October 2009 Archives

Leadership

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The organizational context impacts leadership in a big way. One of the contextual features is that of culture. The book gives an example of how different cultures prefer to have their leaders affect the sport participants. It the study in the time out showed that Japanese students preferred a different style of leadership than Canadian students did. Japanese students were found to want a more supportive role overall when it comes to their sports and that extends directly to how the culture has impacted their way of learning. The different type of sport also influences the style of leadership that the students prefer. In the Japanese culture, the students prefer the leadership to be more participative than the Canadian schools when it comes to team sports. On the other hand, Japanese students prefer to have a more authoritarian type leadership when it comes to individual sports. This study goes to show how different cultures can affect leadership in different ways. Structure is another contextual feature that impacts the leadership of an organization. If a company is very small and is does not have a large amount of employees, then I believe that the leadership style that is most used, and most effective, would be "employee centered." The book talked about the Michigan Studies which showed that managers of small businesses were seen as more effective when they were employee centered, as opposed to production centered. This makes sense because there are so few employees and because the manager is able to interact personally with each employee, then it would be most effective to make sure that each one is satisfied. On the other hand, a manager of a very large company with an extensive amount of employees will have no way of interacting personally with every single one. Therefore, the leadership strategy that would be most effective would be that of a more production centered leadership role. One last contextual feature that I believe impacts leadership is the environment. The economy for example is going to have a big impact on the different process that a leader may have to deal with. For example, if the example goes down, then the manager may have to fire some employees in able to keep costs and wages low. Therefore he may have to assume a different type of leadership strategy and may be required to fill in the open places in the organization. If he has become more entwined with his subordinates, then he may change his leadership strategies because he has now experienced how it is to work in the same conditions that his subordinates work in. Another part of the environment that may impact leadership is the competitors. If there are many competitors within a small region, then the managers might have to assume a more centralized type of leadership. There is very small room for mistakes and therefore the leadership must be very tight in order to minimize anything that may go wrong.

Blog 7

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The organizational process of leadership can be affected in many different ways. Leadership in numerous different businesses and organizations can make or break you as a company. There are many different components on how leadership can impact the organizational context. The actors within the organization are the CEO's, GM's and middle management staff that makes up the leadership of the organization. How they act and what they do in their work makes a big difference in how the employees will react and how they will produce for you. If you have a boss that is always riding you and nothing that you say or do makes him happy, then you will have disgruntled employees that do not produce the way they should. On the flip side of the coin if you encourage the workers through free ideas and opinions with an open environment to work and grow, you tend to get much better results than the dictatorship approach. The process of leadership and the culture in which you are born into leadership will always differ from one person to the next. Leadership for some people can be born into and for others they will never know how to lead from the front. The culture in which leadership is born into can change from one country to the next. In other country leadership is much different than in America. In Japan people lead from the front by keeping all emotions in check and they never display hardship or frustration. They do all there leading with their words to get the point across. In America there tends to be much more emotions displayed in leadership, especially when running a major sports team. In Japan the manager does not yell or get upset when his team makes a mistake, however when the player comes into the dugout after a bad play the manager will sit him down with a stern talking to in order to get his point across that the player made a mistake and that it will not be tolerated again. The structure of leadership within an organization can be vital in making leadership decisions. The army is structured in such a way that there are many levels of leadership going all the way up to the President of the United States. In this form of environment you can have lots of confusion because of all the different leaders that you have to answer to within your day to day decisions. Overall leadership is a critical aspect to running a sports organization and without good leadership, your organization can fail.

Leadership

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Leadership will always be influenced by various contextual factors such as actors, processes, culture, structure, and environment. I have come to experience these factors first hand through my new captaincy of my team this year. The first thing to be considered and understood is the structure of your organization. In this situation, as much as I would prefer not to use this term because we implement a rule of equality amongst members, my teammates would be my "subordinates." In turn, I answer to my coaches as well as the booster club representatives as well as any other administration who might be involoved with our organization. With that knowledge, I began to see how all of these actors worked with one another and what type of culture emerged from the interactions. From being on the team for two years already, I was fully immersed in the team culture. However, it was an entirely different story after being elected captain. Suddenly, I was much more involved in discussions with the coaches and the booster club chairs as well as dealing with team issues. Though I am the captain, I am also still a member of the team and abide by the same rules that everyone else does. Therefore, I assume an acheivement leadership style (Slack & Parent 298). I treat my teammates as equals and welcome their opinions and help. I set high standards for myself and expect the same out of each other girl on my team. I would consider myself to employ charismatic leadership in my position (Slack & Parent 302). The captain is elected by her team's annonymous votes without any campaigning or promoting. I believe that I was chosen because I already had some of the characteristics that are most desired in a leader. I am a self-confident person with a very strong conviction in my values and beliefs to be used toward bettering myself and those around me. I have always tried my best to be a role model to others because I believe actions speak louder than words. I set high expectations for myself and give everything I have to attaining those goals and I think that my teammates recognize that and mirror it in their own lives. I am confident in my ability to rally my team and enable them to reach their goals. I can effectively communicate with my coaches about issues concerning the team or anything else that needs to be addressed. I feel very strongly about standing up for wha I believe in and sticking true to your beliefs. For this reason, I am not afraid to walk into the flames and take the heat for any of my teammates if I believe it is the right thing to do. I can take responsibility and know that I am following my own convictions by standing tall--something I hope my teammates recognize. We are all there working towards the same goals and are involved for the right reasons. This does not mean that our group is drama-free and void of conflict. With fifteen young women, there are bound to be disputes. Usually I can recognize those issues and either help mediate or let them run their course based on what I think would be most appropriate. I abide by the same rules as everyone and therefore follow m y coaches' plans and processes for attaining our goals. I am confident in my abilities as a leader and a captain and why shouldn't I be? My team believed in me to put me in this position and I am embracing it and using it to do everything I possibly can to make this team and this organization everything it can be. What can you do to become a better leader in your organization? Do you think a leader will be more effective if they are charismatic or transformational?

Organizational Change

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Change is something that within an organization is inevitable. Change can be for the better, can have negative effects, or change can occur and stay relatively neutral and have neither positive nor negative effects. Slack and Parent state that there are four major areas in which change is most likely to occur; these areas are: people, technological, products and services, and structures and systems. Change of people within an organization can happen for a number of reasons, maybe someone retires or is fired, or maybe the organization is growing and there are employees or volunteers being added to the staff pool. Any of these can change the dynamics of the organization and again, can be for the better or create conflicts that are difficult to resolve. Technological changes are probably the most inevitable type of change. Organizations that are not using the latest kinds of marketing or communication tools often are not successful and fall under. Technology is rapidly advancing and companies need to be able to keep up in order to have the most success. Products and services often change within an organization as the org. develops and situates itself in its environment. For example, Nike began by designing and producing running shoes, they then discovered that there is a market for athletic clothing and equipment. Therefore, they created new products in order to increase their revenue and size of company. This was a very positive change for Nike but this is not always the case. Using Nike as an example again structures and systems are often changed within an organization as well. As the company grew Nike went from being a very small cooperative group of "executives" that worked together to design shoes and run the entire business to a very hierarchical centralized system of CEO, manager, clerical staff, and so on. This change was necessary to manage the growing number of employees it began to take on. These types of changes generally go through six stages, including pressure and arousal, intervention and reorientation, diagnosis and recognition, invention and commitment, experimentation and search, and reinforcement and acceptance. These stages go through putting one or two people in charge that put pressure on the rest of the organization to change and then goes through how to establish and implement the change and how that can mean the most good for the organization.

Organizational Change

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Sport organizations go through change all the time. For example, recently businesses have been forced to restructure to accommodate for the recent economic downturn. This has led to members of the organization being laid off in hopes to combine positions or simply cut positions because of the financial strain the economy has created on sport organizations around the nation. In other cases, sport organizations may need to expand to accommodate the changes that are needed to be made in order for the organization to fulfill its purpose. This is illustrated by Slack and Parent in Chapter Twelve. They refer to the organizational change that takes place amongst the NCAA, formerly known as the IAA. The demands of intercollegiate athletics were growing and the NCAA had to respond. It went from being passive in its relationship to its member institutions to enforcing rules and penalties for the institutions that violated these rules. Change can arise because of internal and external factors (Slack and Parent, 2006). But what really causes this change?

Slack and Parent mention, that new equipment and technology may cause an organization to adapt. An example would be the use of the internet. It is very uncommon that sport organizations do not have a website where their employees and customers can go to learn more about the organization. Slack and Parent also refer to Title IX as being a way that legislation can initiate change in sport organizations. Internal change may be created by people referred to as "change agents." These agents are responsible for ensuring that the sport organization is making the necessary accommodations to remain effective or to increase its effectiveness. It is also important to be aware of resistance to change. There may be changes that a sport organization needs to make but different factors may create a resistance to the change. Some of these factors include self-interest and the cost of change. Even when change may be necessary it may not be carried out because of those who are in power of making the decisions may not find the change to be in their own self-interest. Change may also be resisted because of the cost, time, effort, and financial resources (Slack and Parent, 2006).

Implementing change is another big challenge that sport organizations are faced with. A couple ways to implement change successfully is through education and involvement. People are often misinformed of decisions being made within the organization in times of implementing change. Educating people is a great way to facilitate change in a way that allows people to grow in support because they are properly educated about the reasons for change. Involvement is another good tactic because it creates an environment of commitment to the process of change (Slack and Parent, 2006).

Do you foresee change occurring for the sport organization you are writing your paper on? In what ways have they either implemented change, resisted change, or both?

 

Change

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Change much like conflict is an ever occurring part of any organization and it must be adjusted to constantly to keep the organization running smoothly and effectively.  Slack and Parent identify four different areas where change can occur within a sport organization, these areas are technology, products and services, structures and systems, and finally people.  All four of these areas can occur in any combination together to create a multitude of different organizational changes.  There are two forms of change and they are radical change and convergent change, these forms of changes can occur no matter what the area of change may be in.  Radical change is a dramatic change that happens very fast.  Convergent change is a small change that occurs to fulfill a specific purpose.  The perspective on organizational change that I found most intriguing was evolution and revolution.  This perspective focuses on how an organization will not change even when the existence of the organization is at risk, or in other words a organization will resist all changes even is it means failure.  Slack and Parent identify many different factors that lead up to this resistance and they vary from cost of facilities and equipment, managers fearing loss of their power, to the organizational culture.  The different changes in this perspective are evolutionary which means that incremental adjustments are made, and then revolutionary change, where drastic changes must be made in response to a crisis or upheaval.  Innovation is a very important aspect to organizational change and it was discussed at the end of the chapter as being "one of the major challenges confronting all sport organizations" (252).  There are three types of innovation that can occur within a sport organization and they are, administrative innovation, technological innovation, and product or service innovation.  Administrative innovation happens within the structure of the organization or within the administrative processes.  Technological innovation happens with the development of tools, knowledge, techniques, etc.  Finally product or service innovation involves the development of new services or products.  In conclusion organizational change can occur in many different forms and there are perspectives to accompany most if not all types of organizational change.

Organizational Change

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                The ability to change is very important to the success of a sport organization.  Every organization needs to understand the concept of change and be able to utilize it in their environment.  Change in a sport organization can occur in four different areas:  technology, products and services, structures and systems, and people.

                The change in technology refers to an organization's production process, the skills and methods it uses to deliver its services, or its knowledge base.  The products and services part of a sport organization undergoes change by the addition, deletion, or modification of other areas.  Structural and systemic changes occur when modifications are made to areas of a sport organization.  This can be areas such as division of labor, its authority structure, or the control systems.  Lastly, people change requires modification to the way people think and act and the way they relate to each other.  There are two levels of change which is radical change and convergent change.  Radical change is when a sport organization completely changes its orientation.  Convergent change is more of fine-tuning a specific orientation.

                There are several different perspectives on change within an organization.  Population ecology is an approach that deals with the survival of the fittest attitude.  Resource dependence is an approach that is used in the organization's structural change process.  The life cycle approach states that organizations change as they go through the different life stages.  Institutional theory helps organizations increase their legitimacy and boost their flow of resources necessary for their operation because they change to based on the environment they are in.  Evolutionary change and revolutionary change are also involved in organizational change.  Evolutionary change involves incremental adjustments of the organization's strategy, structure, or processes while remaining in the same design.  Revolutionary change takes place when a major upheaval or crisis happens in an organization that needs a sharp shift in strategy, power, structures, and controls. 

                In any organization there is likely to be someone or some group that is resistant to change.  They do not like change and do not see it as a positive for the organization.  Self-interest and lack of trust and understanding about the implications of change are two of the types of resistance that pertain to the individuals within an organization.  Differing assessments of change consequences and the cost of change are more likely to concern the organization or subgroups resistance rather than on the individual level.

                The thing to remember about organizational change is that being pressured to change can come from a number of different sources both internally and externally.  The organization that can best adapt and change with the environment that they are in will be successful.

 

Organizational Change

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Changes in sports organizations typically occur in one of four areas, products and services, technology, structures and systems, and people.  Technology changes occur in the production processes, the skills and methods it uses to deliver its services, or its knowledge base.  Product and services changes involve the addition, deletion, or modification of other areas.  Structural and systems changes involve modifications to areas of a sport organization such as its division of labor, its authority structure, or its control systems.  People change involves modifications to the way people think and act and the way they relate to each other. 
The reason change is seen as paradoxical is because sport organizations must change if it wishes to remain competitive, but management prefers stability and predictability as opposed to change and uncertainty.

The different perspectives on organizational change include population ecology, resource dependence, the life cycle approach, institutional theory, evolution and revolution, and the contextualist approach.
Population Ecology: doesn't focus on change in single organizations but on a population of like organizations in a particular geographic area or niche.
Resource Dependence: when organizations come to depend on their environment for resources critical to their survival as they become unable to generate internally the different types of resources they need
Life Cycle Approach: based on the idea that biology provides certain concepts and models that appear to have some relevance for understanding organizational cycles
Institutional Theory: suggests that organizations change their formal structure to conform with expectations within their institutional environment about appropriate organizational design.
Evolution and Revolution: organizations resist change, and even when faced with the possibility of failure, organizations will often continue to do what they have been doing in the past and not make the necessary adjustments to ensure their survival
Contextualist Approach: focuses on a single change event or a discrete episode of change.

Organizational change can be caused both internally and externally.  Resistance to change can stem form self-interest, lack of trust and understanding about the implications of change, differing assessments of change consequences, the cost of change.

Ways of dealing with resistance and implementing change include: education and communication, participation and involvement, establishing change teams, idea champions, facilitation and support, negotiation, manipulation, cooptation, and coercion. 

There are 6 stages in the change process.  They are:
1. Pressure and Arousal
2. Intervention and Reorientation
3. Diagnosis and Recognition
4. Invention and Commitment
5. Experimentation and Search
6. Reinforcement and Acceptance

Organizational Change

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            Organization change is simply anything that is done to affect the organization from its normally planned actions. Examples from the concept of change include "new people enter the organization, some leave, parts of the organizations layout are reorganized and new programs or product lines are developed (Slack & Parent, 2006)." A concept that I enjoyed reading about was the evolution and revolution approach to organizational change. The foundation of this approach is that most organizations are resistant to change. "Even when faced with the possibility of failure, organizations will often continue to do what they have been doing in the past and not make necessary adjustments to ensure their survival (Slack & Parent, 2006)." The affects of not addressing this change and making the proper adjustments can be devastating to any company especially those in small market business because of the limited ability to make errors.

            The idea of evolutionary and revolutionary change refers to the concept of momentum which is "the tendency of an organization to stay with its existing structural design (Slack & Parent)." This occurs because many companies have a formula for success and those in power are stubborn to make any changes until certain death as an organization is imminent causing several losses. Instead companies should consider two types of change that this concept presents. First, "evolutionary change occurs as organizations make incremental adjustments in their strategy, structure, or processes, while still remaining within this particular design (Slack & Parent, 2006)." This type of change happens over time and takes a more conservative position as new ideas and solutions are implemented along with the original ideas that are the foundation of the company. Second, "revolutionary change takes place in response to a major upheaval or crisis in an organization's environment requiring a simultaneous and sharp shift in strategy, power, structure, and controls (Slack & Parent, 2006)." The key phrase in acting with revolutionary change is "in response to a major upheaval or crisis" this type of change is extremely dangerous in situations where the situation is not a major concern. Companies need time to evaluate the possible opportunities and risks associated with making any type of change this is why few revolutionary changes should occur over the existence of a company's life span.

            Organizational change can occur "externally in the environment or from the inside (Slack & Parent, 2006)."An example of an external change can be a change in government. Under the evolution and revolution change approach this would need to be addressed under the evolution change because it is something that can be done over time to be implemented into daily business. An example of internal change could be new equipment and technology acquisition. This may require revolutionary change because it could mean the hiring/firing of personnel which would require new compensation plans and alter the budget of an organization. Altogether organizational change is in control of the committee or owner of the company and affects everyone working in or with that organization directly.

            Just like in any other organization, sport organizations have to deal with change and a resistance to change.  The text book identifies four different areas that change can occur in a sport organization: technology, products and services, structures and systems, and people.  A big technological advancement in the sport industry came via television and changing how the major sporting events were delivered to the audience.  Now people are able to watch a game from their home instead of actually having to be at the stadium.  A change in the products or services of a sport organization may involve the addition, deletion, or modification of other areas (Slack and Parent, p. 239).  Structural or systemic changes often occur in growing organizations.  As they grow the structure of the organization will most likely change, as may the strategy.  People change does not just mean bringing in new people but can just be a change in the way the group thinks and acts as a whole.

            After reading the chapter and the journal article I feel that the contextualist approach to understanding organizational change is an approach that should be understood thoroughly.  The contextual approach examines three areas that are related to change.  Content refers to the four areas in which change can occur.  Process has to do with how the organization gets from the current state it is in to the future state it wants to be in.  Context is split into two categories: inner and outer context.  Inner context refers to things within the sport organization while outer context refers to the society at large (Skirstad, p. 3).

            If an organization is changing that also means there will be some type of resistance from inside and/or outside the organization itself.  Resistance is not always a bad thing, for example, what if a group of resistors show to the group that are trying to change the organization that this particular change may not be in the best interest to the organization.  The book identifies four major sources of resistance to change.  The first source is self-interest and this comes from people who oppose the change because they feel the change will hurt them in some way through job security or losses in power.  The second source is a lack of trust and understanding about the implications of change.  This source stems from employees in the organization not knowing how the change will affect them personally and this is enhanced even more when there is also a lack of trust.  The third source is differing assessments of change consequences and this comes from people who will be affected by the change and them having inadequate information about the change.  The last source is the cost of change.  This happens when people cannot see the long term benefits of a change and only see the high cost in time, effort, or money in the short term.

            Questions for the class:

1.      What are the six stages of the change process?

2.      Is resistance to change always going to hurt the organization or are there situation in which the resistance might be a good thing? Example?

Change

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Change within an organization is inevitable and is often a political process. There are four major areas where change is likely to occur in an organization: technological, products and services, people and structures and systems (Slack and Parent 239). Most changes within an organization go through six different stages. The first stage, pressure and arousal, puts top management in a position where action needs to be taken. Pressure from other employees or senior management reveals a need for change. The second stage, intervention and reorientation, is the stage in which management puts the blame on a secondary source. In the third stage, diagnosis and recognition, groups are formed to help reveal the source of the problem. Stage four, invention and commitment, is used to introduce possible solutions to the problem at hand. Stage five, experimentation and search, the organization decides on a method of change and tests its effectiveness. The sixth and final stage, reinforcement and acceptance, the change is made and its effects are noticed throughout the organization (Slack and Parent 248-9). In many situations change is needed for an organization to remain successful, but often times there is a resistance to change within an organization for several reasons. The first reason employees resist change is for self-interest. When the idea of change is mentioned, people often times assess how this change will affect them and their role within the organization. If the proposed change is likely to negatively impact their role or existence within the company they will resist (Slack and Parent 245). Another reason organizations are likely to resist change is the amount of time and money it costs to effectively implement a change. Significant change often results in financial investments that place strain on a company in the short term. If a company is not fully confident that changes being made will make up for this investment they may be reluctant to adopt the change (Slack and Parent 245). Because most change will be resisted by at least one member of an organization there must be ways for organizations to deal with resistance. One way to reduce resistance is to educate and communicate with employees. By making employees aware that change will ultimately lead to greater success and successfully communicating the message to them top managers are able to reduce the amount of resistance. A second method for reducing resistance is to make sure all employees participate in and are involved with the process. "By involving potential opponents to the change process, it is possible to deal with the problems before they escalate" (Slack and Parent 246). For an organization to achieve long term success they must be able to effectively implement change. There will often be people opposed to decisions being made so it is essential that an organization take steps to reduce resistance. Change is not always a negative thing and can often result in positive consequences. How can a company effectively implement change if top level managers and executives do not realize it is necessary? How is the current economy forcing companies to change?

Organizational Change

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Change is of the inevitable. Sport organizations are always changing because of internal and external influences. Sport organizations are always changing whether it is a change in staff, change in philosophy or a change in operations and execution. Organizations are always trying to better their staff by hiring people who have certain skills and qualities that will benefit the organization and will allow them to be affective during the times of change. The physical structure of an organization can also change. If an organization is having a hard time dealing with some sort of change they might appoint more people to hierarchical status to have a more efficient leadership oriented structure. It is important for organizations to prepare for change so they are equipped and ready in order for them to keep up with their competitors. This type of preparation is not something that can developed over night, it takes time and thought. Most of the time external pressures cause organizations to change and adapt. Obviously the economy is the biggest issue right now for sport organizations. The economy is forcing organizations to be better financially efficient. For example, teams within the four major sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, & NHL) are finding ways to reduce costs and are trying to be creative to bring in other sources of revenue besides traditional ways. Teams have changed the structure of their organization by cutting jobs and appointing employees to complete more assigned tasks. This trend of cutting jobs has also been seen in many colleges throughout the country. College athletic departments have t o plan very carefully to overcome this recession. Not only are jobs being cut down, but colleges are eliminating certain sports to help minimize debt and keep a stable athletic budget. The economy can also be a cause of technological change. It affects the sport organization's production process and they way they carry out their rules and procedures. The two types of change are radical and convergent change (Slack, 240). According to the book, radical change is frame bending and it requires complete change within the organization as a whole. Convergent change is more about fixing the organization's structure or "fine tuning" a specific orientation. Not only does change affect sport organizations, but it also indirectly affects their consumers, whether it is companies working for the organization, fans, or teams. Organizations have to fix their structure to help them complete their tasks and also they have to build their organization structure to effectively accommodate their consumers.
A sport organizations ability to effectively and smoothly execute change within their organization is very beneficial. This will help the organization stay afloat in the market as well as excel in it. The world is constantly changing, and if an organization is not willing to do the same they will flounder and fail. Slack and Parent describe that there are four areas of change: 1) Technological change, 2) product/service change, 3) structural/systematic change and 4) people change. Although these areas of change are valid, I think that when an organization is experiencing change it is due to a combination of the four, because they are all closely interrelated. Slack and Parent also describe the fact that there are 2 types of change, radical change and convergent change. I think a good example of radical change would be when the University of Minnesota merged their athletic department into one department. This took a lot of orchestration and fine tuning. This is the example I will use throughout this blog. Slack and Parent then goes on to describe many different theories and perspective son how and why organizational change happens. There is: population ecology, resource dependence, life cycle approach, institutional theory, evolution and revolution, and the contextualist approach. After reading all of these perspectives, I thought the evolution and revolution theory made the most sense. This perspective acknowledges the fact that all organizations are resistant to change for a number of reasons and can either have an evolutionary change, which is very slow and happens over time: or a revolutionary change which is very sudden and overturns everything within the organization. Again, I think the U of M athletic department underwent a revolutionary change after management realized it would be much more efficient to have one big department. Going along with the evolution/revolution theory, Slack and Parent identifies several different reasons why organizations are resistant to change. They are: 1) self interest, 2) lack of understanding and trust about the implications of change, 3) different assessments of change consequences and 4) the cost of change. They then give sport managers several different ways to deal with this resistance. I would say out of all the strategies given, the best way to implement change and deal with this resistance is education and communication about the change. A sport manager will find it very difficult to have everybody on their side while implementing change, but if the staff is educated about why the change is occurring and knows what exactly is going to happen, there will be a lot less resistance and confusion along the way. Questions: Was there a lot of resistance to the merging of the athletic department at the University of Minnesota? How did Joel Maturi effectively handle this change to make the athletic department how it is today? How did he deal with the resistance?

Change

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                Sports organizations go through many changes. They undergo these changes for many reasons. Some of these changes may be caused by environmental factors such as the economy or technology. Sport organizations need to change to adapt to the changes around them. An example of this may be a sports organization restructuring based on the hard economic times that we all face right now. They may not be able to keep as many employees on the payroll as they did for years past, so they down size departments and possibly even eliminate a few if they are not very vital to the organization. According to Greenwood and Hinings (1996) this is an example of radical change.

                Organizational change is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing depending on who you ask and how well the change benefits the organization. Currently the sports organization that I belong to is undergoing major changes. Capital City Officials Association is merging with St. Paul Officials Association. Resource dependence is the main factor behind the merger. Currently there are 5 organizations in the metro area fighting for resources; basketball and football games, for their members. By merging the two associations you eliminate completion and double the resources. This is an example of a revolutionary change to the organization. If the major change is not handled in the right manner there may be resistance to the change; merger.  Resistance to change may stem from a variety of factors. Some of these factors are the reluctance to deviate from existing programs, the inability of organizations to accurately apprise their performance, the culture of the organization and the fear by some managers that change will reduce their power. In the case of the merger between Capital City and St. Paul I believe that the resistance to change would mainly stem from the fear by some managers/members that change will reduce their power, and the culture of the organization. Many members are hesitant for the merger in fear that they will not get as many games assigned to them depending on which association gets represented through the president. Currently both organizations have presidents, but when the merger takes place one will have to step down there for some of the members from the other association may feel like they are being cheated. Overall I would be fine with either of the presidents taking over the newly merged organization. They are both great leaders and have not shown favoritism towards their organization in this merger.

 

How would you make the members from both organizations happy with the decision for the new president?

Organizational Change

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Just as it is important for a sport organization to be able to handle conflict, it is just as important for a sport organization to be able to deal with change. How effectively and efficiently a sport organization deals with change can define how successful a sport organization is. Sport organizations are constantly changing, but what Slack and Parent focus on in chapter 12 is planned change, changes an organization implements and executes to try and better its position in its market. There are two types of changes discussed; radical change, which is a very extreme change, and convergent change, which involves changing something just a bit to make it better. Slack and Parent discuss four main areas of change; technological change, a change in the products of services, structural and systemic changes, and people changes. An example of technological change would be a technological advancement in the equipment used to make a sporting good. Say for instance a new machine came out that made the manufacturing of snowboards more efficient; the employees would have to adapt to this changed technology. Change in products or services would involve a sport becoming more popular and needing to have more floor space in a store and needing to be advertise that product more. As snowboarding becomes more popular stores are going to want to allot more space to snowboards within their store and then they are also going to want to advertise the fact that they have snowboards more. Structural and systemic changes involve changes within an organization. If snowboarding is growing at a rapid rate then perhaps departments need to become more specialized and more departments need to be developed. From this, employees need to be appointed to positions of authority and know what their duties are. Lastly, people change involves adjustments in the way people act around each other. There are many perspectives on change discussed by Slack and Parent including population ecology, resource dependence, the life cycle approach, institutional theory, evolution and revolution, and contextualist approach. While all of these perspectives on change may be valuable to an organization the resource dependence strategy seemed the most important to me. If a manager can effectively manage his resources and adjust his organization in response to environmental changes an organization is in good hands. Resistance to change and how an organization deals with this resistance will set an organization apart from others. Change will be resisted for reasons such as self-interest, lack of trust and understanding of the changes, differing assessments of change consequences, and the cost of the change. Being able to deal with this resistance and implement change within an organization will make anyone an effective, valuable manager. By using a few of the ideas in the book together I feel change can be executed effectively. The first thing that must be done is to educate and communicate with employees the changes that are to be implemented. By informing every one of the changes that are to be made and why they are being made you will most likely gain the support of your employees. After that, participation and involvement are crucial. Slack and Parent talk about involving those groups who are most likely to resist change. By involving those groups you are most likely going to help them commit to the process and therefore avoid problems. After getting all of the employees on board and involved it is very important to facilitate and support change. By supporting your employees you will help to rid any fears they may have. A supportive atmosphere will allow for employees to be open with their oppositions or challenges with the change and discuss them so they do not come into play later down the road. Along the way negotiation may be necessary if there are larger groups of people who are opposed to the change. By negotiating you are showing your employees that you are willing to work with them and you value their opinions. Although there are other strategies discussed by Slack and Parent I feel these are the most important strategies to effectively implementing change. My questions involving change are what ways can change benefit an organization and in what ways can it deter an organization? Once you have decided on a need for change how do you go about dealing with that resistance to change when there are so many different ways to do so?

Organizational Change

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Change is something that is never ending in any organization. In a sport organization, changes are usually publicized and can be harder to cope with when everyone is scrutinizing the change. There are several kinds of change including technological, structural, and systematic changes. Along with these changes, the people of an organization are changing as well. In a struggling organization, radical change may be necessary to change the entire way the organization is run. If the organization is efficient, convergent change is still necessary to keep pace and continue to be efficient. This process of changing to keep up with the competition is called the paradoxical nature of change. Some sport organizations are stubborn and have not accepted this concept. As technology and other areas of the world progress, change is becoming more necessary and is also happening at a quicker pace. The organizations that are not changing may have survived fifty years ago, but in this day and age if there is no change there is no efficiency. This resistance to change is explained by the evolution and revolution approach to organizational change in the book. The reluctance to deviate from what is normal, the inability to access themselves, the costs of infrastructure, the culture, and the fear from managers of losing power are all reasons why some organizations are resistant to change. There are many strategies in the book for dealing with organizations that are resistant to change. Education is important for these old style organizations and the communication of this education is important in case these organizations are not even aware of their ever changing environment. There may be a few employees or managers that are holding back the process of change because they are set in their ways. Getting these personnel openly and actively involved is essential at the beginning of the change. A way to get employees onboard with the idea of change is by finding important people who are influential in the organization to lead the process. Negotiations and manipulations may be necessary if those against the change will not budge from their stance. After the personnel is all behind the change, the six steps of the changing process need to each be carefully followed to ensure the plan is executed. This change needs to work in favor of the organization, but ultimately it is necessary to keep the organization working efficiently and effectively.

Organizational Change

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The main topic of chapter 12 discusses change in an organization. With the way the world is working right now, almost all organizations are going to need to make some sort of changes in order to continue their operations. The world is changing every single day and for a company to have success, then they will need to change with the demands of their environment. The book talks about two different types of change, radical and convergent, and I believe these are the most important types of change. In my opinion, when a company states which type of change they are going to implement then they are telling everyone what the state of their company is in. I believe that a company that is very stable and going on the right path does not need to do a radical change and for the most part they will not. A radical change would mainly be for those companies that might not be having the best success and therefore might need to try a new direction in order for their organization to become successful. Also, there may be some companies that may just want to try something new for their company. They may be doing this because they have worked with the same strategy for such a long time and may just be becoming complacent. The book talks about if this process happens that it is not a good time for change. If a company is changing just to be changing then that is not the right direction to go. Another reason that a company may want to implement radical change could be that they see a new market emerging and the person who runs the company believes that is the direction the company should go because of the enormous potential. On the other hand, a company may implement convergent change. The book gives the example of Ski-Doo acquiring other forms of recreational vehicles. This shows my point that a company that already has success does not want to choose radical change because what they are currently doing is working. By choosing convergent change they are not risking the entire organization's efforts if for some reason the change is not successful. Also, by major a minor change, if the change is successful then the company will be able to use their past success in order to increase and integrate the new change and policies into their successful company. The last topic that I believe the book made a good point about when it comes to change is the process of resistance to change. To me it seems similar in a way to conflict. Obviously some conflict can be bad if is one sided and people are fighting just to fight, but if the conflict can spark an idea or give management a problem that they may not have seen, then conflict will further improve how the organization operates. The same goes for change. When there are some people that are resistant to change, then the manager is required to deal with the conflict or else it will escalate. The book states that as people become resistant to change, management may see problems that arise in their process that they may have never thought of had it not been for the opposing viewpoints. Change can be good and it must be utilized in order for a company to strive into the future.

Organizational Change

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            The sport industry is a rapidly changing environment and the organizations within the industry show this as well. Sport organizations constantly change with new employees. Whether it is a new line of interns being cycled in or an older marketing manager being switched with a new one with great new ideas to build the team, sport organizations are continually changing in order to change with the environment. There are many things that the organization can attribute to the reason or kinds of changes. In the chapter 12 reading, there were 4 listed as reasons for the changes, technology, products and services, structure and systems, people. This list of areas of potential changes is all independently important but all of them together can really influence the organizations structure. Even though these things are very important to any sport organization, some resistance is still inevitable.

