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12/8 Presentations

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The presentations I found most intriguing today were the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Charlotte Bobcats presentations.  What was interesting from the Pirates presentation was that the Steelers and Penguins were both a strength for the Pirates.  In most situations, competing franchises would be a weakness or threat, but the recent winning trends of the Steelers and Penguins have created a culture of success in Pittsburgh, and this is almost forcing the Pirates to strive to increase their product.  It's not like they aren't trying, it's just what they've tried has worked to this point.  I completely agree with the presenters recommendations for the organization.  The Pirates really need to work hard to rid themselves of the revolving door that is attached to the organization.
What I found interesting from the Charlotte Bobcats presentation is all the opportunities they have to grow.  The organization is located in a fast growing state, has a huge college basketball fan base, and has an opportunity to take advantage of the "social networking revolution".  Targeting the college fan base would be a great way to bring in fans that may not have been previously affiliated with a professional team.  Using social networking to reach the college fan base would be the most effective way in my opinion, as the majority of social network members are of college age.   

12/3 Presentations

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There were a few things from the presentations today that kinda stuck out to me.  First, from the presentation on the Fargo - Moorehead Red Hawks, is the way that power and authority is evident from the coach's position.  The example of the player showing up to batting practice hung over, shows the power the coach has by controlling that information.  Whether the player plays or possibly whether he's on the roster or not, is in the coach's power.  If he decided to disclose the information to the owner/GM, the player would most likely be disciplined and possibly cut, if he doesn't the player plays.  The coach is in an important position of power, especially from the players perspective.
From the presentation on Life Time Fitness, what stuck out to me was how to contract length offered by the club is both benefitial and detrimental.  By offering month to month contracts, the club is able to attract more clients, but at the same time, their ability to retain their clients is hindered.   This means that the club really has to work hard to impress and retain their clients.
What I found interesting from the First Tee presentation was how being a formalized organization both helps and hinders it.  Being sport specific means instructors are knowledgeable, but offering only one sport may be a turn-off for kids who can join a program or group with a wide variety of activities.  Offering more activities may keep kids interested in the organization, where as offering only one may cause the kids become "burned-out" on golf.

Day 3 Presentations

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     The presentations from day 3 went pretty well.  The ones that really stuck out to me were the Pittsburgh Steelers, The NHL, and the Brainard Lakes Lunkers.  The Steelers presentation was interesting because it was the perspective of a fan.  I wonder how different the analysis would have been coming from a Browns, Ravens or Bengals fan.  It just makes you realize that the organization should also consider the evaluator when looking at an analysis. 
     I thought the NHL analysis was also interesting because he looked at a problem between two separate parties, DirectTV and Versus, that affects the organization.  The problem seems to have reached a point where rather than trying to resolve the problem, the separate companies are basically slinging mud, and this is affecting how many people are able to watch and follow the NHL.
     Finally, I though the presentation the the Lunkers was interesting because it was a smaller organization in a smaller league.  I knew a little bit about the Northwoods Baseball League, but I never realized the St. Cloud River Bats owner could also own another team in the same league.  You'd think it could possibly be a conflict of interest, but I guess the league is meant to be more of a developmental league than an extremely competitive one. 

Day 1 Presentations

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The one thing that stuck out to me from today's presentations was from the Twins analysis.  I thought it was interesting that the based on the presenters research, he believed that there wasn't really much that the Twins needed to change within their organization, and Dr. Kiel commented that the organization needs to make some major changes internally.  It's nothing against the presenter, it just goes to show that sometimes you really need to dig deep and talk to the right people to be able to completely understand the true state of an organization like that.  On organization like that isn't going to just tell the public they have problems with organizational diversity.


