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There were a number of presentations today that caught my eye. I specifically enjoyed the presentation about the Texas Rangers and also the presentation about the YMCA. It was interesting to hear about another professional baseball team, since often times we hear only about how the Twins organization works because of their close proximity to the University of Minnesota. The Rangers seem like a very centralized organization, with key decisions being made by three people (Owner, President, and GM). It was also interesting to learn that the General Manager is the youngest in baseball, and came into the position when he was only 28 years old. I was interested in the YMCA presentation because as a kid I grew up playing in Y-league youth basketball leagues. During high-school I also coached basketball through the YMCA. A lot of what Sam talked about was giving people an opportunity to experience things they may not be able to because of their social and financial situations. As a part of the organization I could see on a personal level just how important the YMCA is in many communities because it really does give people a chance to be successful or at least give them an escape from their everyday routine.
The two presentations that really stuck out to me today were the ones about the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland Raiders. Most people it seems have chosen organizations that are currently fairly successful, and it was interesting to see a few organizations that are struggling at the present time. It was interesting to hear the specific reasons why these teams have not been successful. Things such as the Raiders not having a true GM and the Pirates having such internal turnover have definitely contributed to the lack of organizational success. When you look back at what made these organizations successful in the past it seems evident that stability within the organization was a common factor that contributed to success. In Pittsburgh you could always count on Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente to be a part of the organization. However, now it seems as if there are new players and upper management individuals coming into the organization every day. Both of these organizations need to get some stability in within their organization before they ever return to their "glory days."
Today's presentations were very good, just like they have been thus far. I was particularly interested in the Under Armour presentation by Emily as well as the presentation on the Brainerd Area Lunkers by Laura. As someone who uses almost exclusively Nike products, the presentations helped me gain an appreciation for the Under Armour brand. I thought it was interesting that the creator of the company was a former athlete who decided to make a product that was specific to sport and the sweating that goes along with it. I think that anyone involved in athletics in any capacity should be thankful of Under Armour's innovation, because companies like Nike and Adidas were forced to create a similar product in order to continue to compete in that market. The presentation on the Lunkers interested me for a number of reasons. First, baseball is a huge part of my life and I could see myself working within the industry in some capacity. I was also interested in this presentation because my own organizational analysis was for a minor league baseball team, which is a similar product to the Northwoods League in many capacities. It would be difficult to analyze an organization after only 1 year, when the structure and culture are still getting settled. I liked that Laura talked to the people in the front-office to get her information. Great presentations today overall.
The presentations today included large-scale organizations such as Nike and Adidas, but also included smaller corporations such as the Gopher hockey program and the Minnesota State High School League. I thought it was interesting to hear a brief analysis of Nike and Adidas, two of arguably the most important sport-apparel organizations in the world. I felt that after hearing the information presented for each organization, Nike seems to have a more established and well-positioned brand identity. While Adam mentioned that Adidas is looking to expand in Latin America, it seems like Nike is already virtually everywhere they want to be. I believe Kristen mentioned that Nike has 6 areas where they have a strong brand identity, and they ranged from North America all the way to the Far East and other expanding countries. The information on the MSHSL was also interesting to me, because I am not from Minnesota and it was interesting to see similarities and differences between the structure of the MSHSL and the North Dakota High School Activities Association.
After looking back at my philosophy of organizational effectiveness that I stated at the beginning of the course, I think a few of my ideas have definitely changed. One thing that has changed is my beliefs on the Goal Attainment Approach. Originally I thought it was a bad theory simply because I figured that setting a goal and being judged based on whether or not you reach that goal was not fair. However, I have come to understand that goals can in fact be good and that they are a necessary part of creating an effective organization. While I can see the importance of goals, I still would not say that I believe a person should be judged solely on whether or not they reached a specific goal. Individuals and organizations can do many positive things that increase the effectiveness of an organization without necessarily reaching a specific goal. My main philosophy of organizational effectiveness originally was based off the internal approach, with the idea that an effective organization is made up of people who genuinely care about and trust each other. I still believe in this idea, but based on what we've studied in this course there are a few other components that are important to organizational effectiveness.

