October 2009 Archives
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 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.
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.
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
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?
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?
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.
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 is something that every organization goes through, it can be good and it can be bad, but no matter which, the organization can take the change in stride and deal with it appropriately. If a company can deal with change properly, it will benefit the organization greatly. Everything in an organization is under constant change, whether it be the people and staff or the product and technology. According to the book, change can occur in four areas; 1) People, 2) Products and Services, 3) Technology and 4) Structures and Systems, all four of these areas can change individually but can also be used together in change. With a rapidly changing environment, organizations need to learn to deal with everything that is put in their way. People come and leave companies all the time, employees are almost never permanent and when someone leaves, a new, different person will step in and maybe even have some better ideas. People can also include consumers who are receiving the product or service, this culture is somewhat unpredictable at times and we never know the preferences of the customers anymore because they keep changing, it's a good idea to stay on top of what they currently want or need in order to keep them happy. The Product or Service you are providing or selling is always under revision, our culture always wants something better than we had before, so people will expect the best out of you and want you to provide what they are looking for. Technology is a constant change, we are always getting better tools to better how we produce and distribute products. Often new technology scares people because they don't know what result they might receive, but if they are willing to learn it will help benefit the employees and the organization as a whole. Change in the structure and systems will happen as the organization looks at what they are doing and how, it can include the hierarchy of the company and how they work together to better the services being provided. Change is not always welcomed in many organizations but it is something that will always continue to occur and for the most part change is for the better even if it takes some getting used to.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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?
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 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?
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.
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: 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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
An organization is often controlled by the environment in which surrounds it, and can often depend on said environment to help it operate. The environment is often the biggest benefit to which an organization can profit in order to run more smoothly. There are two different types of environment that organizations fall under; General Environment and Task Environment. General Environment may not always have a direct impact on the operations side of organizations but they do have different sectors that can be looked at and used when evaluating the organizations effectiveness and these include; Economic, Political, Legal, Demographic, Ecological, Technological, and Socio-Cultural. All of these can be major contributing factors to how an organization is producing product and how it is relating to the consumers. Task Environment more directly affects the ability to achieve goals and include such groups of customers, members, fans, athletes, competitors and other staff. Each different section/sector can have a different effect on the organization and they need to learn how to react to such effects so they can properly operate. Each organization must adapt to its surroundings and use the tasks at hand to succeed. Understanding what the environment is doing around them is one of the most important things an organization can do, they can use all of these factors to their advantage. As our country has recently hit some hard times in our economy, organizations can learn from what the country can and cannot afford, by adapting to the recent change in most people's pocketbooks the organizations can find ways to succeed and maintain a strong customer base by using their resources and researching different ways of getting fans to continue consuming their product despite having less money to spend. Like our economy, the environment in which an organization resides can be unpredictable and leave organizations not knowing what to expect next, but if they are smart, they will be thinking ahead. They can plan ahead and forecast what might happen in the future and structure goals and strategies around their predictions. A strong organization will adapt to their surrounding environment and work to achieve their goals, while positively operating their business.
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?
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.
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