            In the case of the technology aspect of organizational change, this could include integrating a new operating system for the office or trying to organize a new technology into the marketing campaign. There could be some resistance to the change to either example because some people fear the change. There might be some worry about is this new plan going to be as effective and is there going to be a learning curve. These are valid points that should be considered before the change but most of the time in the long run a technical change is for the better. The best example is the change in the use of computers. Things are now a lot quicker because the communication abilities are faster.

            An example for the change in the product or the service within a sports organization could be the player performance, changing players, changing the game operations and so on. All of these examples are important to the organization because it is the direct link that it has to the customers. There could be resistance to this because of the relationships people build in the game operations side of the organization. This is a cut throat industry and people have to look passed these relationships sometimes but it can be hard. It is also looked at in a way as a subjective grading scale, meaning it can be hard sometimes to judge what needs to be done in player personal. But this is also the reason people like to watch, it is the drama that drives the sport sometimes.

            The structure and system is also very similar to the product and service and the technology because it can be a simple change like switching to a different mail service or something large like switching the organizational hierarchy structure from more vertical to horizontal. People could be resistance to it due to the potential loss of jobs or loss of responsibilities. On the other hand the changes are suppose to help the organization as a whole and are geared towards the greater good of the organization. This is also a large part of the people aspect of the areas of changes within a sport organization.

            As you can see from the examples it is easy to see the interchangeably these aspects are. Each one of these changes that I mentioned could and really should be looked at from all the areas of change within the organization to ensure that the decision made is the best one for all. Chapter 12 covered all of these aspects of changing and the resistance which might be felt from the people within the organization. It is easy to see the importance it is for the organization to change and to be able to deal with resistance because it is inevitable that some things will need to change in order to continually grow as an organization.

Change

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I think having Kenny Mauer as a guest speaker for conflict was a great transition into change because after all, so much of conflict comes from disagreements about how changes should occur. As Kenny was discussing there were a lot differing opinions about how the NBA and the Referee's Union could resolve the change in their labor disputes. Looking back at some of the things Mr. Mauer said about his experiences with lockouts and the NBA it's easy to see that Mr. Mauer was resistant to the change because he was concerned about his own self-interest. Now, that's not a bad thing at all because in this case Mr. Mauer stood to lose a lot of earnings if the current offer from the NBA was accepted. Now, while denying the contract would have satisfied Mr. Mauer's self-interest it also sounds like Mr. Mauer had a very good understanding that denying the contract would benefit the majority if not all of the other NBA officials. In this case the change for the NBA officials there were a lot of people with vested interests in the change and certainly in the case of Mr. Mauer there was reason to be concerned about how the change would be handled. And while there are several different ways to be resistant to change, Mr. Mauer's demonstration of self-interest also furthered the interests of others which makes it an interesting example of conflict resistance in action.

Another interesting example from Mr. Mauer's lecture was the NBA's situation with referees and the lack of trust and understanding about the implications of the change. In the NBA's situation Mr. Mauer, being a veteran of 2 previous lockouts, knew that whatever the change was, there was money to be made by waiting out all of Mr. Stern's tactics and that in the end the referees would indeed make money over the course of the lockout. Now, Mr. Mauer discussed some of the misunderstanding that occurred between the younger referees and the more seasoned referees because the younger referees believed that the lockout was going to hurt them in the short and long term.

This brings us to the cost of change that was feared by some of the NBA referees. Now, it would appear that Mr. Mauer was keenly aware of exactly what type of cost this change to the NBA referees contract would mean. And certainly in Mr. Mauer's case this change would be extremely costly. It also appeared that, in Mr. Mauer's expert opinion, the other 56 referees would also be suffering significantly from the cost of the change. Now, the NBA would certainly be benefiting from the change but in the end it appeared the the benefit to the NBA was less significant than the loss that the referees would be suffering. But the NBA and Mr. Stern were able to get their demands met on the majority of the issues regarding the NBA referees' contracts.

There are few different types of changes an organization can implement. They can have technological change, structural and systematic changes, and people changing. All of these include changes in processes, addition, modification, or deletion of areas in the organization, modifications to areas of sport in the book it suggests the division of labor. In regards to changes in people it describes how people change and act differently or how they relate to other workers. Overall there are two types of change described in the book, radical change and convergent change. Organizations need to undergo different types of change depending on the different problems in the company. Things such as not producing enough resources cause a call for change, which would bring in the resource dependence theory for change. This theory also depends on the changes in the environment, which then the manager needs to work off of the environment changes to implement changes within the organization itself. There are different reasons an organization needs to make change. Causes for change can come from internal or external factors. Change in technology can call for new equipment which shows an external factor influencing a change internally in the organization. They talked about changes in government legislation such as Title IX influencing many changes within organizations. I would apply this in changes in regulations that organizations such as the NCAA had to undergo to meet the requirements of the new legislation. Change agents are very important in determining what needs to be changed and how the process will be developed to make the necessary changes. There are also resistances to change in organizations. Resistance also has internal and external factors. Slack and Parent explains that not all resistance to change is bad, if there is resistance there must be some reason, which means it is not all dysfunctional. Some of the resistances to change are self-interest, cost, differing assessments of change consequences, and a lack of trust and understanding about the implications of change.  There are six stages to Greiner's change process. The first stage is pressure and arousal, which puts pressure on the management to make changes. The second stage is intervention and reorientation, where an insider is brought in to avoid any conflicts on the internal side of the organization. Third, is diagnosis and recognition. The fourth stage on invention and commitment involves inventing solutions and developing the commitment to those changes within everyone in the company. Then there are the last two stages of experimentation and search, and reinforcement and acceptance which involves testing the solutions and then accepting the positive solutions as a new process in the organization.

Organizational Change

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Organizational change in a system must but understood to be effectively performed. Sport organizations in particular are always under constant change. People in organizations are changing and the output of good is always changing, as well as the consumers. With these factors, come technological advances in sport organizations that are constantly being updated and changed. Year after year, consumers are becoming more interested in sports industries, so change is constantly needed to gain more consumers and keep others attached. An example of these types of change could be the clothing apparel lines in sports organizations. People want to get the athletic apparel that will make them faster, stronger, and to have an athletic image. To follow this view is that people are constantly changing. Consumers will always want something better. Society, as a whole, will never be completely satisfied with anything. There will always be something better in a competitive business. Change is necessary to continue to be a competitive organization with other similar systems. What interests me is the cause of organizational change. Why does it occur? Change can occur from a number of causes, but with change also come resistance. Some change is brought about because of self-interest. This is about doing something for the good of the company and organization. Another cause is governmental regulations. When Title IX was implemented, many sport organizations had to adapt to this change and reevaluate their current situations. Some change is caused by change agents that see what is best fit for the organization to maintain success and effectiveness. With this, some organizations bring in an outside consultant to look at the systems organization. There are also many reasons that an organization would choose to resist change. Sport managers will automatically resist change to a certain degree because change can bring about negative occurrences in some cases. Another reason is the cost of change. Sometimes the cost is more than the benefit of the change. Differing opinions may be one of the most common resistances of change. Organizations are big and stakeholders will often have differing opinions of what is best for the system. All of these resistances to change are understandable because change is always a risk to the organization. Although risks can be dangerous an organization, not adapting to society and not inducing change is even more dangerous and risky. Some of the solutions to these resistances are education and communication throughout the organization. When people are informed and all on the same page, change is easier to perform. Another solution would be participation and involvement in the organization. The team aspect of an organization will help change occur smoothly. One of the biggest solutions is support and facilitation. With support, change will come easier when people are behind the idea and ready to act on the change. I think change is absolutely necessary, especially in a sports organization. There are some people that say, "Nobody likes change," but in this case, change is necessary and inevitable. There is no way a sports industry would survive without change. They would fail almost immediately, in my opinion. What if an organization decided not to constantly change? What would their motive to not act be? What if this organization thought it was more strategic to stay constant? I wonder if there are any organizations out there that perform this strategy. Would it work?
Sport organizations are constantly changing with new employees being filtered in and out, but planned change is what often sets apart a successful organization from one that is not. Slack and Parent discuss at the beginning of Chapter 12 that there are four areas in which change can occur in sport organization. These areas include 1) technology, 2) products and services, 3) structures and systems, and 4) people. While these areas of change are very important by themselves, they are all interrelated and therefore a change in one area directly affects at least one other area. For example, if the division of labor is changed within an organization then the way people think and act within the organization will change in some capacity as well. Along with these four areas of change, the text also discussed two types of change regardless of area: radical and convergent change. Radical change is frame bending, completely changing orientation while convergent change is more about fine-tuning a specific orientation.

There have been many different perspectives on change within organizations throughout the years, and our text specifically mentions the following theories: population ecology, resource dependence, the life cycle approach, institutional theory, evolution and revolution, and contextualist approach. While all of these perspectives have valuable information to help me deal with organization change in the future, the evolution and revolution perspective struck me as being very important. The ability as a manager to understand that organizations naturally resist change, because of things such as reluctance to move away from the comfort of existing programs, is a key to help facilitate change in a positive manner.

There are a few reasons that Slack and Parent identified on page 245 of the text regarding why individuals and organizations deal with resistance to change. Individuals and groups within an organization often do things that benefit or promote their self-interest. When a change is set to occur and it does not specifically coincide with their self-interests, the change will most likely be resisted. The second reason organizations resist change is because of a lack of trust and understanding about the implications of change. When employees lack a sense of trust between themselves and the people initiating a change, they tend to resist the change because they often misunderstand the impact it will have on them. Rumors and distorted information result from these situations and cause individuals to have a sense of uncertainty. The third reason organizations resist change is differing assessments of change consequences. When members of the organization have differing opinions on the pros and cons of a specific change, resistance often occurs. The fourth reason organizations resist change is simply the cost of change. When a change is projected to be costly regarding time, effort, and money individuals are likely to resist, especially in the short-term.

Sport organizations have numerous methods to deal with resistance to change and implement change. These include but are not limited to education and communication, participation and involvement, establishing change teams, idea champions, facilitation and support, negotiation, manipulation, cooptation, and coercion. I believe that a combination of a few of these methods would be most successful, and has been in organizational change I have seen. Starting by educating and communicating with the people being impacted by change is huge to the success of implementing a change. If individuals are educated about the change they are more likely to accept the change or at least communicate their opinions and in that way you can work towards a change that suits them better.

One of most important concepts from this chapter is the idea of innovation in sport organizations. As the market is continually changing and the landscape of sports changes, organizations need to implement changes to keep up. The text discussed three ways in which sport organizations can innovate: administrative innovation, technological innovation, and product or service innovation. Change can be a great tool for an organization to take the next step or continue to remain competitive and successful in the marketplace.

Questions: 1) What types of resistance to change were visible when the University of Minnesota decided to merge its men's and women's athletic department in 2002? 2) In what ways can change be positive for an organization? Negative?

Organizational Change

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The ability of a sport organization to accept and execute change within their organization is an extremely beneficial quality to have in order to be successful. Slack and Parent touch on all aspects of organizational change in Chapter 12 including: 4 different areas change can occur, paradoxical nature of change, several perspectives on organizational change, resistance to change, and lastly how you deal with these resistances. Planned changed is the main focus of this chapter which is a systematically developed and implemented plan for change that will assist organization in retaining competitive advantage in its said market. Planned change may occur in 4 areas within the organization: technology, products/services, structural and systematic changes, and change in the people of the organization. Technological change involves the process of production, skills, and methods used to create and deliver the organization's services. There may be an addition, deletion, or modification of the products of the organization. There also may be modifications made to certain departments or areas of the organization including the divisions of labor, control systems, or change in authority structure. The last area of change, people, can include the way in which people act or think about the organization and each other and also the way in which they interact with each other. These changes may come through group planning, sensitivity training, or team-building activities. The idea of paradoxical nature of change comes from the idea that an organization must change if it wants to maintain its competitiveness in its market. The manager must recognize that there is a need for change and how to successfully go about changing the organization. Slack and Parent touch on 6 different perspectives on change that are each independent of each other, except for population ecology and the institutional theory have been recognized to be converging. I will touch on these two approaches, plus 2 others to give an idea of what an organizational change approach is. Population ecology focuses on the organizations in a specific geographic area, and adjusts the organizations structure and processes in order to compete in with other like organizations. When an organization is unable to create the resources it needs to operate within its organization, it experiences resource dependency. The organization must then depend on the environment for resources that are essential in its survival. If an organization experiences the potential for resource reduction, a sense of uncertainty is created within the organization and managers must assess this problem and create change for this as well. The third approach presented is the Life Cycle Approach. Slack and Parent describe that this approach is based on the idea that biology "provides certain concepts and models that...appear to have some relevance for understanding organizational cycles". This approach is unique in that it focuses on single organizations rather than the entire population. Like humans in the life cycle, organizations change in steps as well. The steps include "creation, transformation, and decline" or, more associated with the human life cycle, "birth, growth, maturity, old age, and death". Like the human life cycle, major events in each cycle effect the future cycles of the organization. Another approach discussed is the Institutional Theory. This theory comes from the idea that an organization 'changes its formal structure to conform with expectations within its institutional environment about appropriate organizational design'. This helps build legitimacy within its institution or market and can help ensure continued flow of resources, which are essential in operation and production of its product or service. Resistance to change may come from either external or internal forces in the organization. Resistance is not always dysfunctional, and can be used as a means of identifying and assessing problems, and also help prevent problems within the organization. Four sources of resistance were discussed in the chapter, self interest, lack of trust and understanding about implications of change, differing assessments of change consequences, and the cost of change. I feel that the cost of change is one source that is most common. It may not just be financially costly, but also costly in terms of time, and effort. It is often difficult to see the value of change as worth it when there is a large money cost involved. In order to implement change within an organization, the managers, and those with great amounts of authority must involve all employees and provide support for them while going through the change process. An education program about the change may be necessary to inform and lessen uncertainty immediately in the change process. My questions for discussion relate to a topic I did not discuss because I was not entirely clear on the topic. What impact do tracks and archetypes have in the change process of an organization? What is an example of an archetype and how does a track relate to that?

Blog 6

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When Kenny Mauer came into class to speak about his current situation of the NBA Referee lockout, it got me thinking about the management and business side of sports. As Mauer stated on the business side of the sport can be a cruel function of business. Any way to save money and create more for the owners and the league is what David Stern will do to increase his profits. The information that Mauer explained to the class can also be related to the movie that we watched on the Seattle Supersonics. The NBA is interested in making profits and they will take a team out of town and threaten their Referee's in any way possible to ensure that the NBA can save money. The organization of a major business conglomerate coupled with an attitude to get as much revenue as possible can lead to these types of issues where money is all that matters and it does not matter how you treat your employees. The hiring of replacement Referee's is a slap in the face to the actual ref's that have worked their way up through the ranks for many years. The one thing that helps the Referee's is the fact that they have a committee of senior ref's that make decisions for the group. Since Mauer is on the committee he gets to witness all the decisions made that will affect the younger ref's. This is a critical position as he stated because of the fact that it can change the completion of someone's life. As an organization the NBA has had lockouts before this and the most noted one came in 1995 when the players locked out until the season was half over. During that year four different contracts were offered and finally the last one was put into place. The recurring theme was the fact that this offer was the "final offer." This was not the case as the league continued to make offers to get basketball players back on the court. I feel that this situation is a prime example of the fact that you need to set yourself worth and value before you take a job. You need to understand what the stakes are and what you are willing to accept for a contract offer. If you are part of a union then you cannot sell yourself out as well as your fellow workers. You need to stick to your guns. Always prepare for a raining day in which you may be on strike or be locked out. This will prevent you from making a decision that only benefits you and is not carefully thought out. In the end make sure you know what you are signing before you lock into a contract.

Organizational Change

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Just as a sport organization's ability to manage conflict is imperative to its success, similarly is a sport organization's understanding and willingness to change. Slack and Parent describe the "paradoxical nature of change" in that sport organizations must change if they wish to remain competitive (p.240). Knowing the importance of change, Slack and Parent describe the different types, perspectives and resistors of change in Chapter 12. Slack and Parent first identify change occurring in four general areas of a sport organization: technology, products and services, structures and systems, and people. Technological change refers to "the changes that occur in an organization's production process, the skills and methods it uses to deliver its services, or its knowledge base." (p. 239). A change in the products or services of a sport organization is relatively self-explanatory; adding, removing, or modifying the product or service which the organization offers. Structural and system change involves modifying organizational processes such as labor structure, authority structure, or control systems. Lastly, people change deals with changes in the way people think, act, and relate to others within the organization. Understanding these four general areas of change, the text provides two categories of change that can be applied regardless of their area. Radical change is a large-scaled change which can completely remake an organization. Convergent change, conversely, is a smaller-scale change which focuses on "fine-tuning" a specific aspect of a sport organization (p.240). There are many theories and models which have been presented regarding how organizations change. In the text, Slack and Parent describe the population ecology, resource dependence, life cycle, institutional, evolution and revolution, and contextualist approaches to organizational change. I found the resource dependence approach particularly interesting. In this theory of change, organizations come to depend on their environment for the resources that are critical to their survival, which results in sport managers making changes to their organization in order to adapt to their environment and remain able to obtain scarce resources (p. 241). Also of interest to me was the evolution and revolution change approach. In this model, there is evolutionary change which "occurs as organizations make incremental adjustments in their strategy, structure, or processes", and revolutionary change, which "takes place in response to a major upheaval or crisis in an organization's environment" (p. 243). Sometimes change is embraced, but this is not always the case. Slack and Parent describe four general reasons for resistance to change in sport organizations. The first, self-interest, entails organizations resisting change to protect their own self-interests. The second, lacking trust and understanding about implications of the change, is an issue of distrusting the person or group who is proposing the change and the results of that change. Third, the differing assessments of change, explains how members of a sport organization have differing opinions of the costs and benefits of a change. Lastly, costs of the change entails resistance due to the costs, time, and effort a change requires. When change is resisted, a good sport manager must realize how to deal with this resistance and implement change. Slack and Parent describe nine strategies to manage resistance: education and communication, participation and involvement, establishing change teams, idea champions, facilitation and support, negotiation, manipulation, cooptation, and coercion. Obviously there are many strategies to manage resistance to change, but of most interest to me was the idea champions strategy. Idea champions are "intensely interested and committed to the proposed change" and "play a dominant role in getting other people involved in the change process and in reducing opposition" (p.247). I feel that every sport organization needs one if not many idea champions to ensure that their organization can effectively handle change to meet their organizational goals. Whether it's a small sport organization like a high school athletic department, or a large organization such as Nike, change is a crucial aspect to organization management which must be understood and handled appropriately to ensure competitiveness and achievement of the organization's goals. Questions: 1.) Which strategy of managing resistance to change do you feel is most successful in a sport organization? Why? 2.) I feel that many people are in the belief that organizations should just let change happen naturally. Do you agree with this belief, or do you believe that at times it is necessary for an organization to induce change? Why or why not? 3.) Which of the models presented in the textbook regarding organizational change do you believe best portrays the way sport organizations change? What is it about this model that makes you believe it is the most representative of the real world?

Kenny Mauer

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I would honestly say that Kenny Mauer was one of the best guest speakers I have ever had speak to my class. He was willing to share almost everything with us and wasn't afraid to state his opinions on some of the major issues that caused the labor dispute. He also didn't mind when we brought up the whole Donaghy situation and the effect that has had on NBA officials. One thing that I really liked about Kenny was that he showed that he was worried about his security over the long run. This was not Kenny's first lockout with the NBA. He understands what the NBA is trying to do to the officials and he is used to all of their tactics. He knows that David Stern is going to try and bully the officials around and get his way, but even in the preseason their were many coaches and players complaining about the officiating and begging David Stern to end the lockout. If the officials would have waited it out, most likely at some point, a game that matters would have been effected by an official's call and this would have lead to the NBA being put in a tough situation and then the officials probably would have gotten more of their demands met. Most of the young officials did not want to risk losing their job and they were willing to sacrifice things that would help them in the future in order to keep their job right now. Kenny really tried to emphasize planning for the future and making sure that whatever they compromised on with the NBA would still be good for all of the officials over the next 10, 15, or even 20 years. I thought that Kenny was also very personable which I really liked. Right away he made sure to mention the fact that he was Joe Mauer's cousin and he talked about what a nice guy he was. Also, he had a bunch of stories about his time in the NBA and how he interacts with certain fans and players. He talked about how when he is home he usually calls a youth basketball game and how one time a fan was yelling at him from the stands and didn't believe it when people told her that he was a referee for the NBA. I think that by telling us all of these personal details it made him a very likable person and that we were all kind of pulling for the officials to win their lockout battle against the NBA. I think that David Stern exploits a lot of other people because he understands that he has a lot of power seeing as he runs one of the wealthiest sports leagues in the world. This is smart but it leads to many smaller constituents not getting what they want in the long run.

Organizational Change

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Chapter 12 concentrates on the changes the sport organization develops and implements to retain a competitive advantage in its market it targets. Slacks and Parent show four different areas of sport organization to make changes: technology, products and services, structures and system, and people. First, "technological change refers to the changes that occurs in an organization's production process, the skills and methods it uses to deliver its services, or knowledge base" (239). Second, products and services of a sport organization may involve the addition, deletion, or modification of other areas. For example if one sport becomes popular, the sporting goods stores will increase its sells. Third, the structural and systemic changes "involves modification to areas of a sport organization such as its division of labor, its authority structure, or its control system" (240). The Skirstad article "Gender Policy and Organizational Change: A Contextual Approach" will be a good example for the structural change. The article examines gender equality in sport organizations, and they focused on the relevant statues of the organization and how these have influenced gender representatives in Norwegian sports. In this article they showed Pettigrew's eight factors of how to facilitate change: quality and coherence of policy, availability of key people leading change, long-term environment pressure, supportive organizational culture, effective managerial-clinical relations, co-operative  inter organizational networks, simplicity and clarity of goals and priorities and fit between the district's change agenda and its locale (Skirstad 3). These eight factors are important lessons on how the sport managers will facilitate change.  In this study the contextual approach is used to examine how gender statutes were passed in the general Assembly of Sports in Norway. The changes occurred in the organization process refers to the actions, reactions, interactions of various stakeholders and their negotiations around the proposals of change. However, the gender equality has not yet been won by the sport federation. The forth different area of sport organization to make changes is people. This involves to the way people think and act and the way they relate to each other. This can be implemented by having sensitivity training, team building exercises, and group planning. These four areas of sport organization to make change in technology, products and services, structures and system, and people are all interrelated. So a change in one area in the organization could change one or more in the organization.

Change and Resistance

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            As Tracy Lawrence's song Time Marches On says, "The only thing that stays the same is everything changes." Sport organizations are definitely subject to that lyric. Change is an inevitable part of life, and the word seems to typically come with negative connotations. However, if handled correctly, change can be a very positive thing for a sport organization; something that will set them apart from competitors and possibly give them an edge in the competition.

            Chapter 12 in Slack and Parent discusses all aspects of change: perspectives on change, factors that cause change, sources of resistance, ways to manage resistance, and stages of the change process. While all aspects of change are important to consider in a sport organization, I would like to focus in on resistance.

            There are four major resistors to change and most of the time the source of the resistance is internal to the organization. The first source of resistance is self-interest. Individuals or subunits are naturally inclined to consider how a change will affect their self-interests before others. Because of this, if a change does not benefit them, they are likely to resist the change. The second source of resistance is a lack of trust and understanding about the repercussions of change. The process of change produces uncertainty about what impact the change will have on the organization and each subunit. The biggest reason for this resistance is people not being educated about the change. The third source of resistance comes from differing views about the consequences of the change, specifically the costs and benefits. The final source of resistance comes from the cost of the change, not only in terms of money, but also time and effort. All four of these sources of resistance cause individuals or subunits of the organization to oppose the change that you may be trying to implement. It is nearly inevitable that you will encounter resistance as a sport organizer trying to make change, so the important lesson I learned from Slack and Parent is that you need to be proactive in countering that resistance.

            Slack and Parent mentioned a few techniques that can be used. They start out as the most civil and pleasant efforts and progress to be more forceful strategies that should be used as last resorts. Education and communication should be the first approach. Educating people that resist the change as to why the change is necessary, the plan of action, and how the change is progressing. Communication can eliminate uncertainty about the change and will help people see how the change will benefit them and the organization as a whole. Another way to lessen resistance is to get the resistors involved with the process of planning and enacting the change; one way this can be done is through "change teams," or task forces. Giving people a role in the process will make them feel included and it will be more of a "we" than it would be an "us" and "them." Slack and Parent also suggest idea champions, providing a supportive atmosphere, and involving influential individuals with the decision for change. Where the strategies seem to take a more negative turn is when they suggest negotiation, manipulation, and coercion. These tactics are fairly self-explanatory, but a sport manager must make sure these are last resort tactics, and that they are cautious when they do resort to using them.

            Just as change is inevitable in a sport organization, resistance is also inevitable. Managers must be able to recognize the sources of resistance and the suggested strategies to counteract the resistance so change is not halted.

Questions for the class:

1. I had a very difficult time understanding the Organizational Archetypes and Tracks figure on page 251. Could anyone provide an example for part or all of this diagram?
2. On page 244, it says that one of the ways people in a sport organization try to bring objectivity to the change process is to bring in an outside consultant. Do you think this is effective? Do you think people would view the outside consultant as being responsible for the change?

Change

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Change is constantly happening in all organizations and it can be handled in many ways. In doing my organizational analysis about the Oakland Raiders I have noticed that they have been dealing with a large amount of change of late and they have not done a very good job of dealing with it. Since the 2002 season the Raiders have had 5 coaches. The team has to learn a new system almost every year. Many of these coaching changes have been caused because of conflicts between the owner and the coaches. While Lane Kiffin was the coach of the team he wanted to hire his father, Monte, as the team's defensive coordinator. Monte had been in the league for many years and was very well respected by people all around the league, so he was definitely well-qualified for the position. Davis did not want to hire Monte Kiffin and would not allow Lane to bring him in as his defensive coordinator. This was the first of many issues between the two men which eventually led to Kiffin being fired in the middle of the 2008 season. Another example of a lot of change in the Raider organization occurred when the Raiders moved. In the early 80s, Al Davis wanted the city of Oakland to help pay for renovations to the team's stadium. The league and the city did not support the renovations so Davis threatened to move the team to Los Angeles. Eventually Davis got his wish and he moved the team to the Coliseum in Los Angeles. The team stayed there until the mid-90s. During the early 90s the fans in Oakland had rallies and protests against the team because they were upset about the team leaving. Eventually Davis moved the team back to Oakland but he made a terrible decision to issue Personal Seat Licenses which led to the team to have poor ticket sales and they have had many games blacked out since their return to Oakland. All of this change is very hard for the organization to deal with because there is no consistency and the team never knows when the next big change is going to happen. Everyone is always on their toes and coaches know that if they slip up even once with the owner that they could be out of a job. An organization that handled change very well of late is the University of Minnesota. They merged the athletic department because they used to have a men's and women's athletic department. From everything I have come across, most people think the University did a very good job of handling this change. They brought in Joel Maturi to help lead the merger and I feel like he has the right vision to lead the University through this humongous change. This change could have turned out very bad but the organization was able to make some tough decisions on which people to keep on the staff and it seems like they have merged the two departments very smoothly.

Kenny Mauer

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Ken Mauer's presentation was very interesting and integrated some concepts we had learned about in class. Ken introduced himself first and gave us his background about how he got to where he is today.  He began his sports career as a baseball player on the team at the University of Minnesota during college. His family is heavily involved in athletics also. He is related to the Minnesota Twin's baseball player Joe Mauer. His father and also all of his brothers were referees in sports.

Ken is an official NBA referee since the 1986-87 season. He began refereeing in his home state of Minnesota. He spent nine years at the collegiate level, and six years in the Continental Basketball Association. He was then hired by the NBA. He explained his life as a referee and how it affects his family. He was talking about how he spends much of his time on the road, ref-ing games all over the country, many of the games on the west coast. He also talked about how the refs are responsible for arranging their own hotels in the cities they are working in, which I thought was very different since they are working for an organization such as the NBA officially. It was very interesting to hear about his relationships with coaches, players, and fans at the games.

Ken spent a lot of time talking about the contract negotiations between the NBA and the official referees. He explained in as much detail as possible about how the process works. Since he is one of the most experienced and older referees in the NBA he explained how they deal with the contract negotiations and tries to coach the newer and younger referees along so they can get the most money and benefits as possible from the NBA. He explained that the longer they wait the more money they would get, but the younger referees had no experience in contract negotiations with the NBA like he had, and he did not know how long they would hold out for. I thought about the power and politics of the organization when he was explaining the process. The NBA has a lot of power over the referees since the organization offers them their contracts and their benefits. Also, the politics of how the contract negotiations take place by offering and denying offers until the refs and the NBA reach an agreement.

Kenny Mauer

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I thought today's guest speaker Kenny Mauer was very informative. It is always interesting to find out things that happen behind closed doors. A lot of the issues Mr. Mauer talked about dealt with the power struggle between the NBA referees and the commissioner's office. One bit of information that I found to be fascinating was the fact that the NBA commissioner's office had access to all of the referees financial statements and mortgages that gave them insight into how long some of the younger referees would be willing to hold out. I feel as this gives complete power to the NBA and should violate some kind of law. With this information the NBA is given the upper hand in negotiations. I also found it intriguing how the college referee system showed their support for the NBA refs by not allowing their officials to ref the NBA preseason without consequences. Through uniting the referees are able to acquire some of the power they are losing through the information battle. It is dumbfounding to think that the NBA would be this cheap to the referees who are among the top in the world. Officiating is not an easy thing and the NBA seems to be short changing them in operations. I believe Mr. Mauer's approach was well thought out and very wise. Throughout his years as a referee he has gone through labor battles like this before so he was prepared for what was to follow. He mentioned during a previous labor dispute that he made well over $100,000 by not signing the deal. Knowing that the NBA would look foolish to bring an entire new referee group made Mr. Mauer realize that his job was somewhat safe. The power structure of the NBA referees was also informative. They have nine representatives that are voted in every five or so years who represent the entire group. The way in which the majority votes among these representatives is how the entire body will be run. The last bit of information that I found interesting was Mr. Mauer's voting style. He had mentioned that he never voted for any NBA contract that was placed before him. He did mention that he would hold his ground, but if the rest of the union wanted to vote for he would show his support in doing so. I think this was a very worthwhile class period and would recommend doing it in future years if possible.

Conflict

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Of the definitions of conflict presented by Slack & Parent, I like the Morgan version.  It simply states that conflict occurs whenever interests collide.  Building on that, Slack & Parent says that first, the parties involved my perceive conflict to exist, and if no one does see conflict as existing, then it doesn't exist.  Second, there must be two of more parties.  Third, one or more party must be preventing one or more other party from reaching their desired goal(s) through what is called a blocking behavior.  Fourth, the blocking party must result in some frustration, anger, or some other form of emotional response.
Slack & Parent asks, "Is conflict dysfunctional to the operation of a sport organization?"  I believe that it can be both a detriment and a motivator.  Without conflict, what is there to spark ideas and promote creativeness within an organization.  If an organization was without conflict, the work day would basically consist of repetitive tasks, day in and day out.  Conflict forces employees to work a little harder to come up with a better way of doing something.
Between horizontal and vertical conflicts, i believe that vertical conflicts are a little more easily resolved.  In a horizontal conflict, the parties are on the same level within an organization, so neither side really has any weight to throw around.  In a vertical conflict, the higher ranking party will most likely prevail.
In terms of stimulating conflict, the book presents 3 different ways.  Introducing new blood, manipulating communications, and creating competition.  I think that introducing new blood and creating competition are fairly similar, as bringing in new blood will stimulate the remaining employees.  As far as manipulating communications, i don't really see how that would provide more positive results than negative.

Organizational conflict is very common within all types of organizations. Much of this conflict may be unavoidable considering we are humans that are not perfect. Although conflict is very common, there are ways to avoid unnecessary conflict. The tough part is that conflict is often neglected and avoided. Conflict is often misunderstood which makes it very hard to avoid and address. For example, there may a situation where it may appear as though a conflict is occurring but in reality it is part of the normal routine of an organizational function. Conflict may be easily seen as a single occurrence that takes place. Slack and Parent note, that it is a system of stages. Pondy's five-stage model of conflict is referred to by Slack and Parent in the textbook. These five stages include latent conflict, perceived conflict, felt conflict, manifest conflict, and conflict aftermath. The textbook refers to many different sources of conflict within sport organizations. They are important to mention because of the seriousness that comes with dealing with organizational conflict. The sources of conflict include low formalization, interdependence, differentiation, competition over resources, differences in reward systems, role conflict, participative decision making, power incongruence, and communication problems. As you can see there are many different avenues that conflict can affect a sport organization. All of these areas are very important to consider when becoming an affective sport manager.