The first component I have found to be important is a clear organizational structure. It is important that stakeholders understand the complexity, formalization, and centralization of an organization. By understanding how complex an organization is individuals can understand their role much better. For example, the University of Minnesota athletic department has a very complex structure, with many different vertical hierarchies. People within each subunit understand their role and work together with other subunits to create an effective organization. Formalization is also an important component of organizational structure. A highly formalized organization has nearly every rule and procedure written out, while some organizations do not need this much formalization. Understanding that organizations are all different, I feel that in order to be effective an organization should be somewhat formalized and decentralized to a certain extent. Everyone within the organization should be able to have an opinion, and at least have a say in decisions. At the end of the though process however an upper management group should probably be in charge of the final decision.

Leadership in my opinion is one of the key components of creating an effective organization. Throughout the readings and class discussions I have learned that there are many different ways in which one can be a leader. Some people just have that "it" factor and perform as a very outspoken, charismatic leader. Others tend to lead by example, and some simply are not leaders. As a leader, especially in the sport industry, people look at you as a reflection of the organization as a whole. Everyone within an organization can be a leader in some way, shape, or form. Having been a part of sport organizations with both good and bad leaders, I have seen characteristics of good leaders that help an organization become more effective. Communication, trustworthiness, organization, and knowledge are characteristics that I strive for as a leader because of the leaders who I have personally been influenced by.

As I look back on what I have gained, as far as knowledge of organization effectiveness this semester, I have begun to understand that there is not one set path to becoming an effective organization. Rather, it is a combination of components such as leadership, structure, power and politics, etc. that create a foundations to succeed and become effective. What makes one organization effective may completely fail within another organization. I still feel that if the people within your organization are happy, trust each other, and have excellent communication the sky is the limit for organizational effectiveness and success.
The first day's presentations were all well done and fairly informative. My two favorite presentations were RJ's presentation on USA Track & Field and Andre's presentation on Gopher basketball. I thought it was interesting to hear of the specific organization aspects of USA Track & Field, simply because we don't hear much about it until it's an Olympic year. It seems like such a well-structured organization, so for recommendations I maybe would have liked to hear something about what, if anything, they plan on doing to continue to make drug-testing a priority. It seems like we hear a lot about track's biggest stars testing positive, and I would've liked to know a bit more about what the organization has to do with the whole situation.

Andre's presentation was of specific interest to me because I am also a student-manager within Gopher sports, for the baseball program. It seems like the basketball program has a solid organization foundation, and I think Coach Smith has done an excellent job of instituting a culture in which players and staff are held accountable for all of their actions. I also know that the basketball program strives to create a family atmosphere, which is similar to what we do with the baseball program here. When everyone within the organization feels comfortable with each other, and can communicate effectively, I think you begin to see the success on and off the court. Overall I really enjoyed the presentations and gained quite a bit of inside information from the presenters.
Decision making is one of the key aspects of any career, within any organization, and even in everyday life. Peter Drucker, a management guru, said that "a decision is a judgment...a choice between alternatives." The text describes two simple ways in which decisions can be categorized; programmed and nonprogrammed decisions. Programmed decisions are repetitive and routine, and are usually based on a set policy and procedure. Use collegiate athletics as an example of this type of decision making process. The University of Minnesota and the NCAA has a specific policy about hours that a coach can be with a team during the offseason (it is 8 hours per week). If the men's basketball coach breaks this rule, the NCAA and the university simply make a programmed decision based off of the policies and procedures set in place. Nonprogrammed decisions are new and unique decisions, where there are no established guidelines or procedures to direct the process. An example of this type of a decision is the scenario when professional and collegiate teams had to decide what to do about their athletes using Twitter during games. A decision had to be made about an issue that had never been deal with before, and therefore the decision was usually made by senior management.

