Majority Influence
Minority Influence and Compliance
Social Facilitation
Home Advantage & Team Cohesion

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Home Advantage and Team Cohesion

Home Ground Advantage

Home ground advantage is defined as: the consitent finding that home teams in sports competitions win over 50% of the games played under a balanced home and away schedule.

Here are some factors that cause home ground advantage.

Audience. We start off with the most important factor of them all. A home crowd is more supportive of the home side, there is also a greater density and volume of audience.

Officials. They tend to favour the home side because of the pressure from the crowd Nevill et all (1999).

Rules. The away players are more lilkely to break rules because of tiredness and pressure. This advantages the home side because their opposition (away side) are likely to be penalised more if they break the rules more.

Familiarity The home side spend more time at the home ground so know more about the specific structure of the ground. Also, they are less likely to be distracted by their surroundings compared to an away side who are not familiar so will loose some of their concentration to the new surroundings.

However, sometimes being at home is a disadvantage. This is an affect known as championship choke. It was based on archival and historical research by Baumeister et al, looking at the basketball world series. It showed that in the last games of the championship the home side won the minority of games at home. Below is a laboratory study by Butler & Baumeister into this.

AimInvestigate the affects of different types of audience on performance to discover under which conditions the championship choke may and may not occur.
MethodParticipants were asked to complete a difficult maths problem (counting backwards in 13s from 999). Half of the participants were told they were being observed (via a one-way mirror) by a stranger and the other half told they were being observed by a friend.
ResultsParticipants who thought they were being observed by a stranger completed more subtractions correctly than participants who thought they were being observed by a friend.
ConclusionEven though the audience could not be seen, a friendly and presumably supportive audience negatively affected performance.
EvaluationThis experiment can not be very easily generalised to a team-sports setting; because it was a mental-arithmatic task carried out individually

Team Cohesion

Team cohesion is a tendancy for a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of common goals. It can be divided into two types. Social cohesion is how well a team get along with each other personally; an example of this would be going to the pub after traning, or conversely a team who rarely talked to each other. Then there is task cohesion is the extent to which members of the team work together.

Team cohesion is affected by various factors, including:

Popularity If a sport is unusual (like Baseball in the UK or netball in US) then there will be few people who want to play, you would have to travel a distance for facilities, it would be difficult to find teams to play against.
Homogeneity [ho-mo-jen-ay-ih-ti] This word means 'all being the same'. If the team members are similar in terms of social background, attitudes, ability, commitment and personality; then there will be better cohesion.
Leadership The captains and leaders of teams should be consitent. The players must agree with and repect the leader.
Team size Larger teams have been found to have lower cohesion, this is because a larger team is more lilely to divide into sub-groups.

All of this theory may be slightly useful for team captains, but now we look at the one thing that all teams strive for: sucess!. Does good team cohesion lead to sucess, and does sucess lead to cohesion? Martens and Peterson (1971) proposed a circular model to show how sucess satisfaction and performance relate.

Martens and Peterson circular model

However, there is little reason why the arrows should go that way round; they could just as easily go in the other direction as well. The two studies below provides evidence for these two views.

StudySlater & Sewell HockeyTaylor Ice Hockey
MethodThree male and three female university hockey teams were given the group environment questionnaire (GEQ) at the start of, midway through and at the end of the season. Measures of performance, wins, goals etc were also taken. An ice-hockey team had won only 3 out of 25 games, they had experienced humiliating losses. Team cohesion was measured from each player
ResultsTeam cohesion early in the season more strongly lead to sucess later than the other way around. Team cohesion remained relatively high throughout the season.
ConclusionTeam cohesion is more likely to determine sucess than anything else. So it is a better idea to develop good team cohesion early on in the season that let it develop thoroughout. High identification and commitment to the team appeared to offset the negative effects of poor performance on team cohesion.
CommentsIt appears to show that team cohesion more strongly leads to sucess (as the circular model shows). This appears to contradict Sewell and Slaters findings, however this was only an example of one team and whether their high cohesion was able to continue into the next season was not assessed.

As you will have seen in studying social facilitation the types of sport are an important factor. Cox (1990) suggested sports should be catagorized into high interaction (basketball, rugby, football)and low interaction (swimming, shooting, cycling).

relationship between cohesion and low or high interaction sports

This tells us that high team cohesion in a low interaction sport causes less good performance. This term is used because the performance is not reduced, it is just not as affected.