of the restrictive criterion for inclusion: potential participants were required to represent the overall population of college athletic directors. Bouchet, Ballouli, and Bennett (2011) used purposive sampling in their study of efforts by the University of Miami athletic department to increase ticket sales revenue; using purposive sampling to select participants allowed the researchers to gain unique insight into issues concerning sales force management. A purposive sampling technique was appropriate for this study because of college athletic directors’ unique behavior and experience in directing top-rated athletic programs. Criterion sampling is used when predetermined criterion characteristics are identified for in-depth qualitative analysis (Patton, 1990). Therefore, criterion sampling was the type of purposive sampling used for the present study.

The potential participants were contacted for this study by e-mail. The initial e-mail message included an outline of the research study and a request for the message recipient to participate in the study. The selection process and sample size was consistent with answering the research question, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?”

Demographics of the sample
At the time the study was conducted, there were 1,059 colleges ranked in the NACDA (n.d.) 2013/2014 ratings. The NCAA Divisions included 870 ranked colleges, of which 297 were in Division I, 247 in Division II, and 326 in Division in III (NACDA, n.d.). There were 189 colleges ranked from the NAIA (NACDA, n.d.). The 20 college athletic directors who participated in this qualitative exploratory research study were among the top-rated athletic programs of the NACDA. Of the 20 college athletic directors, 17 were from the NCAA colleges. Of the 17 athletic directors from NCAA colleges, three were from Division I, eight were from Division II, and six were from Division III. Three 3 college athletic directors were from NAIA colleges. Of the 20 college athletic directors, 14 were men and six were women. The participants had an average of 8.4 years of experience as a college athletic director; male college athletic directors had an average of 8.3 years of experience and female college athletic directors had an average of 8.7 years of experience. The college programs with which these athletic directors were affiliated were rated in the top 15% of the NACDA 2013/2014.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect the data and MAXQDA qualitative research software was utilized to help analyze the results. Demographics of the participants are represented in Table 1, Figure 1, and Figure 2. Table 1 represents the number of participants from the NCAA and NAIA. Of the 20 college athletic directors, there were 17 athletic directors that represented the NCAA colleges. Of the 17 athletic directors from NCAA colleges, three were from Division I, eight were from Division II, and six were from Division III. There were three college athletic directors from NAIA colleges. The College Athletic Directors (AD) that participated in the study have been coded and any data directly related will be subsequently categorized (AD1, AD2, AD3, etc.).

Transformational Leadership - Table 1

Transformational Leadership - Figure 1

Transformational Leadership - Figure 2

The pie chart in Figure 1 represents of the number of male and female college athletic directors who participated in this research study. Of the 20 college athletic directors interviewed, 14 were men and six were women, which indicates a dominant ratio of marginally more than 2 to 1.

The bar chart in Figure 2 represents the participants’ experience by gender. As shown in this bar chart, the male participants had an average of 8.3 years of experience as a college athletic director, while the female participants had an average of 8.7 years of experience as a college athletic director.
These demographics of division, gender, and years of experience were used to determine whether they were significant to the outcome of the study. All demographic data were analyzed and showed no significant differences in responses relative to division, gender, or experience.

Instrumentation
Semi-structured interviews were conducted by telephone with the college athletic directors. The semi-structured interviews allowed the participants to share their unique experiences. An interview guide was used that consisted of open-ended questions related to the overall question of the study, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?” A panel of three subject matter experts field-tested the interview questions to advance the reliability and face validity of the interview guide. The individuals of the expert panel were selected based on their expertise in the field of leadership and sports. The panel confirmed that the questions of the interview guide related to transformational leadership behaviors and also made suggestions for rewording of the questions. The feedback from the panel of subject matter experts was used to develop the final interview guide. The questions of the proposed interview guide were then field tested through role-playing by interviewing participants. The participants were from a representative sample but are not part of the actual study sample. The participants provided feedback on the accuracy and understandability of the questions and the interview timeframe. The length of each interview was approximately 30 minutes. The participants verified that the length of the interview was reasonable. The feedback from the role-playing participants was used to complete the final field tested interview guide.

The trustworthiness in the validity and reliability of the research is assured through the absence of bias, using epoche and the bracketing of personal experience (Hays & Wood, 2011) to reduce any biases or preconceptions in the collection and analysis of the data. In qualitative research, epoche is the process of highlighting noteworthy events in the experiences of a researcher and putting them aside during data collection (Bednall, 2006). Researchers identify a phenomenon and refrain from using their own judgment concerning the phenomenon and then bracket their assumptions (Hays & Wood, 2011). In this study, the experiences of the researcher as a college athlete were set aside to prevent any assumptions of the data collected from the participants. As such, this researcher had an “open mind” to whatever the data revealed during the data collection and data analysis stages. The field test of the semi-structured interview protocol that was used to collect data from the participants helped ensure that the researcher put aside his experiences. Researchers look to understand a phenomenon from those who have direct experience with the phenomenon (Hays & Wood, 2011). The semi-structured interview approach and the interview guide were used to inquire about the experiences of the participants in order to identify the participants’ behaviors. Furthermore, no personal views or experiences were discussed during the semi-structured interviews with the participants.

Researchers cluster meaning units to describe the experience and create a structural description (Hays & Wood, 2011). In this study, the data was transcribed and the transcripts were analyzed and categorized into meaning units during the coding process. The analysis of the data was from the actual behaviors of all the college athletic directors that participated in the study.

Data collection
An interview guide was developed containing proposed interview questions to answer the overall research question, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?” This question was answered by utilizing Bass’s (1985) transformation leadership theory. Subject matter experts and role-playing interview participants field-tested the interview guide. Vallée and Bloom (2005) created and used an interview guide as part of their qualitative study to determine how college coaches built successful programs. Following the audio-recorded individual interviews with participating coaches, Vallée and Bloom transcribed, analyzed, and categorized the data into meaning units during the coding process. This qualitative research study repeated Vallée and Bloom’s protocol.
Specifically, semi-structured interviews were conducted by phone to collect the data. Participants were interviewed individually at a mutually acceptable time and date. The informed consent form was given to each participant prior to the interview being conducted. The interviews were audio-recorded with the participants’ permission; written notes were taken throughout the interviews. These notes were used to help make sense of the data during data analysis, which occurred sometime after the interviews had been completed. The recordings of the interviews were transcribed and the transcripts were coded and analyzed based on the categories developed during the interviews.

Data collected from the interviews embody the four components of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. The following definitions were used for identifying transformational leadership behaviors during data collection:

  • Idealized influence is being a role model to followers, earning respect, gaining trust, taking risks, and displaying high moral and ethical standards (Bass, 1985).
  • Inspirational motivation is showing passion in one’s work, providing meaning to organizations’ mission, creating an environment of commitment to goals, and communicating a clear and compelling vision (Bass, 1985).
  • Intellectual stimulation is encouraging creativity from followers and compelling followers to not accept traditional ways of solving problems (Bass, 1985).
  • Individualized consideration is mentoring others, respecting the needs of individuals, respecting the differences of individuals, practicing two-way communication, and developing the potential of one’s followers (Bass, 1985).

The college athletic directors freely discussed the research topic based on the interview guide questions. The transcribed information was reviewed for accuracy prior to data analysis.

Data analysis
The interviews recordings were transcribed, which allowed the resulting data to be coded and analyzed based on the categories that emerged from the interviews. A valid instrument and interview procedures were used to collect the data, just as Vallée and Bloom (2005) had done. Vallée and Bloom created an interview guide for use in their qualitative study and followed the guide when they conducted individual interviews with the coaches. Data analysis allowed for categories to emerge from the interviews. Vallée and Bloom transcribed the interviews and analyzed and categorized the transcripts into meaning units during the coding process.

