Re-conceptualising and Measuring Workplace Leader-Member Dyadic Relationships: An Application arising from Sport and Sporting Organisations
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Background; Aims/ Objectives This series of studies investigated the complex nature of leadership using interpersonal relationships to better understand reciprocity between conveniently formed leader-member relationships in sporting organisations. This thesis aimed to test whether the conceptualisation of the 4Cs model of the coach-athlete relationship (Jowett, 2007), as measured by the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (CART-Q), is an appropriate model to examine the corresponding dyad between a leader and a member in a work context. Expressly, this thesis examined if the 4Cs model of relationship content and quality can be applied in a leadership setting between a leader and a member. Three studies have been included in this thesis. The first study tested the validity and reliability of the direct and meta-perspective versions of the Coach-Athlete Relationship - Questionnaire (CART-Q) in the New Zealand sport context. The second study assessed the content of the leader-member relationship in a workplace setting using qualitative methods and content analysis, adopting the 4Cs model. The third study utilised cognitive interviewing techniques to investigate the content validity of the newly designed direct and meta-perspective version of the revised Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (CART-Q-R) to better assess the content and quality of the leader-member relationship. Methodology/ Methods This thesis utilised both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis techniques and took a mixed-method explanatory sequential approach as outlined by Creswell and Plano Clark (2011). An overarching mixed-methods approach guided the three studies being facilitated sequentially. Study One was a quantitative study, and Studies Two and Three were qualitative. Studies Two and Three used various techniques, including semi-structured interviews, content analysis, and cognitive interviewing. The participant cohort for Study One included 251 national representative coaches and athletes of football and futsal. Study Two and Three participants consisted of 10 then 8 permanently employed sport administrators from a prominent national sport organisation in New Zealand. Results Study One examined the validity and reliability of the CART-Q. The results demonstrated that the CART-Q successfully assesses the coaches' and athletes' emotions, cognitions, and behaviours. The constructs of closeness, commitment and complementarity are mutually and causally interconnected. Rasch analysis has highlighted that a unidimensional factor solution may be a more appropriate representation of the model than previously reported approaches and provides researchers with confidence in the CART-Q psychometric properties. Based on the findings of Study Two, the adapted 4Cs model and Interdependence Theory has the facility to capture the content and quality of the leader-member relationship in a workplace setting. The findings expose the relational connectedness of the dyadic partners utilising closeness, commitment, complementarity, and co-orientation. It was found that the dimensions of integrity, honesty, openness and leading by example are essential ingredients of commitment and complementarity. Yet, mutual liking and obligation may no longer be crucial constructs of modern leader-member relationships in the workplace. Study Three demonstrated that the results provided evidence that the 4Cs and the CART-Q-R are appropriate to better measure the reciprocal nature of the leader-member relationship than LMX measures by adding a greater breadth and depth of psychosocial aspects not previously considered allowing both leaders and members to assess relationship quality simultaneously. Discussion In an attempt to advance relationship leadership research, this thesis attempted to provide an alternative approach to examining leader-member relationship quality in a work setting. The outcome is an alternative model adapted from sports coaching that may more accurately represent and measure the leader-member relationship taking into account both dyadic partners emotions,cognitions and behaviours. Overall, this thesis presents a transparent and ordered approach to providing an alternative framework to assess the quality of leader-member relationships through a lens of reciprocity. A modified self-reporting tool (CART-Q-R) has been created to measure the quality of leader-member relationships in a workplace setting. This thesis is the first body of research to suggest and demonstrate that Interdependence Theory can fit the conceptualisation of assessing leader-member relationship quality and highlights the appropriateness and practicability of the modified 4Cs model and the CART-Q-R as a mechanism to evaluate the dyadic partners simultaneously. The modified 4Cs model and the CART-Q-R may offer more significant psychosocial insights than the previous Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX), which has been pre-eminent in leadership and organisational psychology literature. Psychological constructs have been precisely conceptualised, established and anchored to allow for the specific nature of the leader-member relationship. Conclusion This thesis claims that to better understand workplace relationships and their dyadic nature, the concept of reciprocity needs to be included to encapsulate the leaders and members’ emotions, cognitions and behaviours, as they are critical factors in representing the social exchanges of the leader-member relationship in the workplace. The findings provide a foundation for researchers to build on and potentially validate the CART-Q-R's appropriateness using quantitative methodologies in a range of other industries and organisational types.