Group Dynamics of
Leaning Objectives. . .
•Groups and teams – Their impact upon performance
and the pursuit of balanced, active and healthy
•Leadership and the role of leader in physical
•Social facilitation and inhibition – The effects of
an audience and other participants on performance.
The social processes operating within the group between individual
The tendency of a group or team to stick together and remain
united in the pursuit of its goals or objectives.
An action or reaction between two factors or people
From your own experience in sport – What
makes a ‘GOOD TEAM?’
Research the following ‘successful’ team and
identify what factors make them a
Jenny – Manchester United Football Club
Becca – New Zealand Rugby Team
Emma – New Zealand Netball Team
All successful teams tend to work together
to achieve a goal. Therefore, the coach
must understand the social processes
operating within a group. This interaction
between team members is called
According to McGrath (1984)Interaction within the
group is a defining factor. In order for interaction
to take place, mutual awareness must exist between
McGrath states that
‘groups are those social aggregates that
involve mutual awareness and potential
Carron & Davies also highlighted the existence of mutual
interdependence and they also suggested that the following
criteria must also apply before sports teams, exercise clubs
and classes of PE students can be considered ‘teams’ or
Steiner presented a model to explain the
relationship between an interactive group and
it’s performance in sport.
is the result of group achievement – eg. the
actual score of the game
is the group’s best possible performance given
the resources & task demands. Eg. A tall
basketball team should beat a smaller set of
Faulty processes are things that go pear shaped!
It relates to the factors that can go wrong in
team performance, which will impede or even
prevent group cohesion and detract from the
collective potential of the team
The group’s performance usually falls
short of its potential because it is hard to
get a perfect performance.
The key to success is to minimise these
faulty processes, which include coordination
losses & motivational problems.
There are 2 faulty processes that bring
about losses in potential productivity.
1 - Co-ordination Losses (The Ringlemann Effect)
2 - Motivation Losses (Social Loafing)
(The Ringlemann Effect)
Coordination losses involve bad timing or poor
The synchronisation of teamwork breaks down
Activities that require interaction are more prone to
More likely to occur as team numbers increase i.e. a
basketball team is more likely to operate together
successfully than a rugby union team
Excessive competition in sport can reduce the
enjoyment & lead to a lack of coordination.
Ringlemann studied rope pulling & found that a group of
8 did not pull their rope 8 times as hard as 1 person.
There is less effort exerted when working with others.
Motivational Losses (Social loafing)
•Social loafing is the tendency of individual’s to
drop their effort & hide within the group.
•It is an individual motivation loss due to lack of
Social loafing is caused by:
•A belief that you effort won’t change the result
•A perception that others are not trying, so why
•A belief that others will cover for your lack of
•Individual effort not being recognised
•Lack of reinforcement from others
•Perceived low ability – Links to avoidance behaviour
NOTE. . .
You need to be aware that social loafing is dysfunctional
behaviour because it prevents effective teamwork. Notice the
link between causes of social loafing, low self-confidence,
negative attribution and avoidance behaviour.
Highlighting individual performances
Monitoring individuals with feedback
Using positive reinforcement when possible
Promoting cohesion within the team
Setting individual goals
Giving specific roles
Support & encouragement of each other
Maintain team interest in common goals
Injury can disrupt team strategies and
break down co-ordination
Lack of incentive to produce teamwork
will prevent cohesion
Vague individual roles inhibit effective
Low overall ability makes team play
difficult to achieve
Personality can influence team cohesion
– people with low trait confidence find it
difficult to promote group cohesion
Inadequate leadership inhibits
What factors affect the cohesion of a group? (4marks)
What does social loafing mean? (4marks)
As a team coach how would you minimise the chances
of social loafing occurring? (4marks)
There may be co-ordination problems relating to
team performance, which contribute to the faulty
processes. What is the Ringlemann effect? Explain
the strategies that a coach could use to minimise
this effect. (6marks)
The term cohesiveness has long been associated with the amount of
‘togetherness’ displayed by a team both on and off the field. Team
cohesion is commonly defined as a dynamic process that is reflected in
the tendency of a group to remain united in the pursuit of its goals and
objectives (Carron 1982).
There are 2 types of cohesion that must be considered. . .
