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Presentations Dec 10th

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I thought the presentations as a whole were very interesting today. It was neat to see two presentations on the Twins back-to-back. It was evident that both had valid research, but both presentations were different from each other. It didn't feel like we heard the same presentation twice. I also enjoyed Sam's presentation on the YMCA. I didn't know that the YMCA was an international organization. The Y is an organization I am familiar with through working out there in high school but I did not know any information about it's history or mission. Since my hometown does not have a LifeTime or other big fitness club, everyone works out at the Y which does not make it seem like it is aimed at lower-class families. Sam was very clear in the way she presented her information. Overall, the presenters today did a good job of not reading straight off the slides which helps make the presentations more interesting. The presenters today provided a solid conclusion to the Organizational Analysis presentations.
I thought today was the best day of presentations thus far. The presentation on the Pittsburgh Pirates was done tremendously. Not only did Brian explain each aspect of effectiveness thoroughly, but he did so in a way that portrayed how informed he really was about the organization. In terms of his slideshow, each slide only had a few words, but a lot of pictures, drawing the attention to the slideshow, and keeping the audience into the presentation. Since each slide didn't have a lot of words on them, it allowed Brian to talk about the organization in his own way rather than reading right from the slides. Also, Brian pointed out in the first few seconds of his presentation that his entire analysis was structured around the Goal Attainment Approach of goal setting and effectiveness. This was a unique twist on the presentation that no one had done before. I also like how in the Under Armour presentation she explained her own personal views of the organization and how she found them very effective but disagreed with a few of their procedures, like the 5'8" modeling requirement. It was also neat to see that each Under Armour presentation found the same facts and levels of effectiveness overall. Helps assure the audience that they are indeed an effective organization. Alyssa's presentation on Pop Warner's Little Scholars intrigued me because it was a nation-wide organization I had never heard of before.

Presentations-Day 3

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The presentations today as a whole were very well put together. There was a wide assortment of organizations analyzed which kept the presentations interesting all class long. Parker's presentation was interesting to me because he was so informed about the organization through growing up around the team and knowing sources that were affiliated with the organization. While there is a lot of information about most organizations online, having a direct personal source to the organization is extremely beneficial. It was cool that Parker could share actual stories about the team during his presentation. Ryan's presentation today about LifeTime Fitness intrigued me the most. I liked that he didn't just read from the slides. You could tell he was well-prepared for his presentation, and knew a lot about his organization. While discussing the structure aspect of the organization, there were 4 brief bulleted points on the powerpoint slide but he was able to talk about the structure for at least a few minutes. The use of statistics was an interesting turn that helped support his argument that LifeTime Fitness is an effective organization. Overall I think the presentations are going really well so far, each person is adding their own little twist to make their presentation unique.
Through the concepts learned in class and research of the organizational structure of an actual sport organization, I've learned several concepts and methods that will help a sport organization operate effectively. Initially, I believed an organization with a fun environment for its guests and employees, a high-quality training program for new and old employees, a goal setting criteria in which all employees strived towards their goals, and an organization that puts its customers in the #1 spot in all employees eyes, success will be reached. 
Now, I'm realizing that many more traits of the organization will help lead to effectiveness. The organization must maintain a strong 'goal-driven' atmosphere for its employees. Without goals, there is nothing for employees to work toward, which could turn into laziness and inefficient practices. It may be necessary for each department of the organization to discuss goals prior to the beginning season, and continue to achieve those goals.
In regards to the structure of an organization, it completely depends on how many people work for this organization and how many 'lead staff' people there are on board. For a small organization, a more centralized structure may be necessary. This way, all communication is basically all of it. For larger corporations, I find it necessary to have less people in charge, and a more decentralized structure. This may mean that each department has its own leader, and they each have a leader and only their leader may report to the head of the company. This may cause confusion in the long run, but this way may be effective in the long run also because each department is able to speak directly to the head of the organization. 
An organization that is capable of creating a desirable, competitive environment that is capable of pleasing its guests will contribute towards effectiveness a great amount. If a baseball park/team is not capable of prodviding a desirable environment, what is going to keep bringing their fans to the ballpark? 
Within its management board, and its employees, Power must be dispersed properly. I find that an effective organization will have a head leader that will make all final, large decisions for the organization. Each department also needs to have a 'leader' who will make the proper decisions for that department. Each employee must hold some power in order to take confidence in their role in the organization. There can not be one person that holds all the power in the organization, this will lead to chaos and conflict. 
Overall, my philosophy on organizational effectiveness is that if the organization has a strong, fun, and appropriate environment, a goal setting system in which employees always have something to work towards, a hierarchy in which power is not abused and is properly dispersed to each employee, conflict is handled in a professional way in which employment uncertainty is kept to a minimum, and leaders that are willing to take charge in critical situations in order to better the organization, the organization will be effective and will strive for success!

Presentations-Day 1

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I really enjoyed all of the presentations on Thursday. I found Andre's presentation of Gopher Basketball to be especially interesting. He conducted his speech in a way that kept my attention the whole time, and he shared a lot of interesting facts about the organization. It was easy to tell he was well-informed of the organization and takes great pride in working for them. I enjoyed listening to his analysis of Tubby Smith's leadership style and qualities. With Tubby having such a strong reputation in the basketball world, it was cool to hear what an employee thinks of him, and sees in his leadership style everyday. I also found RJ and Yuri's presentations interesting because they were about National Organizations. They are both organizations that mostly everyone has heard of, but would never know/understand how they are run. They both broke their organizations down in ways that make it easier to grasp how national organizations are run and how they can be successful, which they both are. The organizations are similar in that both are really only in nation-wide public eye during Olympic years. It's interesting to think about how an organization keeps themselves successful when it's not in the public eye. The leadership needed to run a national organization needs to be top-notch, and as explained in each presentation, both organizations have this trait.
Making a quality, well-thought-out decision is extremely important in an organization. Certain decisions may have the power to make or break the manager's job, or even the organization as a whole. Peter Drucker states, "a decision is a judgement...a choice between alternatives." When making a decision a manager must evaluate all alternatives and the solutions that will result from those alternatives. Slack & Parent recognized two types of decisions: Programmed and Nonprogrammed. Programmed decisions are one's that managers face regularly. This may be a hockey coach deciding what line plays next, or a manager of a store deciding to exchange a returned item, as stated in the book. Nonprogrammed decisions are those in which a manager does not face regularly. Oftentimes with nonprogrammed decisions, the manager has no past experience to base his alternative ideas off of, therefore he may enter the decision making process 'blind'. Decisions in a sport organization are often made under one of three conditions: certainty, risk, and uncertainty. Certainty occurs when the manager is aware of all alternatives and the costs and benefits of each alternative. This means the manager is well-informed of what may happen after the final decision has been made. The most common condition is risk. This is when a manager knows all alternatives but is unaware of the costs and benefits of each. The manager must make their decision based on a subjective processes based off of past experiences. Uncertainty comes when alternatives and outcomes are all unknown. These decisions can be considered the one's that could 'make or break' the managers career. Slack and Parent recognized two Individual Decision Making approaches. The first is called the 'rational model'. This model uses a step by step analysis of the alternatives and decision making process. These steps are, briefly: monitor the decision environment, define the problem relating to the decision, diagnose the problem, identify and analyze the alternatives, select and implement the best alternative, and evaluate the decision to be sure that the original problem has been solved. The second individual approach is called 'the administrative model'. These decisions are followed by time constraints, and the managers are often times not able to analyze all alternatives. A manager is then forced to settle for the best alternative at the time. Slack & Parent also analyzed Organization decision making approaches. The first is 'management science', in which numbers and statistics are used to make decisions. There is also the Carnegie Model in which managers form coalitions, usually one manager from each department involved, and make decisions based on each managers thoughts and input. The third approach is 'the structuring of unstructured processes' where major decisions are broken into smaller decisions that collectively contribute to the major decision. They also created a three phase decision making process: identification, development, and selection phase. The fourth approach is 'The Garbage Can Model' which states that several aspects of organizations are changing as the decision making process is happening. Therefore, choices are made when problems come together with the right solutions and participants. The influence a decision can make on an organization can often times lead to a great amount of stress for the manager. It is extremely important to analyze all alternatives, and the costs and benefits that could occur because of them.
In defining culture, I would agree most with Sathe's definition, "a set of important understanding that members of a community share in common". During my employment with the Lunkers baseball organization, I learned a lot about the importance of culture in a sport organization. Every employee knew exactly what the culture of the Lunkers organization was, and the general manager of the team never directly stated it. It was just evident every time an employee stepped into 'Lunkerland' just what was expected of them, and what the Lunkers were all about. Lunkerland, as the town of Brainerd referred to the Lunkers Home Ballpark, had an extremely positive reputation around town. In the past, there have been other teams in the Northwood League that had found Brainerd home, but none of those teams understood the importance of a culture of a team. The stadium was always seen as run down, the leaders of the organizations never put themselves in the public eye, and a respect for the organization was never evident. All that changed when the Lunkers declared Brainerd home. As last summer was the inaugural season, expressing the culture of the team immediately was extremely important. The owner of the team, Joel Sutherland, knew exactly what kind of culture he wanted in his organization, and made sure he did all he could to make it perfect. He knew that since Northwoods League teams in Brainerd didn't have a very good reputation, and were often short-lived, he had to do it right the first time and right away. Prior to the first home game, there was a Lunker Luncheon, announcing all the players, coaches, and staff to the Brainerd Lakes Area (BLA). The highlight of this luncheon was the keynote speaker, Mr. Harmon Killebrew. As a baseball Hall-of-Fame inductee, Killebrew is an extremely honored person in the baseball world. Sutherland was sure to make an impression on the BLA that he is here to do things right, and is here to provide a fun-filled atmosphere for every fan at Lunkerland. During the season, Sutherland was sure to check each game that all his employees were happy, that they were providing the customers with the best experience they could, and that each fan was indeed having the most positive experience they could have. Sutherland also made it clear that the well-being of the players was at the top of his priority list. He started this team in order to provide college baseball players with a team in which they would better themselves as players and as people. Sutherland is an extremely valuable role model to the organization. He is proud of his organization, and even if he does have some stressors regarding the team, he never lets them show while he's in the public eye. His main priority is to build and maintain the fun-filled, positive family experience, and good baseball culture of the Lunkers baseball organization. Since the Lunkers have created such a thick culture, (where the values are employed each day) for themselves, they are an extremely effective and successful organization.
What do you believe is the most effective way to create a culture for a new organization?

