Understanding the consequences of newcomer integration processes: A socialization perspective

  • Alex J Benson Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Mark Eys Wilfrid Laurier University

Abstract

The ways in which newcomers are integrated into sport teams may have broad consequences for the athletes entering the group, as well as existing team members. To test this idea, we conducted a prospective two-wave correlational design that examined a nomological network of variables related to newcomer integration processes. In Study 1 (N = 460), the psychometric properties of the Sport Team Socialization Tactics Questionnaire (STSTQ) were evaluated. In Study 2, socialization tactics (time point one, N = 257) were situated as antecedents to role clarity, commitment (teammates, commitment to coach), and group cohesion (time point two, N = 244). The dimensions of role clarity were positively predicted by coach-initiated role communication tactics (ps < .02). Commitment to teammates was positively predicted by coach-initiated role communication tactics (p < .01) and serial tactics (p < .01). Commitment to the coaching staff was positively predicted by coach-initiated role communication tactics (p < .001). Whereas the social cohesion dimensions were predicted by serial tactics (ps < .001) and social inclusionary tactics (ps < .05), the task cohesion dimensions were positively predicted by serial tactics (group-integration only, p < .001) and coach-initiated role communication tactics (ps < .04). These findings provide insight into how it may be advantageous to socialize newcomers through processes that focus on nurturing relationships between newcomers and veterans (i.e., serial tactics and social inclusionary tactics) and clearly situating newcomers in their role (i.e., coach-initiated role communication tactics).

Acknowledgments: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada