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The last day of presentations went very well, not a big surprise for me. As a whole, throughout the entire presentation period, I witnessed presenters that were well prepared in giving their information on the organization they chose. I thought it was very interesting that to start the day we had two Minnesota Twins organizational analyses. You would think that picking random pieces of paper out of a hat would make it very difficult for this to happen. I guess not! Andrew went first and gave us the analysis based more on the organization as a whole, while Dustin gave us an analysis more based on the on-field performance of the team. As I have stated on my previous blogs about the class presentations I enjoy when the presenter chooses an organization that they have firsthand knowledge in. We had two presenters go in Ashley and Alyssa W. who provided just that.
The presentations today were also very good. Parker started the presentations off with a bang. He decided to choose an organization that he was very familiar with and could give us firsthand knowledge of the way the organization operates. Ryan chose to analyze the effectiveness of Lifetime Fitness as an organization. I think he brought up some key recommendations that would make already an effective organization more effective. Again, I like the reasoning behind deciding to analyze the ABCA organization by Dan. Doug seemed to know a lot about the Minnesota Wild environment and culture because his family has had season tickets for the past several years. Chris finished the presentation at the buzzer. I enjoyed learning more about the First Tee Organization. Watching golf events I learned that it existed to help young golfers. I did not know they were learning about life skills that will not only help them on the golf course but in everyday life as well.

The presentations given today were pretty easy to listen to.  I enjoyed some of the reasons why presenters decided to choose that specific organization to analyze.  I also enjoyed Laura's presentation because it featured a small organization for a changeup to the large organizations that most everyone one else was picking.  She could also use her firsthand knowledge of the organization in her presentation.  It was interesting to hear that the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers was very instrumental in some of the recent changes in the National Football League.  The New Orleans Saints organization was also in the limelight today.  I thought Tony did a good job of displaying the change that had taken place in 2006 to get the organization going in the right direction towards obtaining their on-field goals.  There were some flaws in every organization and the presenters came up with great recommendations for each of their organizations.

At the beginning of the class, I really did not have a great understanding of what it takes to be an effective organization. This is in part due to not knowing the meaning of what an effective organization is. In my first blog post I acknowledged that to have an effective organization it will need to have attainable goals, a structured activity system, and having an identifiable boundary. I have since learned in class that there are more than just those three things which make an organization effective. The structure of the organization is the starting point for making an effective organization. The structure of any sport organization must fit with the environment in which it is in. If the environment is constantly changing, it is important for the structure to be more organic than it is mechanistic. Ideally, the organization should be comprised of both organic and mechanistic properties. The organizations that are most effective can easily and quickly be able to adapt to any change in their environment. The structure of the organization allows those changes to take place. Power and politics also play an integral role in the organization's ability to be effective. The political power within an organization determines who makes big decisions. It is important for those employees in power to use their power wisely and for the good of the organization, not for the good of themselves. The persons in power should also utilize their subordinates in the decision-making process. The more input that the subordinates are allowed to have in an organization the harder they will work for the persons in power. The leadership roles within an organization are also very important in making a sport organization effective. The communication between a leader and their subordinates is probably more important than motivating the subordinates. Good leaders can avoid conflict and when it is present can determine the problem and resolve it. If a leader makes an honest effort to communicate to their subordinates and show them respect, the leader has done his part in creating a successful culture. The culture within an organization will allow the employees to feel comfortable in their position, which gives them the confidence to be effective in their roles. The organization is only as strong as its weakest link. Obviously, there are many moving parts in an effective organization. It is difficult to pinpoint every little quality and trait that is involved. My keys to an effective organization include: communication from those in power and in leadership roles to the subordinates, a structure that can adapt when needed, and setting and reaching attainable goals.

                As it states in the book, decision making can is argued to be the most important process within an organization.  The decisions that have to be made within an organization can be classified important to trivial.  The definition of decision-making in the book states, "a decision is a judgment...a choice between alternatives."  According to the book there are two types of decisions that can be made in a sport organization.  A programmed decision is repetitive and routine.  Programmed decisions are the decisions that are easiest to make because they can be solved by using the sport manager's past experience.  However there is also another kind of decision called a nonprogrammed decision.  These decisions happen to be more difficult because they are usually new and unique.  In a sport organization, it likely that a senior manager or highly trained staff member would be called upon to make these decisions instead of lower level managers.

                There are three conditions upon which decisions are made.  The first is certainty, when managers know what available alternatives are, and the cost of each alternative.  Another condition involves the manager knowing the available alternatives, but not having a clear understanding on potential cost or benefit from the alternative.  Lastly, decisions can be made under uncertainty.  The manager is in tough position because he does not know any decision alternatives nor does he know what potential outcomes would be.

