College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Goran Kuljanin, PhD

Second Advisor

Alice Stuhlmacher, PhD


This paper examines how the strategic core of interactive teams can be identified and examined using interactive process data. The IOP literature suggests that certain key members contribute more to team outcomes than others (Barker, 1993; Sparrowe et al., 2001). Key members of a team comprise a “strategic core,” encountering more job-relevant tasks and problems, thereby contributing more to team performance (Barker, 1993). This research used manually coded passing data from 1,309 games of the 2016-2017 National Basketball Association (NBA) season and player statistics reported by the NBA to examine the structure of the strategic core of basketball teams based on social network metrics, player positions and player and team performance statistics (NBA Media Ventures, LLC, 2020). Social Network Analysis (SNA) metrics and Profile Analysis were used to examine whether (and how) the core structure varied among performance episodes for the same team and between teams across the season. Lastly, this research examined how the qualities of core players were impacted by team strategy (broader team interactions).

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons