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12-10-09 Presentations

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I must agree with Emily in saying that the presentations have definitely improved as this was the last day of presentations. It is good to see that people have taken note on what can be improved upon when presenting and they made sure of that we creating and practicing their own presentations. I thought people did better with adhering to the time restrictions as well as not including so much text on slides. Although I think some people still did this, the majority did better with that. It was interesting to learn about the referee association that Ashley did her case study analysis on because it was a much smaller organization and you could tell that it really hit home with her since she is a referee herself. One of the harder parts to get through was the back to back Twins presentations but it's not as though they can help it.

-Kristen Dockery

Today's presentations were okay. I'm finding it harder and harder to stay awake and engaged in the presentations because we are going through so many so quickly. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. This is nothing against the presenters though. Anyway, as for today's presentations, I thought that they did pretty well. I think that still we have too many people putting tons of text on their slides. It's one thing if you have multiple points, but when you put full out sentences on them in tiny font that is when you run into a problem. It is not nearly as interesting for the audience. It actually distracts them so I would recommend including more pictures in the power point because that keeps them more focused and then they are listening to what you are saying as the presenter instead of reading off of slides. Not trying to be a know-it-all, because I certainly could have improved in these areas as well when I presented.

-Kristen Dockery

Day Three presentations were fairly good overall, however, some went over the time limit. I understand that it is hard to simplify all of the information that we covered in our papers into a presentation, but I think that it can be done. Perhaps, a word of advice to those who haven't done their presentations yet is to practice your presentation and time it so that you can determine whether or not you need to add or cut out information in order to meet the time limit requirements. I thought that a couple of the presentations had a lot of text on them which can be distracting to the audience because they are busy reading the text on the slide rather than listening to what the presenter has to say. I am not trying to be overly critical just trying to give advice to those who have not yet given their presentations. I have found the topics very interesting and it is refreshing that we have learned about a lot of different sport organizations.

-Kristen Dockery

The organizational structure of the tournament that my team and I attended in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break was rather simplistic but very effective. The name of the tournament is the Junkanoo Jam. This tournament was run by the basketball federation of the Bahamas and the organization that assisted in planning our trip is called Basketball Travelers Inc. The staff that was hired to help run the tournament was managed by the Basketball Travelers and they were at every destination directing us to where we needed to go. They were extremely accommodating and informative, which enabled our trip to run smoothly. They wore shirts with the Junkanoo Jam insignia on it and also had lanyards around their neck so that they were easily identifiable. When we arrived at the Bahamas we were given teal colored wristbands which we were required to where for all of the tournament related activities. It was our "pass" for many different things like breakfast at the hotel, entry into the gym for our game, use of jet skis at our beach party, etc. Basically, if you didn't have your wristband on, you were not allowed to participate. I thought it was a very effective way to differentiate between people who were part of the tournament and those who were not. As for the structure of the actual tournament, there were different divisions that teams were divided up into. To back up just a bit, your school has to be invited to the tournament so it is a privilege to be a part of a high caliber Thanksgiving tournament. Anyway, the division that we were entered into was called the Freeport division which is a town in the Bahamas. The other divisions were called the Reef division and the Lucaya division. The participants in this tournament include: South Dakota State, Indiana, Michigan State, Xavier, Texas Christian University, Kansas, Charlotte, Marist, Oklahoma State, and Virginia. Some of the sponsorships/partners for the Junkanoo Jam are the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Our Lucaya (which is the hotel we stayed at), and the Island of the Bahamas.  On a more random note, Basketball Travelers arranged a beach party for all of the teams and it had to fit in with every team's schedule. We had an hour to drive jet skis, ride on a banana tube, and jump on a trampoline out on the ocean. It was a really fun activity and was a nice break in the action. Overall, our experience at the Junkanoo Jam was a very positive one and I would definitely return to Grand Bahama Island if given the opportunity again.

 -Kristen Dockery

Day Two Presentations

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Day two presentations went well today. I presented as well and thought it was pretty good. I really enjoyed the hockey presentation because it is something I could relate to being a student athlete. It was interesting to see how the hockey team applies the Universities mission statement and values. I was able to compare the information she provided to how I think my team applies the schools values and such. It got me thinking about how well we actually adhere to the mission statement and values set by our athletic department. Anyway, I also enjoyed the Adidas presentation because I really don't know much about that sport organization at all. What I do know, however, is that I absolutely love Adidas apparel and basketball shoes so that is another reason why I was interested in the presentation. It was also cool to learn about a smaller sport organization in Minnesota as well. It was a refreshing change from the typical Nike, Adidas type presentations even though I was the one that did Nike/Jordan Brand. Overall, I thought everyone did pretty well.

-Kristen Dockery

Organizational culture is something that has been defined in many different ways. There are, however, common themes within all of the definitions that recur in all of the definitions. Some of these include; values, beliefs, basic assumptions, and shared understandings. These are some of the things that an organization can build their culture upon. It allows an organization to be stable and also serves as a way to convey an understanding to new members which allows them to make sense of the organization. The book states that, "A focus on organizational culture provides a different approach to understanding patterns of action in sport organizations" (Slack & Parent, pg. 275). Characteristics that sport organizations possess are stories, myths, symbols, and rituals.

Stories are defined by Slack & Parent as narratives that are recounted among employees and told to new employees. Myths, according to the book, are stories, often about the origins and transformations of a company that are not supported by fact. These two things are different types of manifestations that occur within an organization. They both convey important messages about a sport organization. Stories and myths help to reduce uncertainty for employees by establishing the sport organization as an enduring entity. The example that Slack & Parent provided about how stories can reduce uncertainty are if the stories are about hard times, those often give employees a sense that the organization is capable of overcoming problems. Stories also help send messages about organizational goals and the way employees should act. It helps to identify values that are shared by people within the organization.

"Symbols are used to convey meaning about a sport organization to its members and to the public at large" (Slack & Parent, pg. 277). A good example that the book identified is the Nike swoosh which conveys speed. Slogans are also closely related to symbols in that they also convey specific messages. Coaches often use slogans to get more out of their athletes. For example, "No pain, no gain."

Another type of manifestation is language. Sport organizations create their own special language to communicate with each other to ensure everyone is on the same page. I can personally relate to this because our coaches develop certain lingo that becomes the common language throughout the whole team. If they didn't do this we all would be referring to certain things the way we learned them, and we all don't call everything the same thing. It helps to develop a common language.

-Kristen Dockery

Today we had the opportunity to listen to four representatives from the University of Minnesota athletic department speak about their experiences. The four people who spoke to our class were Joel Maturi (Head Athletic Director), Regina Sullivan (Senior Associate Athletic Director), Gary Wilson (Head Track Coach), and Kathy Brown (Vice President of the University). They specifically talked about their experience with the merger that took place at the U between the men's and women's athletic departments a few years ago and their leadership roles within the merger. The University of Minnesota had separate athletic departments for men and women and then made the decision to merge the departments into one. It was essential for the new head athletic director to have all the necessary qualities to be able to make this merger work. We learned that only two-thirds of all mergers actually work. That being said, it takes a certain kind of person to be able to handle such a huge, monumental change. Joel Maturi was and is that person. He had to make a lot of tough decisions after his first year, mainly because between the two departments, they had two or more people doing the same job. This meant that he had to decide who to terminate and/or keep. Then there was also the option of hiring someone else. That was something that he said he struggled with because firing people is not something he likes to do. What he did do, however, was promise the employees their job in his first year and then after that it was up in the air. This ended up in Joel Maturi's favor because many of the employees ended up leaving on their own, which made his job a little bit easier. This is a good example to show how communication goes a long way. All of the speakers reiterated how essential communication is in any environment, especially when undergoing change. Something that both Joel and Regina touched on in regards to the merger was how they developed a clear mission statement and goals which became known throughout the entire athletic department. All of the sports had to grasp these concepts and embrace them. Another thing that was different for all of the coaches in the different sports was having Joel, Regina, and the other members of the athletic department present for games and even practices. Joel was trying to create a healthy atmosphere and environment in which the coaches and athletic directors felt comfortable with each other. It was a way to get to know each other on a different level which creates an environment in which the coaches and/or athletic directors are more comfortable confronting each other about different things. This was a very different culture that didn't exist before the merger. These are just some of the things I took away from this class but it is certainly relevant information to obtain considering the fact that I'm in a sports management major.  

-Kristen Dockery

10-19 Blog: Conflict

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Chapter 11 focuses on conflict which occurs in any type of sport organization. Conflict has many different definitions. The one that I think is the best definition that the book provides is that conflict is a "breakdown in the standard mechanisms of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an action alternative" (Slack and Parent, 217). One thing that is pertinent to an organization is that they realize when a conflict arises or exists. That is essential because, clearly, nothing can be resolved if no one recognizes that something needs to change. Another key element to a conflicting situation is that it must involve two or more parties that are in opposition to one another. One of the opposing parties must be involved in keeping the other parties from accomplishing their goals. This is what the book calls blocking behavior which then results in some sort of emotional response whether it be anger, frustration, etc. These are the components that must be in place for there to be a conflict within an organization.

