Investigating the motivational profile of professional male Fijian rugby players and their perceptions of coaches’ and managers’ cultural awareness and understanding

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses – 2014 Archive

This page is no longer updated. Page archived on Thu, 14 Jul 2016

Gregory Mumm

MEd (Research) thesis, conferred 2014

This study examined the motivational profile of male Fijian Rugby Union players working in professional clubs outside of Fiji, and the perceptions of players as to the behaviours of coaches and managers. As an exploratory examination, the aim of this study was to provide a motivational footprint of the professional Fijian athletes (N = 45) in an attempt to determine whether any observations could be made as to the level of self-determined motivation. These findings were then compared to similar studies around the world.

The participants ranged from 21 to 36 years of age with varying levels of professional experience in clubs around the world. The research also investigated the influence of location of schooling and the length of overseas contract on the players’ motivational profile. Data was collected through the use of the Sports Motivation Scale (SMS); an original cultural awareness questionnaire that involved 28 Likert Scale items; and three qualitative response questions, which focused on players’ perceptions of management’s cultural awareness and understanding.

Results indicate that this sample exhibits high levels of self-determined and non self-determined motivation—also that these levels surpass measurements taken in similar rugby specific and non-rugby studies. The Fijian rugby players recorded significantly higher levels of external regulation (M = 4.38, SD = 1.33, p <.01) when compared with professional New Zealand rugby players (Creswell & Eklund 2005b). They also recorded significantly higher levels of intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation (M = 5.59, SD = 1.18, p<.01) compared with amateur New Zealand rugby players (Creswell & Eklund 2005a). Fijian rugby players also recorded significantly higher levels of amotivation compared with both professional and amateur New Zealand rugby players. In addition, the Fijian rugby players were significantly higher (p=.001) than the Canadian college athletes (Cresswell & Eklund 2005a) on all seven subscales of the SMS.

The above results revealed no significant difference on any subscale between athletes who attended secondary school in Fiji and those schooled outside Fiji. However, the examination of varying contract length revealed that players who were contracted overseas for more than 3 years exhibited a significantly higher median score on the subscale for identified regulation (23.67) than players with a contract of less than three years (21.78) (U = 165, Z = -1.98, p < 0.05, r = 0.30). Furthermore, through analysis of the results of the cultural awareness questionnaire, it was found that, while issues relating to religion and culture are important to these athletes, the priority for effective management should focus on coaching practices, feedback, communication, personal welfare and family welfare.

This study provides evidence that Fijian rugby players possess high levels of both self-determined and non self-determined motivation. It also found that, while issues pertaining to culture and ethnicity are important to individual welfare, the predominate management priority for these athletes is the creation of strong coaching and management environments, with attention given to instruction and feedback administered in a positive manner.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Donna O'Connor