Serialised Dissertation Pt. 4 – Working Model and Research Question

Here’s Part 4 of my dissertation breakdown, which starts to unpick the research out there and develop a tangible model for the direction which my research will take.

Be sure to check back each week for more information!


As noted in earlier sections, much of the language in leadership research varies around similar topics and so from the outset I wish to create some clear guidelines as to what is meant in the terminology referenced in the papers viewed so far. The outlined characteristics in Table 3 are an attempt to define leadership in youth sport and help in creating a common language for future reference and to codify some future work. Figure 5 then uses Fransen et al.’s (2014) four categories (Task, Emotional, External and Social Leaders) as a template to categorise these characteristics based on recommendations and cross-referencing from research or my interpretation as to where they would sit in the model, in the case of characteristics which are not specifically defined in one area and are intended to underpin the development of a conceptual framework for leadership development projects, as Voight (2012) suggested could be useful. This model has been selected as Fransen appears consistently across several studies and so as suggested by Kuhn (1962) we have a level of consistency in language from the off as there is a shared author across a multitude of these studies.

To try and add a further level of clarity, these aspects have been grouped into ‘Traits’ (T), ‘Behaviours’ (B) and ‘Functions’ (F) to try and distinguish where research might focus on ‘things an athlete leader is’ (traits), ‘things an athlete leader does’ (behaviours) and ‘things an athlete leader does’ (functions).

#Leadership Trait (T) / Behaviour (B) / Function (F)Definition and SynonymsCitations
1Caring (T)Displays kindness and concern for others   Compassionate; KindTurnnidge and Cote (2018); Fransen et al (2020); Hoption Phelan Barling (2007); Cotterill and Fransen (2016)
2Confident (T)Feeling or showing belief in one’s own ability or quality   Self-Confident; ExtravertPrice and Weiss (2011); Fransen et al (2020); Cook et al (2014); Cotterill and Fransen (2016)
3Cultural Architects (F)Definite the behaviours and environment of the group   Expressive Function; Promotes Team EnvironmentLoughead et al (2014); Fransen et al (2014); Cotterill and Fransen (2016)
4Effective Communication (B)Good at sharing messages with others   ArticulateWright and Cote (2003); Fransen et al (2020)
5Empowering (B)Enables others to take control or performTurnnidge and Cote (2018); Hoption Phelan Barling (2007)
6Hard Working (T)Showing a lot of effort within their work   Consistent work rate; Energetic; High work ethicWright and Cote (2003); Cook et al (2014); Cotterill and Fransen (2016)
7Skilled (T)An able performer   High Skill; Consistent Performer; Experienced PerformerWright and Cote (2003); Price and Weiss (2011); Loughead et al (2014)
8Identity Leadership (B)Seen as an active member of the group they are in   Representative of the group; Part of the group; ‘We’ and ‘Us’; Popularity; Good rapport; Connection to Team; Good Rapport; Good Relationships; LikeableMcLaren et al (2021); Hoption, Phelan and Barling (2007); Fransen et al (2016); Weese and Nicholls (1986); Wright and Cote (2003); Fransen et al (2020); Fransen, Van Puyenbroeck, et al. (2015a); Cotterill and Fransen (2016)
9Leads Focus (B)Ensures the team is moving towards its goal   Focused; Goal focused; handles PressureLoughead et al (2014); Fransen et al (2014); Hoption Phelan Barling (2007); Wright and Cote (2003); Cook et al (2014); Cotterill and Fransen (2016)
10Motivating (F)Promotes the willingness or desire to perform   Inspirational; EncouragingTurnnidge and Cote (2018); Fransen et al (2020); Loughead et al (2014); Fransen et al (2014)
11Problem Solving (F)Able to tackle challenges through their knowledge   Tactical Knowledge; Creative-intelligentFransen et al (2020); Wright and Cote (2003)
12Promotes Teamwork (B)Encourages others to engage and work together   Team PlayerFransen et al (2020)
13Resilient (T)Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.   Never give up regardless of circumstance; Ambitious; Motivation to Succeed; Driven; Disciplined; CompetitiveCook et al (2014); Cotterill and Fransen (2016); Price and Weiss (2011)
14Role Model (B)Leads by example   In-group championsTurnnidge and Cote (2018); McLaren et al (2021); Fransen et al (2020)
15Spokesperson (F)Speaks on behalf of the group with coaches, staff, and outside bodies   Team representative; Identity impersarioship; Making Us MatterLoughead et al (2014); Fransen et al (2014); McLaren et al (2021); Fransen et al (2020)
16Takes Ownership (B)Declaring responsibility for a task or action   Trustworthy; Reliable; Responsible; AutonomyCook et al (2014); Cotterill and Fransen (2016); Fransen et al (2020)
Table 3 – Leadership Characteristics from the literature review

Figure 2 – Characteristics in-line to Fransen’s Categories

Tables 2 and 3 and Figure 2 lead us to the research question exploring leadership in team sports: “How do coaches understand and develop leadership at elite youth level?” specifically with a focus on football (soccer) and the next phase of this research will contain interview information from coaches within this field.

The next feature will begin the process of reviewing and analysing the results of our findings.

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

Serialised Dissertation Pt. 8 – Discussion

Here’s Part 8 of my dissertation breakdown, which begins to review what we’ve looked at so far. Be sure to check back next week for the final instalment! DISCUSSION TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS In interesting element within these strategies is to