It is important to mention the conflict management strategies that Slack and Parent present in chapter eleven. They include strategies such as the use of authority, avoiding conflict, the separation or merging of conflicting units, increase of resources, confrontation and negotiation, integrating devices, job rotation, super ordinate goals, and third-party interventions. Even though there are many suggestions here, this will not allow a sport organization to avoid all conflict. As mentioned earlier, when running an organization with people that are not perfect you are bound to encounter organizational conflict. I would argue that the use of authority and the confrontation and negotiation strategies would be most effective when dealing with organizational conflict. When running a sport organization there needs to be some form of power, whether delegated amongst a group of people, one person, or a few. Whoever those people happens to be, an effective sport manager needs to be able to utilize their authority when conflict arises. Authority is not just its own category but it affects other conflict management strategies as well. Secondly, sport organizations need to confront and negotiate their way through conflict. When conflict is neglected it has negative effects on the sport organization and may only increase in severity as time goes on.

What conflict strategies do you think would be most effective? Do you agree with my view on the use of authority and confrontation and negotiation? How have you experienced and dealt with conflict in your past or present jobs?

 

The definition of conflict according to March and Simon in our text is "a breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative" (217).   My own definition of conflict is defined by arguments, different opinions, and pure disagreements between individuals or groups of people.  Slack and Parent identify that there are certain commonalities that all definitions of conflict have, the first being that the people involved in the conflict must have the knowledge that a conflict exists, the second is that the conflict must involve two or more groups of people that are in opposition, the third is that one or more of the groups must be preventing the other group from achieving their goal by showing "blocking behavior", lastly there must be some kind of frustration or emotional response to the conflict. (217-218). There are two forms of organizational conflict which directly correlate to the structure of the organization.  First there is vertical conflict, and this form of conflict occurs when the disagreement is between separate levels in the chain of command.  An example of vertical conflict within an organization would be if  a supervisor is in conflict with an employee or vice versa.  The second form of organizational conflict is horizontal conflict, unlike vertical where the conflict follows the chain of command, horizontal conflict is when there is conflict between groups that are at the same level.  An example of this would be if the soccer coach had a conflict with a football coach, both are on the same level in the chain of command thus the conflict travels horizontally. Slack and Parent identify sources of conflict being differentiation, interdependence, low formalization, competition over resources, differences on reward systems, power incongruence, communication problems, participative decision making, and role conflict.  The source of conflict that I find most intriguing is the competition over resources, this source is defined as, "when two or more subunits within a sport organization compete for a share of limited resources" (223).  The place that I can picture this most occurring is in a school athletic department, where there are multiple teams competing for the same budget.  There is always the team that has the good record and good team that feels that they should get a bigger budget than the team with a low number of players and a bad record; especially in today's economy there is always conflict between who gets the bigger dollar for athletics in schools.  Slack and Parent give possible strategies that could help to relieve organizational conflict, and those strategies are authority, avoidance, separating or merging conflicting units, increasing resources, integrating devices, confrontation and negotiation, third party interventions, super ordinate goals, job rotation, and issues management.  The strategy that would work the best for my example of athletic budgets would be to increase resources.  In order to solve the budget conflict the budget does not necessarily need to be increased but an athletic director could offer certain equipment to be shared among teams to increase resources for different teams.  In conclusion organizational conflict will always arise but there are strategies available to solve the conflict and make the organization better.   

Every organization has some type of conflict within it or surrounding it.  The thing about conflict is that it is harmful; most people describe conflict as such.  However, it can actually be utilized to be a positive for an organization.  Functional conflict serves the organization's interests.  Dysfunctional conflict threatens the organization's interests.

There is a five stage model of conflict that determines the levels of conflict within an organization.  The first stage is latent conflict.  The first condition is competition for scarce resources.  An example of this could be when two departments within the same organization have differing opinions on who should have the most resources within the organization.  The next condition is the drive for autonomy.  For example the marketing department within an organization may have a dispute with the corporate office on the ways they want to present products to the stakeholders.  The third condition is the divergence of subunit goals.  Each subunit within an organization is not likely to have the same goals as another subunit within the organization.  This could cause conflict but if managed right, the conflict could work as a motivator to make the organization more effective.  The second stage is perceived conflict.  In this stage, one or more of the individuals or parties engaged becomes aware that there is potential for conflict.  The third stage is felt conflict.  Emotions are encountered between the two participants in this stage.  The fourth stage is manifest conflict.  In this stage oppositional behavior takes place, which can range from avoidance to physical violence.  The fifth and final stage is conflict aftermath.  The conflict is either resolved or is basis for future conflicts in this stage.

There are several sources of conflict in a sport organization.  Differentiation happens when subunits have different goals, management philosophies, and time orientations.  Interdependence is another source of conflict and it creates an opportunity to interfere and block associated with conflict.  Low formalization forces subunits to rely on political tactics and coercion to operate.  As stated previously, competition over resources is another source of conflict.  Differences in reward systems are another source of conflict.  Each manager within the subunit tries to accomplish the goal of the organization and sometimes may have to abandon their goals within the subunit.  This may award them more resources than another subunit causing conflict.  Power incongruence, communication problems, participative decision-making, and role conflict are all sources of conflict that may occur.

For an organization to be effective it needs to recognize conflict and stop it from being a problem.  A good manager will be able to recognize and diffuse the situation.  If an organization can use functional conflict and not dysfunctional conflict it will be on the right path of being effective.

 

Conflict in an Organization

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Organizations have two different types of conflict, functional and dysfunctional conflict. One of them is good for a company and the other is bad. Organizations should focus on functional conflict to help them grow and succeed because only good suggestions can come from functional conflict. Dysfunctional conflict consists of daily social interaction situations that can bring the company down. In the five stage model of conflict the first stage is latent conflict. There are three types of latent conflict, first of them being scarce resource competition. This can be described when two different areas or departments, for instance the men's and women's athletics departments for the university, believe they should have more of a specific resource, in their case equipment. This can create conflict between the two different sides of the athletic department. The second is the drive for autonomy. There may be certain people or subunits as the book says, that want to work alone on something or take something over themselves. Lastly it can be the differing goals of different groups in the company. I think this should be resolved by everyone and every group in the company working essentially towards the same goal. The second stage is the perceived conflict stage. This is a stage where rumors of conflict beginning have been brought to the attention of one or more of the parties in the company. Third stage is felt conflict, which is where the negative emotions are met. The next stage is manifest conflict where the behavior of the conflict is shown. The last stage is the conflict aftermath, which is where either it is resolved, or the basis for more conflict later. The book acknowledges multiple sources of conflict in an organization. The different sources are differentiation, interdependence, low formalization, competition over resources, differences in reward systems, power incongruence, communication problems, participative decision making, and role conflict. I think the ones that are the source of most conflicts in an organization are the power incongruence, communication problems, and participative decision making. I think that these the most driving sources to conflict because I feel many people have problems not being heard in a company or when the power of the company is not where it should be or is being abused. Also the participative decision making can cause problems because they have too many opinions being spoken about how the company should evolve in many different aspects. For effectiveness of an organization the company needs to recognize its functional conflict and work with it, while at the same time dealing with the dysfunctional conflict in a positive and fair manner so the conflict and be resolved.

Conflict in Sport Orgs

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Bring able to handle and manage conflicts in an organization is very essential to the organization running smoothly. Conflict management is defined as "the ability to navigate through the small and large conflicts within an organization" by Slack and Parent. The book gives many definitions of conflict, but what I understood from the definitions it is a discrepancy between two or more parties that is recognized by all parties and needs to be resolved. Slack and parent describes that there are two ways an organization can have conflict, horizontally and vertically. Horizontal conflict can happen due to a misunderstanding of duties between different subunits. Vertical conflict usually happens because of misunderstandings in power allotments in the different positions. For example, a defensive coordinator for a football team may think they can make all the calls during a game for the defense without consulting the head coach. This would create conflict between the coaches and confusion for the players. Conflict can either be detrimental or beneficial for the organization. If the conflict is not dealt with efficiently it could hold an organization back, but it is positive because it stimulates change and creativity. Slack and Parent also discuss different sources of conflict being; differentiation, interdependence, low formalization, competition over resources, differences in reward systems, power inconvenience, communication problems, participative decision making problems and role conflicts. All of these sources of conflict have ways to be solved and dealt with differently. There are many ways that Slack and Parent point out, some being more effective than others These different ways to deal with conflict are called: authority, avoidance, sparating or merging conflict units, increasing resources, integrating devices, confrontation and negotiation, superordinate goals, job rotation and issues management. Out of all of these techniques, I would say avoidance is the worst technique. Although it may initially solve the issue, it will stay latent if not deal with and could blow up into something much larger if left untouched. The book states that authority is the most common way to deal with conflict in a sport organization, I think this is an efficient way to deal with conflict as well. The authoritative figure addresses the issue and solves it, or tells the parties how to solve it. All the other ways mentioned also work well in settling differences and dissipating conflict. When there is more than one person in an organization, there is bound to be conflict. Differing ideas on how an organization is best run, how players are to be recruited, what products to order, how much money is allocated for different departments, power struggles, etc. will all create conflict, but this also helps an organization grow and shape into something better. What is a case in which conflict would be completely detrimental to an organization?

Conflict

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                Conflict is defined in several different ways. The one that I believe fits sports organizations the best is defined by Morgan as "conflict occurs whenever interests collide." Within an organization there is horizontal conflict and vertical conflict. Horizontal conflict is when there is a conflict between subunits at the same level of an organization. For example at a division I university the coordinator of campus recreation programs might have a conflict with coordinator of intercollegiate athletics over the use of a sports facility. Vertical conflict occurs between different hierarchical levels of an organization. Most of the vertical conflict stems from the need for control in a sport organization.

                Conflict in sports organizations stem from several different sources. Slack and Parent list differentiation, interdependence, low formalization, competition over resources, differences in reward system, power incongruence, communication problems, participative decision making, and role conflict as some of the sources. Sports organizations need to have strong communication between the different divisions and throughout the different levels of the organization.  If conflict arises in communication it is likely because the information got misinterpreted. Communication needs to be clear between the subunits. Another source of conflict can stem from the formalization of the organization. According to Slack and Parent "when formalization is high, the potential for conflict in a sport organization is low; when formalization is low, the potential for conflict is high" (p 223). The formalization of an organization is like a balancing act. You don't want too much, but you need enough so that your organization runs smoothly.

                Slack and Parent give an example of conflict has happened in a real organization, that talk about is the 2004-2005 NHL lockout by the owners over salary cap disputes with the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association).  This conflict between the owners and the players is an example of competition over resources, and in this case the resource was money. The owners and players tried to resolve this conflict over resources with confrontation and negotiation, this means that they met face-to-face to try to resolve their differences.  Confrontation and negotiation is just one of several different conflict management strategies. Some of the other management strategies are authority, avoidance, separating or merging conflicting units, increasing resources, integrating devices, third-party interventions, superordinate goals, job rotation, and issues management. In the NHL lockout example the players association wanted to resolve the conflict with the management strategy of increasing resources. They believed that the success of an NHL team is based on the owners, and that they should basically find more money to support the trend of increasing players salaries. The players believed that they should not be punished for the owners not making a profit on a team. In this situation conflict was good. It forced both sides to sit down and come up with a solution to their problem of being the poorest of the four North American professional sport leagues, and which they did with a salary cap. A little bit of conflict is needed within an organization to make that organization effective.

Conflict

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Conflict will always be prevalent within sport organizations. With so many different roles in an organizational structure it is nearly impossible to avoid conflict. As sport managers we must learn effective methods in managing conflict to ensure that our organizations will continue to operate smoothly and to full potential. Our book categorizes conflict into two different types, which are vertical conflict and horizontal conflict. Horizontal conflict arises between subunits, or those individuals representing those subunits, that are on the same level of the organizational structure. (Slack and Parent, 2006) Vertical conflict happens between different levels of the organizational structure. (Slack and Parent, 2006) Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing in a sport organization. If there is conflict in an organization then members of various levels of the structure must react to it. At times this conflict comes from disapproval or unhappiness within an organization. By dealing with such a conflict organizations better themselves and create a more productive work environment. Our book provides Pondy's Five-Stage Model of Conflict, which includes each step of the conflict process. The steps are latent conflict, perceived conflict, felt conflict, manifest conflict, and conflict aftermath. Latent conflict is the competition of scare resources, drive for autonomy, and divergence of subunit goals. Perceived conflict is the stage where the people involved become aware that there is an actual potential for conflict. Felt conflict is the emotional reaction to the disagreement. Manifest conflict is described as the stage when adversarial behavior is demonstrated. Lastly, conflict aftermath is the resolution to the conflict or the basis to future conflict. (Slack and Parent, 2006) Specifically in sport organizations common conflicts have to do with differentiation in goals and management styles, low formalization, competition over resources, differences in reward systems, communication problems, and power incongruence. (Slack and Parent) Our book also provides us with a few strategies to successfully manage conflict. One strategy is avoidance. By completely avoiding conflict or as our book says, "turning a blind eye" on a problem provides a short-term fix to a conflict that will most likely resurface with a greater negative effect on the organization. Another strategy is separating or merging conflicting subunits. By separating conflicting subunits they no longer have any contact with each other. By merging conflicting subunits mangers can force conflicting subunits to effectively work with one another to solve a conflict. (Slack and Parent, 2006) Overall, ignoring conflict within sport organizations happens quit frequently. At times conflict is difficult to identify and therefore hard to manage and avoid. By taking the correct steps to recognize the specific type of conflict that arises sport managers can prevent larger or future conflict from arising by using different strategies to manage it effectively.

Conflict Chapter 11

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Chapter 11 discusses many different ways to look at conflict in a sport organization and also how to go about coping with this situation. Conflict is defined in many different ways throughout the chapter by numerous different high end people in the sports industry, but one that I really thought hit the head on the nail was by March and Simon and reads, "breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so than an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative". I believe this really sums up and brings all the definitions together that were stated throughout the chapter. Conflict is a very touchy subject because in everyones mind you look at conflict as a way or disruption or in a bad view. That is the way I looked a conflict before reading the chapter and actually was surprised to see a chapter on conflict itself. Conflict is something that you really do not seem to be an important issue because there are greater things involved in a organization to discuss other than conflict. After reading this chapter I realized how much conflict plays a role in the things we have already discussed in previous chapters such as effectives, structure etc. You need to know where your power is because a lot of the issues discussed in the chapters have to do with conflict and it plays a huge role on how things are dealt with. You have two types of conflict when allocating power, the first one is vertical conflict where the conflict is between a person of lower power and a person of higher power. For instance you could have managers and workers as the manager would be the hierarchy and the workers are below them in which states a conflict vertically. The second one that is discussed is horizontal power which is where the conflict is between two sub groups in the same level of power. For instance you would have a conflict between two different programs at a University similar in contrast trying to get money to fund there program. Conflicts can really eat away at an organization if they are not dealt with in a proper manner and effectively. The books states many different ways to go about conflicts and how to deal with them but I feel like if you have a very structured organization where everyone is on the same page and operates the same you should not have very many conflicts and if so there very minimal or small. When you have to deal with huge conflicts it means that people are being greedy or are not on the same page and you have a very unstructured organization. The thing I found interesting was found on page 225 under Role Conflict. It states that, "Changing a persons role in a sport organization, even if it is seen as a desirable move, can cause disruption and stress that can lead to conflict". This was very interesting to me when I read it because I thought to myself how, if your a hierarchy in a sport organization do you advance someone in your organization if this is suppose to bring so much conflict. Q1: How do you move someone up the ladder if the book says to stay away from this because it will bring to much conflict. Q2:Do you think conflict will get better as technology and things get better and move on or will there always be conflict no matter what level it is.
Conflict is present in every organization; the organizations that deal with it correctly are the ones that stand out from the crowd. One definition of conflict is a "breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative" (Slack and Parent, p. 217). When I think of conflict I normally think of negativity, fighting, and inefficiency within organizations. However, some conflict in the workplace is healthy. Granted, to much conflict in any organization is going to lead to less being accomplished, but no conflict is not going to force any organization to change, which is necessary to not get left behind in today's competitive economy. It is up to management to recognize potential conflict, approach conflict when it is present within their organization, and deal with is appropriately. As stated at the beginning, how a company deals with conflict really defines a company as a whole. There are many different strategies to dealing with conflict but a few that I feel are very essential are authority, increasing resources, separating or merging conflicting units, job rotation, and superordinate goals. With the proper authority just about every situation should be able to be solved. For instance if two players on a team are not getting along well and cannot resolve the issue on their own the coach may need to step in and fix the problem for them. One, or maybe both of the players, may not agree with how the coach handles the situation but due to the fact that he has more power the players will most likely respect his decision and the problem will be solved. Another method of dealing with conflict, increasing resources, is necessary in certain cases I feel. Often times subunits may begin to argue if they do not have their own equipment, or own office space, etc. If it is at all possible, giving separate subunits their own area and supplies will essentially make them feel more important and probably less likely to start arguments with units. This idea ties into separating or merging conflicting units. If subunits are not getting along it is crucial to physically separate them so they cannot argue anymore. On the other hand, sometimes it is best to merge units together to avoid more conflict. An example of this would be when two competing companies merge to avoid the competition and potential loss of business for one company. Sometimes it is easier to merge and work together as a stronger force. When there begins to be issues between employees doubting the work ethic and difficulty of another's job, job rotation is the method to use. By having employees temporarily switch positions they are able to gain an understanding of what the other does and thus appreciate them more and they will be less likely to be so hard on each other. The last conflict resolution strategy I am going to discuss is the use of superordinate goals. Each subunit is usually going to have their individual goals they need to accomplish, however, if there are not higher level goals' that each sub unit is working for it can create conflict. By establishing one more broad, basic goal that all of the subunits are working for it is easier for units to get along because they are all working on the same page. The questions to ask when thinking about each of these conflict management strategies are what strategy would work best for the situation your company is in and is it ideal to switch the strategies up every once in a while or stick with the same conflict management strategies all the time?

Power and Politics

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Power and politics play an enormous role in the sport industry. Most large sport organizations have some sort of power structure in place to help maintain a smooth operating business. Sometimes power and politics have a positive effect on organizations and other times they can hinder the organization from operating to its full potential. As stated in our book, power is one of the most widespread yet more problematic concepts in the organizational theory. (Slack and Parent, 2006) Power has much to do on the individual level of the organizational structure. Our book points out that power is the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done. (Slack and Parent, 2006) There are many forms of power that have influence on an organization. One such form is authority, which is the power that accrues to a person because of his or her own role within the organization. (Slack and Parent, 2006) In our Inside the Olympic Industry reading, Lensky shows how power and politics can be abused. The reading describes how a few top Olympic officials used their authority and power to give family members scholarships they were not supposed to get. The top officials had the power to allocate money to certain areas and they used it for personal benefit rather than for the goof of the organization. This coincides with our books definition of Legitimate Power. The officials power came strictly from their title and position and not and specific qualities they posses. (Slack and Parent) In another reading we learned that Olympic committees in Canada had attempted to reorganize their organizational structures in order to create a more successful Olympic program. The problem with this stemmed from certain powers being shifted from one group to another. Volunteers had traditionally run the organizations and the reorganization was going to establish a central power structure that gave volunteers much less authority. The desired power in this case was to control the decision-making process. The confusion and power shift only hurt the organizations because of the people involved being unwilling to give up certain powers. Politics within sport tend to have more to do with the interaction among organization members. Within politics organizations establish coalitions, use outside experts, and build a network of contacts, which all assist in achieving the organizational goals. (Slack and Parent, 2006) Overall, power and politics have a great influence on the way organizations operate.

Conflict

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               Within a sports organization there can be two types of conflict, Good and Bad.  Due to event throughout history we often think of the word conflict only as something that is bad.  But the truth is that conflict can be a very good and helpful thing.  The best way in which I can describe conflict being good is when it makes you change something within the organization for the better of everyone inside the facility.  Let's say that a group of employees wanted a new piece of equipment that was going to make their job easier and the facility look a lot better.  Well if they were to raise a stink and tell the ownership that they needed it to make their facility look better, the ownership would have to get it because they wouldn't want the facility looking bad.  This is what I classify as good conflict, the workers got what they wanted and the ownership got a better looking facility.  Even though it might sound somewhat easy for good conflict to happen it is very rare.

                Most conflict is bad conflict.  In this conflict one side wants something that the other side doesn't want to give them.  In every one of these cases one side gets hurt or becomes upset.  This is never a good thing when you are trying to run an effective organization.  You want everyone to be happy and work together.  Most cases of these conflicts are because they don't have the resources to provide what the other side wants.  Take the example that I gave earlier, let's say that the organization didn't have enough money to spend on the equipment. Well ownership is going to be upset because they don't have the money and they wish that they did and the employees are going to be mad because now they are going to have to work harder.  It often becomes a vicious circle of blame, which is never good.  Although some of these conflicts become very heated and stay around for a long time a majority of them end up dyeing out because people often just forget about it.  That is probably what is best for both the organization and the workers anyway.

Nike

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            Upon reading the Nike article I began to make many evaluations about the company as well as its practices. Overall, their products, research, and cutting edge technology in the sports industry are second to none. However, their practices as a business should be questioned along with the leadership within their organization. Nike's business model is "to market high-end consumer products manufactured in cost-efficient supply chains (Zadek, 2004)." This common practice used amongst many organizations proves to be effective in attracting many customers and generating a vast amount of profit. However, underlying this business model for Nike is the unethical practices of how the products are made and the unfair wages paid to factory workers in Indonesia. With the exploitations of Nike's business practices being exposed in the early 2000's a new approach was necessary, thus they developed the path to corporate responsibility.

            Therefore, Nike came up with the five stages of organizational learning. These stages in order are defensive, compliance, managerial, strategic, and civil. Using this system they assessed where they were at and how they could progress through each level and eventually reaching the overall goal of becoming a civil learning organization.  Assessing the first stage of being defensive, this states that companies deny their responsibilities as an organization. A company in this stage really needs to re-evaluate the power and position they have in the market and whether or not they are willing to continue to take the risks involved with this stage. Next, the compliance stage states that a company recognizes their responsibilities as an organization; however they do it just to please the corporate standard that is set. This stage is not taking a community responsibility approach and says a lot to consumers about what is important to the company. The managerial stage shows that companies are taking a realistic approach to addressing corporate responsibility yet they are still missing the long term benefit in building a partnership with the community. The strategic learning stage takes an important approach to reaching out to the company and really building in social issues with business strategies. Overall this is a great approach however the step missing is incorporating this idea across business to business relationships. The civil stage is the ideal approach for a company that wants to show ultimate social responsibility for its business actions because it promotes industry participation.

Altogether, Nike remains in the compliance stage to this day with adjustments being made to improve to the managerial stage. They have shown progress by incorporating these ideas into their business activities. However, by promoting themselves as the industry leader in corporate responsibility while still participating in shady business they really contradict their actions and progressing to the next stage. Avoiding the conflict presented by this situation was impossible, however Nike managed this improperly by refusing to do interviews and address the issue. Instead they ignored the so called bad "itch" and continued on until the power of the people starting this issue became too great where they were forced to create a plan of corporate responsibility. Overall Nike has been able to avoid a lot of negative media in the past five years since the initial outbreak of their business practices with this five stage approach. To avoid this in the future Nike would benefit in actually participating in the plan they have set forth.

Conflict

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Conflict is much as a necessary part of an organization's success as power, structure, or design. The word conflict almost automatically brings thoughts of arguments and power struggles, or dysfunctional conflict, but this can also be good for an organization. Functional conflict brings new ideas to the table and different people are allowed a voice so that there is not always one person, one idea being brought out and executed in a plan; and therefore serves the organization's interests. This can also increase efficiency. However, conflict can also be a negative thing for organizations. As the article points out that conflict can often come from a lack of communication between sub-groups of an organization. Clearly defining tasks can reduce this greatly. Sometimes conflict can come where one employee feels above his rank and acts out of turn and stirs up mixed feelings among other employees therefore a leader must step in and resolve the conflict. The article argues that while all organizations are susceptible to conflict that organizations that utilize volunteers are even more susceptible than those that do not. This is explained by the differences between the values and objectives of different sub-units. The article also argues that conflict can often arise from the structural framework of an organization and as much as a manager can try to design structures and systems that allow work to be effectively accomplished these same systems create conflicts that inhibit the accomplishment of goals. Conflict often arises from a single or a group of "trigger-events," most often of which is lack of resources. When there are financial cut-backs there is an additional burden put on sub-groups which will struggle to retain the resources they already have and perhaps acquiring more resources. The different types of conflict, interpersonal, intragroup, intergroup, interorganizational conflicts are all equally as common and equally as in the public eye. Conflict, more often dysfunctional conflict, can affect the image of an organization in a negative way, which as managers we want to avoid and deal with quickly. In the case of the Nike interorganizational conflict between Nike and a human rights organization the conflict was very public and the reputation of the company fell to an all time low and Nike and to create ways to defer this problem quickly. This conflict was a good thing for Nike as once they began to take care of the problem it re-vamped their image to something better than it was before the human rights violations were brought to light. In this way the conflict was transferred from dysfunctional to functional.

Conflict

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Conflict is an essential part of any organization much like power, culture, goals, or strategy. When you hear the word "conflict," words such as problem, dispute, or disagreement often come to mind. While this is true, conflict can be beneficial to an organization as well. This is especially important since "sport and leisure organizations exhibit characteristics that render them significantly more susceptible to conflict than organizations in other institutional spheres" (Amis, Slack & Berrett 1). Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, conflict is a phenomenon which arises from the structural framework of an organization" (1). With this in mind, how would a sport manager govern or structure their organization to minimize conflict as much as possible? One of the most influential and impacting things they can do is ensure the centralization of their subunits. Each subunit will develop their own culture and set of norms that they work by. This differentiation creates a sense of autonomy within that specific group. Though they are all working toward the same ultimate organizational goal, they will all have different ideas about how to reach the end goal. If each subunit develops their own personal values and beliefs then they will only be able to function within their own realm rather than work cohesively with everyone else in the larger organization. "A lack of formalized procedures, dictated by rules, regulations, and other forms of documentation is another common source of dispute" (Amis, Slack & Berrett). It is inevitable that each subunit will have their own set of beliefs and internal rules; however, to lessen the probability of conflict, a manager must set forth a centrally focused set of rules and regulations for the entire organization to abide by. In addition, all subunits need to be equally treated in terms of treatment and rewards. Sport organizations are naturally informal and cannot hope to become more formalized without some form of task interdependence. Increased communication and interdependence between subunits will ensure successful programs, events, and performances specifically for sport organizations. Relationships within a sport organization will also affect the level conflict within the organization. As long power between the all constituents is equal and communication is open, day-to-day operation will run smoothly without any problems. As previously stated, conflict can also have positive effects on an organization including: maintaining a balance of power within the system and ensuring a reasonably equitable distribution of system resources (which is also one of the most significant factors that can increase the potential for conflict). Essentially, to an extent, conflict is something to be monitored and controlled but you should remember though it can create problems in an organization, it can also be beneficial.

10-19 Blog: Conflict

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Chapter 11 focuses on conflict which occurs in any type of sport organization. Conflict has many different definitions. The one that I think is the best definition that the book provides is that conflict is a "breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative" (Slack and Parent, 217). One thing that is pertinent to an organization is that they realize when a conflict arises or exists. That is essential because, clearly, nothing can be resolved if no one recognizes that something needs to change. Another key element to a conflicting situation is that it must involve two or more parties that are in opposition to one another. One of the opposing parties must be involved in keeping the other parties from accomplishing their goals. This is what the book calls blocking behavior which then results in some sort of emotional response whether it be anger, frustration, etc. These are the components that must be in place for there to be a conflict within an organization.

 

The chapter highlights the importance of identifying which parts of the organization are involved in the conflict. In other words, if the conflict is between departments at the same level it is known as horizontal conflict. If it arises between departments of different hierarchal levels, it is known as vertical conflict. The reason that is important to identify where the conflict arises is because it helps to determine who has the authority to resolve the conflict at hand.

 

The conflict process is described in the book as Pondy's five-stage model. The first stage is the latent stage of conflict which is essentially when there is competition for resources, a drive for autonomy, or a divergence of goals within departments. The second stage of this model is perceived conflict which means that, at this stage, it has become known that a conflict exists within the organization. The third stage is called felt conflict which is when emotional responses occur, for example, anger and frustration. The fourth stage is manifest conflict which, as Slack and Parent puts it, "is when some sort of adversarial behavior is exhibited, ranging from apathy and rigid adherence to rules to violence and physical abuse, although thankfully the latter is rare in sport organizations" (Slack and Parent, 222). The last stage of Pondy's model is called conflict aftermath. In this stage, the conflict either has been resolved or not which affects the future of the organization and what lies ahead.

-Kristen Dockery

From the book, March and Simon define conflict as a "breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative." In my own words, I would say that conflict arises when intentions or acts disagree with one another. There are two types of conflict that can occur within an organization. The first, horizontal conflict is between different areas on the same level of hierarchy of an organization. The other, vertical conflict is between different levels of an organization that have differences in power. This conflict is not always a negative thing, as an optimal level of conflict will allow an organization to be critical of itself within each hierarchy and between levels of the hierarchy. If there is no conflict or conflict is frequent, the organization can become dysfunctional and have many problems. Conflict can happen in a number of ways in a sport organization. The structure of the organization, as well as the other factors we have discussed in class can lead to conflicts within the organization. Whether these conflicts are positive or negative, a manager needs to develop strategies to control them. There are many ways to manage conflict, and they are done by either changing behavior or attitudes. Using personal authority within the organization can resolve a conflict even though everyone may not be happy with the outcome. Another strategy is avoiding the problem, but both of these are short-term solutions. Horizontal conflict can be resolved by either separating the subunits completely, or merging them together to make one team. Increasing resources can also discourage conflict between units that have to share the resources. If separating or merging is not an option, a confrontation may be necessary between conflicting parties to negotiate an agreement. A third-party may even be needed, such as an arbitrator, to help with the negotiating process. The creation of goals for an entire organization to achieve can also help conflicting subunits to come together and work as one to achieve such goals. Job rotation is another strategy, as a change of setting can help an employee who has a problem with how another job is done to understand why it is being done a certain way. With any of these strategies, managing external and internal issues with help a manager formulate and implement a response to prevent or manage the issues which can create conflict. While these ways can help an organization prevent or cope with conflict, another strategy is to stimulate conflict to keep an organization from becoming complacent. Introducing new blood can give an organization a jump start, and introduce new ideas and strategies to the organization. A controversial strategy is communication manipulation. Withholding information for a subunit or releasing information that suggests problems can motivate employees to evaluate their situation and try to improve. The final strategy is the creation of competition. Competition can be healthy, and it can force subunits or individuals to strive to do their best.

