The role of the psychological costs of high cohesion on motorsport team performance: exploring the nature of the costs

Jennifer Milne, Pete Coffee, David Lavallee

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Abstract

Cohesion is a multi-dimensional dynamic process, incorporating task and social cohesion, occurring at both the group and personal levels. Cohesion is essential for team harmony and performance. It is universally sought in sport teams. The benefits have been extensively studied and are a requirement of team success. Counter to wide held belief, cohesion is not an intrinsically positive phenomenon. The purpose of this study, part one of a two-part investigation, was to develop understanding of the important psychological costs of high cohesion in motorsport. Fourteen categories of costs were identified from an open questionnaire to 51 motorsport competitors. Sixty-three percent of co-acting motorsport athletes considered there to be disadvantages to high social cohesion. Fifty-nine percent considered there to be disadvantages to high task cohesion. Twenty-nine percent considered there to be disadvantages to a team that was highly task and socially cohesive: the idea of achieving a balance between social and task was considered important. Motorsport competitors perceived similar costs resulting from high social cohesion to participants in other sports. However, high task cohesion was viewed as more problematic than in other sports. Important costs experienced were pressures, both performance and conformity pressures, rigidity and communication issues. These costs inter-relate and give possible mechanisms for high cohesion’s complex influence on team performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Motorsport Management
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2021

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