J24 The integration of first-year women XV rugby scholars and the socialisation tactics used


  • Molly Brown Brunel University London




Cohesion is an important element of team environments, as it provides the bedrock for trust and communication among team members to be established. This allows for a platform to be created where conflicts can be addressed, strategies are shared and collaboration is enhanced, ultimately leading to improved team performance. Research indicates that when a team allows time for the socialisation of newcomers, performance is directly facilitated (Schuth et al, 2023, J App Psych, 108, 1046–1059). Furthermore, transitioning into a university environment is a crucial phase in an individual’s life, which poses many challenges. Therefore, having support from teammates and a sense of community may ease this period of adjustment. There is a dearth of research that investigates the integration of new teams and the consequences or enhancements of the different tactics. The main purpose of this study was to assess the integration of first-year university rugby scholars into an existing team environment using the Sports Team Socialization Tactics Questionnaire (STSTQ; Benson & Eys, 2017, J Sport Ex Psych, 39, 13–28.) It was hypothesised that there would not be a significant difference (P < 0.05) in the perceived level of socialisation between the first-year rugby scholars and the other rugby scholars. Twenty female participants were recruited from the Brunel University London women’s rugby union 1XV team, using a convenience sampling method. With institutional ethics approval, the participants completed the STSTQ and demographics form. They were split into two groups; first-year rugby scholars and other rugby scholars. The participants completed the STSTQ. This measure evaluates three dimensions on a 9-point Likert scale: the serial tactics subscale (α = .85), the social inclusionary tactics subscale (α = .74), the coach-initiated role communication tactics subscale (α = .87). The multivariate tests revealed no effect of scholar status on the combined socialization tactics (F = 0.75, P = 0.539).  The Univariate tests showed no differences for coach tactics (F = 1.67, p = 0.212, serial tactics (F = 0.03, P = 0.873), or social inclusionary tactics (F = 0.25, P = 0.625). In conclusion, there were no differences between the new and existing players' ratings of the effectiveness of the socialization tactics used. For practitioners and coaches, the results provide insights into players' perceptions of integration tactics that could inform adjustments for future seasons, especially as this top team aims for promotion where cohesion is critical. A limitation was collecting data mid-season after a break from games, rather than across multiple time points. Furthermore, additional testing is still needed to understand the specific processes that enabled this cohesive team environment despite integrating many new players.