The Relationship Between Team Explanatory Style and Team Success
Carron, Albert V.
Shapcott, Kim M.
Martin, Luc J.
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The purposes were to determine if explanatory style (i.e. tendency toward optimism versus pessimism) (a) is a collective team belief that (b) differentiates between more and less successful sport teams. Team success was operationalised by winning percentage. For explanatory style, athletes (n = 442) from a heterogeneous sample of sport teams (k = 39) estimated the controllability, universality, stability, and globality of a number of hypothetical negative events. Statistical analyses indicated teams do have an explanatory style that varies along a continuum of optimism/pessimism. Also, more successful teams (winning percentage of .501 or above, k = 21) were significantly (p < .05) more optimistic than less successful teams (winning percentage of .500 or below, k = 18) on controllability (“we can fix this”) and universality (“every team has this happen”). The results are discussed in terms of their relation to previous literature examining consensus (shared beliefs) in sport teams, the reformulated learned helplessness theory, and the research on individual athlete explanatory style and success.