Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Health, Sport and Exercise Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Steve Dittmore

Committee Member

Denise Beike

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Veilleux

Third Committee Member

Merry Moiseichik


athletic directors, collegiate athletics, leadership, personality, Schwartz values


The rapid commercialization of intercollegiate sports has changed the landscape of the hiring decisions and methodologies within university-associated athletic departments – especially within the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (DI-FBS) (Wong, 2017). Most notably and recently, the strategies used to hire athletic directors (ADs) have underwent considerable revision – yet successful hires are far from a sure thing. Many strategies include allusions to leadership style, yet leadership styles are as numerous as there are researchers who study them – and are rarely implemented holistically, thus making their assessment and associated outcomes tenuous at best (Peachey et al., 2015). Hambrick and Mason’s (1984) Upper Echelon Theory (UET) suggests that organizational outcomes are at the very least partially predicted by the personality characteristics of its leader. Researchers have since found, in comparison with leadership style, personality characteristics of leaders that might be both more easily measured, more consistent across time, and have very real impacts at multiple levels within an organization (Barrick et al., 2016; Berson et al., 2008; Resick et al., 2009). Previous research on AD values has not assessed values using the popular Schwartz Theory of Basic Human Values (BVT) – which include ten motivationally distinct values that have been recognized in various cultures, languages, and contexts throughout the world (Ates & Agras, 2015; Schwartz, 1992). To that end, the purpose of this study is to identify, through correlational and summative analysis, the values of DI FBS ADs and how such values are related to success as an organization via the 2017-2018 National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Learfield-IMG College Directors’ Cup Rankings. Findings will provide insight into the values that ADs of successful organizations share, which may help inform administrative hiring practices moving forward.