Does Leadership on the Field Get You Noticed Off It?: The Value of Varsity Sports to Corporate Recruiters
Keywords:athletics, leadership skills, workplace skills, job screening, college recruiters, corporate careers, correspondence study
An online correspondence study was conducted to explore whether professional recruiters screening candidates for entry-level corporate jobs would view leadership skills acquired through high level participation in amateur sports at the collegiate varsity level more favorably than those acquired through non-sports activities. The experimental manipulation randomly varied candidates’ athletic v. non-athletic leadership experience at university, their gender, and race. Eight hundred and twenty-eight corporate recruiters rated four potential candidate profiles on four of eight job-relevant leadership traits/skills they valued most when assessing a candidate and ranked the candidates for a callback interview. Varsity athletes were rated higher than non-athletes on the ability to work in a team and on being results-driven. However, recruiters rated athletes lower in critical thinking, follow-through on tasks, and organizational skills. Overall, athletes were no more likely than non-athlete candidates to be selected for a first interview. Results are interpreted in the context of signaling theory.
Anderson, N. H. & Barrios, A. A. (1961). Primacy effects in personality impression formation. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63(2), 346-350. doi: 10.1037/h0046719
Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2013). It takes more than a major: Employer priorities for college learning and student success. Retrieved from http://www.aacu.org/leap/documents/2013_EmployerSurvey.pdf
Beets, M. W., Cardinal, B. J., & Alderman, B. L. (2010). Parental social support and the physical activity-related behaviors of youth: A review. Health Education Behavior, 37(5), 621-644. doi: 10.1177/1090198110363884
Bendick, M., Jr., Jackson, C., & Reinoso, V. (1994). Measuring employment discrimination through controlled experiments. Review of Black Political Economy, 23, 25–48.
Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination. American Economic Review, 94, 991–1013. doi: 10.1257/0002828042002561
Callow, N., Smith, M. J., Hardy, L., Arthur, C. A., & Hardy, J. (2009). Measurement of transformational leadership and its relationship with team cohesion and performance level. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 21(4), 395-412. doi: 10.1080/10413200903204754
Chalfin, P., Weight, E. A., & Osborne, B. (2014, April). The value of intercollegiate athletic participation from the perspective of employers. Paper presented at the 2014 Conference on College Sport in Columbia, SC.
Clotfelter, C. T. (2011). Big-time sports in American universities. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Connelly, B. L., Certo, S. T., Ireland, R. D., & Reutzel, C. R. (2011). Signaling theory: A review and assessment. Journal of Management, 37, 39-67. doi: 10.1177/0149206310388419
Cradock, A., El Ayadi, A., Gortmaker, S., Hannon, C., Sobol, A., & Wiecha, J. (2002). Play across Boston: Summary report (Active Facts Report #01-2002). Retrieved from Harvard Prevention Research Center website http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/files/2012/09/pab_complete_summary_report.pdf
Curtis, J., McTeer, W., & White, P. (2003). Do high school athletes earn more pay? Youth sport participation and earnings as an adult. Sociology of Sport Journal, 20(1), 60-76.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions. Psychological Science, 11(4), 315-19.
Eccles, J. S., & Harold, R. D. (1991). Gender differences in sport involvement: Applying the Eccles Expectancy-Value Model. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3(1), 7-35. doi: 10.1080/10413209108406432
Enterprise Rent-A-Car. (2012, April 25). Enterprise Rent-A-Car looks to hire student-athletes, partners with career athletes: Management training program a perfect fit for collegiate athletes [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.enterpriseholdings.com/press- room/enterprise-rent-a-car-looks-to-hire-student-athletes-partners-with-career-athletes.html
Felton, G. M., Dowda, M., Ward, D. S., Dishman, R. K., Trost, S. G., Saunders, R., & Pate, R. R. (2002). Differences in physical activity between Black and White girls living in rural and urban areas. Journal of School Health, 72(6), 250-255. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2002.tb07338.x
Flores, A. (2013, June 18). Most top female execs have something in common: They played sports. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/print/2013/jun/18/business/la-fi-mo-female-executives-sports- 20130618
Fryer, R., Jr., & Levitt, S. (2004). The causes and consequences of distinctively Black names. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119, 767–805. doi: 10.1162/0033553041502180
Goudreau, J. (2011, October 12). The secret to being a power woman: Play team sports. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/10/12/secret-power- woman-play-team-sports-sarah-palin-meg-whitman-indra-nooyi/
Graduate Management Admissions Council. (2012). Corporate recruiter’s survey. Retrieved from http://www.gmac.com/~/media/Files/gmac/Research/Employment%20Outlook/2012- crs-report-final-participants.pdf
Heifetz, R., Grashow, A., & Linksy, M. (2009). The practice of adaptive leadership. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hoberman, J. (2000). The price of Black dominance. Society, 37(3), 49-56.
Hyman, M. (2012). The most expensive game in town: The rising cost of youth sports and the toll on today’s families. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Johns, G. (2006). The essential impact of context on organizational behavior. Academy of Management Review, 31, 386–408.
Jones, E. E., & Goethals, G. R. (1972). Order effects in impression formation: Attribution context and the nature of the entity. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior (pp. 27-46). Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.
