African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Open Access  DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Subscription or Fee Access

Trust in leadership in sport: An empirical study of ethnicity and gender

J Surujlal, Z Zhang


The importance of trust for sustaining human relationships and organizational effectiveness in the workplace has been increasingly recognized in the past decades. Trust has been examined in
different settings such as interpersonal trust, dyadic trust, inter-organizational trust, societal trust, peer trust in the workplace, organizational trust and trust in leadership. Among these, trust in
leadership may especially be important for organizations. Trust in leadership has been related to outcomes such as the quality of communication and problem-solving, discretionary effort, organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behaviour, job satisfaction and intention to remain. This study investigated how ethnicity and gender affect the perceived trustworthiness of a coach and athlete’s trust in the coach. Given the interaction relationship between athletes and
their coaches (Chelladurai, 2006), the study examined not only the ethnicity and gender of the athletes, but also that of the coaches. A questionnaire which was used in a previous study (Zhang, 2004) was adapted to collect data from student-athletes enrolled at universities in South Africa. The demographics section was adapted for participants in South Africa. All variables in the questionnaire were measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to (strongly disagree), unless otherwise indicated. Descriptive statistics and a series of Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) were utilized. Descriptive statistics were calculated to present the basic characteristics of the data. MANOVAs were conducted to test the hypotheses. The results of the study provide empirical evidence that the identified variables play a significant role in developing trust between the trustee (coach) and trustor (athlete). The results indicate that human perceptions of fairness are the same regardless of gender and ethnic differences. It also confirmed that interpersonal trust is a multidimensional construct that is dependent on various factors. The study found that there was no significant difference in the perceived characteristics of the coach and athlete’s trust in the coach between White athletes and non-White athletes. It was found that female athletes had higher level of trust in the coach and perceived the coach to
have more justice, benevolence, competence, and integrity. The results further showed that athletes with a White coach had much higher perceptions of the coach’s competence than athletes with a non-White coach. The findings indicate that athletes in general have a predisposition to trusting coaches. In the South African context, this may perhaps be a positive finding since the presence of mutual trust could be an enabling mechanism to develop cohesiveness in sport organisations thereby ensuring that both coaches and athletes work more effectively.

AJOL African Journals Online