Organizational Strategy

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Organizational strategy is huge when talking about the effectiveness of an organization. Every sport organization implements strategies in the front office all the way down to the players and coaching staff. The text book talked a lot about the different levels of strategy. There are four different types of corporate strategies which include: growth, stability, defensive and combination strategies. Business strategies include cost leadership, differentiation strategy, focus strategy. All the strategies that the text book talked about are vital in within an organization. I think a key component is selecting the appropriate strategy. Selecting the strategy is the final stage in the strategy formulation phase. The choice of strategy will depend on the sport organization's mission statement as stated in the text. I think that any decisions made by an organization are within a strategy and work towards common goals. When leadership is put into place, so is strategy. I think each leader has their own vision in mind and a strategy they want to implement. For example, when David Kahn took over the Timberwolves, he had a plan for the draft and was also looking down the road at saving up money for free agents. Kahn's strategy at the present time may not be apparent, but down the road he has pieces in place to succeed long term. I think working for a sport organization would allow you to experience the different levels of strategy. For example, if I'm working at an entry level position, I will be told how to do my job within the strategy that has been put in place by the people at the top of the hierarchy. When transition occurs with leadership, strategy can completely change or change in the slightest. If the new leader wants to operate similar, then the transition will run smoother than if the new leadership style has completely different values and goals.
The most interesting lecture in this class was Kenny Mauer's guest appearance. Many times in the professional sport industry we have seen debates, strikes, and conflict surrounding contracts and salaries. Before Kenny spoke with us, I had never heard a first hand story or opinion on the topic. The conflict that Kenny presented was between the referees of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the NBA itself. Kenny, being a veteran official of the NBA gave us great insight into the previous conflicts that he had dealt with. He personally had experienced multiple times when the NBA officials were dealing with contractual changes, most of which turned into strikes. The conflict that Kenny and other NBA officials dealt with was vertical conflict, which arises between different hierarchical levels of an organization (Slack, & Parent, 2006). The conflict arose between the league commissioner, David Stern, and the NBA officials. The conflict occurred because David Stern was attempting to change the officials contracts, which affected their salaries in a negative way. Kenny mentioned that there were quite a few younger officials that had never seen a strike before and these officials were more likely to believe David Stern about how great of a contract they were receiving than to listen to the veteran officials about continuing to hold out. This is a demonstration of legitimate and coercive power. David Stern, because of his position as league commissioner, has the legitimate power (Slack, & Parent, 2006). With his legitimate power he can make the decisions on what he want the officials contracts to consist of. He also used coercive power to instill fear into the younger officials. David Stern acquired new officials while the NBA officials were on strike and claimed that if a decision were not reached about the contracts then he would use the new officials all year. This would result in the young officials missing out on an entire year of their contract. Kenny Mauer stated that there was no way the NBA would use unqualified officials for an entire season, but the younger officials were scared that David Stern would. Ultimately the coercive power must have had a significant impact on the officials because they ended up voting in favor of the new contracts much sooner than Kenny Mauer and other veteran officials would have liked.
Most of our lectures in this class consisted of one main topic of the organization and management of sport. I think that when we had the panel of guest speakers in class we were presented with the main topic of organizational conflict and change, but also given an inside view on other important management topics. It was fascinating to hear Mr. Maturi speak about the organizational change he experienced when he became the University of Minnesota Athletic Director. He gave personal insight into the process of organizational change and also mentioned other management topics such as culture, decision-making, leadership, and power and politics. Mr. Maturi focused mainly on his approach to the organizational change of combining the men's and women's athletics departments. He explained that he used his first year as the Athletic Director almost entirely to personally adapt to the culture of the University, the two athletic departments and the people who were involved in them. In his first year, there was not one athletic department employee who got fired. Mr. Maturi decided to throw out the idea of radical change for the first year by not eliminating people and positions. Coming into the situation, Mr. Maturi knew that there would potentially be strong resistance to the change that he was hired to coordinate. The men's and women's athletic departments were completely separate in everything they did, so he expected them both to have different ideas in the process of combining the two. To combat the resistance to change that he expected, Mr. Maturi used participation and involvement of the men's and women's athletes, which Slack and Parent (2006) claim is one of the most effective ways to deal with resistance to change. The men's and women's athletic departments each had different logos before the merger. The men used the block "M" and the women used a "Ms.". Mr. Maturi asked both the men and women to come together and collectively make a decision on what the new logo for the University of Minnesota Athletic Department should be. The athletes chose the block "M" almost unanimously. This exercise helped show Mr. Maturi's commitment to the process and allowed him to gain the trust and support of the athletes. Overall, Mr. Maturi's speech on the organizational change that the University of Minnesota experienced shed a new light onto many organizational processes. His leadership and ability to make decisions has helped the merger go smoothly and has created an effective athletic department.