Slack and Parent discuss three types of conditions under which decisions are made. The three conditions are certainty, risk, and uncertainty. Certainty involves the individual understanding completely the available alternatives and outcomes of each decision, with one-hundred percent certainty. While it would be nice to be able to make the majority of decisions with complete certainty, more likely a manager will deal with conditions of risk. Risk involves a basic understanding of available alternatives, but the potential costs and benefits are uncertain for each option. Finally, uncertainty involves the unknown; the decision alternatives and potential outcomes are relatively unknown. Obviously these are some of the toughest decisions to make and often are make or break.

There are a number of different decision making models, both as an individual and as an organization. Slack and Parent describe two individual decision making models; the rational model and the administrative model. The goal of the rational model is that individuals act in an economically rational manner. The steps to the rational model include 1) Monitor the decision environment, 2) Define the problem about which a decision has to be made, 3) Diagnose the problem, 4) Identify decision alternatives, 5) Analyze alternatives, 6) Select the best alternatives, 7) Implement the alternatives, 8) Evaluate the decision. The administrative model differs with the fact that the key decision-maker has a limited perception, and therefore cannot evaluate all the alternatives or outcomes. Therefore, a limited number of alternatives are selected that reflect the decision-makers' personal preference. In the fast-paced world that the sport industry has become, I believe that the administrative model makes more sense simply because there is always a time constraint on decisions and often times you do not get the luxury of plotting out each alternative.

The text then mentions a few different decision making models from an organizational level. The five major approaches are the management science approach, the Carnegie model, the structuring of unstructured processes approach, the garbage can model, and the Bradford studies. In my personal experience with sport organizations I tend to favor a more structured approach to decision making. When I know how the process of making a key decision will go, I seem to feel more at ease with it. Out of the above-mentioned approached, I most closely identify with the Carnegie Model. I like the idea that organizations are made up of subunits, each with their own specific interests. While making a decision it is important to let each subunit voice their opinion, even if their opinion is not going to be the final say. This idea is similar to what Joel Maturi and Gary Wilson discussed during class a few weeks ago. Joel said that he welcomes coaches to come in and voice their opinion, but at the same time they need to understand that just because they have the freedom to voice their opinion does not mean that Maturi's decision will be influenced. Decision making is one of the most important things that we do on a daily basis, and being confident and educated in the decision-making process will go a long way towards helping a sport manager develop into the best they can be.

Questions: 1) Which of the decision-making approaches in the text do you most closely identify with, and why? 2) How does an individual's ethics and values affect their decision-making processes?
Each and every organization has a unique culture, which can be seen through the values, beliefs, and ways in which the organization goes about doing things. As Slack and Parent discuss in the text, beginning on p. 275, there are 4 characteristics that nearly every organization has in regards to the organizational culture. These characteristics are stories, myths, symbols, and rituals. Stories are narratives told among employees and to new employees, they often present history of the sport organization. They also may help depict organizational goals and the way in which employees should act. Myths often have a similar effect as stories, as they will often times tell the story of the origins of the organization. Symbols can be used to depict the meaning of a sport organization to its members and the public. A logo or company slogan is often what people identify an organization with (i.e. Nike's "Just Do It" campaign). Language is often developed within a sport organization, and it is unique to that specific company. I see the language component quite a bit in my role with the University of Minnesota baseball program. The coaches and staff use language specific to the game of baseball that may not mean a lot to outsiders, but to the organization this language is at the core of everything we do. For example, when our assistant coach yells "Molitor" during a base-running drill, the players and coaching staff understand that this is a specific way to round third base that was designed after the running style of Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.