Vallée and Bloom’s (2005) process of interviewing and analyzing data was similar to that follwed by Long et al. (2004) as part of their qualitative study on the pressure experienced by members of a Canadian university athletic department to seek funding from nontraditional sources. Long et al. conducted semi-structured interviews with athletic administrators and coaches. Their findings revealed that positional power and coaching high-priority sports had the greatest influence over the funding decisions (Long et al., 2004). Long et al. used a computer to assist with reviewing the transcribed interviews for accuracy, after which the text files were printed and the researchers manually coded the files. As themes emerged from the data, new codes were developed.

As part of the present study, the transcribed interviews were compared with the taped recordings to ensure accuracy. Then, the transcripts were numbered to identify each interview transcript. After each transcript had been numbered, the transcripts were analyzed and divided the data into categories during the coding process. Finally, the emerging codes and themes were entered into the MAXQDA software for data analysis.

Following is a summary of the data analysis process:

  1. The interviews were recorded and field notes were taken during the interview and expanded those notes after the interviews (Nichols, Tacon, & Muir, 2013).
  2. The field notes were used after the interview to help in making sense of the data.
  3. The recordings of the interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed based on the categories developed during the interviews (Bouchet et al., 2011).
  4. Transcripts were downloaded into qualitative data analysis software (Kihl, 2007). MAXQDA software was used for reliability and validity in the content analysis process.
  5. The data were interpreted based on the research questions.
  6. There were common themes found from transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the NACDA 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The overall research question of the study was, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?” Each of the 20 college athletic directors who participated was asked the same series of interview questions regarding Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. The four components of the transformational leadership model are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Charts included in Tables 2 through 5 represent the transformational leadership behaviors identified from the data collected in the interviews.

Idealized influence involves being a role model to followers, earning respect, gaining trust, taking risks, and displaying high moral and ethical standards (Bass, 1985). Participant college athletic directors identified several distinct transformational leadership behaviors relating to idealized influence (see Table 2). These interview results were derived from data collected in the interviews concerning the idealized influence component of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model.

Transformational Leadership - Table 2

All 20 college athletic directors who participated in this study commented on being a role model to the coaches, staff, and student athletes. The common responses by the college athletic directors of being role models were demonstrating integrity and having a strong work ethic. By demonstrating integrity in their responsibilities as an athletic director, they led by example. AD19 stated,

Ideally, if I’d ever step back and look at myself, I’d like to think my role model will act with the highest level of integrity possible, that I’m honest and forthright with my coaches, the way I expect them to be with me. I hope that they see that I’m putting in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I’m hoping that they’re seeing how I do things as an example of the way that they should act and probably the way that I expect them to act as a professional.

Also, the athletic directors put in considerable hours at work and attending as many college athletic events as they possibly could. AD13 commented,

I’m normally the first or the second person in this office every day and I’m always without—almost, without questioning—the last personal to leave, so loads of critical things, because my expectations are that I’m going to work as hard as I can every day and I expect people who work for me to adapt that same approach.

The athletic directors spoke about the importance of being a role model to the student athletes. AD1 said, “The well-being of young men and women, and children being a part of your institution and so I think it’s a tremendous part of what we do as leaders.” AD4 stated, “I try to do the things that I ask of our coaches and our student athletes, and making sure I’m holding up the ethical standards that I expect them to uphold.” All 20 of the athletic directors said they practiced being a role model to the coaches, staff, and student athletes.

All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they earned respect and trust from the coaches, staff, and student athletes. Supporting and understanding the coaches, were common behaviors mentioned by the college athletic directors regarding earning respect and trust. One of the athletic directors expressed the importance of supporting the coaches and understanding the challenges of being a college athletic coach. AD18 said,

I believe that it all stems from the fact that I have been a coach before, so they know I’ve been where they are. I’ve been in every different area of, you know, I was a student athlete, I was a coach. I can sympathize with their situation, so I think that they know that I understand where they are, and issues they face, and also they know that I have their back.

AD7 commented on supporting the coaches by giving the coaches what was needed that benefitted the coach’s athletic program. AD7 said,

I try to be fair in all my decisions so that they, even if I can’t give them everything they need, that hopefully they leave understanding that they’re supported and that we’ve made attempts to try to do the things that they need for their program.

Finally, AD5 commented on the importance of understanding coaches to build a successful athletic program. AD5 said,

It’s very important to be a good listener, because they can convey more of what they’re feeling and what’s going on in their programs, so that I have a better understanding, not rushing to judgment on anything. But really trying to communicate and understand their perspectives so that we can work together to create a stronger program.

Of the 20 college athletic directors who participated in this study, 18 commented on when they take risks. The common responsibilities mentioned by the college athletic directors regarding taking risks were hiring coaches, fundraising, and signing student athletes. AD1 commented on the nature of college athletic directors and taking risks:

I think risk is on the table every day. I mean every decision you make, when it comes to, you know, how are you going to provide an experience for student athletes, when you begin to try to build an infrastructure, whether it’s attracting talent and cultures and trying to retain them through compensation or trying to build these facilities, there is always an element of risk when you put yourself out there to generate the financial needs that are necessary to do what we do. You try to weigh as many things and ultimately pull that trigger whenever you feel the timing is best for that, but there is a buildup, an element of risk in just about every aspect of our operation, from compliance to fundraising to marketing.

Concerning taking risks in hiring coaches, AD14 stated,

I think any time you hire someone, you take a risk. You want to make a good hire, but the process and the background checks and the references and so on, there’s a certain element of trust that goes into honest answers and the reaction of the search committee and so on. So I think when you make a hire, there’s a risk.

AD10 stated,

Sometimes we’ll take a risk on hiring a coach. Maybe in the selection process, there are coaches with higher experience, but there are some young coaches that hit us the right way, that have the potential and we’ll take a risk and give them a chance. We do that quite a bit. So there are lots of opportunities to take some risks.

The athletic directors commented on taking risks in fundraising. AD16 stated,

Sometimes I’ll take risk in our fundraising strategies where, you know, we tried to get someone to give us more money than ever, but there are small risks that are being taken almost every day in pursuing what we do.

Athletic directors mentioned taking risks in signing student athletes. Examples of comments related to signing student athletes are as follows. AD17 said, “You take risks sometimes on student athletes, you know, you give them opportunities and then, you know, some take advantage of those and some don’t.” AD10 said,

Sometimes we will take some risks on a young man or a young lady that maybe don’t have the academic credentials, but there’s some leadership potential that we have seen based on what they have done in their community, in their high schools, etc., that will allow us to take a risk on bringing them in.

Two of the 20 athletic directors who participated in this study did not consider themselves to be risk takers relative to decisions they made about their college athletic programs. With regard to hiring a new coach, AD11 said,

A lot of them and it’s been their first head job, and a lot of people would say that’s a risk because sometimes coaches can be terrific assisting coaches but not make it as a head coach. I’ve never really seen that as a risk.

AD3 stated,

I’m not a big risk taker. To be honest, I’m more on the cautious side and we talk about doing the right things for the right reasons every day, but the rewards of that road are far greater than not.

All 20 college athletic directors who participated in the present study commented on how they displayed high moral and ethical standards. Having integrity and obeying the rules were the common responses by the college athletic directors concerning displaying high moral and ethical standards by. AD12 stated,

Integrity was always one of the things that I talked about and it’s living one’s life, its being true to your word, but it’s also more than that. And I think in athletics, what you see sometimes is, you know, whether it’s on a big national field or a smaller locale, the values that athletics—persistence, and teamwork, and dedication, and discipline and all that. I do to live with integrity and live with the same values that I’m promoting to our coaches and staff and student athletes.