Conflict

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Conflict within an organization is inevitable, but not always negative. An important role for each employee throughout an organization is to manage the conflict so that it does not result in unwanted consequences. Conflict management is just as important as other areas within an organization such as planning, communication and motivation (Slack and Parent 217). If an organization is able to communicate and identify conflicts that arise they will ultimately be better off and more effective. The first thing an organization must be able to do when addressing a conflict is to determine the source of the vertical or horizontal conflict. Vertical conflict occurs between employees in different hierarchical levels whereas horizontal conflict occurs between subunits (Slack and Parent 218). One reason a conflict may arise is due to a lack of resources. When different subunits are forced to compete for a limited number of resources there is likely to be disagreement over which subunits needs them more. This is becoming increasingly important during the current economic times and the lack of money, the most valuable resource. Subunits are forced to stretch the money they have and often are even forced to cut from their budgets. Another source of conflict is differentiation. Because different groups within an organization have individual goals they look to achieve their goals rather than helping other subunits (Slack and Parent 222). By doing this the organization becomes more divided and overall performance is hindered. Another source of conflict is lack of communication. When a company is split up into different departments and each department has different terms for actions there is likely to be a lack of communication. One subunit may choose to withhold information in order to gain a competitive advantage and help reach their goals first (Slack and Parent 224). With conflicts being almost unavoidable a company must be able to manage these conflicts so they do not interfere and hinder operations. One method of dealing with conflict is delegating authority to certain employees. By doing this people are in charge of disciplining others and are put in charge to handle conflict. In organizations such as the NBA and MLB commissioners are used to enforce rules and make sure everyone abides by the guidelines (Parent and Slack 226). By doing this, employees are less likely to be in conflict with each other because they realize that the rules are being enforced by a third party. Another way to deal with conflict is to increase the amount of resources available. However, with current economic times many companies are unable to do this. With less competition over resources subunits have less competition with one another and are less likely to engage in conflict. Although conflict exists and needs to be monitored to ensure effectiveness a lack of conflict can be just as detrimental as too much conflict. Without conflict there may be an inability to create new ideas and change ways of operating. What examples of conflict are seen through the four major sports today? What is an example of when conflict helped in your work experience?
Conflict is one of the biggest issues with any organization. If conflict occurs, the organization is suspect to failures in some ways because of conflict. When an organization can not deal with a conflict effectively, severe consequences can occur. The example that Slack and Parent give is the cancelled NHL season that occurred in the 2004-2005 season. Even though the league was worth 2.1 billion dollars, the season was cancelled because it was the poorest of the North American professional sport leagues. This caused huge conflict with the athletes, the fans, and multiple other stakeholders. Instead of enforcing a salary cap immediately, the season was cancelled. There were many options to resolve conflict, but both sides were resistant. By the time the team actually had decided the lockout of the season, the fans, athletes, and coaches have somewhat moved on. This just shows how conflict can affect an organization. Most organizations have conflict management involved into their daily operations. It is as important as planning, communication, and motivation, according to Slack and Parent (217). There are different types of conflict, such as horizontal and vertical conflict. Horizontal conflict is when there are issues and incidents between a group of people at the same level or profession. An example of this would be at a basketball program. I am a manager for the women's basketball team at the University of Minnesota, and sometimes the group of managers has a conflict with each other. This is an example of horizontal conflict because it is an issue that only involved a certain level group of people. Vertical conflict involves the hierarchy of professions. A conflict can occur at all different levels of an organization. With the basketball team, this would involve an issue occurring with the head coach of the basketball team, and those issues going down the line through the entire program. A conflict can also occur at the bottom of an organization and climb to the top. Conflict is seen as a negative tone because it hinders a sport organization from reaching its goals. There are main sources of conflict in sport organizations. The first is differentiation, and this is when the levels of an organization are split up and the duties that occur in each level of an organization are not extremely fair. The more difference that is displayed in each subunit of the hierarchies' causes a higher chance of conflict. Another source is interdependence, which is when the differentiation varies greatly between subunits. This is also apparent in small business fitness clubs because they are so independent from the chains. The third source is low formalization. This is clear that if an organization does not perform professionally, they are subject to conflict. If rules and regulations are not established, they will be broken. Competition over resources is another source of conflict. When two or more subunits in the same sport organization compete for limited resources, conflict is inevitable. If rewards for success are variant and different among other subunits, conflict will arise because of unfairness. Power incongruence causes conflict because of unclear leadership boundaries. Communication is probably one of the most important aspects in an organization. If communication is failed, the organization is doomed for failure. Along with communication, comes participative decision making. When a group does not communicate and participate together well, disagreements will cause conflict. Role conflict is when a person will cause conflict when their roles and responsibilities suddenly change in an organization. All of these sources of conflict can be solved numerous ways. Each way has a different solution. Conflict is one of the most avoided issues in any organization because no one wants to deal with the issues that surround the effectiveness of a company. When all of the sources of conflict are dealt with effectively is when an organization can be successful. It is hard to know what any one person would do in any given conflict, but I wonder what most sport organizations use to handle conflict effectively? Does hierarchical power influence the impact of conflict in a sport organization?
Conflict occurs in nearly every organization, it is simply inevitable. However, how an organization goes about dealing with and managing conflict is crucial to its success. When we look back on the NHL lockout that wiped out the 2004-2005 or any other organizational conflict, people cringed at that word "conflict". In the reading of Chapter 11, Slack and Parent discuss that conflict can have positive and negative impacts on organizations. Simply defined by Kolb and Putnam (1992), "conflict may be said to exist when there are real or perceived differences that arise in specific organizational circumstances and that engender emotion as a consequence."

The text discussed that one method to categorize conflict is to distinguish if that conflict takes place between subunits at the same level of the organization, which is horizontal conflict, or conflict that takes place between different hierarchical levels, which is vertical conflict. For example, in a collegiate athletic department the coordinator of intercollegiate athletics and the coordinator for rec sports have very different agendas. If the rec sports coordinator believes that their programs are getting shorted funds because more money is being allocated to the varsity sports teams, we have an example of horizontal conflict. If this situation was between the coordinator for intercollegiate athletics and the school's baseball coach, then it would be a vertical conflict.

An important idea discussed in the reading was Pondy's Five-Stage Model of Conflict. This model helps depict the conditions that produce conflict and the events that can trigger conflict, which his helpful to understand for sport managers who are in position to deal with conflict. The five stages are 1) latent stage of conflict, 2) perceived conflict, 3) felt conflict, 4) manifest conflict, and 5) conflict aftermath. The three conditions that create latent conflict are competition for scarce resources, a drive for autonomy, and a divergence of subunit goals. Having now understood a sort of timeline of how conflict occurs, we can look at sources of conflict in sport organizations. The text discussed differentiation, interdependence, low formalization, competition over resources, differences in reward systems, power incongruence, communication problems, participative decision-making, and role conflict. In my experience in the athletic department here at the University of Minnesota communication has lead to the majority of conflict I have seen or been a part of. One example of this was a communication problem between our coaches and our team equipment manager. The coaches had told the players that they would each be getting a new baseball-glove during the fall season, when in fact the equipment manager had told them only certain positions would receive a new glove. The two sides had not sat down and discussed what was going to occur with the glove situation before they went and told the players two different things. This lead to one of the sides getting angry at the other for saying something that they had said the opposite of, which was conflicted that could have been easily avoided with some simple communication.

One of the key concepts from this reading to me was how an organization deals with conflict. The ways you manage conflict and also implement conflict have a direct correlation to the success and productivity of your organization. I have always believed that if a conflict arises, the problem needs to be confronted and talked about right away. It is better to come to some sort of resolution or understanding, no matter how painful it may be, rather than let the problem become something that the organization cannot overcome. Even though I may not see eye-to-eye with somebody, I can respect them much more if we talk about the issue at hand. The text talked about ways to create conflict in an organization, such as creating competition, manipulating communications, and introducing new personnel. These things make sense, but to me conflict is something that should occur naturally and maybe within the course of nature these types of conflict do occur. An organization should not have to consciously think about creating conflict, it happens because of the way the culture is structured. Conflict is something that should not be feared, but is rather something that can have a huge impact on sport organizations, in a positive or negative connotation.

-What kinds of conflict have you seen in organizations you have been a part of?
 -What effect, if any, does power that we discussed in Chapter 10, have on organizational conflict?

Organizational Conflict

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When you think of conflict, what comes to mind? More than likely, the concept of conflict has a negative connotation in your mind. While conflict can pose a serious threat to sport organizations, it can also be beneficial in optimal levels. Understanding what organizational conflict is, the various types of conflicts, and strategies to manage organizational conflict are necessary for any successful sport organization. Like many other concepts discussed in our text, conflict can be defined in many different ways. Slack and Parent provide three or four personal definitions from scholars which all differ slightly, but they then outline the commonalties between these definitions to create a general definition of conflict. According to the text, conflict must involve the following: perceived conflict, two or more parties in opposition, one or more of the parties are involved in preventing other parties from achieving its goals, and lastly, this behavior results in emotional responses such as anger, frustration, etc. (p.217). After defining conflict, Slack and Parent describe the two basic types of conflict: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal conflict can occur between subunits on the same level of the organizational hierarchy. The text provides an example of a collegiate athletic department which experiences horizontal conflict between the Coordinator of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Coordinator of Campus Recreation (p.218). Vertical conflict, on the other hand, occurs between subunits of a sport organization which are located on different levels of the organizational hierarchy. Using a collegiate athletic department again as an example, vertical conflict could occur between the Coordinator of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Athletic Director. What is the typical process of conflict in sport organizations? Without being too specific, Slack and Parent describe a "conflict process" developed by Pondy which includes five stages. In the first stage, the latent conflict stage, Pondy asserts that certain conditions of an organization provide the potential for conflict. These conditions include competition for scarce resources, the drive for autonomy, and a divergence of subunit goals. The second stage, the perceived conflict stage, involves the parties involved becoming aware of the conflict. The third stage, the felt conflict stage, involves the exertion of emotions such as anger, hostility, and frustration. The fourth stage, coined the manifest conflict stage, involves adversial behavior such as poor adherence to rules or even physical abuse. The final stage of Pondy's conflict process is the conflict aftermath, which involves the conflict being resolved or becoming the basis for future conflicts. Knowing the conflict process, it is important to realize typical roots of organizational conflict. Slack and Parent describe nine different sources of conflict in sport organizations. Among these, I found that differentiation, low formalization, and competition over resources made most sense to me. When a sport organization is highly differentiated, meaning that work is broken down into different subunits, conflict arises due to the differing goals, philosophies, and time orientations of the various subunits. In a sport organization with low formalization, the lack of established rules and regulations results in the subunit's dependence on political tactics and coercion, which once again results in differing goals and opinions between subunits. Lastly, competition for resources is an obvious source of conflict in a sport organization. Slack and Parent describe that "when two or more subunits within a sport organization compete for a share of limited resources, they come into conflict with each other." (p. 223). Since a sport organization has a limited quantity of money, equipment, etc., subunits come into conflict in their attempts to acquire these resources. How do sport organizations manage their conflict? Slack and Parent describe various conflict management strategies including authority and avoidance (p.225). Using authority is arguably the simplest way to resolve organizational conflict. Senior managers can easily use their authority to resolve or suppress a conflict because the employees ultimately understand that the senior manager's decision must be complied with for the maintenance of their employment. Conversely, with conflict avoidance, a conflict can be suppressed by either directing attention away from it or ignoring it completely. The issue with avoidance is that it generally provides a short-term solution for sport organizations. Contrary to many people's belief, some level of conflict is generally needed in a sport organization. The text explains that while conflict is seen as detrimental, an optimal level of conflict which is achieved through stimulating conflict can provide the sport organization with opportunities to create change and introduce new-born creativity (p.220). Questions for thought: 1.) Do you feel that a sport organization can achieve its goals successfully without conflict? Why or why not? 2.) If you were a senior manager of a sport organization, which conflict management strategies would you employ and why? 3.) Do you believe that stimulating conflict in an organization through processes such as manipulating communication and creating competition is beneficial to an organization, or should organizations let conflict come natural? Why or why not?

Conflict

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Conflict seems to occur naturally in work or in social settings. I think conflict becomes magnified under the setting of sports and sport management because of the underlying presence of competition behind sports. This isn't anything new for sports. They are competitions and by nature they exist in a competitive vacuum where only the strong survive. Now, with that being said it's the same with the organizations that operate in this business market. The competitive nature that sports work in means that there is a tremendous amount of competition for jobs and opportunities to work for these organizations and teams. For that reason I believe that competition and therefore conflict become an integral part of sport business. After all, if you're working hard to find opportunities for work and for advancement based on extremely limited opportunities aren't you by nature going to be more competitive and aren't you going to work harder to surpass any potential competition? I think that if you're passionate about your job (which you should be if you really want to work in sports, because I think we can all agree that there isn't a boatload of money involved in most entry level jobs in sport) you'll be more inclined to work hard and therefore try to get work done faster and more efficiently. This desire and this idea of working hard may ultimately make your co-workers angry if they aren't working as hard as you are. Therefore conflict arises.

This brings me to my second point about conflict, the optimal zone of conflict. In learning about applied sport psychology we discussed the optimal zone of arousal in terms of how much adrenaline is the right amount for you to have when you compete. In terms of conflict I think the chart on page 220 of the Slack and Parent book is a perfect graphical representation of the idea of optimal zone of conflict. I think the book does a great job debunking the idea that's present in North America, that conflict is always a bad thing. I believe that a certain amount of conflict can create competition which is able to benefit the organization because it will keep the organization's employees sharp and effective. As I said above, I think that the nature of competition that exists within a sport organization is one of the rare characteristics that's present in sport organizations. This rare characteristic can be energizing to a workforce and should be considered a potentially great motivating factor for a sports organization.

I also believe that it's extremely dangerous to try and balance functional and dysfunctional conflict. I think that the line between these two things is very small and therefore organizational decision makers should be careful not to try and balance the entire organization in this realm. I think the best way to manage conflict is within individual departments because trying to control and balance conflict throughout an entire organization would be extremely difficult and dangerous. By managing conflict on an individual department level I feel that decision makers within these individual departments would be best equipped to address and manage conflict. In this manner these decision makers would also be able to try and find their individual department's optimal zone of conflict. I don't think there is an optimal zone of conflict for an "entire" organization, and for that reason I think individual departments would be better fit to address conflict on a smaller more intimate level.

Conflict

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In every organization there will be conflict especially differentiated and interdependent natures of the organization were identified as precipitating conflict between organizational sub-units. The organization could have a communication problem within sub-units, the authority of hierarchy of making decisions, and specialization results in different expectations as to what constitutes as appropriate reward structure. The differentiation arises from an attempt to increase organizational efficiency through development of specialized sub-units. This will allow individual sub-units to develop a certain degree of autonomy: structure, goal orientation, time orientation, and managerial style. If each sub-unit within the organization had its own autonomy, it will be difficult to collaborate because each manager from different sub-units approaches the problem with different frame of reference. However differentiation is an important influence to conflict, if there is no interactions between sub-units there will be any conflict in the organization. Unless the sub-units have some form of task interdependence. From the Amis's article, Thompson identified three types of interdependence in which organization sub-units can engage, pooled, sequential, or reciprocal. Pooled independence occurs where the organization collaborates as a whole. Amis's article has an example of "the separate even groups in a multi-sports organization such as a national athletics association rely little upon each other in order to function, and yet all contribute to, and are supported by, the organization as a whole" (3).  The second independence Thompson identified is sequential; this type is used in assembly line production since the output of the one sub-unit for s the input for the next production sequence. "With each sub-unit being heavily reliant on the one previous to it, there is potential for conflict if one party has the perception of being hindered by other" (3).  The last type is reciprocal interdependence; this exists when the output of one sub-unit forms the input of another and vice versa. This is the most interacted between sub-units and is hence inherently conflictual. Reciprocal interdependence is often found in Voluntary Sport Organization's with professionals, volunteers, coaches, athletes, and officials all depending upon each other for successful programs, events, and performances. "With the pressures for efficiency and specialization which have been placed on these organizations, differentiation and interdependence of organizational sub-units becomes inevitable and necessary" (14). This will increase the influence of conflict between sub-units and they must be addressed within the organization to be efficient.

Conflict is everywhere, it happens in everyday life. People face conflict all the time whether it is with relationships, classes, or sports. Everyone has dealt with many types of conflict throughout their life and has learned from the experience. Whether or not conflict is overcome it is still an important learning tool for future references and similar situations. Sport organizations also face conflict in every phase of their organization. In the book, March and Simon describe conflict as a "breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative. I agree with this definition however, I don't think conflict is limited to a breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making of an organization. I know this is just a general definition, but conflict can also occur during game operation, sales, and in management of an organization. Conflict is difficult to deal with and to overcome, but overcoming conflict expands and organization's ability to achieve tasks and goals. It allows them to discover different possible alternatives to deal with future conflict. There are two types of conflict, horizontal and vertical. Horizontal conflict is used to help breakdown conflict and categorize it into certain subunits. Within these certain subunits or the individuals representing the subunits that remain on the same level of organizational hierarchy is where horizontal conflict occurs (Slack and Parent, 2006). Horizontal conflict can occur in an athletic department between those involved with intercollegiate activities and those who are associated with the campus recreation program. Conflict is present between these two programs in thousands of colleges throughout the U.S. Conflicts may occur with scheduling, funding, and resources for sporting events. The recreation program may feel as though they are not receiving a fair amount of the institution's funding. Another scenario may be scheduling issues at the facilities; a club sport may have to adapt their schedule according to the athletic schedule. Conflict between the two occurs because they both have different goals and priorities. These conflicts are apparent in colleges because most of them have a recreation program to complement their athletic program. It is important to have great leadership within your athletic department to deal with never-ending conflict issues. If conflict is not dealt with, this will cause dysfunction within your organization. I think it is important to take your time and consider every option you have, but I think an ultimate decision must be made fairly quickly so the conflict doesn't linger. Vertical conflict occurs between two different hierarchical levels of sport organization (Slack and Parent, 2006). This conflict is a result from the demand for control in a sport organization and the needs of an individual. An example of this may be if a coach demands for a contract worth more money, this is usually negotiated with the athletic director. I think this conflict arise when people sometimes put their wants ahead of their needs. It is important that organizational members abide by and understand the needs of the organization and realize the structure within the organization.

            Conflict is very common in organizations and can influence various aspects of an organization as a whole.  It can affect organizational effectiveness, structure, power, and politics.  Our online reading for this week stated, "in 1976, and American Management Association sponsored study reported that managers spend approximately 20% of their time dealing with conflict (Thomas and Schmidt, 1976)."  Conflict has been defined in many different ways but I like the most inclusive definition provided by our text book the best.  Conflict can be described as a breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative (Slack and Parent, p. 217).

 

            There are two different categories that conflict could fall into.  These two categories are horizontal or vertical conflict.  Distinguishing between the two types of conflict has to do with the structure of the organization.  Horizontal conflict is present when conflicts take place among subunits at the same level in the organization.  An example of this could be in the athletic department of a university when coaches from various teams are in conflict with one another.  Vertical conflict is present when subunits at different levels in the organization are in conflict.  An example of this in an athletic department would be when a particular coach has conflicting ideas with the athletic director.

 

            Most of the time conflict is viewed as detrimental to the operations of an organization.  Therefore conflict should be eliminated from an organization or managed to have and effective organization.  The most common way this is done is through rules and regulations organizational members must follow.  On the other hand, what if conflict in an organization could benefit the organization as a whole?  After all conflict could encourage creativity and change that ultimately puts the organization in a better position than it was before. 

 

            There are many strategies for managing conflict and they include things like avoidance, separating or merging conflicting units, increasing resources, integrating devices, confrontation and negotiation, and third party interventions.  One strategy that is directly related to power in an organization is the use of authority to manage conflict.  This involves the senior managers of an organization to use their formal authority to resolve an issue which everyone may or may not be happy with but because he has the power to do so it will be recognized.  A form of politics that runs through trying to introduce conflict into an organization evolves from manipulating communications.  Leaving information or people out of a communication process is a political way to manage conflict.

 

            Some questions for thought include; do you agree with the statement made in the textbook on page 220 that "if conflict isn't happening then the organization has no reason for being?"  Why or why not?  What are the five stages of Pondy's conflict model?

Conflict

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Chapter 11 in the book deals with conflict and there are a few things that I found pretty interesting. The first thing that stuck out to me was the concept that conflict can be a good thing. My whole life I have always thought of conflict as being nothing but complaining when someone is mad to make another person mad. Now that I look at it from a management point of view I can understand that having conflict, and allowing conflict, is a way that people can become more involved in the organizational processes. When people are able to complain, then that means that they are thinking about the organization and possible how to make it perform better or more efficiently. An example of the differentiation conflict that the book talks about is one that we have talked about in class. When an organization has been run by many volunteers and then all of a sudden "experts" are hired, they will have a differentiation conflict. The volunteers usually see not much problem with the way things are being run now and do not want their position to change, usually because they have some power in the decision making process. With the "experts" being hired, the volunteers will lose some of their power because the people that were hired to make some changes in the organization will obviously need more power. The conflict created is because of the differentiation of goals toward the organization. Another point that I found interesting involves the idea about participative decision making. The book stated that some organizations allow the people that are involved in the organization, not just the people on the top of the hierarchy, to be allowed in the decision making process. The book raised the issue that there is a trade-off between getting multiple viewpoints to reduce alienation and improve morale, and between possibly creating conflicts. Something that I also found interesting was how the different ways to solve the conflicts came about. The process of arbitration is used with many different sport organizations. One of the reasons for using arbitration is so that the athletes that have any disputes with their organization are not holding up the court system. The main reason that the book stated was that because a large portion of athletes conflicts are time sensitive and by using arbitration, they are possibly able to solve their conflict in time for them to return to their sport. The book made an interesting point about the hiring of new employees. Obviously the main reason is because the company needs to fill a position and they will hire someone to do the work for that position. However, the book made a point about how Reebok hired a former CEO in order to bring some excitement into the workforce. By bringing in new employees, the company was able to stimulate the other workers and allow them to not be complacent. While having new people to work with, the current employees are energized with new ideas that make them work harder and become better workers.
Dealing with the ideas of power and politics is certainly a tricky proposition. Understandably, separating the definitions of power and authority is difficult because the practical applications of such terms are often synonymous but the correlation between these two terms does not necessarily indicate causation. Now understanding the issues and histories behind different organizations and how they've distributed the power within the organization can demonstrate how the organization values authority and how they have come to find organizational success, or lack there of.

One of the most historic and powerful examples of "legitimate power" is the commissioner of Major League Baseball. Now, while the individual has changed throughout the years, the power behind the office of the Commissioner of Baseball had been powerful and static from the moment it was introduced. When Kenesaw Mountain Landis established the position of the commission her established it as a dictatorship designed to place power over the league in the hand of one man for the duration of that man's life or desire. Now considering that Slack and Parent describe "legitimate power" as the same as authority it would appear that an individual who is essentially the manifestation of Major League Baseball's best interests would certainly constitute an object of legitimate power. Historically this legitimate power has worked out pretty well considering that at this point Major League Baseball is operated in a vacuum provided by anti-trust exemption. This benefit allows baseball to utilize the power of the office of the commissioner without any hindrances.

Reward power is something that many sport organizations should be acutely familiar with considering that much of what sport organizations do, revolves around rewards. Consider the position of the General Manager of a professional sport organization. Isn't their power in the organization essentially rewarding their employees (players) with pecuniary gains for their commitment to play for the team? Players, whether they admit it or not, play the game for a litany of different reasons. Some really do love the game but the financial advantages of playing professional sports can also be a reward for commitment and effort for the organization. So from the top of the organization (GM) there's a long list of positions that rely on the idea of rewards to derive power.

Now, one manifestation of power that surely is present in sport organizations is coercive power, however, considering the market of sport organizations I would hope that coercive power is a concept that would through "organizational natural selection" weed itself out of the organizational power structure. I would imagine that while coercive power may have short term advantages and benefits, I refuse to believe that any organization that desires long term success would strategically design itself to take advantage of coercive power.

Sport agents abound throughout professional sports and when discussing how these individuals it's often the agent's charisma that attracts prospective clients. This type of relationship is an example of referent power. Another perhaps more comedic example of referent power is the story of Milo Hamilton. Milo has been the voice of the Houston Astros for many years and over the years Milo had essentially become one of the most popular landmarks of the franchise. At the team's end of season celebration with key front office officials, media members, and other important individuals involved with the organization in attendance Milo addressed the rumors of his retirement and his contract status. Milo approached the podium and proudly announced that after much deliberation, he had signed a 3-year contract extension to be the voice of the Astros for three more years. The only issue was that the organization had never been involved with any contract negotiations with Milo over a contract extension. However, because Milo had become such a popular part of the organization and because his charisma and association with the quality of Astros baseball was so pervasive, the organization honored Milo's "extension."

The Boston Red Sox have been a beacon of organizational success in Major League Baseball over the last decade and over that time their general manager Theo Epstein has recognized and adapted to the idea of expert power in a very interesting way. Epstein noticed the trend in baseball toward more detailed and accurate statistical analysis. What did Epstein do to capitalize on this change? He hired the biggest name in the field of baseball statistics, Bill James, as a consultant for the Red Sox Baseball Operations staff. And all this has done for the Red Sox is lead them to two World Series titles in the last decade. Now every other major league team had an opportunity to hire James in any number of different capacities but it was Epstein and the Red Sox who capitalized on the opportunity and have reaped the benefits.

Now, the successful organizations are the one's that recognizes the natural manifestation of power that comes from referent power and also capitalizes on opportunities for capable individuals to operate in positions of legitimate power and reward power. Great organizations also recognize opportunities to incorporate individuals who are capable of wielding expert power in a manner that benefits the organization.  

Power and Politics

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Power is described by the book as something that cannot be seen, but its effects can easily be felt. I agree one hundred percent with the books view of power because decisions are made behind closed doors and the effects are visible to the public and media. Power and authority go hand in hand within sport organizations. Authority holds power because sport managers use authority to implement strategy and make important decisions. I think everyone within an organization holds authority to some extent. Even someone low in the organization hierarchy has to approve the decisions made so they continue to perform at a high level. I think in sports, legitimate power is the most important. A person holds as much power as their position. This concept gives each position meaning, and can boost the overall communication within the organization. For example, an intern would never walk into the general manager's office and question the latest roster move. Legitimate power keeps everyone in order, allowing employees to avoid stepping on others' toes. I think building coalitions is also a huge step in developing a successful organization. Coalitions assure that everyone is on the same page, which will make all decision making easier for those with authority, and those without. The politics within sport organizations is described by the book as "the ability to use the bases of power effectively". I believe this to mean many things. For example, a team president can't be effective if the team just wins, but produces no revenue. Decisions that are made need to improve performance on the field, and on the business side. One thing I have noticed in sport politics is teams are not afraid to put the power into someone else's hands. What I mean is if a team is not winning, and losing fans, sponsors, money, etc. the team president often will make an executive decision, electing someone else to run the organization. It is common in sports to have executive shifts in power over night. It is evident when there is tension between multiple decision makers in one organization. I think the politics need to focus on coalitions and networks to keep the line of communication fluid. I myself want to work in public relations so I find controlling information to be very important. Information that leaves the organization can have a huge effect both positively and negatively. Those with authority need to be on the same page as those who control the flow of information in order to keep a positive image of your organization.

Power is often times abused within sport organizations today. There are many different sources of power and they come from different levels within the organization. On the individual level of power there is reward, referent, legitimate, coercive, and expert power. Reward power deals with someone having the power over another's rewards, such as a coach and his players when giving players specific amounts of playing time. This power is given to the coach because the players are only able to play the amount that their coach allows them to. Referent power deals with power that is gained by one individuals' charisma and their ability to make it known to others around them. Legitimate power is much the same as authority in the sense that is sort of a license to use power. There is sometimes a fear that comes along with power because of the ability to punish. This would be referred to as coercive power. The last power that the book mentions, at least on the individual level, is expert power. Expert power can be attained by those high or low on the management chain in a sport organization. It is when someone gains power because of their knowledge or skill set. It seems scary to think of the amount of power one could have and the effect it could have on a sport organization (Slack and Parent).

Do you think that there are sport organizations that do not progress towards being an effective sport organization because the opposing forces of power within the organization are causing the company to be at a plateau?

Power at the organizational level can be grouped as non-substitutability, centrality, control over the decision making process, obtaining and controlling resources, and an organizations' ability to deal with uncertainty. Many of these are self explanatory but I think it would be important to look more closely at a couple of them, namely acquiring and controlling resources and non-substitutability. It seems as though these two could complement each other very well. If an organization is gaining more resources and has the majority of control over them then it could make it a lot harder for there to be a substitute for that power within the organization. It seems as though the things mentioned throughout Slack and Parent's book are quite important when running a sport organization in a way that would lead to success.

Do you think that there should be positions within organizations that are there to specifically monitor and control things such as the power, politics, structure, goals, philosophy, etc.? Do you know of any organizations that currently have these positions?

Coalitions, networks, the use of experts, and controlling information are some of the political tactics used within sport organizations. Coalitions are formed when relationships are built through respect, communication, and trust. They are usually powerful when they are united around a specific issue. Sponsors, peers, and subordinates are the most important when forming networks. They can be established through formal or informal means. Hiring outside experts allows leaders to use their political power in their sport organization. Bringing someone from the outside appears as though it brings more legitimacy. Controlling information by making known certain statistics or keeping other information more concealed is also a form of political activity (Slack and Parent, pages 201-209).

What would be the most effective strategy to deal with the issues surrounding power and politics? Would you focus more specifically on some of these areas than others, or would you spread your focus amongst multiple areas?

I believe that a strategy that focuses on multiple aspects of power and politics would be very wise and help the organization be more effective. But, I would focus more on the ways that individual power is being utilized and evaluate its effects on the larger organizational level of power.

Do you think this would be an effective approach for an organization?

 

Power and Politics

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Organizational power is, according to Slack & Parent, one of the most widespread yet more problematic concepts in the organizational theory literature.  It is not something we can see within a sport organization, but its effects can be clearly felt.  It's the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done or "the probability that one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests".  There is individual powers and organizational power.  Sources of individual power include: Legitimate Power, Reward Power, Coercive Power, Referent Power, and Expert Power.  Organizational power comes from: Acquisition and Control of Resources, The Ability to Cope With Uncertainty, Centrality, Nonsubstitutability, and Control Over the Decision-Making Process.
Organizational Politics pervades all sport organizations, although it is somewhat intangible and hard to measure.  Slack & Parent says, "Politics is related to the use of power; political skills involve the ability to sue the bases of power effectively to convince those to whom one has access; to use one's resources, information, and technical skills to their fullest in bargaining; to exercise formal power with a sensitivity to the feelings of others; to know where to concentrate one's energies; to sense what is possible; to organize necessary alliances."  Ways to increase political power within an organization include: Building Coalitions, The Use of Outside Experts, Building a Network of Contacts, and by Controlling Information.

Power and Politics

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Power is described by our textbook as, "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done" (p. 199) and politics is described as the ability to use power effectively (p. 205); together they are two vital components that influence an organization. Power can be acquired in many different ways, our textbook talks about four specific ways that an individual can gain power. Those ways are through their position within the organization (legitimate power), having control over another person (reward power), the ability to punish another person (coercive power), having leadership like qualities (referent power), and by simply obtaining and holding certain knowledge within the organization (expert power). Our textbook also lists five ways of gaining power as a whole organization. Those ways are through control of resources, having the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality or the position that your organization has in the "information flow," and by simply being irreplaceable. Power is a very ruling part of an organization, and whoever has power ultimately enforces that power to carry out duties and make decisions, thus who has that power is important. Important in the way that you don't want the wrong person to hold power and abuse it; so even though someone may have a lot of knowledge about the organization, they may not be the right person to hold power. Our textbook describes four ways activities that are involved with organizational politics. These activities are, "building coalitions, using outside experts, building a network of contacts, and controlling information" (p. 206). My understanding is that organizational politics are the steps that are taken to improve your organization using powers that your organization and individuals within your organization have acquired.

Power and Politics

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Power and politics are direct factors in the success of an organization. Power, as defined by Slack and Parent, is "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done". Power can not be seen, but its effects can be felt. When a person holds a certain amount of authority in a sport organization, it is said they hold authority. French and Raven have created a 5-part typology of Individual Power. Legitimate power is closely related to authority. Each person with legitimate power in the same position will not use their power in the same way. The second part is Reward power. This comes from one persons ability to control another's rewards. An example of this is the coach's ability to control how much a player plays. The third part is coercive power which comes from one's ability to punish another. Referent power is the fourth part, which is used mainly for promotion. It is the way in which one relates to the values of the leader. The fifth and final part of their typology is Expert power, which comes from ones special skill. In this chapter, Slack and Parent discussed the organization sources of power. Acquisition and control of resources is the ability to acquire and secure resources that are important to operations. The ability of an organization to cope with uncertainty is extremely important. An organizations ability to learn about future trends of the organization and its environment can be extremely beneficial in lowering uncertainty. Slack and Parent define political skills as "the ability to use the bases of power effectively", and a way in which differences among interest groups are resolved and tasks are accomplished. These differences may be resolved through building coalitions, using the resource of outside experts. Also, building a network to have a contacts at all levels of the hierarchy. Power is directly correlated with strategic choice in 6 different aspects. Two of the ones I find most interesting are organizational effectiveness and actual environment compared to the perception of the environment of the managers. It is said that structural variables are dependent on the decisions made regarding performance standards. The perception the manager has of its environment is more likely to influence and change the organizational structure rather than the actual environment. What someone believes is generally more influential in decision making than actuality. All aspects discussed regarding power and politics in a sport organization can be put to use, and can contribute to the successfulness of the organization if the correct strategy is chosen.

Power and Politics

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When I think of power and politics in a sports organization I think of conflict. What sports organization has not had the privilege to deal with conflict? The example in the book of the IOC, ISU and WSF is a prime example of how power and politics can take over an organization. Power and Politics go hand-in-hand in sports organizations and they mostly affect the decision-making process. The book details a number of strategies to deal with conflict, however first we must define power and its components along with power and what that entails. Power is defined, from Slack and Parent, as "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done or the probability that one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rest" (152). Different forms of power reside in an organization and they branch off of this definition. The five forms of individual power consist of legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, referent power, and expert power. Many of these forms can overlap since most individuals carry multiple power qualities. The legitimate power involves the title that you hold. These ties to the responsibilities of the title the individual holds as well. Reward power consists of the individual's ability to give a reward over another person or organization. It is simply the ability to take something away from an organization at will, thus giving you power over them. Coercive power is the ability to punish someone instead of rewarding them. This is not a very welcomed method because of its cold hearted nature, considering the reward option listed before but it can be effective. Referent power is mostly when you get the people in power to like you and show them that you can be a colleague type individual them they may give you more power. Expert power refers to the amount of knowledge about something. If you are considered an 'expert' generally more people will respect your opinion and you. This in turn will give you the individual power over someone that is not an expert in the certain field. The five forms of organizational power include: acquisition and control of resources, the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over the decision-making process. Politics refers to the "ability to use the bases of power effectively" (204). It is hard to measure but just as important to understand as power. The book examines different types of political tactics used in sports organizations. These include: building coalitions, the use of outside experts, building a network of contacts, and controlling information. If you have at least one of these individual powers then you will be able to more to a more political power role. In the realm of sports organizations they use the individual powers of the people within the organization to create the political power that they have.

