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Presentations 12/10

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

presentations 12/8

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One of the most interesting things about the presentations is that there have been very few repeats! I think it's great that almost everyone in class came up with an original organization. There were a lot of presentations today but I was impressed that everyone was able to stick to their time limit and fit everyone in. I also thought it was an interesting idea to chose organizations that have not been super successful in recent years because there are a lot of recommendations to be made and a lot to say about conflict and change, a big example is the Pirates organization. I also like that people have not just been reading off the slides but adding in more information that sounds much more rehearsed. I also was impressed that Kristin was able to squeeze in all her information under pressure and with a smaller amount of people in the room.

Presentations - Day 2

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I thought it was interesting the variety of organizations people chose to do. It is easy to tell what people's interests are. It is also interesting to see the differences in the structures of the organizations based on purpose, whether it be profit-oriented or a not for profit organization. The presentations make it easier to compare the different organizations when they are lined up next to each other. I also think it's interesting to know how each organization dictates who the executives will be.

Decision-making

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Decisions are defined by Slack & Parent simply as "a judgment...a choice between alternatives." Decisions within an organization can range from seemingly trivia, such as brand of printer ink, to major alterations such as the decision to expand internationally or to lay off employees in order to manage the budget better. Decision makers are at all levels of the organization and often require the person to make quick, well-thought out decisions, which is often very difficult to do. Slack and Parent identify three types of conditions in which decisions are often made: certainty, risk, and uncertainty. Of course the most ideal condition in which to make decisions is certain because the decision maker knows the options and the pros and cons of them (p. 259). In situations of risk the decision maker can identify many pros and cons of the different options but it is not clear what the results will be. Decisions in a situation of uncertainty are when there is no precedent for the decision-maker to weigh their options against. However, it is more common that managers and those in power have some idea of the alternatives they are presented with and make well-educated decisions in the best interest of the organization. Slack & Parent then identify two types of decisions: programmed and non-programmed. Programmed decisions relate to those that are routine versus, non-programmed decisions, which are new and unique. These decisions are often differ in who makes these decisions. Non-programmed decisions are usually made by lower management and the programmed decisions are generally made by those in a higher place of power. Slack & Parent argue that decisions made in an atmosphere of risk are the most common for sport managers. An example of this kind of decision-making situation is the decision of Anytime Fitness to open locations internationally. The company researched the kind of market they would have in other countries and made, what they thought is the best decision for the company. They signed revenue contracts to open up over 350 franchises in New Zealand and Australia. While the company has seen many others, especially in the current economy, fail when they attempted to move into international territory, and there were other options, like continuing to saturate the domestic market, the company took the risk and leap into international franchises. This is a perfect example of risk decision-making because their options were weighed, they discussed the pros and cons and made a well-researched decision, which will, hopefully, significantly increase revenues.

Leadership

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The context in which a sport organization sits affects all aspects of the organization. An organization's leadership, whether it be one person or many, must be able to adjust and adapt to the fluidity of these aspects. Those leaders must also be able to work with an satisfy any number of actors involved with the organization, whether they be inside or outside of the organization. For example, the owner of the Twins, must be able to satisfy the needs of his employees, members of the team and also office staff, but also must work with the legislature of MN to work out a deal for a new stadium. Since there was no referendum vote for the tax increase for the stadium, the owner had to of worked directly with those in charge of making those kinds of changes. The culture in which the organization is situated also affects leadership because the managers have to make sure that the processes are effective within that culture. If the culture changes, the managers must make sure the organization changes accordingly. For example, in the 80's and 90's the American culture shifted towards fitness. Nike, Adidas, and other sporting goods manufacturers responded by created lines of clothing that fit active bodies. They created new shoes that supported arches and encouraged better posture, they came out with clothing lines like Dri-Fit and Climacool to target not only hardcore athletes but casual runners and hikers as well. The company noticed a change in the culture and adapted to it, and were highly successful. Structure also impacts leadership because depending on the hierarchy of the organization the leader could be one person or a panel of people. If the organization is run by a board of people there is a voting system to implement changes and make decisions, this changes the dynamic of inter-office relationships. Some sub-groups might think that if they win the favor of two or three board members then they will be able to sway the entire group, however, this does not always work. On the other hand, if there is one person in charge making all the important decisions alone then it is much easier for different interest groups to win the favor of one versus many. Leaders must be interested in what is best for the whole organization and not be afraid to make a decision and stick to it, and also to be criticized later if the plan did not go through as planned. Leaders must be able to adapt and also moderate different interest groups and decide what the organization will benefit the most from.

Organizational Change

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

Conflict

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

power and politics

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

Culture

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        A clear definition of organizational culture is difficult to pinpoint. There are several basic principles that are generally agreed upon. These include values, beliefs, basic assumptions, and shared understandings of the members and stakeholders of an organizations. Some organizational theorists include psychology, attitudes, goals, and experiences in their definitions. Regardless of how culture is defined within an organization, culture always impacts the goals, missions, and values of an organization because these three things should reflect the culture created by the members of an organization. Changing culture can be an extremely difficult obstacle for an organization especially if there are many policies, people, and ideas that have been in place for a long time. The idea that people become "stuck in their ways," can prove to be very true when dealing with change. The panel of administrators and coaches made it clear that the easiest way to promote change in a place where it is not readily accepted is to first get a feel for the culture. For example, when merging the two departments Regina went to meet the coaches and see what it was they needed and how they run their program on a day to day basis in order to know how to better serve them. Joel, who had a unique position of coming into the situation a stranger, first wanted to get to know the staff on both sides of the merger and also how the two departments were structured, what their values and missions were, if they were different and how he could bring a balance to the merger. When Joel stepped in he learned that both departments cared deeply about the athletes and the school, which made an easy launching point to bring the two departments together. While policies and procedures were often very different the basic principles of the same values were present which made unity much easier. Culture is important in this example because Joel did not come in to change the culture of each department, necessarily, but do find a common ground and bring them together. Culture was the first area Joel had to get a solid feeling up before any real effective changes could be made.

         In the reading on anti-doping corporate culture the gloomy prediction is made that "doping is a battle that cannot be won." President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, did not mean that efforts should be given up but was making an observation on the amount of work that is still left to be done. Most sport governing bodies have policies on anti-doping but these are often overlooked or not enforced. Spectators expect a high standard of performance and managers and owners expect a high pay-out. With these two attitudes it is easy to understand why anti-doping has fallen under the radar in so many sports organizations. To change this for the better and for good the culture and attitudes of all stakeholders must be changed. This is an extremely difficult thing to do considering the number of stakeholders, especially in professional sports. The change will be easiest to make from the inside out, starting with owners, managers, athletes and working its way out to the fans and spectators.