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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.
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.
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.