2023-24 Dissertation Fellow
There is no I in team: How Chinese Basketball Prodigies Failed to Become Champions
Social scientists and sports practitioners frequently ask why and how organizational excellence is achieved. My dissertation project inverts this question and asks: why and how Chinese basketball prodigies failed to produce coordinated and effective teamwork despite their well-blessed physical endowments, strict training regimens, and decent rewarding systems. Using a longitudinal and comparative qualitative study of an elite professional basketball club in China, I seek to understand how unsatisfactory team performance could be traced back to intra-team dynamics such as players’ relationships to their teammates and coaches, and what are the conditions under which diversity would facilitate or impede organizational performance. By showing the connection between intra-team dynamics and inter-team competitions, I hope my project would contribute to theories of organizational performance, competition and collaboration, and social relations.
Teng Ge is a PhD candidate from the Department of Sociology. As a retired basketball player, he is interested in using sports as an empirical case to engage with sociological subjects and theories. His previous studies how social class shapes Chinese professional athletes’ relationship to coaches and embodied performances. His current project focuses on Chinese male basketball players with the aim to understand how Chinese basketball talent failed to produce coordinated and effective teamwork despite the team’s emphasis on collectivity and conformity.