 

 

                Power and politics are heavily involved in the effectiveness of sport organizations.   There are five organization-based sources of power relating to subunits within an organization mentioned in the book. They are acquisition and control of resources, the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over the decision-making process.
                The first way a subunit within a sport organization can obtain power is through its ability to acquire resources and the control of resources.  The organization that can acquire and control the most acquisitions will be seen as most powerful.  The opposite is true about an organization that does not acquire or control many resources.  When an organization can acquire large amounts of money they will be perceived as very powerful. 

                Another is the ability to cope with uncertainty because of the constantly changing task environment.  There are three methods that can help organizations cope with uncertainty.  Acquire information about future trends to stay ahead of other organizations in the same market.  Absorption is another method that helps an organization cope with uncertainty.  By using absorption, an organization can take action after an event has occurred.  You can also cope with uncertainty by preventing its occurrence.  The organization can use certain measures to meet the demands of stakeholders before it becomes an issue of uncertainty.

                The third source of power is the relationship of the subunit's position in the work or flow of a sport organization, also called centrality.  Subunits that are more centralized to the work or information flow will be most powerful within the organization.  The subunits that are less centralized will be the least powerful within the organization.

                The fourth source of power is being irreplaceable otherwise known as nonsubstitutability.  Being irreplaceable is not only an important means of gaining power for subunits, but it is also important for the individuals.  Individuals with power will utilize strategies to maintain their status to make their subunit more powerful within the organization.

                The fifth and last source of power is control over the decision-making process.  Power is gained by having input in the decision process and through the control of the process itself.  The individual or subunit that is highly involved in the decision-making process will be one of the most powerful in the organization.

                Political power also plays a key role in organizational power.  Building coalitions is a way for members of the organization to spend time communicating with each other about their views, establishing trust relationships, and gaining mutual respect.  The use of outside experts is a way to legitimize or support one's decision.  Networks can be either formal or informal.  The importance of networking is to better learn about the sponsors, peers, and subordinates in the organization.  Lastly, by controlling information individuals can influence the outcomes of the decision-making process.

                Obviously many decisions are made to make the organization effective.  The subunits that make the most money or have the most resources will be the first ones to be recognized as powerful within the organization.  The more powerful individuals in the organization usually influence the direction that the organization takes whether it is through politics or other power sources.

Power and politics obviously have a huge bearing on the success or failure of an organization. Slack and Parent define power as "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done or the probability of one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance". Authority goes along very closely with power, but is a form of power that is formally sanctioned by a sport org because of the persons role in the sport organization. Now that power and authority has been defined we must realize that there are many different sources of power, both individual sources and organizational sources. Firstly, the individual sources include legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, referent power and expert power. Money is an entity that has a lot of power in the sport world as well as experience and expertise in the field of interest. As a member of the gopher sport organization, I would say those who control my pay have a great deal of power in the organization, from my supervisor all the way up to the Athletic Director Joel Maturi. I also think these people have a lot of power because they keep up a good image and are well liked (referent power) and have a lot of expert power in the subject. Next is organizational sources of power, these include acquisition and control of resources, the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability (being irreplaceable), and control over the decision making process. I would say out of all of these, organizations are often very concerned with the acquisition and control of resources. These critical resources include money, people, information, and legitimacy. The resource of money is what will often influence the organizations success most often due to the ability to acquire talented recruits or high quality materials is a direct result of the amount of money available. Organizations that can effectively deal with uncertainty in the task environment gain a lot of power within the industry they are competing in. The text discusses three ways in which organizations can deal with uncertainty: 1) acquiring information about future trends, 2) absorption (taking action after an event has occurred), and 3) preventing the occurrence in the first place. The best method would be preventing the occurrence In the first place. Centrality in the market is very important to success, they need to be needed and central to the demands and information flow to be necessary. This goes very closely with the nonsubstitutability of an organization. It cannot be easily replaced or have many product with higher quality products, or the sport org will be driven out of the market very quickly. The politics of an organization ties in very closely with power, Slack and Parent states that "the ability to use the basis of power effectively-to convince those to whom one has access; to use ones resources, information, and technical skills to their fullest in bargaining; to exercise formal power with a sensitivity to the feelings of others; to know where to concentrate ones energies; to sense what is possible and to organize necessary alliances" is what politics consists of. Slack and Parent lists four activities that can control and increase political power for a sport org. They consist of: building coalitions, the use of outside experts, building a network of contacts and controlling information.

Power and politics: they are undeniably a part of every sport organization. Some forms of power are obvious right away; others emerge after being around an organization long enough. The same goes for politics.

                Chapter 10 in Slack & Parent's "Understanding Sport Organizations" defines power and politics in sport organizations and talks about the different kinds of power and politics. Power is defined as "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done" (pg 199). Organization sources of power include acquisition and control of resources, ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over the decision making process.  Acquisition of resources is pretty self-explanatory; an organization and/or its subunits have more power if they are able to acquire resources, such as money or people. Slack & Parent elaborate, "Teams that are able to secure the most talented group of players become the most powerful subunit within their respective league" (pg 202). Teams and players do not have to be taken in the literal sense; it can apply to different departments within a sport organization. I hate to say it, but the first example that came to my mind was the Yankees. The Yankees are a team that has been able to secure some of the most talented players in Major League Baseball (MLB), and because of this, year after year, they are one of the most powerful teams in the league. The ability to cope with uncertainty is basically being able to adapt to a changing task environment. Doing things like market research to predict future market trends will help an organization to cope with potential uncertainty. Centrality is based on a subunit's position in the work or information flow of the organization, which is usually determined by the organization's strategies and goals. For example, if a sport organization wants to be better known for developing elite athletes, coaches will become highly central because their knowledge will be valued. Nonsubstitutability is essentially being irreplaceable. The less a subunit's activities can be substituted, the more powerful the subunit will be. It is possible to make your subunit seem (or be) irreplaceable; the book notes that this has been done frequently through using technical language to make outsiders feel as though they are inadequate when it comes to a specific subject. The last organizational source of power is control over the decision making process. If a subunit has control over deciding things for the organization, clearly it has power to determine other subunits' circumstances.

                Power and politics go hand in hand; politics are defined in the book as "The ability to use the bases of power effectively "(pg 204). Slack & Parent mention four political strategies: building coalitions, using outside experts, building a network of contacts, and controlling information. I think these strategies are fairly self explanatory so I won't describe them in detail, but I think political strategies play a huge role in managing and controlling power in an organization. For example, the Yankees are great at acquiring talented players, but many people believe all of the players are not naturally talented. To protect the image of the organization and their power in MLB, the Yankees use outside experts to test players for steroids. They also may use other political strategies like controlling the information that is let out to the public so it is mostly positive information that is released to the media. The Yankees' political strategies help to sustain their power in MLB.

Questions: How do the Yankees use their power within MLB? What kind of coalitions have the Yankees built to protect their power? Is there another MLB team dealing with steroid scandals that has used more effective political strategies? What are those strategies?

Blog #4 Power & Politics

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            On a daily basis within sport organizations many decisions are made. Those who make decisions are seen as having power within the organization. Power in sports organizations is defined as "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done or the probability that one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance regardless of the basis on which this probability rests (Slack & Parent, 2006." Also, within sports organizations is the involvement of politics which can be a sensitive subject in the world of sports. Nonetheless politics is defined as "the ability to use the bases of power effectively-to convince those to whom one has access; to use one's resources, information, and technical skills to their fullest in bargaining; to exercise formal power with a sensitivity to the feelings of others; to know where to concentrate one's energies; to sense what is possible; to organize the necessary alliances (Slack & Parent, 2006)." The following will discuss the forms of organizational power and politics along with effective strategies for managing these concepts.

            Beginning with sources of power which include "acquisition and control of resources, ability to cope with uncertainty, and control over decision making (Slack & Parent, 2006)." First, the acquisition and control of resources includes such things as "money, people, information, and legitimacy (Slack & Parent, 2006)." All of these things are used as pawns or bargaining chips within an organization so that changes can be made to effectively meet the needs of the organization. Most times this type of power is used by subunits to obtain things that they want. However, for an organization to effectively manage this concept they must keep themselves structured in a hierarchical strategy and not allow any one particular subunit too much power where daily basis is negatively affected. Second the ability to cope with uncertainty occurs when drastic changes are made within an organizations "task environment which includes such things as suppliers, competitors, fans, and agencies (Slack & Parent, 2006)." One way to handle this problem is to appoint a market research team to gather information about customers needs, the team, and also to predict the trends that may occur. Another way of assessing this issue is to prevent the occurrence by always being prepared for what will happen internally or externally with your organization. To do this an organization must always be up to date with its software, competitors, fans, product etc. Third, control over the decision-making process defined as "power is gained not only by having input in the decision process but also through control of the process itself (Slack & Parent, 2006)." When examining an organization one of the first attributes I look for when trying to determine who has power is those who are making the decisions. The key with figuring out who gets to make decisions that ultimately determine how your organization is run is finding those with quality leadership characteristics. These characteristics include such attributes as loyalty, honesty, knowledge, creativity, and adaptability. With these leadership qualities instilled in a group of people driving the wheel behind an organization to me it is no doubt success will be achieved.

            The forms of organizational politics include building coalitions, use of outside experts, and building a network of contacts. First, building coalitions are "built when people spend time communicating their views to others, establishing trust relationships, and building mutual respect (Slack & Parent, 2006)." Within a sport organization building coalitions is very important for subordinate employees because unified power can be achieved this way and can be used later if necessary against an organization. However, for CEO's of a sport organization coalitions in the workforce are dangerous because of the before mentioned reasons. While sport organizations should encourage friendly relationships in the workforce it should be encouraged for these things to occur outside of the workplace and not on work time. Also, it should be noted that any discussions about harming the organization in any way shape or form are strongly discouraged. This is a good way of managing coalitions within a sport organization. Next, the use of outside experts means hiring external employees to "support or legitimize one's position (Slack & Parent, 2006)." Most organizations see this task as bringing in an "objective view," however, the book discusses how the hiring of these external employees needs to be objective as well otherwise the use of outside experts is distorted. In order to manage outside experts' organizations need to allow full access of their records and keep a hands off approach so that this task is useful upon completion. Lastly, the importance of obtaining and maintaining a useful group of networking contacts cannot be underestimated. Networks are "established individuals through the formal mechanisms of the sport organization, but also through informal means (Slack & Parent, 2006)." These days many people receive jobs through their network of contacts along with other beneficial resources. Every individual should attempt to grow their list of contacts as often as possible. Sport organizations should encourage joint relationships with other organization as business-to-business work can be the most powerful. However, this practice should only be used on the grounds of the utmost trust and ability to create a successful partnership.

 

Questions: Do politics in sport organizations bring more negatives or positives? And why? Who holds more power within a sport organization such as a professional league players or owners? And Why?

 

Andre Phillips

Power and Politics

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Power and Politics are huge issues when it comes to and organization. Its import in part because I feel like you don not have a successful well organized structure unless you power is in the hands of the right people. Its like Slack and Parent says, "Power is not something we can see within a sport organization, but its effects can be clearly felt". This quote really sums it all up because if you have the power in the wrong hand no matter whether its individual or organizational they both can have ever lasting effects. You need to have the other things like strategy, organizational structure, etc. done and thought out before you put the full power into someones hands. Power does not need to be fully given to just one person and in all honesty I believe an organization that put all its power or you have to go to one person to get something passes is ultimately a bad decision. This is the case because the little things can even get accomplished and everyone really is on a different page. Power is a very difficult task to tangle because there are so many different ways to go about and terminology for different types of power. Politics according to slack and parent pervades all sport organizations, although it is somewhat intangible and hard to measure. Slack and parent also state that politics is related to the use of power; political skills involve "the ability to use the bases of power effectively- to convince those to whom one has access; to use one's resources." Politics is used effectively to if you know how to use power in the right ways and that involves having the right people having the power that needs to get different task accomplished. Q1: Can you have power spread throughout your organization and still be effective and get things accomplished? Q2: Is politics a good or bad thing and why?

power

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Power and politics play a major role in sporting organizations and maintaining power is something all teams and organizations focus on. George Steinbrenner, former owner of the New York Yankees, is the epitome of how power can result in organizational success. One characteristic that George exemplified was legitimate power, or having power based upon holding a certain title, in his case owner. Another type of power he was notorious for using was coercive power which enabled him to punish or fire employees as he saw necessary. Other than individual characteristics that an owner and other employees use to make decisions there are organizational sources of power. One form of organizational power is the acquisition and control of resources. For a long time George Steinbrenner was able to do this because of his bottomless checkbook. Pfeffer states that money is a very important resource to have because it allows you to acquire resources (202). George is notorious for giving high profile players lucrative deals to ensure his organization has the top athletes. By doing this he is giving his organization an advantage over all other teams in Major League Baseball. Another source of organizational power is the ability to cope with uncertainty. By engaging in market research an organization is able to predict certain factors within the market they compete in. By doing this they are able to adjust what they do to counteract some of the negative situations that their environment may put before them. One last source of organizational power that is seen in the New York Yankees is control over decision making. Steinbrenner like other owners such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders is able to control the processes involved within the decision making. Because the owner has the ultimate say in any organization they are able to control how things are done and can make changes as they see necessary. Generally there are issues within any organization when it comes to power and it often deals with organizational politics. As Slack and Parent explain office politics is related to the use of power within an organization (204). Within many organizations coalitions are formed among the employees. By doing this employees allow themselves to increase their voice by banning together to make their input felt. Another way to manipulate power is the use of outside experts and controlling the information that is released. By doing this organizations are able to control decisions made. Power has and always will be present in the workplace and how power is distributed and used can have major consequences in the workplace and can contribute to either the success of failure of an organization. Questions: What are the advantages and disadvantages of having an owner who makes all the decisions? Will the removal in the salary cap for the NFL have any impact on the power shown by the organizations?
         Within every organization, sport or otherwise, there is going to be individuals with power.  Some of this power is granted by the position the person holds.   For example a Vice President of Marketing is going to have more power then a part time marketing employee that primarily answers phones, because of the position within the organization.  In this situation it is likely that the Vice President will have more decision making control.  Then there is the type of power talked about it the "Time Out" section from our book about Joe Paterno.  Joe Paterno was given some advice from a colleague that encouraged Coach Paterno to renegotiate his contract after being named coach of the year in 1968.   The reasoning was the if Coach Paterno changed his contract in some very specific ways he would be able to wield more power at Penn State University then he currently did.  Coach Paterno could go from being a successful football coach to being a person in a position of power within the university as a whole.  Coach Paterno could go from being someone that people liked as a quality football coach to someone that could get things done for them.  If Coach Paterno controlled the 200 tickets talked about in the "Time Out" example he could give these tickets to individuals within the university, powerful alumni that could accomplish goals on his behalf or they could be used to recruit top athletes by showing them the excitement of a Penn State football game.   By using these tickets as a reward Coach Paterno can accomplish much more of his own personal agenda then just being a successful coach.  In Coach Paterno's case using ancillary items such as tickets to grow his reputation in a positive way will only work in his favor when it comes times for decisions to be made about his coaching position and about the football program.  For Coach Paterno this can lead to a feeling of nonsubstitutability not only for him personally but also for the football program as a whole.  Because some individuals will be greatly impressed with Coach Paterno's generosity they are more likely to assist him or back him in a decision making process.   This will result in Coach Paterno having more power then he necessarily would buy building his network of contacts in a positive way.  In this way an individual is able to turn their limited amount of power into a more powerful position.  If an individual is in a position like Coach Paterno and has a the ability to communicate well a coalition can be built within an organization that will wield even more power then one individual alone. 

Questions
1) It what ways can you see power like Joe Paterno's as being a positive?
2) Is it possible or necessary  to prevent an coalition's formation within an organization?

Power

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In any organization one would be able to see the effects of power and politics taking place within the organization.  Power is defined by Slack and Parent (2006) as the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done or "the probability that one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests."  While politics is related to power it is defined as the ability to use the bases of power effectively.  These concepts go together and are very common in the work place.

There are five different types of individual power that Slack and Parent (2006) identify.  The first is legitimate power which is the power that someone has by holding a certain position within an organization.  The second form is reward power which is a power that comes from the ability to control other people's rewards.  The third form of power is coercive power and this comes from the ability to be able to punish people.  The fourth type of power is referent power.  This power stems from the personality of a person and how that personality is perceived.  The last form of individual power is expert power and this is the power someone has by being specialized in a specific area. 

Slack and Parent (2006) also identify five organizational sources of power: the acquisition and control of resources, the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over the decision-making process.  Acquisition and control of resources can get people into a more powerful position.  The subunits of an organization that is able to acquire the most valuable resources for the specific organization are going to have some sort of power over the others.  The ability to cope with uncertainty stems from the changing task environment of the organization. The organization must be able to adapt to changes in customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.  Our book brings up three ways in which to help cope with uncertainty.  They are acquire information about future trends or market research to aid in adapting to the already changed task environment, absorption which is taking action to an event after it has already occurred, and the third suggestion is preventing the occurrence which is done by coming up with a strategy to prevent change like Blue Ribbon Sports did to keep their market share up against Nike in 1975.  The third type of organizational power is centrality which has to do with the structure of the organization.  Subunits that are more central to a decision will show more power over other subunits that may not influence a decision as much.  Fourth, nonsubstitutability has an individual and a subunit level to it.  Nonsubstitutability has to do with the ease of being able to replace the individual or subunit.  If the subunit is easily replaceable they will have very little power compared to that of a subunit that would be difficult to replace.  The final organizational-based power is control over the decision-making process.  This has to do with the subunits and individuals who can control when a decision is made and the information that goes out to everyone.  These people will develop more power. 

When looking at the different dimensions of sources of power, both organizational and individual-based, I think it's important for any specific sports organization to determine which of these will have the greatest impacts. Doing this will help the organization eliminate the numerous issues that arise from any specific individual or subunit having to much power.  Much of the same can be said for political power, where certain individual can use political activity to heighten their influence over parts of the organization.

While I believe it's important for organizations to have certain figures of authority, these positions of power must not be abused. I would argue that in general, the most influential aspects of power and politics, but not the only ones, come from individual or subunits controlling aspects of the organization. Whether it's individuals reward or coercive power, a subunits ability to control the decision-making process, or using a political tactic to control information, when these are abused it can cause major problems in the effectiveness and efficiency of any sports organization.  To try and combat any of these powers from getting out of control I think it's essential for the specific sports organization to determine the appropriate structure, organizational culture, strategy and goals for their situation. When you have a well-defined structure, one that creates little opportunity for individual to abuse power, it will help eliminate the possible negative effects of both power and political activity.  In doing this along with stressing proper organizational culture, you can create an atmosphere where individuals and subunits will feel little pressure to use either power or politics to their advantage, and possibly hurting other parts of the organization. Other strategies to help effectively manage all sources of organizational power and politics would be to have effective communication pathways throughout the organization. This can help eliminate the stresses that arise when certain individuals or subunits feel, because of lack or inefficiency of communication, that they don't have enough say (aspect of power?) in the organization.  Obviously, these aren't the only sources of organizational power and politics, and the occurrence of these will differ within every sport organization but, no matter the organization, it is essential that these be managed correctly so they don't cause problems at certain levels of the organization. When managed correctly, power and politics can be a major positive influence for an organization, one that can help separate them from other their competitors.

Power and Politics

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            In sports organization there is great deal of power and politics at play, most of the time they are involved in the decision process. These two aspects of a sports organization also tend to come together. A lot of the time the decisions that are being made with these two aspects are fairly important to the organization and are filled with both individual power and political views.

            In order to have any political power you need to have at least one of the 5 individual powers listed by the Slack reading. These individual powers are legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert. The legitimate power involves the title that you hold. This ties to the responsibilities of the title the individual holds as well. Thus giving the individual the power over certain decision if they fall under the responsibilities of the title held. In the case of reward, this power consists of the individual's ability to give a reward over another person or organization. It is simply the ability to take something away from an organization at will, thus giving you power over them. This could be an easy positive or negative way to gain notoriety. Coercive power is the ability to punish someone instead of rewarding them. This is not a very welcomed method because of its cold hearted nature, considering the reward option listed before but it can be effective. The fourth power listed is referent. This is reference to something that people call sucking up to the right people. If you get the people in power to like you and show them that you can be a colleague type individual them they may give you more power. It seems the cheapest way to me for getting power as an individual but it is one that people sure use because it is all about networking. I believe people should not only have to know the right people but also be completely qualified to gain power. Anyway, the last type of power in the list is expert. This is the one that I really like because it is just how it sounds. The more you know about something, generally the more people will respect your opinion and you. This in turn will give you the individual power over someone that is not an expert in the certain field.

            If you have at least one of these individual powers then you will be able to more to a more political power role. In the realm of sports organizations they use the individual powers of the people within the organization to create the political power that they have. They use this political power to gain things from the government in the local area to further their goals as an organization. Whether they gain more governmental funding, land, or zoning rights, whatever it is they are attributed to the political power that they have from their individual power within the organization. Sports organization in all major sports use this tactic but it is also at play in college, high school and some youth leagues. The political power doesn't need to be the country or state government but it could be the governmental body of an organization. The situation would be the same, just on a smaller scale. With both the individual power and political powers working together it can make the sports organizations run more smoothly.

power and politics

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Slack and Parent argue that power is not something we can see within a sport organization, however, the effects of the dynamics of power can often be clearly felt. I would argue that this is not accurate. The fact that CEOs have large private corner offices with their names on it are huge symbols of power that can often intimidate others. Slack and Parent define power as the ability to get someone to do something they otherwise probably wouldn't have done. However, many argue that this definition is problematic, for example, it suggests that there is conflict and ignores the possibility that power relationships are often ones of mutual convenience. Others argue that this definition, and many others like it, describe power as given to one individual instead of a social relationship among groups. Slack and Parent state that authority is one form of power which is the power given to a certain individual because of the position they hold in the organization. Other parts of power include reward power, legitimate power, coercive power, referent power, and expert power. These types of power often overlap and refer to ways individuals within organizations accrue power. These types of power refer to the power one person has to reward, punish another, or because of a special skill or knowledge they possess. Power also refers to the organizations ability to acquire resources, often money. The more resources an organization can come up with the more power they hold and therefore the more say they have in the politics that link organizations to other organizations. The public often notices the power and politics of an organization when power is abused by using money as leverage or when the politics of the organization become dysfunctional. When someone says the word power as it pertains to a sport organization it often means the authority one or a group of people, managers, board members, or CEOs have over other people, such as ticket staff, athletes, maintenance workers, or coaches among many others. Power and politics can create problems when that power is used inappropriately for the benefit of few instead of the whole organization. Employees do not like to be taken advantage of and abuse of power is often the biggest way people can feel that. Politics should refer to the way people work with each other in a way that is the most beneficial for the organization. When subunits and stakeholders work with one another in a way that allows for a free flow of ideas and healthy amounts of conflict to occur the organization will have the most success it can.

According to Slack and Parent the definition of power is the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done. Organizations include power within the individuals and within the organization itself. There are five main sources of individual power as stated in the text and they are: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert. To make an organization effective, many of these powers may need to work together. Now to explain each of the powers, first is the legitimate power, which is stated as exactly the same as authority. This power is given by the position of the person in the sport organization. They can expect compliance from all of their subordinates because of just their position title, when they ask for something to be done. This power only comes from the person position, not from any other skill that they may have. Second is the reward power, which is one person's control of one person's reward. This basically means that the person of control gives out a reward for the subordinates good work and by the person receiving a reward it makes them want to continue to work hard and get bigger and better rewards as they work. As Slack and Parent state, the larger the reward the greater the importance of the reward to the recipient. For example, in many professional players contracts they receive certain rewards for reaching certain goals for all the team. I have heard that certain players get more money if they hit a certain amount of home runs or even if they score a certain amount of touchdowns for their team. This makes them want to try harder and reach those goals for their management, so that they can be rewarded in the end. The third power is coercive. According to Slack and Parent, this is the power that is derived from the ability that one person has to punish another. I know that where I work, I get all my jobs done on time because I do not want to be "punished" for not completing my job. I personally do not think that this is the best approach for power because I do not like they way my work is run because of this approach, it makes the workplace stressful and does build up some anger towards management. This might work better in a sports organization because the players are getting paid much more money and they should have many more guidelines because they are representing a city, team and state. The fourth power is referent. According to Slack and Parent, this power is based on an individual's charisma and another person's identification with this quality. Basically, this power is for someone who identifies very strongly with a team or organization. They agree with all the values and concerns that their leader expresses and sends throughout the team or organization. The people that promote teams, event and sporting equipment are a great example of referent power. They identify themselves with the team. When they talk about the team they use the word we or us, to identify with them. The fifth and final power is expert. According to Slack and Parent this is a special knowledge or skill that a person has. They do not have to be high up in the organization to have the expert power. If they are the only person that specializes in that area at their organization they are going to have much more power than someone without that knowledge. For example, if a person knows how to operate a specific program in the organization to the max, then they are going to be the go to person for that program and they are going to have the most power for that specific aspect.
Slack and Parent describe five sources of organizational power; acquisition and control of resources, the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, and nonsubstitutability, and the control over the decision making process. The first, acquisition and control of resources, is crucial in the sense that if a company cannot acquire resources, and once doing so, maintain them, it will most certainly fail. If the University of Minnesota could not acquire TCF as a sponsor of the new stadium it would have not been able to build such a magnificent stadium. Also, without the control and maintenance of the other sponsors the stadium would fail, Minnesota will be seen as powerful as long as it can maintain its sponsors and acquire new ones. Another key resource to any sport is its players. If a team can acquire big name players, such as the Vikings acquiring Brett Favre, they are going to generate profits for their company and become very powerful. The second source of power discussed, the ability to cope with uncertainty, described as "arising out of changed in the task environment of the sport organization- suppliers, competitors, fans, regulatory agencies, and the like" (Slack and Parent 2006, p. 202). Companies such as Nike and Adidas must always be on the look out for changes in trend. If a company is successful at predicting trends they will have less coping to deal with. It is also key for a company to be able to react after something has occurred, it is important to be creative and successful with your reaction. The next source of power, the power of centrality, simply means that whatever subunit within the organization is running the show at the time is likely to be the subunit with the most control. As Slack and Parent discuss, when the sales of a company fall the marketing and sales department power will increase because it is up to them to fix this problem. The fourth source of power, nonsubstitutability, is important to both subunits and individuals alike. If a subunit has detailed tasks that only that unit can perform the more power it is likely to have due to the fact that they are the only ones specialized in it. If the sales department for the Gophers has a specialized computer system for selling tickets and it is very hard to use they are likely to have more power because they are the only ones able to sell tickets. The last way for subunits or individuals to gain power is to have control over the decision-making process. The more decisions you are in on, obviously the more power you will have. If every decision for the Vikings must go through Zygi Wilf, the owner, than he is obviously going to have the most power in that particular organization. The use of power politics in sports is described as " the ability to use the bases of power effectively- to convince those to whom one has access; to use one's recourses, information, and technical skills to their fullest in bargaining" (Mintzberg, 1983, p.26). There are many ways discussed to effectively manage these concepts of organizational power and politics. Building coalitions is one way to mange because the more you communicate and spend time building relationships with others the more likely you are to express your views and have a united group on certain issues. The use of outside experts is beneficial because using an outside expert can legitimize your argument that much more. Building networks of contacts is key with any sport organization, the more people you know the farther you will get. If Nike is trying to work a business deal with the NCAA and someone working for Nike has a contact with someone who is working for the NCAA they are more likely to be able to close the deal, thus giving them more power. Lastly, controlling information will always give you more political power. Speaking to your strong points, and trying to hide your weak points is obviously a very good tactic in trying to get your information believed by many. The questions with these strategies to organizational power and politics that occur are how far should someone go to gain power? Is it necessary and or appropriate to break organizations ethical boundaries once in a while to gain that power? Also, is power the most important aspect in an organization?

Power and Politics

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According to Slack and Parent there are different sources of organizational power.  There are two different types of sources of power, individual power, and organizational power. Focusing on the organizational power the book recognizes five different sources of power within an organization. First is the acquisition and control of resources. In this source of power it describes how the certain subunits, or departments in the organization that can acquire the most important and critical resources that the organization needs to survive usually tend to have power in the organization. Next is the ability to cope with uncertainty source. There are three methods of this source of power:  absorption, and acquiring information about future trends, and lastly preventing occurrence. The groups that can cope and deal with uncertainty within the organization tend to hold more power because they are stable in the work environment and they are able to control and reduce the uncertainty for the organization. Next is centrality, which is important because centrality holds power in that during the decision making processes it is central to all information being sent throughout the organization. The centrality can change depending on times of crisis and problems, if it is a financial problem, the financial department would be more central in the decision making process than the HRD department. Also, the source of nonsubstituatability, or being irreplaceable, is important for gaining power in the organization. Here the strategic contingencies approach is applied because the less it can be substituted for the organization the more important it is for the success of the company, and therefore holds more power.  Fifth is the control over the decision-making process as being a source of power. This is important because it affects how the company adapts and changes to problems they are having. The people and subunits that have the most input, and control over the decision making process tend to hold the most power in the organization.  Each of these five sources of power hold true in each and every organization and anyone who would do a research on the power of organization will find that the people on top or with the most power are usually the ones that have stake in the decision making process, they are non substitutable, they can grow and adapt from change and uncertainty, and they have a high control over the resources that are the most important to the organization itself.

Power and Politics

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            Within a sports organization I would say that power and politics play a large part in decision making process.  The more individual power or political power that you have may make a decision a little harder but when it comes to implanting it makes things a lot easier.  But the thing about these two variables is that they are not interchangeable.  It's really hard to have one with out the other.

 In the Slack and Parents reading it says that you have to have one of 5 individual powers before you can have any political power.  The five different types of powers are legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert.  The fist type of power is legitimate power.  With legitimate power it really doesn't have anything to do with you personally but it has to do more with the title that you are given and the power that comes with that.  For instance lets say I was the head of sports facilities here at the U and someone wanted to use Williams Area for a dodge ball tournament.  Well I would have the power to say yes or no even though I personally know nothing about the needs of dodge ball.  The second power has to do with reward.  Reward power happens when you have control of another persons or organizations reward.  If I have the ability to take something away that you felt you have worked hard for you are ether going to hate me or you are going to respect me.  Coercive power has to deal with the same type of situation, but instead of being able to reward somebody this is the power to punish someone.  I see this method as very cold hearted but very effective.  The next power, referent, deals a lot with how you relate to other people that have power.  If the people in power see that you have some of the same traits that they do then you are seen as a more trustworthy person and maybe then they will give you a little more power.  I like to call this brown nosing but Slack and Parents call it referent.  The last type of power is expert, and just like it sounds the more expertise you have in the field makes you more respectable and have a little more power them someone that is just coming in.

Like I said before you really can have one without the other and when an organization is looking to persuade the strongest power that they can have is politics.  But to have this power you have to develop individual power first.  One of the many things that makes this country great is the access that we have into our political system.  In major sports a lot of there decisions have to go through local government because of the large economic impart that they play, so if someone was to gain a reward or coercive power of a local politician or political group then a lot of the hard decision that need to be made will not be that hard.  It is a vicious circle but it is one that needs to be there in order to get things done smoothly and effectively.

Power and politics seem to be at the center of any organization, sports included. Sources of organizational power stem from the subunits as well as how the organization is structured and designed. One of the major forms of power is the ability to cope with uncertainty, which arises out of changes in the task environment (Slack & Parent 202). This uncertainty surely creates problems in the sport organization and those subunits that can effectively control it will gain power. Three ways of doing so are: acquiring information and preparing for future trends, absorption (or taking action after an event has occurred) and prevention. Two political strategies that walk hand-in-hand with dealing with uncertainty are the use of outside experts and building a network of contacts (Slack & Parent 207). Most organizations have their own in-house experts but also reach out to external experts for an objective view and increased support and legitimacy for the department's position. Networks also provide increased support through sponsors, peers, and subordinates. These people promote your organization and what you are trying to accomplish. They may have their own outside networks and connections with people which in turn can assist you in dealing with uncertainty in one of the three previously mentioned ways. Nonsubstitutability and control over the decision making process are two more types of organizational power (Slack & Parent 205). When an individual or a subunit is so proficient at their assigned task to the point that they are irreplaceable, they are said to be nonsubstitutable. By retaining these subunits, they are more likely to have a well-informed opinion on decision making in the company. The people who are able to decide on organizational matters in turn become much more powerful within the group. Building coalitions with others through communication and establishing trust through relationships is a political strategy to gain and retain power. It is said that the best organizations are those which have as little substitutability as possible; however, with all of the networking and external outreaching, how likely is it that an employee might come to find that the grass is greener on the other side? What can you offer to retain that employee and prevent them from switching? Two of the more dominant types of organizational power are the acquisition and control of resources and the concept of centrality (Slack & Parent 202-203). Centrality refers to the fact that those subunits who are more central to the work or information flow will be more powerful than those on the periphery. In addition to being closer to the internal structure of the organization, they will be able to acquire more resources and obtain a higher level of control. Monetary resources and financial situations are what come to mind when centrality and control of resources are mentioned. In order to counterbalance these highly dominant organizational power types, a sport manager could effectively control information. By doing this, they are able to influence decisions of the organization by putting an emphasis on supporting facts and limiting or ignoring other information that might hurt their case. These tactics are used to push for their position and discredit the opposing viewpoint. Though this is highly effective in most situations, you must think about your values and beliefs. Is this ethical to withhold certain information? Though you are not lying you are not fully informing your client of all of the facts that might be necessary for them to make the best decision possible.

