NBA stars on losing teams follow fewer teammates on social media

May 18, 2018

NBA stars on winning teams are more likely to follow teammates on Twitter than their high-status counterparts on bad teams are, according to a new study by the University of Cincinnati.

UC anthropology professor Jeremy Koster examined the relationships of 330 players on 30 NBA teams who used the social network Twitter during the 2014-15 season. The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

Koster found that all-star players such as LeBron James, who led his Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA finals in 2015, were more likely to follow teammates on Twitter compared to players such as 10-time all-star Carmelo Anthony, whose New York Knicks set a franchise record for most losses that season.

According to Koster, such findings are consistent with sociological theories of status, which suggest that members of struggling organizations can suffer declines in their status as a result. In the case of elite performers like NBA superstars, the risk of losing status may be especially acute given that the team's fortunes depend largely on their contributions.

"On losing teams, distancing themselves from teammates may be an attempt by superstars to escape some of the responsibility for the poor performance," Koster said.

By contrast, among NBA players without all-star experience, there were few differences in the probability of following teammates across the range of team performance.

For the study, Koster, an associate professor in UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, worked with co-author Brandy Aven, a professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University who studies organizational behavior and theory.

In light of the potential declines in status incurred by elite players, underperforming organizations might need to temper expectations that their superstars will unify the team and lead a resurgence.

"For individuals, their identity and status partly reflect the prestige of their groups, so until the performance improves, superstars may be reluctant to be associated with the team," Aven said.

For future studies, the authors note that it would be valuable to have data over time to see how overall performance varies as team cohesion improves or declines.

"If the team's Twitter networks reflect broader aspects of coordination and interpersonal relationships on the team, then we would expect greater success as we see more cohesion around their leaders," Koster said.

University of Cincinnati

Related Relationships Articles from Brightsurf:

Gorilla relationships limited in large groups
Mountain gorillas that live in oversized groups may have to limit the number of strong social relationships they form, new research suggests.

Electronic surveillance in couple relationships
Impaired intimacy, satisfaction, and infidelity in a romantic relationship can fuel Interpersonal Electronic Surveillance (IES).

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.

We can make predictions about relationships - but is this necessary?
'Predictions as to the longevity of a relationship are definitely possible,' says Dr Christine Finn from the University of Jena.

Disruptions of salesperson-customer relationships. Is that always bad?
Implications from sales relationship disruptions are intricate and can be revitalizing.

Do open relationships really work?
Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond.

The 7 types of sugar daddy relationships
University of Colorado Denver researcher looks inside 48 sugar daddy relationships to better understand the different types of dynamics, break down the typical stereotype(s) and better understand how these relationships work in the United States.

Positive relationships boost self-esteem, and vice versa
Does having close friends boost your self-esteem, or does having high self-esteem influence the quality of your friendships?

Strong family relationships may help with asthma outcomes for children
Positive family relationships might help youth to maintain good asthma management behaviors even in the face of difficult neighborhood conditions, according to a new Northwestern University study.

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a 'type'
Researchers at the University of Toronto show that people do indeed have a 'type' when it comes to dating, and that despite best intentions to date outside that type -- for example, after a bad relationship -- some will gravitate to similar partners.

Read More: Relationships News and Relationships Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to