Queen's University

Applying transformational leadership theory to coaching research in youth sport: A systematic literature review

Cover: International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, featuring a research paper by Dr. Jean CoteThere is growing recognition that Transformational Leadership theory (TFL) holds significant potential for coaching research in youth sport. While the existing literature offers insight into the types of athlete outcomes that are associated with TFL, studies evaluating how these outcomes can be acquired are limited.

The purpose of the present study was to synthesise and integrate research across a variety of disciplines (e.g. organisational psychology, health care and promotion, education, and sport and exercise psychology) examining the processes by which TFL influences followers’ (i.e. employees, students, patients, athletes, etc.) psychosocial development. A systematic search was conducted of six electronic databases covering a wide range of disciplines. Peer-reviewed, original studies published in English were included in this review.

The initial search yielded 2077 papers, of which 151 met the selection criteria and were retained for analysis. A descriptive, content analysis-based approach was used to assess emerging patterns in research design and study findings. Results revealed numerous processes at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental levels that contributed to the relationships between TFL and follower development. A conceptual model of these processes is proposed, along with recommendations for future coaching research in youth sport. (Read more)