Women's volunteer, non-profit sports groups: Leadership style and the training of women sport leaders

Date of Completion

January 2001


Women's Studies|Business Administration, Management|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Physical




Women's sports has grown tremendously since Title IX was signed into law in 1972, but the number of women in leadership roles has declined. Grassroots organizations have been identified by some women's sports leaders as the avenue to begin reversing the trend of declining numbers of women in sport leadership. ^ This study identified and examined Volunteer, Non-Profit Women's Sports Groups in the United States. The group leader's leadership style was identified through the Styles of Leadership Survey. Demographic information on the leader's personal characteristics and the group's characteristics were collected by a survey. ^ Eighty-three Volunteer, Non-Profit Women's Sports Groups were identified, and the leaders were 93% Caucasian, females with a mean age of 45.6 years. All but one had completed an undergraduate college degree, and the majority of leaders had been in their positions for five or more years. ^ Seventy-three percent of the groups had been in existence for ten years or less. Almost sixty-four percent of the groups had fifteen or fewer female members, while almost 50% of the groups had at least one male member. Ninety percent of the groups had budgets below $27,500. The primary program focus of 56.1% of the groups was awards. Forty-one groups responded to the survey, with only eight actually training women sport leaders, and only five groups indicating that training sport leaders was a priority. ^ The leaders of the Volunteer, Non-Profit Women's Sports Groups completed the Styles of Leadership Survey with the Collaborative and Bureaucratic styles identified as 29.3% respectively, while Supportive and Directive styles were each 17.1%. An ANOVA was performed on the raw score data to determine any significant differences between or among the leadership styles. With the Collaborative style several differences were noted, but the data had little practical significance because no one particular leadership style was dominant. ^ The results of the study indicate that no one particular leadership style is evidenced by the leaders of Volunteer, Non-Profit Women's Sport Groups. The groups have not been in existence very long, have low levels of membership, low budgetary resources, are primarily concerned with awards, and are not training women sport leaders. ^