Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

The Effects of the Win/loss Record on Cohesion

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

The Effects of the Win/loss Record on Cohesion

Article excerpt

Past researchers have provided us with information concerning cohesion, but it has been limited to psychological explanations within the area of group dynamics. Until recently, the realm of sport has been neglected as a legitimate area worth studying. Most of the research done thus far on cohesion in sport has had its central focus on team cohesion and its relationship to success. However, the relationship between cohesiveness and success has resulted in conflicting results in studies examining this area. Carron and Garvie (1978) found that compatibility seemed related to effective performance; and results from other studies (Widmeyer & Martens, 1978; Bird, 1977) have suggested that cohesiveness has a relationship to success, if it is not a prerequisite (Straub, 1975). These latter studies (Widmeyer & Martens, 1978; Bird,1977) suggested that cohesion leads to success. Baltzer (1977) supported the concept that winning or success will enhance cohesion, while Fox (1984) found no significant relationship between cohesion and success. Straub (1975), Baltzer (1977), and Fox (1984) have shown that there is a conflicting relationship between cohesion and success, and that both positive and negative relationships have been found. Therefore, it may be stated that cohesion results in consequences which may or may not increase team success.

Carron (1982) indicated that cohesion had been treated as a static, positive achievement, however, one that was considered unidimensional. The research paradigms in the early 1980's appeared to support a dynamic, multidimensional approach to cohesion; however, these paradigms only distinguished between the individual and the group, but did not distinguish between the task and social concerns, i.e., they "lumped" task and social cohesion together. Widmeyer, Brawley, and Carron (1985) proposed a conceptual model of cohesion and distinguished not only between the individual and the group, but also between the task and social concerns.

Both internal conflict and harmony have been shown to be successful in enhancing cohesion (Stein, 1976; Turner, Hogg, Turner, & Smith, 1984). Social cohesion can have a negative consequence which results in a reduction of intragroup competitiveness, and can lead to a distraction from the task at hand and detract from task cohesion. The purpose of this study was to determine: (a) whether a significant relationship exists between cohesion and success; and (b) if so, whether cohesion (task and/or social) attributes to success, or whether success enhances cohesion (task and/or social). It was predicted that the assessment taken immediately after the spring break trip would reveal that social cohesion would increase for those teams with winning records and for those teams with losing records, since all team members traveled together during the spring break trip. It was also predicted that, by the end of the season, winning teams would reveal a significant positive change in cohesion (both task and social) and that losing teams would reveal a significant negative change in task and social cohesive levels.



Four Division III head baseball coaches from the Mid-West were contacted and permission to test the subjects was obtained. Four teams, comprised of sixty-five baseball team members (100% of team membership), ranging in age from 17 to 23, participated as subjects. Two teams (32 members) had winning records and two teams (33 members) had losing records. Teams winning 50% or more of their games were considered winning teams, while teams winning less than 50% were considered losing teams. All subjects signed informed consent statements approved by the University Human Subjects Committee.


The Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ), devised by Widmeyer, Brawley, and Carron (1985), was used to measure the task and social aspects of an individual's perceptions of a sport group, both individually and collectively, as related to the development and maintenance of the group. …

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