Desmond Mcewan PhD Thesis Defence

Title: “Teamwork in Sport”

Chair: Prof Ara Norenzayan (Psychology)
Supervisory Committee: Prof Mark Beauchamp, Research Supervisor (Kinesiology), Prof Bruno Zumbo (Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology)
University Examiners: Prof Anita Hubley (Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology), Prof Kimberly Schonert-Reichl (Human Development, Learning, and Culture)
External Examiner: Prof Robert Grove (School of Human Sciences, University of Western Australia,  Crawley, Australia)

Abstract: In spite of the assumption that teamwork is an important variable within the context of sport, formal research on this construct has been surprisingly limited. As such, the purpose of my doctoral work was to examine teamwork in sport with respect to theoretical, measurement, and applied considerations. This dissertation consisted of six studies. Study 1 was a theoretical and integrative review of teamwork in sport. Within this chapter, a working definition of teamwork in sport, a multidimensional conceptual framework for understanding and investigating this construct, as well as a discussion of how it may relate to important variables in sport were presented. Study 2 involved the development of a 70-item questionnaire to measure teamwork, entitled the Multidimensional Assessment of Teamwork in Sport (MATS). Study 3 involved an examination of the psychometric properties of the MATS, which provided evidence for the reliability and various aspects of validity related to this instrument. In study 4, an assessment of the relationships between teamwork and various group- and individual-level variables was carried out. Large correlations were shown between teamwork and task cohesion, collective efficacy, and satisfaction with team performance; medium correlations were shown between teamwork and social cohesion, satisfaction with individual performance, commitment to one’s team, and enjoyment in one’s sport. Study 5 involved a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the effectiveness of controlled teamwork training interventions across a range of team contexts. This review was used to inform the development of a theory-based and evidence-informed protocol for enhancing teamwork in sport, which was tested through a pilot intervention in study 6. The results of this study showed that teamwork in sport can be improved through training. In summary, this dissertation has provided: (a) an enhanced understanding of the nature of teamwork in sport; (b) a questionnaire that can be utilized by both sport psychology researchers and applied practitioners to assess a sport team’s perceived level of teamwork; (c) evidence that teamwork is an important variable to consider in sport; and (d) a training program that can be used to enhance teamwork in sport.