Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Dr. Steve Werner

Second Advisor

Dr. Joe Astrachan

Third Advisor

Dr. Stacy Campbell


In an effort to help explain more of the variance in team performance, studies examining the effects of leadership upon team performance have included a limited number of contexts (Antonakis, Avolio and Sivasubramaniam, 2003; Tejada, Scandura and Pillai, 2001). This study is the first to empirically examine the relationship of leadership styles to team cohesion, and team cohesion to team performance utilizing the nine-factor version of the full range of leadership theory (transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and no leadership typologies) in the context of professional sports. Further, it empirically measures the perceptions of official members of the sports league ecosystem who are integral to the team process. Survey responses were analyzed to determine the leadership styles of head coaches and managers of four professional sports leagues in North America. Results show that a broad range of leadership styles have a relationship with overall performance and cohesion. Further, a positive and strong relationship between cohesion and team performance was found. Unexpectedly, the perceptions of a leaders’ use of active management by exception behaviors appeared to make a positive difference for both perceived team cohesion and team performance in this context. Implications for leadership theory and future research are discussed.