Power and Politics

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There are different forms of power and politics that our book talks about. Legitimate power is the power a person has determined by their title. The amount of power comes from the position only, and has nothing to do with personalities. Reward power may be given to people with high legitimate power. This gives them the power to reward those with less legitimate power based on performance. On the other hand, coercive power is the same person to punish the lower person. Referent power is harder to define, as it can only come about if members of an organization believe very strongly in the ideas and values of their leader. The leader can also gain expert power after time, knowledge, and skill are acquired. Within an organization, there are also five basic sources of power. Resources such as people and money are essential to an organization, the control of resources is the ability of an organization not only to obtain these valued resources, but manage these vital resources. All organizations face uncertainty, and the ability of an organization to deal with this uncertainty through the acquisition of information to plan ahead, and through learning from the past is another sources of power. Having an efficient working strategy is also important. This centrality is vital to an organization's success during a crisis. Nonsubstitutability is another source of power. This power comes from the subunit or individual of an organization being necessary to success. Being included in the decision making process is a part of this, and is also a part of the final source of power which is control over decision making. There are also forms of politics in an organization. Building coalitions is one political strategy. By establishing personal relationship and having similar beliefs and values, a coalition can manipulate an organization politically. Organizations also use outside experts to legitimize their positions. Experts provide an objective view that gives the organization public credit. Similar to a coalition, an organization can build a network of contacts outside the organization to go along with the people inside. Networking with influential people and organizations can lead to decisions made in favor of the organization. Sport Managers can use these tactics to perform another tactic which is controlling information. As long as you know what everyone else knows, you can manipulate the information that becomes knowledge to everyone else. These strategies of power and politics are essential to an organization, especially a sport organization. Sports organizations use these strategies daily, and understanding them can lead to an efficient and effective organization.
Power is a relatively hazy concept within sport organizations because it is not always easily seen or understood, but it is definitely prevalent and felt within sport organizations. According to Slack and Parent, power can be broadly defined as "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done" (p.199). The text continues by explaining different forms of power held by both the individual and the organization as a whole. Power held by a sport organization is an important factor in determining the attainment of an organization's ultimate goals. Slack and Parent describe an abundance of forms of organizational power including acquisition and control of resources, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over decision-making processes. Acquisition and control of resources is essentially obtaining or losing power based upon the organization's ability to acquire crucial resources. Important resources generally obtained by an organization include money, people, information, and legitimacy. With more resources comes more power for the organization. Centrality is based upon the organization's position within their environment. Organizations or subunits that are more central to the work or information flow will be more powerful than those organizations that are less centrally located. Nonsubstitutability, according to Slack and Parent, is the idea of "being irreplaceable" (p.203). The less that an organization or subunits activities can be replaced with alternatives, the more power the organization holds. Lastly, the control that an organization has over the decision-making process is a way to gain or lose power. When an organization or its subunits have not only input but also control of the decision-making process, power is obtained. How can sport organizations manage power? Slack and Parent describe four major strategies used by organizations to manage power: building coalitions, use of outside experts, building a network of contacts, and controlling information. Coalitions, according to the text, are trustworthy relationships built when people spend time communicating their views to others, thus resulting in mutual respect (p. 207). Coalitions can be built within the organization, but are generally built outside of the organization at places such as restaurants, bars, golf courses, etc. Coalitions are effective when both parties are in strong agreeance regarding a particular issue. Using outside experts is an effective strategy to support or legitimize an organization's position on a specific issue. These experts can help the organization gain support, or conversely, break up the support or power of a competing organization. Networking is another effective power management strategy used by organizations. According to Slack and Parent, networks are "established through the formal mechanisms of the sport organization and through informal means" (p.207). Externally, building networks with sponsors or subordinates can result in increased power. Internally, building networks with co-workers and management can increase one's individual power. Lastly, managing and controlling information can be used as an effective strategy to manage organizational power. If executed properly, information management "can be used by sport managers to influence the outcomes of the decision-making process" (p.209). Placing emphasis on facts that support an organization's stance on a particular issue, or covering up information that weakens their position are two strategies commonly used by organizations to gain political power. Effective users of this strategy "emphasize the positives, and downplay or hide the negatives". Although power is sometimes tough to identify, it is a crucial aspect to any sport organization. Understanding different forms of power and how to manage power and politics as explained above is necessary for any sport organization to reach their full potential and achieve their organizational goals.

Power and Politics

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Power and politics play a major role in the sports industry and affect every sport organization. I think it is vital for a sport organization to have a well built power structure in order for them to operate efficiently and effectively. There are many times when power and politics can have a positive effect on an organization and there are also many times when power and politics can prevent an organization from fulfilling out their duties and keep them from achieving their goals. Strategic choice is a concept that is analyzed when talking about problems of organizational power and politics. According to Slack and Parent, strategic choice typically includes not only the establishment of structural forms but also the manipulation of environmental features and the choice of relevant performance standards. This is saying that an organization must adapt their standards according to how environmental factors are affecting them. Not only do environmental features influence an organization and how `they operate but power and authority is one of the most complex concepts in the organizational theory literature. Power is not something that is directly visible within a sport organization, but the effects of power are evident. Maintaining a certain level of power in an organization is important in order to keep the structure and management intact. Upper levels of the management must have power in order to lead their organization in a market. There are several types of power that affect an organization. One form of power is authority, which is the power that it is formally sanctioned by a sport organization, the power that accrues to a person because of his or her role within the organization (Slack and Parent, 2006). I think in the video we watched about how Nike has their workers in India working for dirt cheap money is a way to show how power and authority can affect a lot of people. Because Nike is the leading company for sport apparel, they have a lot of power and authority and it is being used to direct controversial action. Power can be used negatively or positively it depends on the situation at hand. Although an organization can have their own power and authority, the book talks about sources of individual power. These types of power are legitimate, coercive, referent, and expert power. Legitimate power is the same as authority (Slack and Parent, 2006). People acquire this power depending on their certain position within an organization. Coercive power is power that is used in disciplinary actions. Referent power is based on individuals respect for another person. The individuals within a sport organization support and value the management above. Lastly expert power happens because of an individual's skill or certain knowledge about a particular idea.
Slack and Parent define power as, "the ability to get someone to do something they would not have otherwise done or the probability that one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rest" (Weber, 1947, p.152). Before one looks at different forms of organization power it is important to understand the different forms of individual power, since an organization is a collection of individuals. The text states five types of individual power; legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, referent power, and expert power. These forms of individual power often overlap, as individuals may display many of these power qualities.

The text defines five specific organizational forms of power; acquisition and control of resources, the ability to cope with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over the decision-making process. Subunits within an organization often focus much of their energy on acquiring and securing resources considered critical to an organization's day-to-day operations. These critical resources include money, people, information, and legitimacy. Money is an extremely important resource simply because it can be used to acquire other resources. For example look at the free-agent bidding wars in professional sports. The New York Yankees organization has the ability to control valuable resources (great players) because their owner's financial status allows them to offer more money than any other organization to these free-agents.

Organizations that can effectively deal with uncertainty in the task environment gain increased power, especially subunits within the organization. The text discusses three ways in which organizations can deal with uncertainty; 1) acquiring information about future trends, 2) absorption (taking action after an event has occurred), and 3) preventing the occurrence in the first place. Centrality regarding subunits in an organization is another important form of organizational power. Subunits that are more in-the-know regarding information flow will be more powerful than those who are left on the outside of important information. Nonsubstitutability is an important way for organizations to gain power. Individuals and organizations strive to ensure that their knowledge and skills are irreplaceable. Coming up with specialized language is a way in which coaches maintain their power often times within a sport organization. Having control over decision making is a key way in which members of an organization can gain power. People who can influence when decisions are made and who's involved in the decision-making process are very powerful.

There are a number of strategies used to manage the power and politics that are inevitably a part of sport organizations. Building coalitions are built when people spend time communicating ideas to others, establishing trust relationships, and building mutual respect. They are most effective when they are centered on one specific issue. Coalitions occur within organizations (players unions in pro sports) or among different sport organizations. Using outside experts is another way in which organizations used politics to gain power. These experts are hired to support or legitimize an organization's position. For example, the Sydney Olympics of 2000 wanted to be known as a "Green Games", so the organizing committee hired people from Greenpeace to work with them in organizing activities. Building a network of contacts is another way in which organizations gain power politically. Sponsors, peers, and subordinates are all important constituents because in order to gain power an organization needs support from other people. Not only does an organization need to build contacts within the organization, they also need to look outside to find new contacts. Controlling information is also an important way organizations use political activity to gain power. Sport managers choose what information they want people to hear in order to support their position and discredit the views of competing individual's ideas. Power is linked to politics, as people will use many different strategies to attempt to gain power within an organization. The people who can control valuable resources are most often people who are the most powerful within organizations.
There are many different types and levels of power in an organization. There are individual powers within a hierarchy and there are organizational powers for the group. According to Slack and Parent, there are five different levels of individual power. These types are legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert. These levels of power are somewhat interchangeable and they overlap each other in some circumstances. Each level of power is used to create decisions within an organization, as well as, effective strategies to help manage these concepts. The first power, legitimate, means that this power is occupied by different people that are in the higher positions. Slack and Parent describe this power as the same as authority. It is the upmost power. This is a type of power where it is expected that subordinate employees answer to the requests of the people with legitimate power. This does not explicitly mean that they hold more skills than the rest of the organization, but only that they have the ultimate power based on their position or title. This power would be effective in a very rigid hierarchical organization, but it is extremely hard for the subordinate workers to have no power because they feel useless to the organization because of the lack of empowerment. Reward power is when the person with power is able to give rewards to actors within the organization. This power is really similar to that of legitimate power because if they have the authority to give rewards for whatever behavior means that you have the power to choose those rewards. The book gives the example of a coach rewarding the players for some sort of positive behavior. I believe that rewards are only effective to a certain extent. Sometimes people would rather feel empowered than having rewards. Coercive power is the opposite of reward power. This means that a person with this type of power is able to punish someone for not complying with certain tasks in the organization. Punishment is never the most effective way to run an organization. People do not respond well to punishment because negative attitudes can often respond in more failure within an organization. Referent power is all about having charisma and attracting your employees to have an interest in you because of your personality. This power means that because of the number of "followers" that agree with the method of organization, means that they have gained the referent power. In some cases this is not effective because some people may just be very likeable, but have no true wisdom with the organization. The last individual power is expert power. This strictly comes from the person that has an expertise in the field. I feel like this is the most important power because it is very important if someone has the knowledge of something that no one else has. By being the only person that is able to understand a position and perform a task, the expert power is gained. If an organization has only one person that knows how to do a certain task, that person would be irreplaceable in the workplace. People with higher positions would be more likely to keep this employee around because of their expertise in the business. Politics play a huge role in any organization. Politics is how an organization uses the power that they have. The first step is to create relationships with other organizations that you respect. Networking is a huge key to success. Sometimes it is not what you know, but who you know. These connections are called coalitions. With an expansion like this, the organization would be able to attain goals because of the resources they have surrounding the organization.

Power is the ability to act. There are many ways the organization includes the power within the individual and within the organization.  Slack and Parents shows five sources of individual power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert. Some of these powers may overlap to make the organization effective. The first type of power is legitimate, is the same as authority. Authority is the power that is formally sanctioned by an organization, the power that accrues to a person because of his or her role within the organization. Authority is only legitimate within the sport organization that grants the authority. The second type of power is reward; this power comes form the ones person's control of another person's reward. The larger the reward is the better the organization gets. Being part of the gymnastics team at the university the coaches gives us reward from doing a great job at a competition. From receiving this reward it makes us want to do better. The third type of power is coercive; this is the opposite of the reward power. It is the power derived from the ability that one person has to punish another. In some occasions it is beneficial to have reward power but in an organization the members of the organization cannot be always rewarded. But the fear of the punishment can be a strong motivation to make things effective. The forth type of power is referent; this is based on individual's charisma and another person's identification with this quality. This can happen when one of the members of the organization has a strong values advocated by the leader. The last type of power is expert; this is from expertise in a certain field in the organization. To have this power you will not have to be high up in the organization of hierarchy. The only way to show is to be the expert through the information you have to the organization to make it effective. Organizational politics is about how effective the organization can use to the bases of power of one's resources, information, and technical skills. The organization acquires political power by building coalitions, using outside experts, building a network of contacts, and controlling information. By having a more network the organization will be able to gain high qualities to the organization from the extended relationship, a higher chance of success, maintain and achieve the organization's goals.

Power and Politics

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Two things that everyone will encounter at one point or another in their lives are forms of power and politics. These are two things that we as sports managers will in counter in a sports organization. There are five main sources of power in an organization and there are five sources of individual power in organizations. The five sources of power in an organization are control of resources, coping with uncertainty, centrality, nonsubstitutability, and control over decision making. The sources of individual power are legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, referent power, and expert power. All of these sources of power play a role in organizational politics. The more power that an organization or an individual have the more influential they are when it comes to organizational politics.  

                The sources of power in an organization are key factors when it comes to successful organizations. Control of resources is a big step in gaining power. The organizations that have acquired resources and ones that are critical to the organization's operations is a big step to being successful in the market. Another source of power in an organization is the ability to cope with uncertainty. The organizations that deal with the uncertainties that arise out of the task environment well will have more power. Market research is one strategy that organizations will use to help cope with the uncertainty.  This also helps them plan for the future. The next source of power in an organization is centrality. According to Slack and Parent centrality is determined by the problems it is facing at a particular time.  Centrality is the amount of power a subunit has in the sport organization. For example Slack and Parent say that in an equipment manufacturer is likely to have centrality in the marketing department. One way to avoid having all the power in one department is to have several leaders or managers overseeing several different departments. The fourth sources of power in an organization is nonsubstitutability. Nonsubstitutability is being irreplaceable. This is important for individuals and subunits within sport organizations. If they can not replace you that means that you hold a lot of power, and like I stated earlier the more power you have the better. In this case it creates job security. From an organization's prospective to avoid having too much power lay with one person you could train in several other people to do that persons job. This way they all have to work together and the power does not lay with one single person rather with a group. The last source of power for organizations is control over decision making. This is a huge part of power within an organization. According to Slack and Parent, "power is gained not only by having input in the decision process but also through control of the process itself." This also holds true for organizations not in the sports industry. An effective strategy for managing this concept is spread out the decision making process. Make the decision have to go through several different levels of management before it can be approved. Overall the more say you have in the sources of power in an organization the more influential you will be when it comes to company politics.

Power and Politics

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There are many different levels of power that an organization may have, and along with that the decisions the companies make to use that power. According to the book, there are five different types of individual power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent and expert. The book also states how much each of these powers overlap and therefore how much each power affects the others. The first type of power, legitimate, is power that goes along with the position that the person is in. Legitimate power is occupied by the different people that are in the higher positions. The book states that people do not necessarily possess different skills than other people that may be lower than them, but just people of their position, or title, in a sport organization, that they have legitimate power. Reward power is the power that a person may have to issue rewards to another person. The book gives a good example of how a coach has reward power over their players by being able to reward them with playing time. It seems to me that reward power is affected by legitimate power because authority over someone gives them the power to choose their rewards. Another power is coercive power. Coercive power is pretty much the opposite of reward power. The person with coercive power is able to punish someone as opposed to rewarding them. This power does not seem as effective to me because people that become punished for doing bad do not seem to respond as well as when they are rewarded for doing well. Referent power, to me, is kind of like sucking up. From what I understand, a person with referent power is someone who tries hard to become liked by others in order to be powerful. Referent power would be like when a person wants to gain attention by so many people that they are well known enough to gain their power. Expert power is the last individual power that the book talks about. It refers to the power that comes from having expertise in a certain field. Being the only person that knows something, or that is good at something in the organization is the best way to acquire expert power. It seems to me that having expert power is the major way that people acquire leverage. If a person is the only one that knows how to fix a machine, or run a certain piece of equipment, they will be needed and the people that are higher up may pay a lot to keep that person around. There are a few things that the book talked about that refers to organizational politics. Politics refers to how a person, or organization, uses the power that they possess. Building coalitions is the first use of politics that the book talks about. It refers to talking to people and building good relationships with those that you respect. Being able to come together and discuss things with people that you trust is what coalitions are all about. Using experts is another way to influence politics in an organization. If a person with power is able to find and use experts to help them make and use decisions, then they are seen as being very productive. If someone looks at a company and sees that the experts agree with how the organization is running then the person is power is looking to be in a very good position. Building networks is just one more way to use politics. If a powerful person in an organization is able to find many people inside and outside of the organization, then that person will have a higher chance of success. They will have many resources to complete their goals.

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One of the many forms of organizational power would be the dictator approach. One person is in charge of all the decisions to be made within the company. This approach can be difficult for the people that work under the boss in the sense that anything they say against all of his decisions will be taken as an act of mutiny. On the other hand in the company were to fail, then the boss is the only one to blame because he is the only one that is making any of the decisions. The political approach to this is a lot like Adolf Hitler during World War II. His plan ultimately failed because inside his plan the people behind him were not loyal to the end. When things were going down they all jumped ship. The dictatorship approach to organizational power is not the approach I would take in order to run a successful business because one person makes all the decisions. The next approach would be the board of director's approach. In this example a few people at the top of the company get together and make all the decisions for the business. This can be very successful if the people in charge making the decisions work closely with the workers underneath them to understand that what is going on within the company. From a political standpoint this would work well because the people on the floor would have a great amount of say as to what happens at the lowest level of the company. For a sports organization, I believe this strategy is the best because it involves a senior group of members working closely with employees to make the best possible decisions for the company. The final approach to organizational power would be the equal approach. That is to say that everyone in the company gets equal say as to what is going on with the decision making process. The problem with this idea is that it would take too long to make decisions with everyone getting a say. It would also be nearly impossible to get everyone on the same page to run a company effectively. You would have to implement a voting system and then that would create extra costs. On the flip side of this argument would be that everyone would get a say and the employees would feel more involved with their work environment because of the fact that they get to have some say in the decisions. Overall whatever organization management approach you use politics will always play a factor in your decisions. Trying to keep everyone happy will only create more headaches for the boss. You have to convey to the workers that your decisions are the best ones possible for the company and their jobs.

To what extent do you believe that Nike depicts the "learning organization"?

Nike seems to be learning but not necessarily to an extent that breeds consistent action. They appear to be growing in the sense that their recognition of their labor practices not being acceptable is causing them to make some adjustments in their organization. Even though Nike is making adjustments it does not seem that they are radical enough to have made a large difference in the ways things have been done. But, we do not think that perfection means that you are learning and Nike does appear to be making some effort in advancing when it comes to the labor practices within their organization.

What lessons do you think Nike learned?

Nike is finding that being the biggest in the market causes them to take the heat. The article stated that Nike was not the only company in their industry with these kinds of labor practices. But, because Nike is the leader in the market, they will be made the example. Also, we believe that Nike is more aware of the fact that people do notice when their organization it not following the rules. They may think their practices will go unnoticed but eventually they will be found out.

What learning stage would you currently place Nike? Why?

We would place Nike in the strategic stage because it appears as though they are aware of their current situation with labor practices and have tried to improve their standards. But it does not seem like much of their sought out improvement are coming to fruition. If Nike is to follow through with improving their labor practices and it is known to the world that they are following the standards then we believe that they will be able to move into the civil stage.

What types of strategies did the company use to address their critics about their unethical corporate practices?

Nike used strategies such as audits, increase personnel for their labor compliance team, offering rewards for sweat shops that met standards set by Nike, and attempting to take the lead, amongst their competitors, in the ways that they dealt with their labor practices.

Which strategies where more effective? Why?

It is hard to say which strategies have been affective up to this point because it does not appear as though much has changed for Nike, in terms of their labor practices. But if we were to pick one that has helped them move along thus far it would be the increased personnel for their labor compliance team. Their audits did not appear to be successful and they were almost an embarrassment. Their increased personnel on their compliance team show that they are fairly serious about addressing their downfall with labor practices. It is also a good move that they are trying to take corporate responsibility and lead the rest of their competitors in a direction that will improve labor practice across other organizations.

Nike is a company that is learning from its mistakes in the past but they haven't solved the problem as of yet. The stage of learning that Nike is in is somewhere in between the compliance and the managerial stages. It is hard to really tell what stage they are in at this moment because the information that we received was dated 2004. In the past 5 years they could have made some more strides to increasing the stage of learning they are in. This is conceivable because in the span of four years from 2000 to 2004 they did make some significant changes which were apparent in comparing the video in class and the last reading. One concern that our group discussed was the issue of Nike using the public relations department in order to get the view of the company up. The thought is that Nike is using the PR department to show that Nike is doing a lot more than they actually are. This would improve the image but not cost the company more, which is also wrong.

            Some lessons that Nike have learned over the past few years is that if they don't change what they are doing as a company then people and customers will call them out on the issue again. People have already done it once and there is nothing stopping them from doing it again. Nike has also learned that it needs to be more accountable for its actions. They were able to get away with a lot because they were not taking responsibility for anything that they did which has started to recently change. This ties to the lesson that Nike learned that they need to change with the social expectations of the organization. Nike needs to learn to be more adaptable to the changing environment because the defensive strategy just doesn't work.

            As stated before, Nike is somewhere in between the compliance and managerial stage in the continuum of the learning stages. They are still in these stages because they are still trying to protect their reputation by saying that they are going to do all of these different organization changing plans but few have gotten off the ground. Since they have started some of them they are thinking about the long term problem and are not trying to just push it away or cover it up which in turn leads them towards the managerial stage. This mix of two organizational styles is way they are sitting between the compliance and managerial stages.

            Some strategies that Nike used to address the critics was to show them a lot of PR work to show what they are doing not just what they plan to do. Nike also agreed to an external audit system which was a nice step forward but it only looked at a section of the company. It was a high profile firm but they were unreliable. The next step was impressive; Nike created their own department to audit the company. The Corporate Responsibility Department was the formalized structure which Nike had audit the organization. This supply chain audit management system was a nice way to show a current system to check to see where the organization needed to be changed. This also allowed the organization to revaluate the goals of the company and the employees working for the company. Along with all this, Nike started to shift the issues focus away from them to other companies having the same issue.

 

Group Members: Rebecca Picha, Andre Phillips, David Dahlstrom, Ryan Hooser

One of the most important things Nike learned was the importance of their public image and also along with that they learned about the social responsibility that comes along with being a major world corporation. They may not think that these issues are a big deal, but when a person like the former St. John's coach makes a trip overseas to raise awareness about worker's poor conditions people pay attention. Negative publicity of any kind can drive down business which results in a potential loss of revenue.

Nike is in the compliance stage of learning. Essentially the fall into the category of organizations that do "just as much as they have to."They realized that they needed to implement some changes, such as improve working conditions and pay, but something was stopping them. When Nike looked at what it would actually cost to implement these changes they decided it really wasn't worth it. However, it seems a little ridiculous to the public that someone like Phil Knight, who makes roughly $8 billion a year, cannot raise the wages of the sweatshop workers even a little bit. With this being said, Nike has at least addressed that there are problems that need to be fixed. It just isn't enough in this day and age however to do only what is necessary, especially not for a global icon like the Nike brand.

Nike bought the Starter brand in 2004, which affected its strategy in terms of corporate strategy. Starter is sold at stores such as Wal-Mart and Target which are considered a value-channeled economy. By showing an interest and commitment to the value industry, whose manufacturers are found in countries in Latin America and Asia, Nike demonstrated that was committed to maintaining labor compliance with all of its products and markets. Along these lines of successful strategies Nike also developed a corporate responsibility department, furthering their initiative in this area. One of the ineffective strategies Nike implemented was the audits on the overseas factories' labor compliance issues.

-Parker Kruckenberg, Dan Pavlue, Alyssa Wiebusch, & Tony Des Marais

Nike organization

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We believe that Nike is somewhat of a learning organization. They are the very minimum of learning to the extent to which they can acquire the most money but still satisfy the public enough. They know what to do but don't technically want to do it because it will cost so much that it may hinder their capitalistic goals. Nike learned that they can't just do what they want because other people are watching the company to make sure they are meeting the needs and regulations that the government has set down. Nike is a smart company and has come to learn about the loopholes in which they can still perform but make people happy. We believe that Nike is in between strategic and civil learning stages because they have integrated the issue into their organization to improve their overseas companies. They are still capitalistic, but they are only admitting the policies to the extent to which it will satisfy the public. They know the processes that they must implement, but seeing if they will actually do it is the real question. We don't believe they have actually said what they are going to do 100%. Nike hired high profile people from outside the organization to oversee their processes in order to see what the problems with Nike were. That process was not successful because the individuals looking over Nike's operations were not trained and therefore not extremely helpful. Even though those individuals lacked professional experience, they were still able to find some of the flaws that Nike had in its factories. Christopher Dirkes, Yuri Nagai, John Bosman, Matt Macer
Ryan Prochaska and Laura Schnell Nike doesn't depict a learning organization very well. We think Nike learned that they must be socially responsible in order to be successful or at least appear to be socially responsible to the public. We placed Nike in the compliance stage of learning because they are still resistant to making social responsibility a core duty. They do the bare minimum in order to get by. Nike used many different strategies to address their critics views of unethical corporate practices. 1) Nike hired firms to do audits on the factories in other countries to try and make sure they are up to standards, which proved to be ineffective. 2) Acquired the "Starter" brand. Made sure they made it clear to manufacturers they are going to keep up on their social responsibility measures in terms of production of the product, even though it is an inexpensive product. Somewhat effective. 3) Nike developed a corporate responsibility department and made themselves a leader in the movement. This was an effective move by Nike, shows they are making more of an effort to change and look into their shortcomings.
Is Nike a learning organization? Nike has probably learned, more than anything, better ways of PR and ways to create a facade of social responsibility versus actually creating a better work environment. The stage of learning that Nike is at is somewhere between Managerial and Strategic. The company has created policies that have appeased the global community and now they are developing cost-saving strategies that still follow their now socially responsible policies. To address its critics Nike has worked to improve conditions in global supply chains improving safety standards and created child labor laws. Nike agreed to an external audit to ensure that the new policies were being enforced. A department was created within the company based around social and corporate responsibility. This department also oversees its supply chains partners' compliance with new labor laws. Then in July of 2000, Phil Knight attended the launch of Global Impact, UN based conference aimed at corporate responsibility for fair labor laws. Knight was the only US CEO to attend the conference. The objective of this conference is to get every company to report, publicly, on their labor practices. However, what evidence do we currently have that these changes in policy have made an real impact on the company's laborers? The only evidence we have now is that these strategies have succeeded in creating a new, re polished image for the company. The question should not be are these strategies effective, because effective must be defined and depending on who defines effective the answer may change, the question should be are these policies and strategies producing results for the marginalized labor force?
They learned that defensive strategy does not work and that you have to comply. You can't exploit workers because eventually it will catch up with you and someone will find out. Nike has reached the strategic stage of learning while moving towards the civil approach. They have integrated societies values into their work place and they are border line civil because they are have one of the best models out there to follow and they are making great strides toward being the number one company to follow. The first strategy to dealing with critics was defensive because he did not want to talk to the camera. Phil Knight also told the camera that they needed to go talk to a different person and it became a big circle of who to speak to about the poor factory situations. No one wanted to take responsibility for what was going on in Indonesia. The labor compliance team hired costly professionals to audit many supplies overseas. They began to do reviews up the supply chain rather than going down. It was effective because they were able to find the root of the problem. This was effective because they were able to break the problem all the way down before they began to look for a solution. They were able to find the problem this way. This involved a bunch of different companies to included NGO's and the CEO's. As time has passed Nike has made strides everyday to fix the problems. In July of 2000, Phil Knight was the only American CEO to attend the launch of global compact, which was a conference designed to better company globalization.

Nike

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The environment around a sport organization is very important when considering the structure of a sport organization. Chapter 8, in the textbook, talks about two different environments that need to be considered when thinking about the environments surrounding sport organization. I am referring to the general environment and the task environment of an organization. The general environment includes economic, political, demographic, socio-cultural, legal, ecological, and technological aspects. The task environment would include suppliers, regulatory agencies, athletes' groups, competitors, customers, members, and fans. Slack and Parent also refer to the uncertainty that comes with the environments surroundings sport organizations. Even though there is so much uncertainty there are certain strategies organizations may use to lessen the uncertainty. Sport organizations can respond to these uncertainties by either adjusting their internal structure or going outside of themselves and attempting to change the external environment. Slack and Parent offer: buffering, boundary spanners, smoothing, rationing and planning and forecasting as internal directed actions that organizations can take. Some of the external directed actions would include contractual agreements, joint ventures, cooptation, interlocking directorates, executive recruitment, public relations, advertising, mergers and acquisitions, etc. (Slack and Parent, 2006)

With all of these things considered it is important to remember that sport manager's respond to these environmental issues with a perception of what they believe the sport organization to be. This can be dangerous because this perception may be very different from the actual environment, which begs a great question.

What cause sport managers to have this false perception of their sport organization? Is it due to a blinding optimism that things are really better than they seem? Could it be that there is pessimism that causes a sport manager to neglect a market that could be embraced by the organization, but are afraid that they will not succeed?

These questions would be very hard to answer as a sport manager. I think that a sport managers' perception of their sport organization is crucial to their success. It is an area that needs to be invested in and I feel as though there could be jobs in this area. A sport organization could take on an employee who could be in charge of keeping tabs on their specific sport organization and be in close communication with the manager in hopes that it will produce better results for the organization.

Do you think that this would be a good position to invest in?

 

As the beginning of Chapter 8 states, "To be effective, organizations must adapt to the demands of its environments" (page 150). Demands from the environment can come from many different sources; the Slack and Parent book classifies those sources into the general environment and the task environment. The Armstrong-Doherty article defined the environment by those who invest money into the organization. I will detail the components of each environment in relation to the University of Minnesota Athletic Department.

Armstrong-Doherty attributed an organization's environments to those which it depends on, which in most cases mean where its funding comes from. University Athletic Departments' funding comes from student fees, government funding, corporate sponsorship, the University general fund, and alumni contributions. In the article, it states the average university only produces 17% of its income from internal revenue (i.e. ticket sales), and more than 30% of its income comes from student fees. In my Business of Sport class, my professor gave us a handout with the University of Minnesota's athletic budget (expenses and revenue) from 2004. In contrast to the average, the U of M received over 35% of its revenue from ticket sales; ticket sales were the largest single source of revenue. In 2004, prior to plans to build TCF Bank Stadium, there were no student fees at the University of Minnesota. This information is solely interesting for me to reflect upon, but I would like to discuss the question in class as to how the difference in revenue sources affects the environment at the University of Minnesota. At that point in time, did the University aim to please contributors other than students because of this revenue difference?

The findings of the Armstrong-Doherty article showed the biggest influence on a university's environment come from corporate sponsorships. I think this is especially true for the U of M. Jason Korstange, the director of corporate communication at TCF Bank, spoke to one of my classes and gave details about the naming rights contract; a surprising amount of decisions made surrounding Gopher Football and the new stadium must be approved by TCF Bank.

Moving beyond the contributors that affect the environment of an organization, our book conveys that the general and task environments also affect an organization. Factors included in the task environment are customers, members, fans, suppliers, regulatory agencies, athletes' groups, staff and competitors. These factors influence an organization's ability to reach its goals. Let's say the U of M's goal is to sell out every home football game this year. Task factors that influence the achievement of this goal could be the customers/fans that will buy the tickets, suppliers that will reliably provide food and products to sell at the game, athletes that will perform well to entertain fans, competitors that give our team a challenge (not easy wins, but not unreachable wins), and staff that will run game day operations smoothly. As the book states, "The task environment is of more immediate concern to the sport manager because it contains those constituents that can strongly affect the success of the organization" (page 153). These components directly affect whether or not the U of M will sell out every home football game.

            The general environment factors also contribute to goal attainment. The general environment encompasses the following sectors: economic, political, sociocultural, legal, demographic, ecological, and technological. If the University's ticket website was not functioning properly, we may run into issues in selling out the home games; this technological factor influences the general environment and the University's success in achieving its goals. Similar cases can be made for all of these general environment factors.

