Shaping Success: Organizational Citizenship Behavior and its prevalence in Athlete versus Non-athlete Texas State University Student Populations
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The body of research concerning the effects that competitive sports may have on its participants present a variety of viewpoints. Some believe sports fosters character building, teamwork, and pro-social development, while others contend that the selfish, exclusionary, and rule-bound world of sports may degrade the moral development of its athletes. In order to address the issue of whether sport participation has an effect on a functional measure of group effectiveness, empirical data was obtained from 81 college athletes and non-athletes. This data was designed to measure organizational citizenship behavior, as composed by three dimensions: helping, sportsmanship, and civic virtue. The data was statistically analyzed to search for significant differences. Overall scores of athletes (M = 3.97, SD + .41) were higher than non-athletes (M = 3.82, SD + .56). Athletes scored significantly higher on sportsmanship (M = 3.94, SD + 0.53) than the non-athletes (M = 3.63, SD + 0.54). Similarly, the athletes (M = 4.12, SD + 0.57) scored significantly higher on the civic virtue measure than the non-athletes, (M = 3.85, SD + 0.47). In contrast to the rest of the findings, athletes (M = 3.84, SD + 0.47) actually scored lower on the helping dimension of OCB than the non-athletes (M = 3.96, SD + 0.39). The results suggest that the competitive experience in fact does assist athletes in developing skills that lead to more effective functioning as group members. The athletes relatively lower scores on the helping dimension, which is confined to assisting specific individuals, could be a result of their competitive nature or a result of the possibility that in an organizational setting such as sport, helping behavior does not lead to increased team effectiveness, and thus is never reinforced.