Another important aspect of this chapter was the discussion of thick and thin cultures. "A thick culture is one in which the members of the sport organization agree about the importance of certain values and employ them in their daily routines" (Slack & Parent, 280). Employees are often recruited into the organization because their values and work-behaviors seem to fit the pre-existing culture. In contrast, in a thin culture we don't usually see common values throughout the organization. This leads to a difference of values and beliefs throughout the many different components and areas within the specific organization. Once again, in reference to the University of Minnesota athletic department, I believe that there are aspects of both thin and thick culture within the organization. Employees are in fact hired because their values and work-ethic are similar to that of the current employees. As Joel Maturi discussed in class last week, he as the head of the department looks for people who not only are excellent at what they do, but also people who will believe in the mission of the athletic department. There is evidence of a thin culture too because with 25 different intercollegiate athletics programs at this university, each one has certain beliefs and a specific culture.

One of the more important parts of this chapter about organization culture is the last section in the text regarding creating, managing, and changing a sport organization's culture. As is the case with any organization, a sport organization's culture is not created overnight. The founder or current leader of an organization has a large role in establishing and maintaining the culture of the organization. The text gives the example of the vision that Phil Knight set for Nike, which was to produce good quality shoes at a reasonable price for U.S. athletes. This vision is still holds true for Nike, and all of the organizations goals and values, which essentially create the foundation for culture, have been based off of Knight's early vision. The next idea introduced was the five ways in which Schein believes you can manage a sport organization's culture. These mechanisms are 1) what leaders pay attention to, measure, and control, 2) leader reaction to critical incidents and organizational crises, 3) deliberating role modeling, teaching, and coaching by leaders, 4) criteria for allocation of rewards and status, 5) criteria for recruitment, selection, promotion, retirement, and excommunication. All of these mechanisms are based on the assumption that the organization wants to maintain the culture that currently is in place. The final part of this section is the idea of changing a sport organization's culture. Changing the culture of a sport organization in my opinion is a change in the way in which stakeholders think in terms of their values, beliefs, and the way in which they carry out their daily activities and responsibilities. Changing staff and other factors does not necessarily mean a change in culture because the staff could still hang on to old values, while putting on a face to management that they are on board with the new culture. I believe that in order to truly change the culture of an organization, a new leader needs to be established and he/she needs to implement a new vision. Look at things that helped the organization succeed in the past and use those aspects to help guide the change.

Questions: 1) Is a thick or thin culture more effective within the professional sports industry, or does it simply depend on the specific organization? 2) How would you specifically go about introducing a change in culture to an organization if you were a new leader, such as Joel Maturi was at the University of Minnesota in 2002?
There are many ways in which the organizational context (actors, culture, processes, structure, and environment) impact leadership. In my personal experiences I believe that culture, actors, and organizational structure have impacted leadership in the most direct way. It is important when analyzing an existing organization or even starting an organization from scratch to look at the structure, it will tell you quite a bit about that particular organization. For example, a quick run-down of the Minnesota Vikings organizational structure says a lot about their organization. They have a tall, vertically differentiated structure, which means that the hierarchy runs from the top down with many different levels of authority below each other. Within the organization there are numerous individuals and groups who have the power to make decisions, which shows a decentralization effect. Based off of this information we can see that the Vikings believe in the ability of their employees to make decisions and do not always feel the need to hold their hand throughout everyday activity. Slack and Parent discuss on p. 296 the idea of initiating structure, which is the way leaders structure their own work and that of their subordinates to obtain the organization's goals. The structure that an organization sets, whether consciously or not, will determine whether the organization will start on a path toward success.

In my experience within the University of Minnesota athletic department, specifically with the baseball program, I have seen the way in which leadership is influenced by the culture, which is often determined by the actors. The actors in the program and who influence the program include players, coaches, support staff, the athletic director, compliance coordinators, and other important contributors such as marketing reps etc. Even though the athletic director has the final say in decisions regarding nearly every aspect of the program, I believe that the coaching staff at least sets the groundwork for the organizational culture within the program. It starts with a team meeting at the beginning of the academic school-year, which sets the expectations and goals for every member of the program. The coaches set an example each and every day of what they feel the culture of the organization should be. Being on time and working tireless hours but yet still remaining an important presence in the lives of their children and family at home are examples of our coaching staff leading by example. The next step is for the players to see their example and hopefully apply the lessons they learn to their lives as well. Not everything these student-athletes learn will apply to life as a college student or young-adult, but someday down the road the lessons may serve as a resource. This is not only true within athletics, but within any organization and actor within it. For example, an employee who leaves one organization may need to reference an important lesson he/she learned at from their previous employer.