                There are two types of individual decision making models that can be used in an organization.  The first is a rational model, which consists of several stages.  The first step involves monitoring the decision environment.  The second step is where the manager defines the problem about which the decision has to be made.  The next step involves the manager diagnosing the problem.  The fourth step would then include identifying decision alternatives.  Then they can analyze the alternatives to find the best course of action to take in the decision making process that will best benefit the organization.  The next step is selecting the best alternatives, followed then by implementing the alternative.  Lastly, the sport manager must evaluate the decision that has been made.  The type is the administrative model in which the sport manager does not have all of the facts in the situation.  They then try to make the best decision that they know how.

                There are many types of decision making styles that can be made within the organization that are not made by individuals.  They include management science, the Carnegie model, the structuring of unstructured processes, the garbage can model, and the Bradford studies.

                In the end, the decision-making process in a sport organization needs to have multiple sources of input to be effective.  When a sport manager can gather a large amount of information he can better develop alternatives to problems.  These can then be analyzed to find out which decision will best benefit the sport organization.

Culture within an organization is not very easy to define. Therefore there are many definitions that exist to try to explain what it means. The general themes within the definitions consist of values, beliefs, basic assumptions, and shared understandings in which a set of individuals base the construction of their organization, group, or subgroup. Stories, myths, symbols, and rituals also play a key role in sport organizations. Once again, it is important to stress the culture of the sport organization and let every employee know what it is like working in this environment. Many employees within sport organizations will talk amongst themselves in the workplace. One manifestation on organizational culture is stories and myths. These are told from employee to employee or from a leader to employee to enlighten them about the organization. These stories and myths try to convey important messages to employees. The stories and myths must include a sense of history, the organization's ability to overcome problems, or indicate social categories which are legitimate in the organization. Symbols are also important for the identity of the sport organization. The symbols can include slogans to promote expectations about the appropriate modes of behavior in the organization. Communication amongst groups or subgroups within the sport organization is very important. Some groups or subgroups within the organization will develop their own specialized language to communicate better with each other. Some organizations will hold ceremonies or rites to new employees or veteran employees. It is most notable in professional sports with the rookie initiation or in the NCAA with freshman initiation. The physical setting in which the sport organization operates can give meaning to its culture. Physical structure, physical stimuli, and symbolic artifacts can all be placed under the physical setting in the manifestation of the sport organization. There are two kinds of cultures that can be used to describe sport organizations. A thick culture is a culture that has members in the organization that generally agree about the importance of certain values and employ them in their daily routines. A thin culture is the opposite of a thick culture. Most of the employees do not see common values or the type of activities in the organization. When creating, managing, and changing culture in a sport organization it is important to remember a couple things. Not all organizations should be a thick culture because their environment is constantly changing therefore they will need to be in a thin culture. There must be leaders that can manage the culture and make sure that the employees are fitting into it to maximize efficiency.
Obviously leadership in an organization is an integral part of making the organization successful. Without leadership employees would have different ideas that would never come together and total chaos would ensue. Leadership can be defined simply as the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. There are several organizational contexts that impact leadership. Processes, culture, structure, and environment, and actors are just a few of those. Leaders can lead in four certain styles. A leader can use supportive leadership to guide his subordinates in a positive manner. This style is a process that involves the leader showing concern for the subordinates needs and attempting to make form a work environment that is pleasant and caring. Another style the leader can take is instrumental leadership. This style is a process in which the leader puts a great deal of importance on planning, coordinating, directing, and controlling the activities of the subordinates. The third style that can be used to lead a group is participative leadership. This involves the process of the leader treating the subordinates almost as equals. The subordinates are expected to let their views be known and to feel as though they have a stake in the decision-making process. The fourth and final style is achievement leadership. The leader sets challenging goals for the subordinates and anticipates them to take responsibility in meeting the goals in this process. The culture of a sport organization is what helps determine who can be a leader within it. If the organization has a thick culture will most likely have a leader at or near the top organization. This leader can then spread the message of reaching goals down to the subordinates. In a thin culture which is constantly changing there may need to be several leaders. These leaders may need to participate almost at as high of a level as the leader on top of the subgroup to which they belong. The structure of the sport organization can also determine who or how many will have leadership roles. In an organization with more of a vertical structure the leaders will be at the top and the subordinates will report to them, leaving few in leadership roles. In more of horizontal structure there will need to be many more leaders because they will all have to report to the top of the organization. Those at the top of the organization do not have time to visit with every subgroup, hence more leaders. The environment in which a sport organization belongs can determine the leaders that will emerge. The concept of who will emerge as a leader is similar to how it determined by the structure. If the organization is in a rapidly changing environment then the leader will have to work their subordinates to keep effective. In an environment that hardly ever changes the leaders can look down from above and be instrumental or directive in their leadership style. The actors in an organization have to work together to create the best product. Leaders need to come from within the subgroups and not just the top of the organization or the head of the subgroups. The organization is a as productive as its weakest employee. If every employee understands the goals of the organization and can implement the goals into their everyday decision-making process, the organization should be successful.

Organizational Change

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

 

                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.