With regard to integrity, AD13 said,

Right thing to do is the only thing to do, we are never going to compromise the integrity or the integrity [of the] athletic department by making a choice that is not in compliance with equitability rules and regulations and, again, simply stated, the right thing to do is the only thing to do.

Also, the athletic directors commented on the importance of adhering to the college and NCAA rules. AD17 stated,

I think a part of that is being transparent, being open, being honest, you know, they might not like the answers, and things may not be equal, but you’re fair, you know, so I think you try to—some of it is you’ve just got try to build it up over time. You have to go through some battles, and they have to know that you’ve got their backs and, you know, and the thing that I always try to promote is, you know, it’s not a blind trust, I mean we would follow the rules. We want to have a program that’s respectable, that plays within the NCAA rules, that there’s good academic students, so it’s not going to be a backing no matter what you do, you’ve got to play by the rules and these are our expectations, and if you stay within these guidelines then you have our support.

With regard to the importance of obeying the rules, AD7 said,

I think my staff understands I expect to do things by the rules, both the letter and the spirit of the rules. The student athlete is the highest concern for us, so hopefully, when you’re making decisions, you’re making them to be fair and ethical towards the students involved in your program.

Inspirational motivation
Inspirational motivation involves showing passion in one’s work, providing meaning to the mission of the organization, creating an environment of commitment to goals, and communicating a clear and compelling vision (Bass, 1985). Examples of inspiration motivation emerged from the interview data concerning the idealized influence component of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. Transformational leadership behaviors (see Table 3) relating to inspirational motivation were evident in participant college athletic directors’ interviews.

Transformational Leadership - Table 3

All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they showed passion in their work. Showing passion in their work through their commitment to the athletic program and attending athletic events in which their college teams participate were the common responses by the college athletic directors. Concerning the importance of showing commitment to the college athletic program, an AD7 stated,

I think that we are in a profession that obviously requires a large time commitment from everyone . . . the equipment managers, athletic trainers, sports information staff, coaching staff, the assistant coaches, all administration. . . . I try to convey to my staff that the most important things in life are your health and your family, and, you know, if there’s an issue, I try to do whatever I can to help accommodate what that person might need to do to take care of that issue.

AD8 stated,

Being a part of building all of the facilities here, hiring all the coaches and getting a program into the NCAA, and getting them into conference affiliations, working with the student organization or student committee to provide proper funding for the programs and going out to the community and securing funds, several millions for facilities and, most recently, about another half a million, actually, closer to 7 [million dollars] now, for facility upgrades, program development.

The athletic directors commented on the importance of attending as many athletic events as possible. AD19 said,

I think when you continually show up on a day-to-day basis and you’re continually going above and beyond to show up to as many events as humanly possible. So the coaches know that we have their back, that we’re committed to them, and that it’s not just another thing.

AD12 stated,

I think, just the day-to-day interactions, my day-to-day energy that I show, articulating a passion for athletics, and then making sure that I show up on a regular basis to athletic events, you can’t have a passion about what we do and then not be there. I would go to virtually every one of our home games if I’m in town, sometimes you’re traveling, you have work to do, and that keeps you off campus and there are home games slated on, but if I’m town, I’m at every single event of the entire year. I think that our students and coaches get a sense of my passion for what we do when I’m there, and, again, in a lot of small day-to-day interactions as well.

All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they provide meaning to the mission of the college. The common responses by the college athletic directors, in providing meaning to the mission of the college, were hiring personnel who fit the mission and constantly communicating the mission to the coaches and staff. The athletic directors commented on the importance of hiring coaches who further the mission of the college. AD5 stated,

I think it starts in the hiring process, and that we’re hiring individuals who have a common goal with what we have; that have the desire to work with student athletes to develop them as leaders, and to develop them as academics as well as athletes on the field. So as far as the mission and what we do, it’s a common mission from the time that they’re hired; a sense that we instill upon them and to see if they fit within the program.

With regard to hiring coaches to further the college mission, AD8 stated,

We hire people who are a good fit for this institution, who are fully aware of who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish before the job and accept the job. And then, really, just being very careful, I’d say that’s probably be the biggest thing, is just being very careful in the new hire because when they come in, they know what our mission is, what our goals are, they know the strength of the program, and the expectations, and they perform to the goal standards.

AD11 commented,

I don’t hire people and then try to get them to buy into the mission. In the interview process, I’m looking for certain things like, first of all, you know, character and integrity, but experience and a real strong will to be successful and only to be successful given the rules. In other words, success doesn’t happen if you win a championship when you cheated, so that’s not success. So in the interview process, in the hiring process, that’s where you track the individuals who you know already based on the experience they’ve demonstrated, their attitudes and the records, their past record and performance, that they fit it to what your mission is.

The athletic directors commented on the importance of continually communicating the mission of the college athletic program to the coaches. AD15 stated,

Over the last several years, . . . there weren’t too many of our staff meetings, whether they were with head coaches, or whether they were dealing with the entire staff, or maybe just a select group of coaches, that that wasn’t, shared with everybody in the room when we sat down, that “Hey, this is what we’re here for; this is what the university desires of us.”

Concerning the importance of communicating the mission, AD3 stated,

So we just redid our mission about a year ago, year and a half ago. We have talked about it at the beginning of each year, we repeat it throughout the year, we talk about . . . we have it, gosh, posted on our website, it’s on our walls in the athletics office, it’s in the hallways, it’s a constant reminder for us every day. We have conversations throughout the year at our staff meetings about our mission and where we’re headed, and identify those areas that we need to, you know, obviously get better at.

All 20 college athletic directors who participated in the study commented on how they create an environment of commitment to goals. The common answers by the college athletic directors, concerning creating an environment of commitment to goals, were using a collaborative effort in establishing the goals and constantly communicating the goals of the college. AD1 spoke about the importance of creating an environment of commitment to the college athletic department goals:

I think . . . you have to be very clear in what those goals and that mission are and we spent a significant amount of time really defining those things. And so we wanted to have a very clear-cut division for our program. We wanted to have nationally competitive programs, we wanted to graduate student athletes and afford them the opportunities that all college graduates have to retaining strong education. We felt was our differentiating factor was to be able to share with students and have them understand the way that God created them, the pounds that He gave them so they can then leverage those to go out and be a person of impact in their communities, their homes and the industries they are going to lead in.

The athletic directors commented on how they work with the coaches to develop the goals of the athletic program at their respective college. AD14 stated,

I think you have to be very clear about what those goals are and what it takes to get to those goals. I think when you have collaboration to set those goals, it’s a lot easier to have everybody on board, and then I think when you get those wins with your goals, you celebrate those. So I think keeping people updated about where those goals are and who’s done the work to accomplish them is important.

AD12 stated,

Having an inclusive process in developing that vision and goals in the first place, and it’s a little bit of a challenge, in a way, and we have our way of doing it in the sense that, you know how inclusive you are. Let’s say you’re developing department goals and visions, your students’ turnover, sort of, every year, one class graduates and another class comes in. So do you change, like, things like, core values and vision and things like that? [They] should have some sense of permanence.

Concerning communicating the goals regularly, AD2 said,

Part of it is visiting and actually talking about it, and making sure that it’s still relevant in terms of what your stated mission is, but then the other piece of that is, again, having people, you know, your staff participating in—you know, creating the goals and finding where it is you want to go in ways that are related to that mission. What are we doing to frame goals that help us do that and have people involved in that process of helping to create those, you know, which ones actually are or become our stated goals? I think that’s the only way you can get . . . everybody’s support in buying it.

