|dc.description.abstract||The para sport system across Canada is relatively new in relation to the Canadian sport system that serves able bodied participants. Given the relative newness of the system, combined with the inherent ableism and lack of understanding that accompanies disability, all stakeholders, but particularly the athletes, coaches and administrators within the para system, experience substantive and affective conflict that impacts positive progress in the development of the para sport system. This study, using Dugan’s (1996) Nested Theory of Conflict to understand the layers of conflict within the system, and work of Fletcher (2004), Bilal et al. (2019), and Brown (2014) to understand the differences between feminine, post heroic, shared leadership, and masculine, heroic leadership structures, examines the conflict experienced by coaches and administrators in the para sport system
Through participatory action research, coaches and administrators in the Canadian sport system participated in semi structured interviews and a focus group to explore both the conflict they experienced and their ability to respond to it. Ultimately, the study identifies a lack of psychological safety caused by the power dynamics that exist within hierarchical leadership structures as the main contributors to a state of threat and fear for coaches and administrators. Perceived threat and fear, combined with a conflict skillset that is largely centered on avoidance, leaves coaches and administrators with low capacity to advocate for positive adjustments to the para sport system. Future recommendations are to explore the opportunities that exists in shared leadership structures, as well as educational opportunities to impact the conflict skillset of coaches and administrators across the sport system.
An outcome of this project was to create understanding of effective conflict competencies needed by coaches and sport administrators as they navigate the sport system. This research combined with future research contributes to refinements of the Canadian sport development system||