Task cohesion – the degree to which group
members are united in achieving the
common goal, such as winning the game
Social cohesion – the degree to which
group members like each other & get on,
with mutual trust
Task cohesion is most important in interactive
sports and activities such as hockey. . . Team
members working with each other to complete a
Social cohesion is most important in co-active
sports like track and field athletics or fitness
groups. Social cohesion involves the formation of
personal relationships within the group that
provide the individual with support and friendship
Within large groups or squads there is a possibility that sub-
Sub-groups can be seen to impede the formation and
development of a cohesive group!
The 2 types are independent.
It is possible to be committed to achieving
the team goals but not get on with other
A team with major disputes can still do well &
a social team may not be successful.
Interactive Sports and Activities
Sports or activities such as hockey, netball and
rugby in which team members work together and
rely on each other.
Co-active Sports or Activities
Sports or activities such as athletics, equestrian
activities and aerobic exercise classes in which
individual performance is required.
Small groups contained within the whole group.
Carron (1993) identified 4 factors that directly
affect team cohesion....
1 – Situational Factors
Elements of the specific situation and the environment
2 – Individual Factors
Characteristics of team members
3 – Leadership Factors
Style of leadership preferred by the group
4 – Team Factors
Collective team goals, communication, shared success...
The factors affecting cohesion are: Indicate whether these
factors are Situational, Individual, Leadership or Team Factors
Whether the individuals in the team share a
How well the team members get on socially
The amount of past success & the likelihood of
The influence of their leader
The size of the group
The amount of communication between team
The type of sport (interactive sports, such as team
games, need more cohesion than individual sports)
The factors affecting cohesion Cont. . .
Unequal pay or rewards for different players
The tactics & strategies of the coach & team
The reward on offer
Personalities of group members
Attitudes of group members
Similarity of group members in age, race or gender
External threats to the team
The amount of time the group has been together
to establish relationships
You are a COACH....
How would you promote group cohesion in you team to encourage your
INDIVIDUAL PERFORMERS to participate fully and become a full
member of the ‘team’ ‘group’ and limit the effects of social loafing.
Do you think being a member of a group can affect an individuals
choice of lifestyle and encourage an individual to adopt a balanced,
active and healthy lifestyle?
Read and make notes on the 2 sections on page 230. . .
•Factors affecting participation in a group or team and
•Group and team effects on behaviour
‘The behavioural process of influencing another individual or group
towards achieving set goal or goals’
•Knowledge & Understanding of effective
•Characteristics of Leaders
•Knowledge & Understanding of Emergent
and Prescribed Leaders.
4)Concern for others
Why are leaders so
Quality Authoritarian Democratic Laissez-faire
be left alone
Sport type for
Personal authority of leader stressed
More effective in sports with greater number of performers
Effective for instant decisions
Essential in potentially dangerous situations
Co-operative approach allows performer input into decision making
Leader set in context of whole group effort
More successful in individual sports
Good when instant decisions are not needed
Makes no decisions, the group will make its own decisions.
This style can happen as a consequence of poor leadership.
Group determines the work to be done and the pace of it
Acts as a consultant
Quality Authoritarian Democratic Laissez-faire
Makes all the decisions Shares decision making Allows group to make its
Focuses on group
Interested in developing
within the team
Effective instant decisions Not instant Very slow
No Yes Yes
•Large groups of people
•Outdoor pursuits –
•Co-active game when
time constraints are not
as exacting and personal
support may be required
•Small team games
What style of leadership would be most effective in the
following situations and why?
The correct style of leadership to adopt
depends on the ‘favourableness’ of the
A highly favourable
•Leader’s position is
•Task is simple with
•Warm group and
•Leader’s position is
•Task is complex with
•Hostile group and
•Autocratic task-orientated leaders are
more effective in BOTH the most
favourable and least favourable situations
•Democratic social-orientated leaders are
more effective in moderately favourable
You need to understand that situation favourableness is a major
factor in determining leadership style. You need to also be aware
of other factors that influence the leader’s approach. . .
Autocratic leadership is
Democratic leadership is
When groups are hostile and discipline
When groups are friendly and
relationships are warm
If groups are large If groups are small
For team players who prefer an
In activities that require
In the early or cognitive stage of
When the autonomous stage of
learning has been achieved and the
performer s expert
In dangerous situations In situations where there is no threat
When there are time constraints When there are no constraints on
If the leaders personality is inclined
to be authoritarian
If the leaders personality is inclined
to be democratic
When the leader is male. . Men prefer
an autocratic approach
When the leader is female. . Women
prefer a democratic approach
How does a person become a LEADER?