AD5 commented,

We have monthly meetings with our coaches [in which] we talk about where we are as a program and where we’re headed. I initiate some things with them as far as the structure of the department, what we want to accomplish, some of the things that we want to do for our student athletes, such as if there’s extra things, career services, or maybe speakers that we want to bring in. So it’s a collaborative effort, it’s not me as an athletic director; it’s us as a whole department. So it’s important that feedback occur from the coaches, because they’re the voice of the student athletes, and the coaches are the voice of athletic department.

All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they communicate a clear and compelling vision. Defining the vision and being committed to the vision, were the common answers by the college athletic directors in communicating a clear and compelling vision. With regard to defining the vision, AD15 commented,

You need to believe if you had a part in putting that vision in place, creating that vision, then you need to continue to lift it up to staff. . . . It’s something that ought to be on—and when I say the front burner, that doesn’t mean that talk about it every time you open your mouth; it ought to be something that you think about often, and that you’re willing to share with a variety of different publics, in my opinion.

With regard to defining the vision, AD14 said,

When you look at goals and vision, everybody has to be involved in setting them. Then I think that you talk about them in your staff meetings, I think you update in your staff meetings where things stand. For example, we did a 5-year strategic plan and, twice a year; we did an update about where we are, at least twice a year. In the early stages we did it more often. But we also had a list of 5-year initiatives we wanted to accomplish, and then we set the stage for that. We had a staff meeting and we asked the staff to help us establish the priorities for it.

Also, the athletic directors commented on being committed to the athletic program vision of their respective college. AD19 said, “But I think you need to get them, you model the way, you try to make sure they’re committed, and it doesn’t always happen. So you just hope that they’re committed to what you believe in and, if they’re not, you try to get them on board.” AD6 said,

You have to involve everybody in creation of it, so we have a 5-year strategic plan we just finished in our athletic department, but at the genesis of it, we did our values, our mission, our vision, and our objectives, and it was, it involved every single person in the athletic department coming down to commonalities to determine it. So the buy-in of getting everybody to agree to, that this is what we do across the board, regardless of what your role is or which team you are and I just think you have to have it out front all the time as you’re guiding.

Intellectual stimulation
Intellectual stimulation involves encouraging creativity from followers, challenging followers to come up with new ideas, and compelling followers to not accept traditional ways of solving problems (Bass, 1985). The following comments were made during interviews and relate to the idealized influence component of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. There were distinct transformational leadership behaviors (see Table 4) mentioned by participant college athletic directors relating to intellectual stimulation.

Transformational Leadership - Table 4

Of the 20 college athletic directors who participated in the study, 18 commented on how they encourage creativity in coaches. Giving their coaches the freedom to be creative and sending the coaches to professional development programs, were the common actions mentioned by the college athletic directors regarding encouraging creativity in followers. AD13 commented on the importance of coaches to be creative relative to the athletic program at the college:

I’m giving the people and our staff the opportunity to create, to make their own decision, then to create ways to do things better . . . everything changes on a daily basis and we have to be able to forecast . . . then they [staff] are going to be help us to be successful so I give everybody the artistic license and the ability to create and you know there are times from some executives’ standpoint, you have to, “We are going to do [it] this way,” but I want people to think or to take ownership of everything they do here, so part of that is, “Well, be creative and find to make your own mistakes,” and that’s how I, you know, I’m not doing everything.

Concerning giving the coaches the freedom to be creative, the athletic directors expressed themselves simply. AD6 said, “I think providing them the freedom, the time, and the resources to be creative. Everybody brings something different to the table. If you give them only task-oriented jobs, all they’re just delivering on a to-do list, and they don’t really have time to think critically about the task at hand, and maybe how they could do this differently.” AD4 said,

Basically what I tell them is, “Listen, you know what your budget is and you need a limit on that budget, but I’m not going to tell you how to do it.” So I give our staff and our coaches the freedom to make decisions on their own. So that inherently forces them to be creative. Then also we certainly, we have meetings and we talk about situations and I ask for their input. That gives them the chance to be creative and come up with their own ideas that can help us become a better department.

The athletic directors also encourage the coaches to attend professional development programs. AD9 said,

I encourage them, and they all go to their respective conference meetings, they go to their respective national association meetings, for example, baseball coaches association. So, and then, “Come back to me and tell me which lectures you went to, which different drills you picked up on, how do [think] that [drill] would fit into our program?” And don’t be afraid to call other coaches and ask, “How do they handle this, how do they handle that” and be, really, constantly learning.

Two of the 20 college athletic directors who participated in the study did not mention trying to encourage the coaches to be creative. AD11 said,

I think the elements for them to achieve success are not a mystery. A lot of it is common sense and those being skilled coaches in their particular sport by having integrity but having an incredibly strong will to be successful. And the creativity part, some of them are creative with their sports school or they’re recruiting in some ways, but bluntly, I don’t think creativity needs to be a big part of this. And if somebody is very solid in all the basic aspects of what it takes to be a successful coach, I don’t need them to be creative. If they happen to be creative and they develop something that works for them, that’s fantastic and then maybe we’ll steal some of that for other programs.

AD8 said, “I think coaches who are typically very creative, they’re not going to be successful, so I can’t say that I’m a, anything that I do directly is aimed at enhancing creativity with the coaches.”

AD9 said,

We provide them with many good facilities and it’s their job to go out and find high-quality student athletes who will come in here and persist and get a degree and graduate and be successful in that sport, for sports at the same time.

All 20 college athletic directors discussed challenging coaches to come up with new ideas. The common answers by the college athletic directors regarding challenging coaches to come up with new ideas were encouraging coaches to meet with others and putting coaches in situations to try new ideas. The athletic directors commented on the importance of coaches collaborating with other coaches to devise new ideas. AD5 said, “I think we’re very fortunate that they bring ideas from their seminars that they’ve gone to or discussions that they’ve had with other coaches.”

AD14 spoke to putting coaches in situations in which they had to develop new ideas:

I think you just have to keep putting coaches in those situations, where they understand the big picture, they understand what you’re asking for, and you seek from them some type of solution that’s different than just the very standard solutions that coaches are used to working with. So the essence of my answer is, the more you can put your coaches in situations where you’re limiting their amount of time but you’re encouraging them to be creative, the better work flow you’ll get out of that committee.

AD16 commented,

All ideas are welcome and so, right from what we are basically communicating, we want their ideas. We can invest in some of them; we can’t invest them all around, so we want the ideas. . . . [We] put in the place an innovation fund so we set aside funds, basically, for our coaches to innovate from. . . . [T]hey give us a little proposal on how they would use those funds and what the benefits will be to their program, and then we only choose the best of those ideas and we allocate our innovation funds. One of the requirements . . . to get those funds [is] you present, to the whole department, what you did and what you learned from the exercise.

AD10 explained about putting coaches in the right situation to develop new ideas that could benefit the athletic program of the college:

I expect my staff at our staff meetings to have a wide open look. “There are no bad ideas,” I have always told them. “I will never laugh at any idea you bring up.” We don’t accept them all, but my staff is never reluctant [to say], “How about if we try this, how about if we try that?” I have the . . . attitude that says, “Let’s look at that.” Sometimes we adopt it, sometimes we don’t, but they know that their ideas are at least being considered.

Nineteen of the 20 college athletic directors commented on how they compel coaches to not accept traditional ways to solve problems. These college athletic directors mentioned that they compel coaches to not accept traditional solutions by encouraging coaches to think differently and seek advice from other coaches. For example, AD1 said,

The more you can do that [encourage people to think of different solutions] consistently, the more it inspires people to think outside of the box and to be willing to take risk and do think. At times, you know, I’ve sat down with them and talked . . . there [are] situations or opportunities that you never really know the full extent [of] whether or not those things are going to be valuable in the end. But you try to take every measure you can and encourage coaches to try it. . . . [I]f it doesn’t work, you come back and tweak it or you go on to something else. [It is important] to not penalize failures but try to find ways to again reward innovation.