 

Environment

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When thinking about the environment of a sports organization, you have to realize that it's what influences the structure and processes of that organization.  More specifically, there are two types of environments in an organization, first, the General Environment, which includes the economic, demographic, political, technological, ecological, legal, and sociocultural sectors.  Second, there is the Task Environment, which according to Slack & Parent, is made up of those aspects of its general environment that can influence its ability to achieve its goals.  Those aspects typically include Customers/Members/Fans, Competitors, Athletes' groups/Staff, Regulatory Agencies, and Suppliers.  According to Slack & Parent, Duncan (1972) saw that the uncertainty of an organizations environment was influenced by two factors, the extent to which the environment was simple/complex, and the extent to which it was stable/dynamic.  Environmental Complexity is a large number of diverse elements interacting with or influencing the sport organization.  A simple organization has a small number of those elements.  The extent to which a sport organization's environment is stable/dynamic refers to the amount of change in those elements constituting it environment.  An organization having stability if 1, its demands on the organization are relatively consistent and dependable, and 2, these demands constantly come from very similar clients.  Dynamic environments on the other hand are characterized by rapid change, caused by any number of factors.
To control these uncertainties, organizations can either respond to the demands of their external environment, or they can attempt to change the nature of the external environment.
   

Environment

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Possibly one of the most important topics to consider when studying sport organizations is the general environment. Our book, authored by Slack and Parent, defines the general environment as "sectors that, although may not have direct impact on the operation of an organization, can influence the industry in general ways that ultimately have an impact in the organization." Our book describes seven sectors of the general environment as economic, political, sociocultural, legal, demographic, ecological, and technical. Another important sector of the environment is the task environment, which includes suppliers, regulatory agencies, athletes' groups/staff, competitors, and customers/members/fans. (Slack and Parent 2006) These sectors of the environment generally affect organization more directly than the sectors of the general environment. Many of these sectors directly affect the whether or not the organization will meet its goals. The environment surrounding a sport organization can often times be unpredictable. Our book suggests that the degree of environmental uncertainty surrounding a sport organization can strongly influence the structure and process of that organization. Often times environments drastically change and are extremely unpredictable. Our book provides an example of this using Reebok Shoe Co. They explain how the athletic shoe industry went through an industrial boom over a very short period of time. In just three years Reebok's sales jumped nearly 25 times what they had been in the past. Because of such a drastic change Reebok could not keep up with customer's orders and had to completely revamp their distribution process. To meet the market demands they purchased a large facility and instated new methods of organization in order to help them successfully distribute their product and ultimately control their environment. The book provides us with a few specific ideas as to how to deal with and keep control of an ever-changing environment. First there are "internally directed actions." Buffering, Boundary Spanners, Smoothing, Rationing, and Planning/Forecasting are all internally directed actions. Buffering, for example, refers to the technical core or the organization or in other words, the production side of the organization (Slack and Parent). An example of buffering is stocking up on raw materials needed to make a certain product as a preparation for abrupt changes in demand (Slack and Parent). There are also "externally directed actions" that can help organizations prepare and adapt to uncertain environments. These include contractual agreements, joint ventures, cooptation, and interlocking directories. Overall, environmental uncertainty will always affect sport organizations, yet there are many ways to prepare for such uncertainty so that as a manager you can adapt to the environment and help create a successful organization.

Organizational Environments

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There are three environments within an organization according to our textbook; those environments are the general environment, the task environment, and the perceived environment. While all the environments are important and they help the organization to run as a whole, I believe that some environments and parts that make up certain environments come out as more important than others. I think that the most important environment as a whole would have to be the task environment. As said in our textbook, "A sport organization's task environment is made up of those aspects of its general environment that can influence its ability to achieve its goals" (p. 153). So in short the task environment encompasses every influential party within the organization. This is an important environment because without the task environment your organization would just be running uninfluenced by the people within the organizational environment, which would have an effect on the organizational goals and missions that the organization has set in place. It is stated in our textbook that the general environment and the task environment are related to one another, however I believe that the task environment ultimately helps the organization more with reaching the goals and missions within the organization. With that being said about the task environment I think that the most important part of the environments is the economy. The economy falls within the general environment category, and or textbook defines it as, "The general economic conditions in which a sport organization operates (whether publicly or privately owned)" (p.151). The economy is important for obvious reason such as funding of the organization all together, but it is that very reason why I believe that the economy is the most influential and important part of any of the environments. Sport is said to be recession proof, but if the economy goes into recession then the sports organization needs to restructure their financial plans; so sports may be recession proof but if the economy takes a downturn then there is a very high chance that your organization could follow in that same downturn. In conclusion there are three main environments that make up an organization, the two parts that I find the most important are the task environment and the economy in the general environment. Every environment and there parts help the organization to function but I believe that if these two parts tweak in any way that the organization will drastically change.

     In sports environment means more then just the weather outside, it incubuses everything that surrounds the organization. Don't get me wrong weather does play a part within the whole scheme of things but it is much more then that. It has to deal with the type of people on the team it has to do with the location of the organization; it even has to deal with the commerce surrounding the organizations facilities. What all these different factors will play into is how the organization looks at its structure and how it evaluate achieving there of goals.

     One very large part in running an organization is the commerce that you produce, either within the organization itself or the surrounding areas. A very, very good example of this production of commerce idea is the Minnesota Timberwolves. The environment that they create for the fans in the downtown area is among the best in the league. With sports bars, high end restaurants, movie theaters, pretty much anything someone could ask for on a night out is centrally located around the organization, and the one thing that all of these shops have in common is that they all have the Timberwolves name plastered all over them. It is a very important thing for the Timberwolves to show that they are the dominate figure in the downtown area for sports. Although with the recent building of Target Field, you never know what is going to happen downtown. You would like to think that they could work together but sometimes that is not the case. Granted that the Timberwolves will always have the NBA City bar, as the official bar NBA fans, but what about the fans that would go to hooters after the game or Gameworks. Are the fans going to like it when the themes of there bars change from basketball to a more baseball centered one. Maybe those fans will quit showing up. I guess that the point I am trying to make is that the environment around an organization is very important because if you start losing the support around you, like local business, you might start to lose people.

     Another aspect of environment that is very important is the environment within the organization. The best example that I can think of, although it is not even in sports is google. The environment within google is a very happy one. All the extra perks like a gym, or a five star restaurant for a cafeteria makes the employees of the organization happy and willing to work. But there are examples of a bad environment. The best example has to be the Oakland Raiders. Every time you hear about them on the new or sports center you hears that the facilities are run down, and the neighborhood is bad, and every one is not happy. I think that there is a definite correlation between these. If you hate the place you work, or you hate the people you work for, or you hate the people you work with; it is going to be a very hostile environment to work for. You aren't going to enjoy it at all and your performance is going to struggle.

     These are just a few of the environmental issues within an organization that are going to effect the organization as a whole. The best organizations are the ones that can take these issues and not let them get to bad and adjust them before it gets out of hand.

            There are many different things that influence whether or not a sports organizations succeeds or fails. In past blogs we have talked about how the structure and design influence the success of sports organizations, and we have also talked about the organizations strategies and how they can help them accomplish their goals. Well there is yet another thing that determines how successful a sports organization is how organizations react to the environments that surround it. In the book it talks about how there are two sectors that influence an organization and those are the general environment and the task environment.

            The general environment has less of an impact on organizations than the task environment. The general environment includes things like economic conditions, political situations, legal conditions, ecological factors, sociocultural factors, demographics, and technological developments. These general things effect every organization even if it is not in the sports sector.

            The second sector of environment is the task environment. This is the most important sector because everything has a large impact on the sport organization. The five main things in this sector are suppliers, competitors, athletes' groups/staff, regulatory agencies, and customers/members/fans. Sports organization managers and CEOs focus on these five things to better their company. They use planning and forecasting to predict what the environment might be like in the future, and then adjust their goals and strategies from there. 

            In the article assigned for this week by Alison J. Armstrong-Doherty they talk about how Canadian Universities are concerned about their dependence on non-university sources for financial support. The universities are trying to figure out ways to generate more money, so that they will not be so reliant on the non-university sources. They are doing this in fear of the compromise of the education principles underlying interuniversity athletics. In this study they looked at financial input of various contributors and how it related to the control in athletic departments. When looking at this it would be smart of the universities to shy away from non-university sources for revenue because of the different environmental factors. One of those factors being the possibility of poor economic conditions, which would make the non university donors more likely to donate less money to the school. Even though this is a general environment category it would still have a significant impact on donations.

            In any organization top level management must look at and analyze environmental factors. They must determine and forecast the complexity of the environment and the amount of change in the environment. The companies or organizations that do this the best will be the most successful.

 

Questions

1. If you were a top level manager at Nike corporation which environmental factor would you be most concerned with? (demographics, technological developments economic conditions ect.)

2. In regards to the article by Armstrong-Doherty do you agree that shying away from non-university revenue would be a good idea to help uphold the educational principles underlying interuniversity athletics?

              

 

Organizing and understanding the environment an organization is participating in is one of the larger factors in the success this said organization will experience. As Slack and Parent state on page 167, "The environment, a source of uncertainty for the organization, has a major impact on the structure and processes of a sport organization". It is important that as sport managers, we take control of that environment in order to minimize or even eliminate that uncertainty. Within the chapter, it is said there are two types of organizations. The general environment is one that is much harder for a manager to control. It includes sociocultural, legal, ecological, technological, political, demographical, and economic aspects of the surrounding area. Although these aspects may not have a direct impact on the organization initially, there is definitely an ultimate influence. For example, if the economy of the twin cities is on a downward slope like it has been lately, the sport organizations here need to take that into account and figure out a way to keep sales up. The Timberwolves have been offering reduced priced ticket packages, while other teams have promised to not raise prices this year. IF organizations were to ignore this part of their environment completely, they would not succeed. The next type of environment discussed is the task environment. I would say this is more important initially to the organization because it includes the competitors, customers/members/fans, suppliers, regulatory agencies and athletes' groups/staff (pg 153). This environment has a much larger influence on the organization than the general environment; these are the stakeholders and actors that keep he organization alive. As I stated earlier, it is important for managers to be able to control these environments to the best of their ability. At the end of this chapter, Slack and Parent give ways to control the environmental uncertainty. There are internal ways to eliminate uncertainty such as: buffering, boundary spanners, smoothing, rationing, planning and forecasting. These all have to do with ways the organization can control the supply and demand of their products and services in a way they know they can manage. Then there are externally directed actions that an organization can undergo in order to maintain a stable environment. There are a number of ways to do this, but some popular ways are contractual agreements and joint ventures. An example the book gives of contractual agreements is when L.L. Bean underwent an agreement to use Cannondale bikes in their sales pitch to increase sales (pg. 161). These types of agreements help to get control of an unsteady environment and appeal to more people. Lastly, Slack and Parent goes over four different theories of how to effectively manage an environment: Stakeholder theory, Institutional theory, Resource Dependence, and Population Ecology. Out of all of them , I thought the Resource Dependence theory made the most sense. An organization, such as Nike, demands a lot of resources and raw materials. They are a huge organization, with many different environments to take into account and must be able to have a steady flow of resources in order to be at the high caliber of success they are at. In order to do this, they have underwent joint ventures, interlocking directorates and other such measures to ensure they are not too dependent on their resource supply because it is not uncertain that it will be there. 1. How does the environment of the organization effect the strategy and design of the organization? Laura Schnell
Most people know what the environment is, but when it comes to organizational environment there are many more things to it than just what is outside. One of the main points that I took away from chapter 8 was about how the different environmental factors affect the structure of an organization. The book talked about all of the different general environmental aspects that had to go with the organization. The economy is a big factor that will not directly work with the operations of an organization, but it will obviously affect how the organization will produce its product. Right now the economy is making some companies lower their prices in order to stay competitive and still have their products bought while at the same time trying to make a profit. It is a difficult process and the economy can be very difficult for the management. The book also talked about the task environment, which affect how the organization reaches its goals. The general environment and the task environment must go hand in hand if the company wants to strive. There is another section of the book that talks about actual and perceived environment. If there is a trend that is happening in the general environment, then the managers have to decide if they want to go with that trend or not. It is a decision that may ultimately make or break the organization, depending on the flexibility of that organization. There was some research done by Duncan that determined the complexity of an organization and how that related to the environment. I believe that he made a very good point and if potential managers would like to succeed, his research would be a good place to start. He said that a smaller company would be more successful if it was less complex. If that small company had less environmental complexities, then it would be able to function better. The opposite would be true for the larger, more complex organizations. Just like the environment of weather is unpredictable, sport organizations have unpredictability as well. The book states two different methods for dealing with the unpredictability which depends on the services that the company provides. If the company focuses on producing a product, then they will most likely try to change their internal processes to minimize uncertainty. On the other hand, if a company is more along the lines of providing a service, then they will go more towards changing the external environment in order to thrive. One last point that I believe is very important is concerning who is affected where there is environmental problems. The book states this as stakeholder theory. I am a big believer that for an organization to succeed, one of the most important things that they can do is to try to think of all of the different stakeholders first. Also, although it sounds like it may be unfair, the company should determine who are the most important stakeholders, and make a list of possible importance. Basing a lot of the decisions that are made by how the stakeholders will react will make it much easier to decide to go through with those decisions or not.
The environment has a huge role in a sport organization and in some cases I think when people think of an effective or very structured organization they forget to look at the environment of the sport organization. I believe that the environment plays a huge role in the organization of sport. Slack and Parent describe the environment of a sport to be categorized into two different sections, general environment and task environment. The general environment section specifies the legal, economic, political, demographic, and ecological sides of the organization environment. The task environment looks at the aspects of the general environment like the customer-member-fans, staff, suppliers. This leads to the article at the begging of the reading where it talks about adidas and the Olympic Committee and how Dassler used the environment to make adidas what it is today. Dassler used the environment in take that he got to know the people around him to better his company in the way that he had someone from adidas in on every big thing that was going on to make sure adidas was doing everything they could to advance and keep moving up the charts to eventually where they are today at #1. The chairman of adidas would work themselves into every meeting and corner of sport politics to better themselves and to see what the people were saying about there product. Dassler found out very quickly that you need to get out and seek your environment and the people that you need to become close with. the adidas company believes that in making friends you are making deals and that is so true even today. People are not going to come out and find you, you need to take the initiative to go out and find them. This is what Dassler did best he started talking to people and pretty soon he had administration of adidas working on the International Olympic Committee. The environment is something that every team takes a look at in determining many things. For example after the North Stars left Minnesota, one guy by the name of Naglee decided it was time to bring hockey back to Minnesota. This was the birth of the Minnesota Wild which has been here for its 9 season this year and has sold out every game since coming. They felt that this environment of hockey in Minnesota was crucial and something that could relate to the environment of Minnesota and its 10,000 lakes. This is something where they are using there environment to there advantage and it has been working very well. They get everyone involved and not just hockey players in Minnesota even though its there main focus. With the economic status changing here in the last year the WIld has not sold as many tickets and is no reaching out to the environment to see what needs to be done to keep fans watching Wild hockey. When you pick out different situations it makes environment of a sport organization more understandable and you can really see where some teams do it more than others. In fact these are the teams that have sell out crowds night in and night out. This whole economic dropout is in the category of general environment of how are we going to get people in the doors still and keep them wanting more even though the money from them may or may not be there. Q1: With the dropping in the economy will you see more teams going bankrupt? Q2: Is the environment determine how effective the organization will be?

Group Blog 10/1/09

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Strategic change and the role of interests, power, and organizational capacity By Amis, Slack, & Hinings Two Recommendations: Power: 1.) Leaders better specify the job for each person. 2.) Work on communication, so that everyone is on the same page and understand their role for the job. 3.) Distributing the power as necessary right away, to help understand where everyone stands in power. Needs to be made clear right away that the volunteers were not in charge and the administrators were. Interest: 1.) To keep the volunteers and employees in the loop. Pay attention to interests of different groups/sub units, so that everyone is on the same page and have a say in what goes on. 2.) Could have gone through and made sure everyone was comfortable with the change and was able to make the change. Capacity to Change: 1.) Volunteers need to be taught and shown that change is needed, so they are more able to just comply with what was needed. 2.) Use your resources to solve your problems rather than just giving up. Increases technical strength and communication.
The environment in which a sport organization exists and the ways in which the sport organization adapts to the environment are two of the most crucial aspects to any sport organization. As discussed in the book there are to two types of environments to any sport organization, a task environment and a general environment. The general environment "includes those sectors that, although they may not have a direct impact on the operations of a sport organization, can influence the industry in general ways that ultimately have an impact on the organization" (151). Such factors include economic status, political situations, and ecological conditions. These are all very important aspects of the general environment. Without taking any of these into account sport organizations would likely fail miserably. The task environment consists of "such groups as customers-members-fans, staff, suppliers, competitors, and regulatory agencies" (153). The task environment is the more important environment because it is made up of more influential factors than the general environment. For example, when the University of Minnesota was devising a plan for the new TCF Bank Stadium they had to take their task environment into thought a little bit more than their general environment because without the support of the fans and suppliers it would not be as successful as it has been. Due to it being back on campus, being so large, and so technologically advanced fans, suppliers, and competitors alike are drawn to it. If the project managers of the new TCF Bank Stadium would have only thought about the legal, political, economic, and ecological aspects of the stadium it may be in a different location and it may not be as incredible as it is, thus, probably not drawing as much attention as it has. Something to be thought about here are what environmental factors should managers focus on the most? Should they focus more on their suppliers or their fans-members? Did the University of Minnesota do a good job of evaluating their environmental factors when building the new stadium? However, no matter how much planning goes into a sport organization there is always going to be some sort of environmental uncertainty because no one organization or person can control the environment. It is key that every organization has employees on the lookout for environmental change at all times. Organizations use such internal methods as buffering, smoothing, and planning and forecasting, which can all help with controlling and adapting to environmental change. For example, companies such as Nike, Puma, and Reebok must constantly be forecasting future trends. If they miss out on a trend and their competitors pick up on it they are going to miss out on huge market share. External methods of controlling the environment include joint ventures, contractual agreements, and mergers and acquisitions. One prime example of this is in contractual agreements you have contracts and licensing agreements, which help create certainty within sport organizations. If the Vikings and Reebok agree to a five-year merchandise deal the Vikings have less uncertainty about merchandise sale regardless of their record. Reebok has agreed to sell their merchandise for the next five years so the Vikings can then focus on other environmental aspects and not have to worry about that. The question here is what methods should be used, internally and externally, to control environmental factors? Obviously an organization cannot partake in every action listed so how do you decide on what is right for your organization? With every sport organization there is always going to be environmental uncertainty and it is up to the managers and employees to try to control that uncertainty through internal and external actions and through planning ahead by studying the task and general environments.
The environment of a sport organization is arguably the most important task that organization will face. The organization must adapt to the environment, and manage accordingly in order to be successful. The term 'environment' can be loosely defined as "everything outside of the organization being studied", (Slack & Parent, 151), but this is recognized as too broad of a definition for researchers. They have developed a 'more focused approach' to defining environment that includes a General Environment and a Task Environment. The general environment is comprised of many aspects, or as Slack & Parent describe as sectors. Everything from the economic patterns of consumption in the area of the organization to the political party situation in the area to the class structure of the society in which the organization is set to the weather conditions of the area, and the technological capabilities of the organization are considered as components of the sectors. Aspects of the general environment influence the industry and can then affect the organization. The other term that helps define environment is Task Environment. These are the aspects of the general environment that help the organization achieve its goals. This includes the customers, the staff, the fans, the agencies the organization deals with, the individual sports agents, and the sponsorship companies. Since the task environment is capable of helping in achieving goals, the sport managers are typically more concerned with and involved in the task environment. With the environment of an organization at some point comes uncertainty. An organization can choose to either adjust their internal structure to rid the organization of the uncertainty, or they can try and change the character of the external environment. The organization can either take internally directed strides toward change or externally directed strides toward change. I find the externally driven actions to make more sense and lead toward more success in the long run. Examples of externally driven actions include contractual agreements, joint ventures, cooptation, executive recruitment, PR and advertising, mergers, and several others. These may lead to overcoming environmental uncertainty by adding powerful people to the organization, or joining forces with another company to grow and more effectively achieve goals. One major measuring tool for an organization regarding environmental success is the satisfaction of its stakeholders. The satisfaction of each stakeholder is important to an organization regardless of power, and what level in the organizational structure that stakeholder is placed at. Each stakeholder can help the organization achieve its goals. By constantly analyzing all aspects of the environment in which an organization is in, and making the necessary changes to the environment whether internally or externally, the goals of the organization will be more easily achieved.

Environment

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The state of our nation's economy has forced companies to adapt to the environment in different ways and it is vital for survival that a company is able to do this. As discussed in the book the economy is only one part of a company's environment, but it currently is the biggest focus on whether or not a company is able to survive. Externally, there are many steps that a company can take to cope with their economic environment to ensure their success. On such process is through contractual agreements. As discussed in the textbook, a company is able to reduce uncertainty by entering into long term contracts (160). Fortunately some sports teams were able to do this before the tough economic times, but now teams who have contracts expiring are facing tough battles with renewing with certain sponsors and getting as much capital from these sponsors as they have in previous years. Another external step that companies can do to reduce external uncertainty is to enter into a joint venture. This is when two or more companies combine to form one company (161). By doing this each company is able to reduce the amount of risk they are engaging in by having partners assist in the funding of organizational procedures. Another advantage to a joint venture is it eases the transition abroad. If you are able to combine with a company overseas you now have access to their clientele and resources. There are also things that a company can do internally to minimize the risk of uncertainty in their environment. One such process is rationing, allocating resources based on a preset criteria (160). This is something that is becoming popular due to the economic situation companies are faced with. By rationing their funds and resources companies are able to spend less, which is something the economy is already forcing companies to do. Ideally a company does not want to do this because of the possible loss in customers and revenue, but when times are tough extreme measures need to be taken (160). Planning and forecasting is becoming increasingly important. By studying trends companies predict what will happen in the future which allows them to make adjustments within all departments and facets of their company. The more closely a company is able to do this the more time and money they will ultimately save. This also allows for a competitive advantage if you are able to prepare your company for unexpected and tough times. The environment is ultimately something that a company is unable to control. However, by successfully planning and learning from previous trends a company is able to increase its chance of success. The current economy is eliminating companies who were unprepared to deal with drastic changes in their environment, mainly the economic one. 1. What are some common trends companies are currently engaging in to allow them to succeed in today's tough economic times? 2. How do you think the current environment will affect the future of major sporting teams?

Sport organizations are a key part to the surrounding environment. On the other hand the environment plays a role with the sports organization. In most cases the environment depicts how the sports organization will be structured. Some aspects of the environment are economic, legal, demographic, and technological just to name a few. These aspects of the environment will affect how the organization will strategize for everything from marketing the product to company policy for the employees.

            In the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, these aspects of the environment are very prevalent in the structure of the organization. The current economy surrounding the Timberwolves is having an impact on structure of the organization because the people in the surrounding area spending less money on entertainment in order to keep the necessities. In turn the Timberwolves are receiving less money which then lends them incapable of paying their employees. The Timberwolves have to adjust their internal structure of employees in order compensate for having less people on staff. For the legal aspect of the environment surrounding the T-Wolves, an example is the NBA's legal rules on the NBA affiliated organizations. If the NBA makes a need rule governing the player operations rules for buy-out clause in player contracts overseas then the T-Wolves have to structure the organization around that. The best example of that is the Ricky Rubio debacle. The T-Wolves can only offer $500,000 in the buy-out of Rubio's contract with DKV Joventut which is worth $6.6 million due to the league rule passed down from the NBA front office. The T-Wolves structure on how they deal with players in contract from overseas should be influenced on these rulings from the NBA but in the case of the T-Wolves this last off season that seemed to not be the case. Since they didn't adjust to the legal environmental rules of the NBA, they are out of a player they drafted in the 2009 draft, for at least 2 years. For the demographic aspect of the environment, the T-Wolves are affected in the type of marketing they do in the surrounding area. They have to structure the marketing plan in order to reach the highest percentage of the demographic so they can bring in the most amount of people. My final example of the environment effecting a sport organization is in the aspect of technology. The new thing is Twitter or Twackle and in the case of the Timberwolves organization they are taking advantage of the new trend. They have a new structure division of the marketing department devoted to social networking. The Timberwolves saw the opportunity to create more marketing exposure with this new technology and that was due to the environmental changes in the surroundings.

            These environmental impacts help shape the sport organization into the organizations that we know today. The organizations that are most successful are the ones that can adjust and change with the environment from inside and out. In the case of the T-Wolves they do an ok job in adjusting to the changes but they are in need to improvement in, well lets just say most areas.

Organizations have two types of environments, a general environment and a task environment. Right now I am going to focus on the general environment. The general environment of a sport organization is made up of seven different sectors that all impact either the industry around that organization, or the organization itself. These eight different sectors include: economic, socio-cultural, legal, ecological, technological, political and demographic. Each one of these sectors has its own impact on the general environment of a sport organization. The economy significantly impacts a sport organization's environment because it alters patterns of consumption, for example. In an unstable economy, like the one we are in right now, people consume sports differently. Some may not be able to attend actual sporting events now because they've had to cut down on their expenses and may opt to watch them on T.V. This is one example of the many ways that the economy affects sport organizations. The political component essentially is "the extent to which political power is concentrated and the ideology of the party in power are all factors that can influence a sport organization" (Slack & Parent 152). In other words, the political climate surrounding sport organizations will influence what sporting goods, for example, are in demand at a particular time. A socio-cultural factor that impacts the general environment of an organization is the culture in which the organization exists. The example the book provides is in regards to soccer and how the sport has struggled to survive in North America despite how popular the sport is worldwide. "The type of legal system within the country in which the sport organization operates, the jurisdictions overseen by various levels of government, and the existence of laws covering such areas as taxation, unionization, and the regulation of organizations, all constitute the legal conditions affecting a sport organization" (Slack & Parent 152). Demographics refer to the target market of a sport organization. Organizations target their products or services to people of a certain age, ethnicity, gender, etc. depending on who will most likely consumer their product or service. The ecological component refers to the physical environment surrounding an organization and how it impacts putting on an event. For example, weather can significantly impact operations of an event. The other way to look at it is for the organization to be aware of how its activities are affecting the surrounding environment. Last but not least, the technological sector. Technological developments within an organization can improve production or the efficiency of production, which can lead to a company to engage in new activities.

-Kristen Dockery

Organization Environment

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In the first blog we stated what qualities an organization must have in order to be effective. One of those qualities is being able to adapt to the environment surrounding it. I believe the environment can make or break an organization. In today's sporting world economy, fan base, location, and quality are major impacts on an organization's environment. If the economy in the area is really bad there may be more empty seats in the stands which could cause a team to leave. The quality of the stadium, arena, or field could also create (good and bad) problems. If the quality is out-dated (e.g. metrodome) many complaints could be made until a new venue is built. If the quality is up-to-date those empty seats will be filled and will remain filled for most of the season.

The book states that in order for an organization to be effective, "[it] must adapt to the demands of its environment." I think an example of this that we (Minnesotans) are most familiar with are the Gophers and the Twins. So far, the Gophers have been incredibly effective with the production of TCF Bank Stadium. Ticket sales have increased, the fan base is larger because of its on-campus location, and it has up-to-date technology with many benefits that the metrodome could never offer to the Gophers. The same goes for Target Field. It is a stadium tailored to baseball whereas the Dome was not. It is bigger, offering the chance for more people to enjoy it, and it certainly is beneficial to the players since it has real grass. Even though Target Field has its drawbacks, one being the absence of a roof, some fans find that the drawbacks are what draw them to the Field. The Twins are creating a different fan base with the new stadium because of the new characteristics. One quality that both venues have that allows the organizations to be very effective is nostalgia. Gopher football is back on campus and the Twins can play outdoors again. Nostalgia has been a huge marketing strategy for both teams and has been a big selling point for many ticket buyers.

Several sectors make up the general environment, these include: economic, political, socio-cultural, legal, demographic, ecological and technical. The productions of TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field have shown that the Gopher and Twins sport organizations can adapt to the demands of their general environment effectively.

Questions for discussion: What is another MLB or College team that has shown the same effectiveness as the Twins and Gophers? For the teams that had to leave thier cities due to ineffectiveness of the organization, what could they have done to prevent it?

 

Environment

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The environment in which an organization operates is arguably the most important factor in determining the structure and success of the organization. Anything from the class and gender of the organization's target market to the technological advances and resources available to that organization can have a major impact on the effectiveness and overall success. Slack and Parent discuss how Adidas came to be the most successful sporting goods equipment supplier during the 1980's because its chairman, Horst Dassler, took advantage of the environment his company existed in, focusing on the political and economic sectors. Dassler targeted amateur sports and made friends within the International Olympic Committee. These relationships that were built by Dassler and many other company representatives that were strategically placed in every corner of international sport politics. Adidas relied heavily on these relationships allowing the company to remain fluid and was able to influence many international contracts to their favor. Many organizations are not able to rely on friendship alone and must be flexible to adapt to the ever-changing environment around them. For example, for the Twins organization, the general and task environment heavily determines their success. Currently, the economic environment has been a huge factor, is it is for any sport organization. The Twins have had to develop ways to make the experience of the game a bigger value for the same price. This has meant having more in-game giveaways, more discounts with sponsors, and bigger group discount rates. The Twins have been in Minnesota for more than 40 years, and have a fairly decent grasp of the demographic they are dealing with. This is similar to the sociocultural environment of not only the Twin Cities but in the surrounding states as well. This area is predominantly white and middle class, however, how can they expand and reach other ethnic groups and classes? MLB has, like the NFL, to reach a broader base of female fans by offering woman's apparel, and the Twins have also started to broadcast their games in Spanish. The Twins are also trying to broaden their reach by taking advantage of new social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and also allowing fans in other areas of the country to watch Twins baseball online when the game is normally only broadcast locally. The Twins must also factor in their task environment, largely, their competitors. While the MN market is generally a loyal fan-base there is competition from other teams like the White Sox, Cubs, or even the Brewers. But the largest competition is from other local teams, as the seasons all have some overlap. The Twin Cities offer all four of the big sports as well as other minor leagues, which gives fans many options for where to spend their discretionary funds. Creating a value for fans is something the Twins have been very good as since the 1960's and is a large reason for their success despite their lack of World Series wins in the last eighteen years. The Doherty article discusses the fact that very few organizations are able to independently gather enough resources to stay in business. The Twins are no different, relying heavily on sponsorships to be able to keep ticket prices low and able to keep the quality of players that they do. The Twins are able to work within their environment so well that they are successful regardless of their record. Should organizations strive for financial independence or is building off other organizations beneficial for all parties involved? Should all organizations be organic to some extent in order to continue to be successful? Even the NCAA must work with the political and legal environment around them. How mechanistic can an organization be and still be effective? Alexa Smith
Understanding, managing, and adapting to the environment in which a sport organization operates is arguably the most important task that a sport organization faces. Neglecting what is happening outside of the organization can lead to failure to achieve the organization's specified goals, as well as issues such as becoming outdated, inefficient, or unsatisfying to the consumer of the organization's product or service. Environment is a loose term that can defined variably, but according to Slack and Parent organizations have two types of environment: a general environment and a task environment (p. 151). An organization's general environment includes factors that don't necessarily directly impact the organization, but they do have an impact on the organization nonetheless. Factors associated with the general environment include economic, political, sociocultural, legal, demographic, ecological, and technological factors. Conversely, an organization's task environment is composed of specific components of an organization's environment that influence its ability to achieve its goals (p.151). Some examples of members of an organization's task environment include customers/members/fans, staff, suppliers, controllers, and advisers (153). The task environment is of more concern to the sports organization because members have a much stronger influence upon the organization. Slack and Parent also explain that a sport organization's task environment will vary according to their domain, which refers to the territory that a sport organization claims based upon the products or services it brings to the market in which it operates. Not only is environment uncertainly defined, it also is just plain uncertain. The text explains that environmental conditions may be seen differently by different organizations, a term coined as perceived environment (p.154). This being said, the text provides adequate research findings on organizational environment which can be used to clear up some of the uncertainty. In the last portion of the chapter, Slack and Parent discuss strategies to control this uncertainty in an organization's environment. They explain specific internally directed actions, which attempt to make changes to the structure and processes of the organization, as well as externally directed actions to reduce uncertainty of the organization's environment. An example of internally directed actions include buffering, a technique to protect the organization's technical core from environmental changes. Conversely, externally directed actions include joint ventures, mergers, political lobbying, and partaking in illegal activities such as price fixing and monopolistic behavior (p. 159). Lastly, Slack and Parent explain methods commonly used to examine relationships between a sport organization and its environment. The stakeholder theory, which classifies the organization's stakeholders based upon importance of being satisfied, as well as population ecology, which is based upon the "survival of the fittest" philosophy and claims that an organization can survive if it is able to exploit its environment, are both examples of commonly used methods of explaining sport organizations and their interactions with their environment. I think the information presented in this chapter can be enhanced through an environmental analysis of the University of Minnesota athletic department. Obviously, as is the case with most organizations, the U of M athletic department is being affected by the economy. They more than likely have had to adjust their budget for expenses such as recruiting, salaries, and fundraising in order to stay afloat in the current economic conditions. The U of M athletic department must also consider general environment conditions such as their relationship with political figures, new laws and regulations, and advancements in technology. Staying current and informed is crucial to any sport organization, and I believe that the U of M has demonstrated this ability successfully in the past, and continues to do so effectively. Although these issues may be handled subconsciously, I believe the U of M has done a pretty good job of keeping up with their environment and domain, which is a major contributor to their storied tradition and success as a sport organization. Questions: 1.)If you were responsible for managing a sport organization, which general environment sector (i.e. economic, political, etc.) do you feel is most important to the success of the organization? How would you base this decision? 2.)What would you consider the U of M athletic department's environmental domain to be? 3.)Which of the four environmental theories (i.e. stakeholder theory, population ecology, etc.) do you believe is most consistent with your perception of an organization's interaction with its environment?