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-Of the definitions of culture given by Slack & Parent, the one I feel that Sathe's fits best.  It says organizational culture is, "the set of important understandings (often unstated) that members of a community share in common". 
-The manifestations of a sport organization's culture is often studied because it's so difficult to examine the way values, beliefs and accepted patterns of meaning play into the culture.  When looking at how an organization's culture is manifested The manifestations most often studied when it comes to a sport organization's culture are: stories and myths, symbols, language, ceremonies or rites, and physical setting.  Stores are, like the name says, stories about a company that are told to new employees.  Myths on the other hand, are stories which are not factual.  Symbols are "used to convey meaning about a sport organization to its members and to the public at large" (Slack & Parent 277). Examples of symbols include the Nike "swoosh", the Dallas' Star, or the New England "Patriot".  Language is an interesting one to me.  It's an organizations own language or form of "jargon".  But it's not just the way an organization communicates, but it's also a form of bonding amongst members of an organization.  Ceremonies or Rites are things such as rookie initiations, award ceremonies, and other such team functions.  I use the term team loosely as it encompases more than just a sports team, and could include an organizational sales team or a whole organization for that matter.  Physical setting includes three aspects.  Physical structure, "the architect's design and physical placement of furnishings in a building that influence or regulate social interaction" (Davis, 1984, Pg 272).  Physical Stimuli include activities that become rituals, such as coffee breaks or mail delivery.  They tend to occur on a consistent basis and become part of an everyday routine.  Symbolic Artifacts include things such as banners, trophies, and traveling trophies such as Paul Bunyon's Axe or the Little Brown Jug.  
-The difference between a  thick and thin culture is pretty self explainitory.  A thick culture is comprised of a close knit group that agrees on the common goals and values of an organization.  A thin culture is the opposite, one which members don't see eye to eye on the values and/or the types of activities used to build a culture.
-Some organizations have more than one culture.  These are most prevalent in large organizations. It's difficult to have just one culture in large organizations, and having more than one allows the smaller branches to feel more connected and work better together.

Organizational Change

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Changes in sports organizations typically occur in one of four areas, products and services, technology, structures and systems, and people.  Technology changes occur in the production processes, the skills and methods it uses to deliver its services, or its knowledge base.  Product and services changes involve the addition, deletion, or modification of other areas.  Structural and systems changes involve modifications to areas of a sport organization such as its division of labor, its authority structure, or its control systems.  People change involves modifications to the way people think and act and the way they relate to each other. 
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


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Of the definitions of conflict presented by Slack & Parent, I like the Morgan version.  It simply states that conflict occurs whenever interests collide.  Building on that, Slack & Parent says that first, the parties involved my perceive conflict to exist, and if no one does see conflict as existing, then it doesn't exist.  Second, there must be two of more parties.  Third, one or more party must be preventing one or more other party from reaching their desired goal(s) through what is called a blocking behavior.  Fourth, the blocking party must result in some frustration, anger, or some other form of emotional response.
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.

Power and Politics

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Organizational power is, according to Slack & Parent, one of the most widespread yet more problematic concepts in the organizational theory literature.  It is not something we can see within a sport organization, but its effects can be clearly felt.  It's 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".  There is individual powers and organizational power.  Sources of individual power include: Legitimate Power, Reward Power, Coercive Power, Referent Power, and Expert Power.  Organizational power comes from: Acquisition and Control of Resources, The Ability to Cope With Uncertainty, Centrality, Nonsubstitutability, and Control Over the Decision-Making Process.
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.


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When thinking about the environment of a sports organization, you have to realize that it's what influences the structure and processes of that organization.  More specifically, there are two types of environments in an organization, first, the General Environment, which includes the economic, demographic, political, technological, ecological, legal, and sociocultural sectors.  Second, there is the Task Environment, which according to Slack & Parent, is made up of those aspects of its general environment that can influence its ability to achieve its goals.  Those aspects typically include Customers/Members/Fans, Competitors, Athletes' groups/Staff, Regulatory Agencies, and Suppliers.  According to Slack & Parent, Duncan (1972) saw that the uncertainty of an organizations environment was influenced by two factors, the extent to which the environment was simple/complex, and the extent to which it was stable/dynamic.  Environmental Complexity is a large number of diverse elements interacting with or influencing the sport organization.  A simple organization has a small number of those elements.  The extent to which a sport organization's environment is stable/dynamic refers to the amount of change in those elements constituting it environment.  An organization having stability if 1, its demands on the organization are relatively consistent and dependable, and 2, these demands constantly come from very similar clients.  Dynamic environments on the other hand are characterized by rapid change, caused by any number of 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.

Structure & Design

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How an organization is structured depends on a few different things, like the size and goals of the organization.  If an organization is smaller and has fewer employees, it would make sense to be less formalized, horizontal and decentralized.  For a larger organization, it would likely be better to be more vertical so that there is a certain level of authority within the organization, preventing chaos.  It's along the same lines that they would want to me more formalized as well, having lower departments reporting to a higher single entity, delegating tasks.  It keeps everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals.  Other wise you could have one department striving solely towards making as much money as possible, and another working towards being environmentally friendly.  Means of attaining these goals may be conflicting.  Basically, structuring an organization is dependent on the size and organizational goals.