AD12 commented on encouraging coaches to seek advice from other coaches concerning other ways to solve problems besides traditional ways:

Discussing things with other coaches’ does lead to creative solutions because you’re talking of, you know, I’m a volleyball coach talking to the soccer coach about ways to address things, so that does encourage some nontraditional thinking. One of these conversations led to one of the most innovative things that I ever did as a coach, when I was [speaking] with a hockey coach. . . . I do think those discussions with coaches who are not in our sport . . . is one way to come up with some nontraditional approaches. . . . [T]he involvement that I have and I encourage our coaches to have or that I can bring back to our coaches with people outside of athletics helps to, at least, examine some nontraditional approaches.

AD11 said,

I think in particular, our coaches who are successful have found various ways when they have a hurdle in their particular programs, they found various ways sometimes and, quite often, working with our administration to handle the challenge and find a different way to achieve an end.

Concerning seeking advice from others and not relying on traditional ways to solve problems, an AD2 commented,

I . . . have . . . a leadership group that’s my senior leadership team, but I also bring together another group of coaches who have . . . administration responsibilities, but don’t have the administrative titles . . . [to] harness some brain power around whatever issues and things are going on. . . . I may have gotten one direction from . . . my senior staff, but . . . to get some other folks who are looking at [the challenge] in a little bit different light and to get some other ways of thinking about different problems that we’re trying to solve.

One athletic director does not encourage coaches to look for nontraditional ways to solve problems. AD9 stated, “I’m a traditionalist myself, personally. Again, I just focus on what it takes to be successful and that’s what I want the coaches to do, that’s why I push it.”

Individualized consideration
Individualized consideration involves mentoring others, respecting the differences and addressing the needs of individuals, practicing two-way communication, and developing the potential of one’s followers (Bass, 1985). The following results were derived from the interview data concerning idealized influence component of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. Comments revealed distinct transformational leadership behaviors (see Table 5) relating to individualized consideration by the college athletic directors who participated in the study.

Transformational Leadership - Table 5

Of the 20 college athletic directors who participated in the study, 18 commented on being mentors to coaches. These 18 college athletic directors mentioned that they mentor coaches by being available to coaches, understanding the needs of coaches, and giving advice to coaches. Concerning being available to coaches, AD12 stated,

I think, one, being available to the degree that they are comfortable expressing their needs to me and, I think, it would be impossible for anybody, really, to connect on that level with every single person to the exact same degree. Some of it has to do with my abilities, some of that has to do with my time constraints, some has to do with needs, need for growth from other people, before they get after those things and articulate that.

Participating athletic directors mentioned the importance of understanding the needs of coaches. AD9 stated,

They know they can come to me with any problem they have and I will try to do my best to work through anything with them. I also spend time giving them directions, like, watch what they do and pay attention, I show up in their practices, I want to know how they’re treating the kids. . . . I just work with the coaches as much as I can to show them the right track, I’m going to get to their problems or . . . a problem with a student athlete and . . . help with that.

Concerning understanding the needs of coaches, AD19 commented,

You have to figure out what do they need to be successful, are they someone who you need to talk to on a daily basis, are they someone who functions better when you let them, you give them the ground rules for what’s expected and they go do it on their own. So I think you mentor as much as possible, because if you have a new coach, we try to match a new coach up with a veteran coach . . . even if it’s just to lead the new coach in a direction of how things are done here, not necessarily with their sport.

The athletic directors mentioned that they give advice to coaches. AD13 said,

I think part of the role of the mentor is to serve an advisor, give guidance and direction, and that’s what I do. I want all the people I work with . . . to strive to gain . . . continual learning on a daily basis, look at things in a different way.

With regard to giving advice to coaches, AD11 said,

I believe that I do that at some level without thinking about it, just human interaction of caring about . . . their success, providing advice. I provide a lot of advice about scheduling, about dealing with the problem with kids . . . who you should cut and . . . who you can possibly hang with and make a difference and allow them to mature and change.

Two of the 20 athletic directors who participated in this study did not considered themselves to be mentors to coaches. AD14 said, “I wouldn’t say I had any formalized mentoring system in place for me personally in our department. I think that creates some problems, because why am I mentoring him and not her?” AD6 commented on the challenge of being a mentor to a large group of coaches:

We all aspire to be a transformational leader, but some of the work, to get it done, because there’s so much of it ends up being transactional and I wish I had the time to give individual consideration to every employee, every staff member, every coach, in one-on-one meetings, discussions, philosophizing together with them all day, every day, but there’s too much work to get done. So, by nature, what ends up happening is you meet in groups. So all the administrators, we need to have a meeting every two weeks. All the head coaches, with me, we need to have a meeting every month. But unfortunately, it does take away some of the individualization from it and the reality is this is a big challenge in college athletics.

All 20 college athletic directors who participated in this study commented on how they respect the differences and address the needs of each coach. The common responses by the college athletic directors concerning respecting the differences in coaches and addressing each coach’s needs were by becoming acquainted with each coach and his or her family and treating each coach differently but fairly. With regard to getting to know each coach and his or her family, AD17 said,

Once you establish those trust levels with people . . . over time and consistency . . . it’s amazing when people come in and shut the door, and they’ll tell you about what the deal is in their personal life or work life. . . . [Y]ou become a counselor of some type, whether you’re looking to do that or not. I came in athletics about six years ago; even though I worked part-time . . . a lot of that early one was dealing with people’s personal issues. . . . [Y]ou’ve got to realize when you’re dealing with an individual, you’re dealing with the whole individual.

AD18 spoke about the importance of family:

I always talk about family first. And so when somebody had a new baby, I [said to] him . . . “[Y]ou know, you need to be home,” or . . . “[Your] wife [is] having surgery in the hospital; you need to be at the hospital.”

AD11 commented,

I think the way that you encourage that is, when you see people, you stop and talk to them for a few minutes and ask them how they’re doing, how their family [is doing] . . . . [T]here are a lot of things going on . . . we have staff members who have ill spouses . . . ill children . . . lost their parents. . . . [T]here were [a] number of things during a year that come up that provide you an opportunity to connect with somebody, communicate with somebody that’s not specifically about their job and the more that that opportunity is taken advantage of, the more, when there is something specifically job-related, that you have a basis for open, honest communication.

Concerning families of coaches, AD10 said,

You try to get interested in not just their work environment, but their family environment. . . .You have to take into account that these people have families . . . all sorts of things that you need to be at least aware of so that you can be sensitive to their needs. It doesn’t do any good if you’ve got a disgruntled employee and you have no clue what’s going on in their lives that would make them disgruntled. That doesn’t work. Employees are happy if you show an interest in their whole life.

The athletic directors mentioned the importance of treating each coach fairly. AD16 said,

We do not treat everyone identically and that’s . . . important in real life. . . . [It] really depends on what they need. . . .[E]veryone doesn’t need the same training so we tried to give people what they need.

AD6 said,

We’ll make sure you’re treated fairly but each thing is a little bit different. Therein lies the individualization, but the reality is in organizations, just to get through all the work and communication that we have to do, we tend to bulk people, positions, roles, into larger groups, so that we can just expedite it more quickly. I really try to . . . make people feel good about their own work by individualizing the goals and expectations for each person. So our staff are not praised, performances are viewed on the good of the whole. It’s very much here’s what your role was supposed to do to add to the whole team, have you accomplished your primary responsibilities before you even become like a team player.