Blog 4: Leadership

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 I believe leadership is one of the most important factors in an organization. Leadership can be affected by the structure, culture, environment, actors and processes in an organization. This winter, I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to coach a 12U Girls Hockey team. In the first few weeks of practice, the role of leadership has become extremely apparent to me. Through analyzing these components of an organization, I will apply them to my coaching position and my team to exemplify the importance of leadership in an organization.
The structure of our team is fairly simple. There are 12 girls on the team, one head coach (me), and two assistant coaches. There are also two parent managers, and the rest of the parents are obviously involved in some way because there daughters need their support. As the head coach, I feel as though I am the top leader. I have created a 'hierarchy' of some sort with the other 'subordinates' of the team. Each player, parent, coach, and manager is an important asset and actor to the team. However, without a hierarchy imposing leadership positions in the organization, the team would not be considered successful. As the leader of the team, it is my responsibility to make sure each person is performing their duties and striving to reach their goals. Each level of the hierarchy contains its own leader, or 'captain'. Amongst the coaches, the head coach takes the captain role. Amongst the parents, the two team managers take the captain position. In the players level, the coaches and girls themselves have chosen two of the players to take the captaincy position. In deciding these captains, I administered the Trait Approach that Slack & Parent discussed. I took into factor the players intellectual qualities and personality traits. At the age of 12, it is hard to say if the girls have been put into situations that would really get them thinking about what a leader would do, so one's personality and intellectual qualities will help them resolve conflicts and lead in a smart manner. 
I am working at creating a positive, and fun environment on the ice for these girls in order to create a strong, hockey culture in these girls lives. With this fun, positive environment comes the manner and processes by which we run the team and manage the environment. I have decided to have the coaches handle on-ice situations, while the managers handle off-ice situations. I have laid down rules explaining my expectations of the parents and players, and if these rules are followed, a successful team will result. It is known on this team, because of statements made during parent meetings, that the coaches and I are there to provide an environment that girls want to be in. They will want to come to practice, and will want to play in all the games, because it is fun, and they are with their friends, and it's not all about winning. 
Through the role of leadership on the actors of the team, the environment and culture I am creating for this team, and the processes by which the leaders are creating this positive culture, leadership will help this team achieve success.

Organizational Change

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

Power and Politics

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