Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

Team Building in Sport: A narrative review of the program effectiveness,
current methods, and theoretical underpinnings

Esa Rovio
LIKES Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences
Jyväskylä, Finland

Monna Arvinen-Barrow
Division of Sport, Exercise, and Life Sciences, School of Health
The University of Northampton
Northampton, United Kingdom

Daniel A. Weigand
Center for Research Support
Walden University and Achieve Acumen, Inc.

Jari Eskola
Department of Education
University of Tampere
Tampere, Finland


Taru Lintunen
Department of Sport Sciences
University of Jyväskylä
Jyväskylä, Finland

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Despite team building (TB) methods having their roots in organizational development (OD), this theoretical background has been seldom applied in sport. The purpose of this study was to provide chronological narrative review of the recent (1997-2008) sport-related research on team building. A total of 28 articles were reviewed. The findings suggest that team building has a positive effect on group functioning, especially increasing group cohesion. It was also apparent that thus far, the team building research in sport is mostly focused on cohesion. In conclusion, it would be advantageous for researchers to familiarize themselves with the existing organizational development research tradition. This could assist in establishing a clear definition and a solid theoretical framework for team building in sport, as well as preventing sport researchers making the same mistakes made in work organizations. By doing so, team building, and the development of group functioning and performance, could become an even more promising area for sport science research.

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ISSN 1536-0431