All 20 college athletic directors in this study mentioned practicing two-way communications with coaches. The common responses by the college athletic directors in practicing two-way communications with coaches were applying an open-door policy and listening to coaches. The athletics directors spoke to the importance of the open-door policy relative to communicating with coaches. AD3 said,

My door’s open . . . I have a basket of candy in here all the time—it pulls them in. . . . I try to walk around and just touch base with our coaches. . . . [W]hen they’re away at a contest, I’m tracking their games and, after games, I’m sending text messages of support or congratulations. . . . I just think it’s real important to be transparent in what you’re doing and that creates the honest communication, the level of trust.

AD14 said,

The only time my office door is shut is when I’m on a phone call, when I need some quiet or when I’m working on something where I really need to concentrate. Other than that, my door is open. I think [because] . . . I’m visible . . . have an open-door policy, and . . . don’t always feel that people need to come to me, it really develops a sense of two-way communication, and I think there’s a sense of trust.

Concerning listening to coaches, AD15 said,

If communication is not Number 1, it’s right up there, ranking in terms of the most important facets of being certainly not just the director of athletics, but probably in a management or leadership role in any organization. Listening is extremely important, and again, I think that that’s something I got better at over time. I would say as a part of communication, it is extremely important to be able to listen effectively and know when to throw your 2 cents in, and know when to just back off and let folks have their say.

AD7 said,

I like to think I have an open line of communication. . . . My door is pretty much always open to my staff . . . you try to listen to them so that you can kind of get information from them.

All 20 college athletic directors spoke about how they develop coaches’ potential. Putting coaches in the right situations and having coaches attend development programs were the common responses by the college athletic directors regarding developing coaches’ potential. AD17 commented about putting coaches in the right situation to develop coaches’ potential as follows:

I think you try to put people in opportunities to have success. . . . [Y]ou’ve got to know what makes them tick . . . and I think you give them opportunity for failure. . . . [C]oaches and professional staff . . . are two different beasts. . . . [W]e host, several regional and national championships, so it’s giving staff that opportunity, something on a larger stage. . . . [W]e’ve looked for creative ways to give people opportunities to expand, and learn in their field of study . . . [by] supporting them for a coaching license . . . and getting that coaching license.

AD14 commented about putting coaches in the right situation:

You have to realize where their strengths are . . . and what do they like to do . . . [so] you put them in situations where they’re enthusiastic about growing professionally and where they can have success, and that if they’re doing something that’s going to represent the whole department or influence the whole department, what you’re asking them to do, everybody has buy in to it because they know they’re good at what it is. . . . [Y]ou’ve got to . . . know your department well enough that when you ask them to grow professionally by taking on a different task or leading a task force or a particular project; that they can be successful, and everybody recognizes that they will be successful because that’s a strength. I also think, as much as possible, you support professional development and learning from experts and so on, or bring in experts . . . to our department.

AD4 said,

I think by giving them the freedom to make their own decisions. If I’m . . . telling them what to do all the time and how to do it, it’s pretty difficult to grow in your position. Then I also give them specific tasks, and really try to instill confidence in them. I give them the task to prove that they are capable of doing certain things, and furthering their career and their management skills, or whatever it may be. I think anybody’s growth potential is based on the freedom that they have to explore what the possibilities are.

The athletic directors spoke about having coaches attend development programs. AD16 said,

We have development funds in our budget . . . if we haven’t given enough money for staff development or their assistant coaches, we give them [funds from development] . . . to go and watch some other people coach or the clinics, or the seminars, talk to field psychologists . . . whatever, we try to unleash [their] imagination by providing resources in this area.

AD6 remarked,

There’s a lot of opportunity for professional development. So our coaches love to go to professional development, and maybe it’s their coaches association meetings, which we ask them to come back and report to everybody a takeaway, which is something you’ve learned or gained by this experience. There’s a lot of value in college athletics to letting people go and be with people who are like them. I think professional development is important. I think also you have to allow people to be individually and closely exposed to leadership of the whole university. . . . We’re very fortunate here we have good access to our president and he’s a real visionary and he is very supportive of athletics.

Concerning sending coaches to development programs, AD7 said,

We’ve been trying to do . . . professional development within the department and trying to bring in some folks who can do some programming and workshops. The NCAA came in last year, and that’s when they did a survey and that was very well received because it’s a way of sort of looking at your tendencies. So, we’re trying to do things to bring people in, to do some programming with our staff, to provide them with some professional development opportunities.

AD5 said,

We always look for opportunities that they can improve on themselves, whether it is professional development offered by the NCAA or the conference; whether it is a national convention within their coaching staff, sharing ideas with other coaches, professional development that we may have here on campus, or committee work through the NCAA. We constantly encourage that because they can only get better if they are out learning different techniques that are occurring within their sport.

Themes
Three main themes emerged from the analysis of the data. The three themes are (a) taking care of the student athletes, (b) supporting the coaches, and (c) adhering to the NCAA and NAIA rules. Taking care of students was expressed by all the college athletic directors interviewed for the study. This theme represents the athletic directors’ concern that the student athletes graduate. Supporting the coaches was mentioned by most of the college athletic directors. The athletic directors commented on the importance of showing the coaches their support. Adhering to the NCAA rules was another theme that was prevalent among comments made by all 20 college athletic directors who participated in the study. The athletic directors made a point of communicating to the coaches the importance of adhering to NCAA and NAIA rules.

The theme of taking care of students was prevalent in the comments of all 20 of the college athletic directors who participated in this study. The college athletic directors commented on the importance of making sure student-athletes are treated properly and have a good college experience athletically and academically. The college athletic directors stated their sentiments as follows.

AD18 stated, “I don’t believe one student athlete and one sport is more important than any other student athlete in any other sport. I think that sends kind of a wrong message.” AD12 said, “I think . . . [about] wanting all of our coaches and staff to succeed and do great and therefore do great things for our students, who then can do great things for the world.” AD19 said, “My general philosophy, this is about the student athletes, it’s about their experience, so let’s make sure we’re treating them properly.” AD18 said, “My passion is for the student athlete’s experience and my job as an administrator is to help improve conditions for coaches, so I am fighting for my coaches. I’m fighting for our student athletes’ experience.”

AD5 said,

Well, I think that we all have an understanding that every student athlete in our program is special, and unique, and can achieve great things not only on the playing field, but off. And that’s how we treat each one. Whether we open leadership opportunities to them through different programs that we have, celebrate better success academically as well as athletically.

AD17 said,

Sure, we want to win on the field, or on the court, but, you know, we’re really here to graduate students and give them opportunities to change their lives. Many times we have students come in, you know, this is their only chance to [earn a] college degree. The frustrating thing is that, you know, they finish their eligibility, and they walk out the door and don’t finish their degree, you know, you try to create situations where as that doesn’t happen.

Another theme that was common in responses to interview questions was how the college athletic directors in this study understand college coaches and the importance of supporting the coaches. The college athletic directors expressed this theme as follows. AD13 said, “I’ve been a football coach and baseball coach and I have been in athletic administration for a number of years, so . . . I understand what coaches go through.” AD17 said, “You have to go through some battles, and they have to know that you’ve got their backs.”

AD5 said,

So it’s very important to be a good listener, because [coaches] can convey more of what they’re feeling and what’s going on in their programs, so that I have a better understanding, not rushing to judgment on anything. But really trying to communicate and understand their perspectives so that we can work together to create a stronger program.

AD9 said, “They know they can come to me with any problem they have and I will try to do my best to work through anything with them.”