Kjelland, J. (2008). Economic returns to higher education: Signaling v. Human Capital Theory: An analysis of competing theories. Park Place Economist, 16. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/parkplace/vol16/iss1/14
Lawless, J. L., & Fox, R. L. (2013). Girls just wanna not run: The gender gap in young Americans’ political ambition. Washington, DC: Women & Politics Institute.
List, J. A. (2001). Do explicit warnings eliminate the hypothetical bias in elicitation procedures? Evidence from field auctions for sports cards. American Economic Review, 91(5), 1498-1507.
Long, J. E., & Caudill, S. B. (1991). The impact of participation in intercollegiate athletics on income and graduation. Review of Economics and Statistics, 73(3), 525-531.
Messner, M. (1990). Boyhood, organized sports, and the construction of masculinities. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 18(4), 416-444. doi: 10.1177/089124190018004003
NCAA. (2013). Preparation for life. Retrieved from http://www.ncsasports.org/blog/2013/10/23/benefits-college-student-athletes
Neumark, D. (2010). Detecting discrimination in audit and correspondence studies (Working Paper 16448.) Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w16448
Pager, D. (2007). The use of field experiments for studies of employment discrimination: Contributions, critiques, and directions for the future. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 609, 104-133. doi: 10.1177/0002716206294796
Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. (2006). How should colleges prepare students to succeed in today’s global economy? Retrieved from http://www.aacu.org/leap/documents/Re8097abcombined.pdf
Pickett, M., Walker, D., Braddock, M.P., & Jomills, H. (2012). Race and gender equity in sports: Have white and African American females benefited equally from Title IX? American Behavioral Scientist, 56(11), 1581-1603. doi:10.1162/rest.2010.11623
Price, M.S., & Weiss, M.R. (2011). Peer leadership in sport: Relationships among personal characteristics, leader behaviors, and team outcomes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 23(1), 49-64. doi: 10.1080/10413200.2010.520300
Rivera, L.A. (2012). Hiring as cultural matching: The case of elite professional service firms. American Sociological Review, 77(6), 999-1022. doi: 10.1177/0003122412463213
Rosenthal, R. (1969). Interpersonal expectations: Effects of the experimenter's hypothesis. In R. Rosenthal & R. L. Rosnow (Eds), Artifact in behavioral research (pp 181-277). New York, NY: Academic Press.
Rousseau, D. M., & Fried, Y. (2001). Location, location, location: Contextualizing organizational research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 1–13.
Sauer, S., Desmond, S., & Heintzelman, M. (2013). Beyond the playing field: The role of athletic participation in early career success. Personnel Review, 42, 644-661. doi: 10.1108/PR-08-2012-0149
Schneider, R.G., Ross, S.R., & Fisher, M. (2010). Academic clustering and major selection of intercollegiate student-athletes. College Student Journal, 44(1), 64-70.
Spence, M. (1973). Job market signaling. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 87(3), 355–374. doi: 10.2307/1882010
Spence, M. (2002). Signaling in retrospect and the informational structure of markets. American Economic Review, 92(3), 434–459. doi: 10.1257/00028280260136200
Stevenson, B. (2010). Beyond the classroom: Using Title IX to measure the return to high school sports. Review of Economics & Statistics, 92(2), 284-301. doi:10.1162/rest.2010.11623
Thelin, J. R. (1996). Games colleges play: Scandal and reform in intercollegiate athletics. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Thomas, K. (2009, June 14). Left behind: A city team’s struggle shows disparity in girls’ sports. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/sports/14girls.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Zimbalist, A. (1999). Unpaid professionals: Commercialism and conflict in big-time college sports. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-ND) License
1. License. You retain the copyright for your work. You here by grant to us a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable license to:
• Reproduce, distribute and display the edited manuscript in the Journal of Amateur Sport (and other publications prepared by us or on our behalf) in any media now or hereafter known (including without limitation electronic publications such as the Internet, Google Scholar, and social media)
We do not restrict your distribution or use of the manuscript following publication in the Journal of Amateur Sport (in fact, we encourage it!). However, we have the right to publish the manuscript first on the journal website. Thus, the foregoing licenses are exclusive to us prior to our publication of the manuscript. You confirm that you have disclosed to us all previous or pending public disseminations of the manuscript, including without limitation any publications or acceptances by other journals or disseminations via websites or conference proceedings.
2. Other Confirmations. You confirm that you are the manuscripts sole author(s); you have the right to convey the foregoing licenses; the manuscript does not infringe any third party copyright, publicity/privacy right or other proprietary right; and the manuscript is not defamatory or otherwise unlawful. You shall defend and indemnify us against all claims based on any alleged breach of your confirmations in this contract.
Compensation: You will receive one (1) free copy (PDF) of the article published online in the Journal of Amateur Sport. You will receive no royalty or other monetary return from the Journal of Amateur Sport for use of the article. You do, however, have our extreme gratitude!
3. Entire Contract. This contract is the sole and exclusive agreement between the parties regarding the manuscript and supersedes all prior conversations and understandings regarding its subject matter. This contract may be modified or supplemented only by a mutually signed writing.