                As it states in the book, "to be effective, an organization must adapt to the demands of its environment."  There are several different ways the general environment can impact the effectiveness of a sport organization.  There are also two structures that an organization can use to deal with the changing environment.  Lastly, for an organization to effective, it has to be able to somewhat control the environmental uncertainty.

The general environment is made up of several different sectors including economic, political, socio-cultural, legal, demographic, ecological, and technological.  The economic sector in an organization deals with the general economic conditions and how the organization operates i.e. public or privately owned.  The political sector is based on where the political power is concentrated and the ideology of the party in power.  Socio-cultural factors can include class structure of the social system, culture in which the sport organization exists, trends in consumer tastes, and the sporting traditions where the organization is based.  One legal aspect that can influence an organization is the type of legal system within the country the organization operates.  The existence of laws in the areas of taxation, unionization, and the regulation of organizations also affect the organization.  The type of people whom a sport organization directs its products or services, changes in population distributions, and the age, gender, racial, ethnic, and class composition of the population affects the demographic sector of a sport organization.  Weather conditions are one of the aspects of the ecological sector that affects sport organizations.  A technological advance that may improve service or production affects the technological sector.  All of these sectors can make an impact on a sport organization at any given time.

The structure of a sport organization determines the success of the organization to adapt to environmental changes.  There are two types of organizational structures mentioned in the chapter, mechanistic and organic.  An organic structure works best for an organization that is involved in a rapidly changing environment.  A mechanistic structure works best in relatively stable environments.  There are positives and negatives to both structures.  That is why most sport organizations try to use elements from both the organic and mechanistic structures.

Environmental uncertainty is "a contingency for organizational structure and behaviors."  To control the environmental uncertainties organizations can respond to the demands of its internal structure or its external environment.  Some internal actions that can be taken to control environmental uncertainty can include buffering, boundary spanners, smoothing, rationing, and planning and forecasting.  External actions may include contractual agreements, joint ventures, cooptation, interlocking directories, executive recruitment, public relations and advertising, mergers and acquisitions, changing domains, trade and professional associations, political lobbying, and illegal activities.  In most cases it is better to use external actions to stabilize the environmental uncertainty.

In the end, in an effort to stabilize the environment for the organization, you must start with a structure that contains a high level of complexity.  The structure must also be flexible and less formalized to be able to adapt to the ever changing environment.  Then the organization can choose which theories provided in the chapter work the best to stabilize the task environment which will help attain its goals.

 

Environment

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Assessing your general environment can be one of the most important things to do for a business owner who plans on opening a new venue. For example, imagine you have decided to open up your own branch of the Jamba Juice franchise. You live in an older, quieter neighborhood where most of the residents' children have already grown up and moved out on their own. However, the next city over is young and booming with new families and a packed middle school and high school system located right in the center of it. Though it is a forty-five minute commute with traffic, it is an excellent opportunity that you cannot pass up. By assessing the demographics in your immediate area, you realize that older people would not utilize a new smoothie shop nearly as much as a crowd full of teenagers and young adults. The economic environment is another important consideration. Will people be willing to shell out four dollars for a smoothie, something they could easily prepare for themselves at home? Or are they well off enough that they can afford to spend a few extra dollars for someone else to make it and pour it into a Styrofoam cup with a well-known label on it? You also note that there is a big name health and fitness center also within blocks of your planned location. It is highly likely that people coming from a workout will want something cool and refreshing to refuel them for whatever else they have that day. Kids going to and coming from a long school day will look for the same thing in a quick and easy breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. These sociocultural aspects are sure to bring in more customers and business throughout the day. Don't let the old-fashioned "mom and pop" smoothie bar slip your mind. What types of legal ramifications might come about when you decide to open your business? Will they declare a monopoly by stealing away all of their customers and revenues just because you have the bigger named corporation? Will the people of the town be open to a new state-of-the art establishment that will be changing where they want to eat or hang out? Since the goal is to be a successful business and generate revenue, what will you do with all of the money that you make? Will you choose to put it towards keeping the shop pristine or will you decide to give back to your community and help out neighboring businesses and the education system in the area? All of these factors and parts of the general external environment need to be taken into consideration before an organization can focus on their task environment and then the success of the organization as a whole.

The environment has a huge impact on the structure and day-to-day operations of a sports organization. Environment is such a broad term; essentially everything outside of an organization could be considered environmental factors. In our text Slack and Parent define environment in two different areas; general environment and task environment. General environment includes factors that may not directly affect the organization, but can influence the industry in ways that have some sort of impact on that specific organization. The specific categories within this sector of environment include economic, political, sociocultural, legal, demographic, ecological, and technological. Task environment includes aspects of the general environment that can influence an organizations ability to achieve its goals. The task environment is more of a concern to an organization because it contains constituents and stakeholders that directly impact the organization. Even though these two sectors of environment are unique they are related and interdependent.

A key idea when thinking about environment and how it relates to sport organizations is that the environment is always changing and therefore creates uncertainty. The text discusses a few ways in which sport organizations can control these uncertainties. Slack and Parent said, "...sport organizations can either respond to the demands of their external environment (by making changes to their internal structure, processes, or behaviors), or they can attempt to change the nature of the external environment" (pp.158). Planning and forecasting is one popular way in which sport organizations use an internally directed action. This type of action is used to develop plans and forecast future trends within the respective industry. In the text we read a brief description of how the Golden State Warriors organization uses an entertainment marketing firm to help forecast ways in which they could increase attendance at their games. One of the most common forms of externally driven actions is contractual agreements, and specifically licensing agreements. A well-know example of this could be when a company buys the right to use the Minnesota Twins logo on its product. Licensing agreements are good for environmental uncertainty because they provide links between customers and suppliers, which can serve as protection against any change in their relationship during the time the contract is honored.

In the Twin Cities we have numerous professional and collegiate sports organizations, all of whom are affected by the environment. The Minnesota Twins are arguably the most successful sport organization in this area, but how do they understand their environment so well? The Twins do two things extremely well in my opinion in this regard; 1) they understand and manage their task environment, and 2) they reduce uncertainty well by using externally directed actions such as marketing, advertising, and public relations.

The Twins understand that the customers/members/fans, competitors, suppliers, regulatory agencies, and athletes/staff are the stakeholders that influence their organization the most on a daily basis. This organization understands that every person who may come in contact with the organization needs to be treated well. I think you can see this in interviews that players give, when they think about the impact of what they say and usually deliver interviews with tact and thoughtfulness. The Twins continue to succeed and draw well even with stiff competition from other organizations in the area because of the things they do to manage their task environment.

Another area in which the Minnesota Twins do an excellent job is their marketing and public relations. I know for a fact that the Twins are one of the most community-involved organizations in Major League Baseball (MLB). People may be surprised to see just how much of an impact these types of events have on the public's perception of a sport organization. It's much easier for a person to support an organization who does things the right way. I cannot remember the last time I heard of a current Twins' player getting in trouble with the law, which cannot be said for some of the competing teams in this area. Catchy marketing schemes such as College Night have caught on for the Twins, which helps with environmental uncertainty as well. The environment is an extremely important aspect of any sport organization's success, and it tends to be organizations that can harness and truly understand their general and task environments that we see succeeding.

-How do you think an organzation's strategy relates to the way in which it interacts with its' environment?

An organization is very dependent on the environment in which it operates.  The environment can control the success or failure of a business.  The opening of the chapter states, "The environment in which an organization operates influences its structure and processes."  I believe this to be true because if an organization does not adapt to a changing environment they will most likely fail.  The environment of an organization can be split up into two types: the general environment and the task environment.  The general environment can be thought of as external to the organization and does not directly impact the organization but can influence it and include categories such as economic, sociocultural, legal, ecological, technological, political, and demographic.  The task environment more directly affects the organization and includes things like suppliers, regulatory agencies, athletes' groups/staff, competitors, and customers/members/fans. 

 

I am now going to look at these environmental aspects with the NBA in mind.  The current state of the economy is a factor that the NBA is looking at.  With the economy down and people not attending games as much, NBA teams need to adapt and come up with ways to attract new and old customers back to the arenas to watch the games.  In the political realm, labor laws that allow unions are now causing difficulties in the negotiations among the refs and the league. Sociocultural aspects that the NBA deals with in their general environment are things like the general public's interest in basketball.  In the United States basketball has been around for a long time and is a very popular sport.  Legal concerns can come from various local, state, and national laws.  The ref holdout is a legal issue.  The demographic of the NBA is pretty broad.  They target young kids to adults, and people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.  Ecologically the NBA does not have many concerns as arenas are indoors and are usually not affected by weather conditions.  The movement towards a "greener" world could affect NBA teams in the public wants of greener stadiums.  Moving into the task environment the NBA, as mentioned earlier, needs to find ways to keep customers interested and keep their stadiums full for games.  A supplier of the NBA would be other corporations that sponsor them.  Sponsors can provide resources to the NBA and in turn could influence the structure and strategy of the NBA.  This situation is discussed further in the Doherty article.  This article examined where Canadian universities acquired money to fund the athletic department and the perceived control that was assumed with the money sources.  As for competition the NBA competes for fans in the beginning of the season with the NFL and with the NBA Finals in early June they are competing with the MLB.

 

These are some questions to think about.  What is the domain of the NBA?  What environment state is the NBA in; simple-stable, simple-dynamic, complex-stable, or complex-dynamic?

Organizational Environment

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I learned from the book that every organization has three environments; the general environment, the task environment, and the perceived environment. The general environment of a company is the basic structure of the organization and how it is operated. The task environment is the actual working environment and how the forces that influence the company actually operate. The perceived environment is how the outside world sees the organizations environment. Each of these environments is made up of different parts including the economy, socio-cultural, legal, ecological, technological, political, and demographics. For an organization to be efficient and effective, it has to adapt to the changing environments. For example, the economy is a huge part of the environment of an organization that has changed drastically as of late. An organization's ability to take on this challenge is a good way to keep the environment stable within the organization. Other parts of the environments that are always changing are the technological and political aspects. These are mostly part of the task environment of the organization. Politics is a part of society, but it is also part of an organization. Politics within an organization cannot become childish or informal for there to be a professional environment to work in. Technology is always advancing, so if your technological environment does not keep up, workers will want to work in technologically advanced environments that are in turn going to be more successful. The other parts of environment have to be dealt with on a case by case basis. These mostly make up the general environment of the organization. The legal environment has to be different for smaller organizations than larger ones. It has to be highly sophisticated in organizations that require it. Demographics depend on who the company has as a target audience. Some people have trouble working for companies like a cigarette company because they may not agree with the demographics that are targeted. The perceived environment of an organization like this may be tainted as well, which may lead to less effectiveness. The demographic environment of the company has to be on base with the goals and values of the people that make up the organization. While all three environments somewhat go hand in hand, each feature of each environment plays a vital role in the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization.
There are multiple core aspects that are part of the environment of a sport organization. The core values are economy, socio-cultural, legal, ecological, technological, political, and demographics. Such companies that need to keep these values in mind are sports organizations. All of these pieces affect the outcome of the organization. If one piece fails, the business as a whole is subject for failure. The economy is a huge impact on any organization. Some say that sports organizations, such as Nike and Adidas are recession proof because there is such a need for their materials in the material world. Sports teams are under contract to represent a brand and fans of sports want to have what is the popular clothing item. So much of society is based on branding. People are always aware of what people look like and what brands they choose to represent. With the economy as it is today, sporting goods industries have done fairly well considering the global circumstances. Legal aspects are also under the factor of economy. Sports organizations are under jurisdictions that facilitate taxation, unionization, and the regulation of the organization itself. It is crucial that these organizations are overlooked by the legal system. It is hard to believe that the Nike organization is able to get away with such mistreatment of sweatshop workers in other countries producing their products that are sold for outrageously more than it costs to make. This seems like a legal issue to me, but there are really no rules against what they are doing. They are taking advantage of populations that are already struggling to survive. Politics will always influence sporting industries. There are always going to be situations that promote the use of sport organizations. The example given in Slack and Parent, is the event of the Summer Olympics in 1980 and 1984 when countries did not participate because of political reasoning. Another example given was the threat of oil in the automobile industry that promoted bike shops to grow significantly. In many political standings, you can find a way where the sports industry is affected positively or negatively. This is because sport industries are such a huge part of our culture. So many people are affected by sports. Going along with how so many people are affected by sports, is the idea of how much it affects the socio-cultural and demographic aspects of any given population. Some sports have more prevalence in certain areas than others, which in turn affects the industries that decide to grow in specific areas. Areas that have a strong economic backgrounds are more likely to be surrounded by sports than less wealthier areas, with poorer people. The sports organizations businesses are meant to make huge revenues. They are not going to waste their time and money in areas that won't produce major profits. This is also contributed to the ecological factors. There is not going to be a ski equipment store in an area that has no access to snow or skiing. Ecological factors are based on location. Some areas are more attracted to certain sports based on age, gender, race, and economic standing. Sports industries are going to base themselves in areas where they are wanted by the population. The last factor concerns technology. Technology is a huge factor because it is used to improve sporting goods. Goods are constantly being updated based on improvements. There is always going to be something better that will make a person run faster, jump higher, and feel better. This is also a way for consumers to purchase the goods and for the organization to ultimately make more money and attempt to be the number one choice for consumers to choose when it concerns sports. These aspects affect the effectiveness of the organization greatly in either positive or negative ways. Organizations will only be considered successful if they handle each of the environmental aspects in a professional manner.

There's no doubt that the environment surrounding an organization is key in terms of the success of that organization. While this may most often be associated with the fan environment around the organization that is certainly not the only environment that affects the organization. Perhaps the biggest environmental benefit for an organization happens in baseball in terms of Major League Baseball's legal environment. Baseball thrives from anti-trust protection that allows each team to operate in an environmentally friendly cushion. Not only does MLB's legal environment help each individual team operate but the legal environment in baseball also provides a tremendously helpful geographical environment because each team is segmented into specific geographic areas that are designed not to overlap or conflict. Is there any league that has a better legal environment than Major League Baseball?

While domains in baseball may be segmented into areas that are designed not to overlap with a competing club, it would appear that most major sport leagues have decided that this is a generally beneficial decision because it discourages competition in those markets so that teams are able to operate independently. Do the teams in New York (Yankees and Mets, Giants and Jets, Rangers and Islanders) operate cooperatively or competitively with each other in their markets?

I think that every organization would like to see stable continuous growth in terms of environmental stability but I'm not sure an organization can operate effectively in an environment where the environment is entirely stable. I think that there needs to be some modicum of change in an organization that keeps employees and management on their toes and keeps the organization's mind sharp. I think the idea of environmental stability is a dangerous idea because it seems like it would promote an atmosphere of complacence and I think overall that attitude of complacency is bad for the adaptive ability of an organization. To what level is environmental stability appropriate for an organization?

To take another example from baseball with respect to environmental ideas is the idea of changing domains. The Washington Nationals relocated to Washington D.C. from Montreal where they were known as the Expos. In this case the team was unsuccessful in their environment in Montreal and was looking for a location that would be more financially beneficial. However, to this point after adding a new ball park and operating as the Nationals for several years the team has certainly not improved in terms of team success and in sports team success so often goes hand-in-hand with organizational success. The Nationals have failed to retain the interest of the sports fans in Washington and at this point the change of domains from Montreal to Washington hasn't seemed to changed that much organizationally. As discussed above, Major League Baseball has been able to segment their teams geographically thanks to the flexibility provided by their legal environment but MLB found a market that they felt wouldn't conflict to extremely with any competing organization but the Nats have still failed to establish themselves in their new domain. What is it about an organization's environment that best indicates whether an organization will be successful or not? I'm not sure there's a great answer to such a question. 

The environment of the organization can influence the structure and processes of the organization to be effective. To be effective, the organization will have to adapt to the demand of its environment. They will need to be able to search for weakness in the environment and willing to take steps to make the necessary changes.
As being part of the University of Minnesota Gymnastics team we have our own responsibilities of following the athletics department of the university rules and training hard to make our team effective. As a gymnast we will be part of the task environment, because we are the ones who are able to change the organization of the athletics department of the university and also to our gymnastics program. From having a great performance at a competition which means there will be more TV broadcasting, more people will come watch our competitions frequently, and more recruits we will have for the following years. If we are successful and able to reach our goals, the university will be able to make more budgets from the new environment we have created and have a more effective athletics program at the university. The athletics department will be able to use the budget to make the organization better and be more effective. But to have this kind of environment, it will all depend on how we act in the gym during practice. The environment in the gym plays a big role to be successful in what we are trying to do and reach our goals. If each individual does not work hard in the gym and create a negative environment we will not be able to be successful. The results will all depend on our environment we create in the gym. If we all have a positive environment it will be beneficial to the team and also to the athletics department. If the athletics department sees our success they will want to support the gymnastics program better and make the program into a better environment. We are all training to reach the same goals and doing the same training program, it is our duty to take responsibility to the team to get better and respect the coaches.
The sport organization's environment gives a big influence on having an effective organization. By the task environment improving the better the organization will get because the task environment can strongly affect the success of the organization. Like from my example, the better gymnastics we do the better the gymnastics program will become and the better athletics department will be.
When studying organizations, environment is important to understand when trying to distinguish how an organization operates influence the structure and other processes. When trying to be successful an organization must take into consideration many environmental factors such as: the economy, politics, legal issues, and technology etc. These are just a few of many factors that every organization has to face every day. A way to grade an organization's effectiveness can be how they deal with these factors. They must be aware of changes within their environment and must take the necessary steps in order to adapt. They must also be able to take the necessary steps not only to be effective, but to also to stay competitive in their respective industry. Planning and organization are two key components when dealing with these unexpected environmental factors. In the book it talks about how Horst Dassler was better than anyone in sports at adapting to environmental factors. Dassler was known for creating links with many key figures in amateur sports which allowed him to stay informed of the changes that could possibly influence Adidas. Social networking gave Dassler an advantage in capitalizing on opportunities in the environment, which resulted in Adidas becoming the number one sporting good company in the world at one time. According to researchers organizations must deal with two different kinds of environments, a general and a task environment. The general environment includes sectors that can influence the industry in general ways that can impact the organization. There are a number of sectors that general environment can be divided into, some of which I listed above. The task environment in a sport organization is conducted of aspects of its general environment that can influence its abilities to achieve goals. Often included in a task environment for a sport organization are groups like customers-members-fans, staff, suppliers, competitors, and regulatory agencies. A task environment for an organization will change based on the domain that organization chooses to operate under. A domain is relating to the territory that a sport organization stakes out for itself, according to the services and products they offer and the market which they operate under. This allows for differentiation in domains between sport organizations, which means a different task environment. Overall I think it is very important for organizations to manage their environment. There are so many aspects that are associated with environment that can affect a sport organization both positively and negatively if those aspects aren't handled well. An organization can be considered effective if they take the appropriate steps to adapt to changes within their environment.

Environment

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After reading about the different components of an organization's environment, I think it can have a major influence on decisions made by any organization. There are a few different types of environmental factors. There are political or legal factors. there are economic factors and there are socio-cultural factors. Since my organizational evaluation is on the Oakland Raiders it is very easy for me to give good examples of these environmental factors. Al Davis has had many legal battles throughout his tenure as owner of the Raiders. In the 80s he moved his team to Los Angeles because the city of Oakland did not want to pay for renovations to their stadium. He went through with the move after all of the owners in the NFL voted against it and then years of legal battles ensued until he was allowed to move to Los Angeles. Also, when the USFL tried to start another football league and claimed the NFL had created a monopoly, Al Davis was the only NFL owner to testify against the NFL in the anti-trust law suit. With all of these legal battles against the NFL, the Raiders do not get preferential treatment from the league so they have no advantages over other teams. Economic factors have been the cause of a lot of issues lately in the NFL. The economy has taken a serious downturn of late and this has lead to many teams ticket sales taking a major hit. A lot of teams are struggling with this but along with teams like the Jaguars, the Raiders are among the worst in the league as far as ticket sales numbers. Many teams around sports are trying to bring in more fans by offering special ticket prices to students and family in order to at least get some money for seats that they are struggling to sell. The Raiders have really done nothing of the sort. When I visited the team's website the only special ticket offer I found was that they were giving away beaded necklaces to celebrate the Latino culture of the area. This is not a campaign that will bring in many extra fans. Speaking of the Latino culture of the area, this is a major socio-cultural factor that influences many decisions the Oakland Raiders make. The Oakland Raiders have a lot of support from Latino fans and their one special ticket package is supposed to celebrate the Latino heritage but a beaded necklace just really doesn't get the job done. If the Raiders tried to market more to their Latino fans, I think they could bring in a lot more fans from around the area. Another possibility that the Raiders could consider because of their Latino following is they could possibly move to Mexico City because the NFL is always looking to expand internationally. The Raiders have to deal with many things in their environment and I think they are doing somethings well but they also could improve a lot.

Environment

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            An organizations environment is very important to the success of daily operations along with meeting its expectations and achieving its goals. Every organization has what is called a general environment which "includes those sectors that, although they may not have direct impact on the operations of a sport organization, can influence the industry in general ways that ultimately have an impact on the organization (Slack & Parent, 2006)." Aspects of a general environment include economic, political, sociocultural, legal, demographic, ecological, and technological changes. An important implementation to a successful organization in my opinion is a task oriented environment.

            A task environment "is made up of those aspects of its general environment that can influence its ability to achieve its goals (Slack & Parent, 2006)." Addressing an economic issue such as a recession from a task environment perspective depends on its overall goals. Say the organization placed a high goal on maintaining a high profit margin they would be willing to cut their losses in the form of cutting jobs, eliminating unusable resources, and reducing payroll in certain areas. Political issues may include a change in power within the organization. From a task environment perspective the company would remain working to achieve the short term goals of the organization, but would more than likely adapt quickly to any long term changes. Sociocultural factors are dependent on trends within an industry, say that it becomes popular to spend as little amount of money on sport equipment as possible while maintaining a high quality product. A task oriented environment would immediately adapt to this demand and come up with a viable solution to offer an adequate market competitive product that would satisfy consumers. Legal issues occur over time with every organization no matter how much prevention is put in place these situations are unavoidable. An example would be a union being formed in the NBA and referees decide to go on strike. A task environment would attempt to solve this issue with its best interests in mind while continuing on daily operations such as games, marketing opportunities, and community relations. The task environment organization would attempt to solve this privately while doing its best to not disturb the work being done outside of this specific situation. Demographics are part of every organization in who to market to and who is the best hire based on age, gender, and race. An issue that a sport organization may face is inequalities for women in equal pay to professional athletes in comparison to men. A task oriented organization would attempt to find a reasonable agreement for both sides while not undermining the importance of women's athletics and the growing market for it. Another aspect of an environment is ecological which is like weather conditions. An example of this would be if it snowed at a baseball game and the game was cancelled how does that organization compensate the fans and working crew? A task oriented environment would accommodate the fans as best as they can whether it be free entrance to that game when it occurs along with something from the concession stand or discounted parking and future ticket purchases. The working crew may receive benefits such as team gear. A task environment would want to increase future game attendance from fans and additional money spent at the game they would have originally attended. Additionally from the working crew they would want to increase loyalty to the organization by giving inexpensive benefits this also reduces such issues as stealing. Lastly technological developments drastically affect organizational environments. An example would be instant replay in the NFL. From a task environment approach they would want to ensure that it works efficiently and that it creates no backlash towards officials who make incorrect calls along with protecting the game so that a call decides the game for a team. Prevention would be the main focus in this situation. Overall, "task environment is of more immediate concern to the sport manager, because it contains those constituents that can strongly affect the success of the organization (Slack & Parent, 2006)."

Nike Report

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After reading Nike's article about "The Path to Corporate Responsibility", it has come to my attention that this is the exact reason why as a manager of your organization you need to look at every possible way to make your organization pure. Watching the video in class I saw just what it is like for a CEO not to care about how his organization is run overseas. In the article one senior manager explains that, "I see the future of our markets, our products, and this business." That statement does make sense, but at what cost does that come to workers over in Nike's Vietnam and Indonesia factories? Providing workers with $1.25 a day is below the poverty line even for a third world country. Running sweatshops in these countries to keep your costs low is not the moral thing to do as a big business owner. The amount of profits that you make on a daily basis might need to go back into the factories in Vietnam and Indonesia. As it said in the article however, Nike was not the only show company that had terrible working conditions in its factories. When you lead the market and make the most money in a business such as this, then you are going to take the biggest hit from the media and magazines when it comes to your appalling work conditions. It was in this article that responsible business strategies where talked about. Cost grazing turned these countries into the best market for manufacturing goods and services. Not having to provide insurance, unemployment, and any sort of standards for workers in a third world country is the fastest way to make you company flourish. Had the male and the female from the video not gone to Indonesia to exploit the working conditions, Nike may still be running things the way they were. Had they not gone around the United States to show these videos on college campuses, things could have never been pushed for change. Since these videos and reports Nike has taken strong actions over the last 15 years to clean up its act. They have instituted more salary for the workers, classes to help educate its workers in all aspects of life, and managers that do not push workers over their physical limits. In the article it also stated that Phil Knight has made corrections by being the first U.S. CEO to attend the launch of Global Compact. Nike is continuously making changes to make things better for its workers. This organization has looked into what wrongs they have written and tried in their best ability to make them right. They are continuing to look into issues that arise. They are making the hard right over the easy left at a profit hit, but they have realized their "Path to Corporate Responsibility."

Recommendations

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Case 4 Power - Create open lines of communication between both staffs - Create a board of directors from both staffs to make decisions Capacity - Hire volunteers to paid staff. (those with experience) - Implement system showing that both staffs are capable of working with eachother Interest - Create opportunity to voice opinion/displeasure - Implement common goals of both staffs Case 5 Power - Decentralize decision making process - Create opportunity for volunteers Capacity - Utilize staff members with more experience - Hire individuals to work towards cooperation Interest - Demonstrate commitment to volunteers - Implement goals of both staffs interests Alex Maschoff Brian Grant

Interest Recommendations

 

1. Get all of the sub-groups on the same page and try to accommodate them.

2. Have a committee of people from different parts of the organization to come up with common goals and direction for the organization.

 

Power Recommendations

 

1. To appoint a definite person or small group of people to have the power to do what needs to get done.

2. Make sure everyone in the organization knows who is in power and has authority.

 

Capacity Recommendations

 

1. There must be a leader to guide the organization into the change.

2. The leader must be willing to hear suggestions from other people.

 

Yuri Nagai, Matt Macer, Christopher Dirkes

Case Study Recommendations

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Alyssa Otto and Ben Power: The power of the organization should be dispersed equally between the professional staff and the organization's volunteers. The two groups can work together through committees, which will allow them to plan and act together, instead of just one group doing everything. Another recommendation that we have is to possibly implement a head of the organization to be in charge of the professional staff and the volunteers, since the two groups have conflicted with each other. Interest: The volunteers should gain interest in changing, they should have been aware of why the change in power was going to be implemented. Also the specific views of the volunteers on the said topic should have been look at; if it would have been considered why the volunteers did not want to change power then the situation could have ended up differently. Capacity: The individuals that do hold the power in the organization need to be more open to changing parts of the organization that needs changing. With that said the organization needs to refocus and set goals that coincide with what they expect from their staff and volunteers.
Power: 1. There needs to be one person that is appointed the leader of the entire organization to be the final factor in decision making. 2. Each group within the organization must appoint one person in their group to be the leader of their group to assist in decision making of the organization. Conflict of Interests: 1. The organization should start a committee in order for every level of the organization to be able to voice their interests of the organization. 2. The organization should create a handout or informational program to educate all employees, both paid and volunteer, about changes that will be made within the organization. Capacity: 1. The more powerful people in the organization need to be more open and accept suggestions from volunteers in order to make strides toward improvement and have a smooth change. 2. The organization needs to have a realistic vision and be able to act upon it. Each employee must understand this vision before execution of the plan begins.

NSO Recommendations

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Group Members: Rebecca Picha, Andre Phillips, David Dahlstrom, Ryan Hooser

The reason that three of the NSOs did not succeed in implementing strategic/radical change is because they did not manage their organizations' interests, power and capacities well. Group 5's recommendations for the organizations are as follows:

Interests
1. The organization, most specifically the leader(s) of the organization need to make sure that all subunits' interests are considered. If you don't give people a voice, they will lose interest and ambition towards attaining strategic change.
2. Beyond considering all subunits' interest, we recommend that the NSOs involve them in the process of planning for and achieving strategic change. A good way to do this would be to create committees; creating committees would present a platform on which people can voice their opinions, and volunteers would also feel more committed to the organization because they feel valued within the organization.

Power
1. The three NSOs that successfully implemented strategic change all had a professional staff, so we recommend that the other three NSOs develop a professional staff.
2. We recommend that the majority of the power and responsibility shift to fall into the hands of the professional staff. We would still like the volunteers to hold some power so that they feel empowered and can be held accountable to the organization, but we also recognize that because they are volunteers, the NSO might not always be their first priority.

Capacity
1. We recommend that the NSOs appoint a leader or a group of leaders. While it seems like an obvious suggestion, a leader is what these three organizations lacked. Leaders don't necessarily have to have a position of authority, but nobody stepped up in these three organizations so we think they should officially appoint someone to lead the efforts towards strategic change.
2. Once a leader (or leaders) has/have been appointed, they need to articulate a vision of the strategic change and then inspire others toward that vision. Jim Collins, author of "Good to Great and the Social Sectors," would describe this process as getting the right people on the bus and getting the right people in the right seats. It is important for a leader to utilize all members of the organization to their fullest potential. They need to place employees and volunteers where their talents can be best utilized to achieve strategic change.

We believe that if the National Sport Organizations followed our recommendations, they would be much more successful in implementing strategic change.

Strategic Change Case

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POWER 1. Establish a knowledgeable leader for the organization 2. Distribute power and input to volunteers that can be overseen by the paid staff with the ultimate power. CONFLICT OF INTERESTS 1. Organize a board to combine interests and strive towards the same goal and have a leader who can step in to promote compromise 2. Develop a code of ethics to define the point where conflicts should be avoided, and what should happen if there were conflicts. CAPACITY 1. Make sure that the changes that are needed/ or wanting to be done are realistic for the people working for the company at all levels 2. The capacity for change is strongly weighted on the leaders or the ones with the most power to make sure that the changes necessary are accomplished. The leaders and managers need to be successful at monitoring the change by making efforts to accomplish the successful and significant change.

amis et all

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Ryan Prochaska, Kristen Dockery, Dustin Permann, Laura Schnell Power: 1. One person, either volunteer or employee, needs to be appointed to have ultimate power. This will make that person accountable for the decisions being made and will allow others to receive orders from someone. This person needs to be able to implement standards and make sure everyone is on board during the decision making process 2. There should be a committee created with both employees and volunteers on board. Together they will share ideas and make all known concerns heard. These committee leaders will then disperse the information to the rest of the workers. Interest: 1. Involve everyone in the decision making process. If everyone's voices are heard discussion on the pros and cons will be addressed allowing the organization to make the best possible decision. 2. Allow everyone access to information that is vital for decision making. By doing this employees and volunteers may see flaws in their original viewpoint and it allows them to base their decision on what is best for the organization as a whole. Complexity: 1. The organization needs a mission statement that is well supported. 2. Both the employees and volunteers need to start looking at things from both perspectives. They need to realize that change is inevitable and just because they change one perspective to give the other group power they are helping the organization and not giving up total power for future decisions.

Anthony Crowell, Ashley Deisting Paul Lehrer

Recommendations for Capacity:

1. The organization needs to refine its mission statement, uniting all of the members together.

2. The organization has to be open to change, become more flexible from a structural standpoint.

Recommendations for Power:

1. The organization needs to appoint a leader to make to decisions for the good of the company.

2. Run cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial state of the organization. Determine what steps the organization has to take to become efficient and successful. After all money is what usually makes an organization powerful (NIKE).

Recommendations for Interest:

1. Need to keep the volunteers interest in the organization. Listen to the volunteers ideas to make the company better, but do not give them the power to make it happen on their own.

2. Involve and educate staff in the change process that will be taking place in the organization. Essentially creating a better corporate culture.

Interests:

1. Make sure resources are allocated across the organization in a fair, and well thought out manner.

2. Throughout the decision-making process, make sure all parties' interests and viewpoints are being considered.

 

Power:

1. Professional staff should handle operating tasks. Volunteers should help set policies. The two groups can work together in a committee to make deicisions.

2. Power needs to be dispersed throughout the organization.

 

Capacity:

1. Organization needs to have a clear mission statement and a clear vision of future goals.

2. Future goals should be determined by a wider spread of individuals among professionals and volunteers, and leaders from both groups must have a good understanding of what capabilities are required for change.