Examining the antecedents and outcomes of athlete leader fairness


Fairness is defined as an individualized perception of an action or statement as appropriate and just according to group rules and standards (Blanchard, 1986; Mallard, Lamont, & Guetzkow, 2009). The purpose of the study was to examine athlete leader fairness in relation to athlete leadership behaviours, cohesion, and athlete satisfaction. Participants were 203 (male n = 113; female n = 90; Mage = 19.85 years, SD = 1.51) intercollegiate team sport athletes. Participants completed the Leadership Scale for Sports (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980), Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory (Callow, Smith, Hardy, Arthur, & Hardy, 2009), Group Environment Questionnaire (Eys, Carron, Bray, & Brawley, 2007), Athlete Satisfaction Questionnaire (Riemer & Chelladurai, 1998), and a leader fairness inventory (Colquitt, 2001). Data were analyzed using path analysis to examine relationships among the variables. Task-oriented leadership predicted procedural fairness (B = .48) and distributive fairness (B = .46), transformational leadership predicted distributive fairness (B = .31), interpersonal fairness (B = .39), and informational fairness (B = .39), and transactional leadership predicted procedural fairness (B = .23), interpersonal fairness (B = .21), and informational fairness (B = .13). In turn, procedural and distributive fairness predicted task cohesion (B = 1.52 and 1.54, respectively), which then predicted satisfaction with performance (B = .40) and the team (B = 1.19). Findings from the present study provide support for athlete leaders as a source of leader fairness perceptions in team sport. Additionally, perceptions of athlete leader fairness are identified as an antecedent of cohesion and athlete satisfaction.