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Athlete leadership, Group dynamics, Shared athlete leadership, Sport psychology







Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Athlete leadership researchers have examined the leadership behaviours of athletes with inventories that were originally developed from other fields of research (e.g., military leadership). The approach typically adopted was to assess athlete leadership by rating the behaviours of a few selected athlete leaders (e.g., captains). The problem with this approach is that athlete leadership is a shared phenomenon consisting of numerous athletes (Loughead, 2017). In fact, within the definition of athlete leadership is the notion that the leadership behaviours exhibited by athletes are shared amongst numerous teammates (Loughead et al., 2021). Yet, the inventories used to assess athlete leadership do not fully capture the shared essence of this construct. Grille and Kauffeld’s (2015) Shared Professional Leadership Inventory for Teams (SPLIT) fills this need of a shared leadership measurement tool. However, this inventory was originally developed for organizational research and not for the sport athlete domain. Thus, the purpose of this study was to modify the items of the SPLIT and test its validity using an athlete population. First, the items of the SPLIT were transformed to fit an athlete leadership context using a think-aloud protocol with athletes. Second, an expert panel was utilized to evaluate and provide suitability of the items for an athlete population. Third, an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was conducted to explore the factor structure of the modified inventory. Then, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted on athletes to assess the SPLIT’s factorial validity. The results of the CFA offer a three-factor solution for the assessment of shared leadership behaviours of athletes. Lastly, a correlation analysis was conducted to test the relationship between the athlete leadership behaviours of the SPLIT, and the most studied variable, cohesion. The results indicated a moderately strong relationship between each of the variables.