 

The chapter highlights the importance of identifying which parts of the organization are involved in the conflict. In other words, if the conflict is between departments at the same level it is known as horizontal conflict. If it arises between departments of different hierarchal levels, it is known as vertical conflict. The reason that is important to identify where the conflict arises is because it helps to determine who has the authority to resolve the conflict at hand.

 

The conflict process is described in the book as Pondy's five-stage model. The first stage is the latent stage of conflict which is essentially when there is competition for resources, a drive for autonomy, or a divergence of goals within departments. The second stage of this model is perceived conflict which means that, at this stage, it has become known that a conflict exists within the organization. The third stage is called felt conflict which is when emotional responses occur, for example, anger and frustration. The fourth stage is manifest conflict which, as Slack and Parent puts it, "is when some sort of adversarial behavior is exhibited, ranging from apathy and rigid adherence to rules to violence and physical abuse, although thankfully the latter is rare in sport organizations" (Slack and Parent, 222). The last stage of Pondy's model is called conflict aftermath. In this stage, the conflict either has been resolved or not which affects the future of the organization and what lies ahead.

-Kristen Dockery

Organizations have two types of environments, a general environment and a task environment. Right now I am going to focus on the general environment. The general environment of a sport organization is made up of seven different sectors that all impact either the industry around that organization, or the organization itself. These eight different sectors include: economic, socio-cultural, legal, ecological, technological, political and demographic. Each one of these sectors has its own impact on the general environment of a sport organization. The economy significantly impacts a sport organization's environment because it alters patterns of consumption, for example. In an unstable economy, like the one we are in right now, people consume sports differently. Some may not be able to attend actual sporting events now because they've had to cut down on their expenses and may opt to watch them on T.V. This is one example of the many ways that the economy affects sport organizations. The political component essentially is "the extent to which political power is concentrated and the ideology of the party in power are all factors that can influence a sport organization" (Slack & Parent 152). In other words, the political climate surrounding sport organizations will influence what sporting goods, for example, are in demand at a particular time. A socio-cultural factor that impacts the general environment of an organization is the culture in which the organization exists. The example the book provides is in regards to soccer and how the sport has struggled to survive in North America despite how popular the sport is worldwide. "The type of legal system within the country in which the sport organization operates, the jurisdictions overseen by various levels of government, and the existence of laws covering such areas as taxation, unionization, and the regulation of organizations, all constitute the legal conditions affecting a sport organization" (Slack & Parent 152). Demographics refer to the target market of a sport organization. Organizations target their products or services to people of a certain age, ethnicity, gender, etc. depending on who will most likely consumer their product or service. The ecological component refers to the physical environment surrounding an organization and how it impacts putting on an event. For example, weather can significantly impact operations of an event. The other way to look at it is for the organization to be aware of how its activities are affecting the surrounding environment. Last but not least, the technological sector. Technological developments within an organization can improve production or the efficiency of production, which can lead to a company to engage in new activities.

-Kristen Dockery

Power, capacity, and actor's interest all have a different influence on an organization's strategy. Power determines a lot about an organization's strategy because the more power it has, the more effectively it can accomplish its goals. Power gives an organization the opportunity to grow and expand especially in a business setting. Depending upon how power is distributed within a program it has a profound impact on the effectiveness of the organizations strategy and how decisions get made. To provide an example, if one person had too much power in the women's basketball program nobody would want to work for the one person who was making all the decisions because what would be left for them to do? Although our head coach makes a lot of decisions, she relies heavily on her staff for input and even gives them the authority to make certain decisions in a particular capacity.

The next component that has an influence on an organization strategy is its capacity for change, in other words, it ability to adjust to change. If an organization does not have a certain amount of flexibility, it is not going to survive in an ever changing marketplace. Organizations need to grow and learn to be able to make needed changes so that they are meeting the changing wants and needs of consumers. To relate this concept to our women's basketball program, if our coaches did the same thing every year, we wouldn't be growing and getting better every year. Also, in the capacity of recruiting, much has changed since I was being recruited. Coaches recruit players at an even younger age and have changed their recruiting strategies over the years as they learn what players like and want from a program.

The third component that influences an organization's strategy is how much outside actors influence an organization's goals. I think that for the most part outsiders have a profound impact because knowing who you're targeting would help determine what strategy should be used within an organization. Organizations have particular target markets and knowing what those are and how to meet their needs whether it's producing a product or providing a service, it's important to know what they want. This also ties in with capacity to change, because for an organization to develop a firm and effective strategy to accomplish its goals, it needs to be able to identify its target market and be able to change as the market changes.

-Kristen Dockery