The third common theme expressed by all of the college athletic directors in this study was adhering to the rules of the NCAA and NAIA. The athletic directors mentioned that it was important as athletic directors to ensure the college coaches were obeying the rules. The college athletic directors expressed the importance of adhering to the NCAA and NAIA rules as follows.

AD17 said,

We want to have a program that’s respectable, that plays within the NCAA rules, that there’s good academic students, so it’s not going to be a backing no matter what you do, you’ve got to play by the rules and these are our expectations, and if you stay within these guidelines, then you have our support.

AD14 said,

We make it clear to our coaches that we expect them to follow it and abide by it. We talk about those and we say that, this is the right thing to do and this is how you do it.

AD6 said, “I think you have to add to integrity and say, this is a culture where we’re going to embrace that mistakes happen, but it’s more critical that you not sweep them under the rug, you have to come forward.”

AD3 said,

Well, I think we do a good job of, well; we can always do better, obviously educating our coaches on, you know, rules and regulations. We do not have a lot of violations, but some have come up over the years and we address those. We report those. That’s our job. That means we’re doing our job as an institution athletics department. So, when those situations arise, we share that with our staff and they know that we just don’t [look] the other way, but we address it and we fix it, and we move forward and we don’t repeat those behaviors.

AD1 said,

And we do have a great responsibility to take charge and you know athletics is a tough environment to do that in. I think when we do mess up the opportunities we have to take ownership of the issues and try to rectify them and do things in an appropriate way.

The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study was to examine the transformational leadership behavior of college athletic directors of top-rated college athletic programs. In this study, the purpose was to identify participating college athletic directors’ transformational leadership behaviors, as were derived from the four components of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. The sample for this research study consisted of 20 college athletic directors of top-rated college athletic programs representing the NCAA Division I, II, III, and the NAIA.

The overall question that guided this study was, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?” This qualitative exploratory research study was based on the foundational research of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. Bass’s transformational leadership model consists of four components: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.

Idealized influence involves being a role model to followers, earning respect, gaining trust, taking risks, and displaying high moral and ethical standards (Bass, 1985). All 20 college athletic directors considered themselves to be a role model to the coaches, staff, and student athletes. Most of the college athletic directors considered themselves to be role models by demonstrating integrity and having a strong work ethic. Transformational leaders expend a lot of effort in performing a task because of the trust, respect, and loyalty followers have for the leader (Bass, 1985). All 20 college athletic directors stated that they try to earn the respect and trust of the coaches. The majority of the college athletic directors mentioned that they earn respect and trust by supporting the coaches and understanding the coaches. Of the 20 college athletic directors who participated in the study, 18 commented on when they take risks, mentioning instances of hiring coaches, fundraising, and signing student athletes. In hiring a college coach, Won et al. (2013) reported that college athletic directors cared mostly about people skills, cooperativeness, adaptability, conceptual skills, ethical standards, creativity, and technical skills in hiring. Only two of the 20 athletic directors in this study said they did not consider themselves to be risk takers. All 20 college athletic directors commented on the importance of displaying high moral and ethical standards. The morality of transformational leaders can enhance their followers’ efforts (Schuh et al., 2013). The common responses by the college athletic directors concerning displaying high moral and ethical standards were having integrity and obeying the rules. College administrators, including college athletic directors, must have moral and ethical standards to make decisions (Kihl, 2007).

Inspirational motivation involves about showing passion in one’s work, providing meaning to the mission of the organization, creating an environment of commitment to goals, and communicating a clear and compelling vision (Bass, 1985). In data collected through interviews, all 20 college athletic directors described how they show passion in their work. The common answers by the college athletic directors revealed that they demonstrate passion in their work by showing their commitment to the athletic program and attending the athletic events in which their respective college teams participate. All 20 college athletic directors commented on the importance of providing meaning to the mission of the college. Regarding the mission, the common responses by the college athletic directors were that they provide meaning to the mission of the college by hiring personnel who fit the mission and by constantly communicating the mission to coaches and staff. Followers trust, admire, and respect transformational leaders because these leaders provide an inspiring mission and vision to followers and give followers an identity (Bass, 1985). All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they create an environment of commitment to goals. Rocha and Chelladurai (2013) concluded that college athletic directors need to communicate to their head coaches the importance of both developmental goals and performance goals to the success of college athletic programs. All of the athletic directors commented that they create an environment of commitment to goals by collaborating with coaches to establish goals and constantly communicating the goals of the college. All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they communicate a clear and compelling vision. The common responses by the college athletic directors in the present study explained they communicate a clear and compelling vision by defining the vision and being committed to the vision. Caillier’s (2014) study revealed that, by integrating transformational leadership into training and development programs, leaders can inspire individuals with high mission valence to improve their performance.

Intellectual stimulation involves encouraging creativity from followers, challenging followers to come up with new ideas, and compelling followers to not accept traditional ways of solving problems (Bass, 1985). Leaders who practice intellectual stimulation bring about a change in followers’ awareness in problem solving, imagination, principles, and values in outcomes (Bass, 1985). Of the 20 college athletic directors, 18 commented on how they encourage creativity in coaches. Followers’ performance can improve because of the intellectual stimulation transformational leaders provide through constructive feedback, encouragement to think creatively, and inspiration to put forth extra effort (Cavazotte et al., 2013). The college athletic directors in this study said they try to encourage creativity in followers by giving their coaches the freedom to be creative and having the coaches go to professional development. Two of the 20 college athletic directors in this study that did not believe it were necessary to encourage coaches to be creative concerning the college athletic teams. All 20 college athletic directors mentioned that they challenge coaches to come up with new ideas. Most of the college athletic directors revealed that they challenge coaches to come up with new ideas by encouraging coaches to meet with other coaches and putting coaches in situations that require them to try new ideas. As noted by the college athletic directors, college athletic coaches can share their knowledge about coaching college athletic teams by meeting with other coaches. Stimulation knowledge and innovation variables create positive synergies, which improved organizational performance (García-Morales et al., 2008). Of the 20 college athletic directors, 19 remarked on how they try to compel coaches to not accept traditional ways to solve problems. Common ways in which the college athletic directors in the present study said they try to compel coaches to not accept traditional ways to solve problems were by encouraging coaches to think differently and to seek advice from other coaches. One of the college athletic directors does not encourage coaches to look for nontraditional ways to solve problems; this athletic director self-reported being a traditionalist.

Individualized consideration involves mentoring others, respecting the differences and addressing the needs of individuals, practicing two-way communication, and developing the potential of one’s followers (Bass, 1985). Leaders tap individual followers’ skills to promote followers’ self-confidence and provide opportunities for followers to experience success (Bass, 1985). Eighteen of the 20 college athletic directors who participated in this study commented on how they try to be mentors to coaches. These 18 college athletic directors said they mentor coaches by being available to the coaches, understanding the needs of coaches, and giving advice to coaches. Two of the 20 athletic directors said they did not consider themselves to be mentors to coaches. All 20 college athletic directors commented on how they respect the individual differences and address the needs of each coach. The common ways in which the college athletic directors in the present study said they try to respect the differences in coaches and the needs of each coach is by becoming acquainted with each coach and his or her family and treating each coach differently but fairly. Getting to know each coach and understanding his or her needs can have a positive impact on coaches’ performance. Transformational leaders must be aware of followers’ individuality to increase each follower’s work performance (Liang & Chi, 2011). All 20 college athletic directors revealed how they practice two-way communications with coaches. In practicing two-way communications with coaches, having an open-door policy and listening to coaches were the common responses by the college athletic directors. All 20 college athletic directors mentioned how they try to develop the potential of the college coaches. Putting coaches in the right situations and having coaches attend development programs were the methods of developing potential mentioned by the college athletic directors in the present study. Transformational leaders practice consistent delegation of tasks to individual followers based on followers’ competence, presenting opportunity for growth (Bass, 1985). College athletic directors can create an environment that promotes development of potential in college coaches by encouraging coaches to attend developmental programs. Leaders who practice transformational leadership behaviors can nurture a developmental culture (Moynihan, Pandey, & Wright, 2012). Walumbwa and Hartnell (2011) stated that leaders who exhibit transformational leadership behaviors have rapport with individual followers, so individuals who can relationally identify with leaders have better performance.