Kenny Mauer

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When Kenny Mauer came to talk to our class I was pretty excited. I have always been a huge basketball fan and especially the NBA. What was most interesting to me was what he talked about during the referee lockout. I was not very familiar with how a lockout really worked until Kenny explained it to us. I learned that it was very important for the members of the refereeing organization to work well together in order to get the maximum results. Kenny was not pleased with all of the new referees because they did not listen to the more experienced referees in the organization and as a result, their efforts did not gets the results that they wanted. I understand Kenny's point of view because he wanted to make more money before he retired and was also trying to help out the upcoming referees to make the money they deserve. I also understand the new referees perspective as well. They did not want to make their bosses (the NBA that employs them) angry by seeming like the type of group that will complain when they are brand new to the league. The newer referees had just started and wanted to make sure that they had a job. If they were to protest, then they would have to sit out and not be making the money that they could be making had they not protested. Kenny knows that they could be making more money via the lockout, but he may have been biased because he may have had the money that allowed him to pay his bills while still sitting out until necessary. By looking at the referee organization from a constituencies approach we are able to see that the lockout was not affective because not all of the referees got what they wanted. If all of the referees were satisfied with the decision that was reached, then the choice could have been seen as successful. Kenny said that he and other referees were not happy with the choices that the younger referees had chosen, therefore the refereeing organization was not an effective organization.

Organizational Culture

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Organizational culture is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management, which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs, and values of an organization. I think that defining organizational culture is key to understanding how the organization works and what will make it work better. Having organizational culture known and upfront leads to knowing exactly what type of leadership is needed along with what type of decision making process should be used. By knowing the culture of an organization, you know how things are run and know what will work and will not work. It is very important to understand the culture to make sure the communication throughout the organization is good as well. Culture is key to understanding the whole organizational effectiveness and the culture leads to everyone trying to achieve the same goals. This also leads to a great leader and shows if the goals are being obtained as well.
Throughout this course I have learned in the readings about many different ways that organizations can be effective. I believe that my initial thought on what makes an organization effective was correct and I do not think it changed at all. I think that being very goal-oriented, having great communication and great leadership is the key yo having an effective organization because they all work together. Being goal-oriented is great because you have something to work towards, but you need to make sure that they are reasonably attainable. This leads into the communication aspect because the employees need to be aware of everything that is going on throughout the organization so that they can successfully be heading in the same direction at the same time. Communication also leads to making sure all the roles in the organization are being accomplished and to make sure that no two people or more are working on the same project that only needs one person. Then all of this also leads to having a great leadership to make sure that all of the goals are attainable and to make sure the communication is spread throughout all of the organization. Great leadership will make everyone work towards the goals of the organization and hopefully fulfill those goals. Also the leader needs to make all the quick, but effective decisions for the organization so that they can be effective and efficient. The leader also needs to make sure that all of the decisions good or bad get filtered down throughout the organization, so that they can form new goals and streams of communication if needed.
Today's was a very interesting day for the presentations. Starting out with back to back twins organizational analysis was a coincidence. I thought it was interesting to hear about the organization by two different people giving their own viewpoint. Andrew told us that he did not think that the Twins were an effective organization but that they were an efficient organization, while Dustin said the Twins were effective based on success in recent years and the level of fan support that the organization has. I also thought it was surprising that two people today could not find a mission statement for their organization. I was surprised when Ben talked about the structure of the Chicago Blackhawkes. He said that the structure of the organization was flat and I would think a professional sports team would have a tall structure with all the coaches, managers, front office staff, etc. Overall, I thought the presenters did a very nice job.

Last day of presentations

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I found today's presentations very interesting. With the two Twins presentations back to back at the very beginning it was interesting to see some of the similarities and differences. I thought that it was interesting that they both addressed doing things the "twins way" in their presentation. They both found this to be very important to the organization. One thing I noticed that was different about the presentation is that one of them chose to focus a lot on the new stadium and the opportunities this opened up for the organization and the other focused more on the players the organization had and the things they could do personnel wise to improve the team in the long run. I personally am more into the personnel side of things so I really liked the points that Dustin made about keeping Mauer and Morneau and using some of the extra revenue from the stadium to bring in some solid free agents.

December 10

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Today's presentations were interesting and gave cultural analysis from some different perspectives. The presentation on the golf course at Gull Lake was interesting and different from any other presentation we have had. Being able to gauge the effectiveness of a golf course organization is unique because it is based on the money being generated as opposed to the success on the field like other organizations. Today we had two presentations on the Twins. Both gave similar points and they talked a lot about the Twins moving into Target Field and the impact it will bring. Both presentations mentioned the potential signing of Joe Mauer. The official's organization was also unique because it is organized different than the others that we have seen. I thought it was interesting that the managers of each sport have less control than the top. Overall, the presentations were beneficial in understanding how different sport organizations are structured and run.

Presentations 12/10

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Presentations today flowed very smoothly! Everyone was well-rehearsed and seemed to know exactly what they wanted to say. I thought it was really interesting that there weren't more Minnesota professional sport teams chosen to be analyzed. I thought that the reasoning behind choosing the Twins made a lot of sense. The team is not over-powering but consistently competitive in their Division and with the new stadium's opening fast approaching there is a lot of change happening in the organization. I also thought that the presentation about the resort's golf course was really interesting and different since I know very little about the running of a golf course and no one had done that type of an organization.