Appointed from outside the group
(external appointment), by managerial
agents, appointed because skills are
Comes from within a group, either
informal or formal nomination from within
the group, arise as their skills are valued
Identify an example of an emergent and
prescribed leader from a sporting context.
Give 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages of the
emergent and the prescribed leader’s
position when charge of the group is first
(captain of a team)
•All ready familiar with
the team members
•Understand the team
member therefore will
be respected and listen
•Maybe too ‘familiar’
with team – not taken
•Hard to make big
decisions when team
mates are friends
(manager of a team)
ideas/fresh blood to
•Can make decisions
•Has a bit of distance
dynamics of team
knowledge not on
what might be best
for that team
By Next Lesson. .
Read and make notes on Critical Evaluation of
leadership theories on page 234.
• Trait theorists believe leaders are born with the capacity to take charge
• Leadership traits are considered to be stable personality dispositions.
Traits such as intelligence, assertiveness, self-confidence.
If this was true, a leader should be able to take control of any situation; but
in practice. . . This is highly unlikely.
Trait theory in general is not a good predictor of behaviour. It is unlikely
that specific dominant traits alone can facilitate successful leadership.
A significant trait theory is the
‘great man theory of leadership’
Which suggests that the necessary qualities of leadership are inherited by
sons (NOT daughters) whose fathers have been successful.
Not a popular theory
Like early trait personality research, trait research relating to
leadership has been inconclusive!
SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY
• Social learning theorists propose that ALL behaviour is LEARNED.
• Learning coming about through contact with environmental forces.
Someone who is aspiring to be a Captain, sees a situation handled well by
an experienced leader. This method will be remembered and copied if a
similar situation arises in future.
This process of imitating the successful behaviour of role models is called
Leadership skills therefore acquired by imitation and developed through
The weakness of the social learning theory – Does not take in to account
the trait perspective at all.
Can learning alone facilitate effective
• Leadership skills emerge because of a combination of inherited abilities
AND learned skills.
Leadership skills are likely to emerge and be acquired when a
situation triggers the traits that are of importance to leadership.
Indicates that in the context of sport and physical activity,
interactionist theories give a more realistic explanation of behaviour.
Questions . . .
1. Give a definition of the term ‘Leadership’
2. List the qualities of a good leader.
3. What are the 3 different types of leadership?
4. What are the two orientations of leaders?
5. What is an emergent and what is a prescribed leader?
6. List 4 characteristics of a democratic leader
7. What are the two opposing theories concerning leadership qualities?
Extended question. . .
8. "Trait theory suggests that leaders are born with their
Leadership characteristics. To what extent do you think 'social learning'
Multidimensional model of sports
Chellanduria (1978) identified 3
influences that interact to
produce effective leadership.
These initial factors are termed
ANTECEDENTS, which are
Chelladurai’s multidimensional theory
3 Antecedents (influences) which
determine the leaders behaviour are;
•Group member characteristics
Make a table with the heading and
What do you think the characteristics
•Environmental conditions – interactive
or co-active sports
•The numbers in the team
•Time constraints of the play or overall
•Considerations about the strength of
•Skill of the leader
•Personality of the leader
•Experience of the leader
•Inclination towards social or task
GROUP MEMBER CHARACTERISTICS
3 types of leader behaviour which
would be guided by the
•REQUIRED BEHAVIOUR - This involves
what ought to be done by the leader in
•ACTUAL BEHAVIOUR – Is what the leader
chooses to do as the best course of action in
the given situation. Greatly influenced by the
competence of the leader
•PREFERRED BEHAVIOUR – Concerns what
the group or athlete wants the leader to do.
Usually determined by the member
multidimensional theory of leadership
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
•The more the elements match the more
effective the leadership is likely to be
•If leadership qualities are what the
group like or expect, then they are more
likely to follow
•If leadership styles match the situation
then leadership is effective
The important element of the theory is
that if all 3 of the leaders behaviours are
CONGRUENT (go well together) (for
example antecedents, types and
consequences coincide exactly),
then member satisfaction and
high group performance will
Make two copied of the multidimensional model of
sports leadership and consider the following
1. The captain of a senior international team
2. The coach introducing youngsters to gymnastics
For each example, fill in the boxes relating to the
characteristics affecting leader behaviour and the
type of leader behaviour. Discuss how both leaders
would attain high performance while ensuring group
TASK / HOMEWORK
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