The findings in this study support Bass’s (1985) research on each of the four components of the transformational leadership model. The athletic directors showed idealized influence by being role models to followers, earning respect, gaining trust, taking risks, and displaying high moral and ethical standards. They exhibited inspirational motivation by showing passion in their work, providing meaning to the mission of the organization, creating an environment of commitment to goals, and communicating a clear and compelling vision. The college athletic directors demonstrated intellectual stimulation by encouraging the creativity in college coaches and compelling the coaches to not accept traditional ways of solving problems. Finally, the athletic directors showed individualized consideration by mentoring coaches, respecting the needs and the differences of each of the coaches, practicing two-way communication, and developing the potential of the coach.

CONCLUSION
This qualitative exploratory research study was based from the foundational research Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership theory. Leaders who practice transformational leadership behaviors motivate followers to achieve the goals of the organization and perform beyond expectations (Bass, 1985). According to Bass (1985), followers of transformational leaders expend a lot of effort in performing a task because of the trust, respect, and loyalty followers have for their leaders. Hence, transformational leaders have a positive impact on followers’ performance. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the NACDA (n.d.) 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs. Specifically the four components of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership theory served as the foundation for determining the presence or absence of transformational leadership behavior: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. A qualitative semi-structured interview approach was used because this approach was appropriate for exploring the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors in their own words.

The qualitative data was obtained from semi-structured interviews conducted with 20 athletic directors to answer the research question, “What are the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2013/2014 top-rated athletic programs?” Data from each participant were collected, analyzed, and organized into patterns relative to the four components of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. All 20 of the participants were college athletic directors of top-rated college athletic programs. There were three college athletic directors from Division I, eight from Division II, six from Division III, and three from the NAIA. Of the 20 college athletic directors, six were women. The male college athletic directors had an average of 8.3 years of experience and the female college athletic directors had an average of 8.7 years of experience.

Results of this study revealed that college athletic directors of top-rated college athletic programs actually demonstrate transformational leadership behaviors. The leadership behaviors of the college athletic directors mirror the four components of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership model. A discussion of the results highlighted three specific themes associated with the research question: taking care of the student athletes, supporting the coaches, adhering to the NCAA and NAIA rules. Implications of the study included understanding transformational leadership behaviors by college athletic directors, training college athletic directors to be transformational leaders, and creating a hiring process for college athletic directors that could build and maintain winning college athletic programs.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT
This study is significant because it addressed an aspect of transformational leadership not investigated by previous researchers. It focused on the transformational leadership behaviors of college athletic directors rather than others’ perceptions of college athletic directors’ performance (Branch, 1990), subordinates’ level of satisfaction and program success (Doherty & Danylchuk, 1996), or subordinates’ job satisfaction (Yusof, 2002) relative to college athletic directors. The purpose of conducting this study was to help to identify the transformational leadership behaviors practiced by college athletic directors. This study was also used to investigate the impact of these behaviors on college athletic programs. By addressing a previously un-researched corner of the field of transformational leadership of college athletic directors, this research study advances the scientific body of knowledge on transformational leadership behavior of college athletic directors.

Doherty and Danylchuk (1996) recommended additional research be conducted on Bass’s (1985) theoretical framework relative to the impact of transformational leadership dimensions on sport management. A comprehensive investigation into sport management will advance the understanding of the relevance of Bass’s (1985) transformational leadership framework. By examining the behaviors of transformational leaders in a qualitative research study, the actual behaviors of leaders can be determined (Yusof, 2002). Thus, by using a qualitative approach instead of a quantitative approach and by focusing on a new population in college athletics, this study advances the body of knowledge on college athletic directors by examining their transformational leadership behaviors.

Finally, this study may contribute to the scholarly literature by providing a solid underpinning for further research. There are other dynamics besides athletic directors’ behavior that might have an effect on winning college athletic programs. However, this study may provide important information for further research on college athletic directors and winning athletic programs. Information gathered as a result of the study could assist colleges in designing programs to train college athletic directors, coaches, and other personnel in the athletic department to be transformational leaders (Yusof, 2002).This study may also strengthen previous research on the influence of transformational leadership behaviors on performance.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Marc Muchnick, for his guidance and feedback. Also, I would like to thank my committee members. I thank my Linda and family who supported me through this journey. Thank you to all the college athletic directors who took the time to participate in this study. Most of all, I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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On the Relationship Between Attacking Third Passes and Success in the English Premier League

Authors: Bret R. Myers; Brian Q. Coughlin

Corresponding Author:
Bret R. Myers
204 Eagle Glen Drive
Coatesville, PA 19320
bret.myers@villanova.edu
804-357-5876

Bret Myers is an assistant professor of management and operations at Villanova University. He also works as an analytics consultant for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. Bret’s research and consulting is at the intersection of core sporting knowledge and the leveraging of data analysis to improve decision making for competitive advantage.

Brian Coughlin is a senior data analyst at Decision Resources Group in Exton, PA. He also serves as director of lacrosse operations at Villanova University. His passion lies in the field of analytics with a specific interest in mining data, analyzing statistics, and offering strategic recommendations that help organizations make better decisions.

On the relationship between attacking third passes and success in the English Premier League

ABSTRACT
This research examined how changes in attacking third pass behavior can impact a team’s ability to maintain leads and secure wins based on data collected from the 2011-2012 English Premier League Season. A team’s attacking third behavior is measured by the number of attacking third passes completed per minute. The results of this paper suggest that while teams tend to complete less passes in the final third when they are ahead in a match vs. being behind, there is evidence to suggest that a drop in attacking third pass behavior when ahead in a match will reduce the likelihood of maintaining a lead and securing three points.

Keywords: Soccer Strategy, Coaching Strategy, Sports Analytics, Soccer Analytics, Protecting a Lead, Staying Aggressive throughout a Match

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Goal-based Metrics Better Than Shot-based Metrics at Predicting Hockey Success

Author: Rob Found
9432-152 Street
Edmonton, AB, Canada
T5R 1N2
(780) 479-7919

Corresponding author: found@ualberta.ca

ABSTRACT
The growing business of professional sports has lead to an increasing demand for effective metrics quantifying factors leading to team success, and evaluating individual player contributions to that success. In the sport of hockey the advancement of analytics has lead to a decline in the use of goal-based metrics, and an increased reliance on shot-based metrics. I tested assumptions behind this trend by using statistical modeling of 10 years of NHL data to directly compare the effectiveness of goal versus shot-based metrics at predicting team success, and comparative hypothesis testing to determine how well goals and shots quantify player contributions to team success. Goal-based models consistently outperformed their shot-based analogs. Models of team goal differential successfully predicted winning % during the 2015-16 season, while shot differential did not. Goal-based metrics (i.e. relative plus-minus/minute of ice time) were also better than shot-based metrics (i.e. relative Corsi/minute of ice time) for evaluating individual player contributions to team winning %. These results show that team and individual performance is not correlated with all shots, but only those shots effective enough to result in goals. These results will lead to more effective evaluation of individual players, and better understanding and prediction of those factors leading to team success.

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