People come and go within every organization, and sport organizations are no exception. New employees or actors meld in with members of the organization who have been there for 2, 5, or even 25 years. The benefit of being a part of an established program where there has been continuity, such as the Minnesota baseball program, is that the culture does not need to be reset every year. People who become part of the program quickly learn how to act as a member or actor within the organization. Most actors within the organization either get on board with the message and mission or else they try to find a better fit somewhere else. The leaders within an organization have to be committed and stand up for what they believe in, from the get-go. From my personal experiences, I believe that the values of a leader need to be established immediately, and once this happens then the culture and structure of the organization can grow and flourish.
Sport organizations are constantly changing with new employees being filtered in and out, but planned change is what often sets apart a successful organization from one that is not. Slack and Parent discuss at the beginning of Chapter 12 that there are four areas in which change can occur in sport organization. These areas include 1) technology, 2) products and services, 3) structures and systems, and 4) people. While these areas of change are very important by themselves, they are all interrelated and therefore a change in one area directly affects at least one other area. For example, if the division of labor is changed within an organization then the way people think and act within the organization will change in some capacity as well. Along with these four areas of change, the text also discussed two types of change regardless of area: radical and convergent change. Radical change is frame bending, completely changing orientation while convergent change is more about fine-tuning a specific orientation.

There have been many different perspectives on change within organizations throughout the years, and our text specifically mentions the following theories: population ecology, resource dependence, the life cycle approach, institutional theory, evolution and revolution, and contextualist approach. While all of these perspectives have valuable information to help me deal with organization change in the future, the evolution and revolution perspective struck me as being very important. The ability as a manager to understand that organizations naturally resist change, because of things such as reluctance to move away from the comfort of existing programs, is a key to help facilitate change in a positive manner.

There are a few reasons that Slack and Parent identified on page 245 of the text regarding why individuals and organizations deal with resistance to change. Individuals and groups within an organization often do things that benefit or promote their self-interest. When a change is set to occur and it does not specifically coincide with their self-interests, the change will most likely be resisted. The second reason organizations resist change is because of a lack of trust and understanding about the implications of change. When employees lack a sense of trust between themselves and the people initiating a change, they tend to resist the change because they often misunderstand the impact it will have on them. Rumors and distorted information result from these situations and cause individuals to have a sense of uncertainty. The third reason organizations resist change is differing assessments of change consequences. When members of the organization have differing opinions on the pros and cons of a specific change, resistance often occurs. The fourth reason organizations resist change is simply the cost of change. When a change is projected to be costly regarding time, effort, and money individuals are likely to resist, especially in the short-term.

Sport organizations have numerous methods to deal with resistance to change and implement change. These include but are not limited to education and communication, participation and involvement, establishing change teams, idea champions, facilitation and support, negotiation, manipulation, cooptation, and coercion. I believe that a combination of a few of these methods would be most successful, and has been in organizational change I have seen. Starting by educating and communicating with the people being impacted by change is huge to the success of implementing a change. If individuals are educated about the change they are more likely to accept the change or at least communicate their opinions and in that way you can work towards a change that suits them better.

One of most important concepts from this chapter is the idea of innovation in sport organizations. As the market is continually changing and the landscape of sports changes, organizations need to implement changes to keep up. The text discussed three ways in which sport organizations can innovate: administrative innovation, technological innovation, and product or service innovation. Change can be a great tool for an organization to take the next step or continue to remain competitive and successful in the marketplace.

Questions: 1) What types of resistance to change were visible when the University of Minnesota decided to merge its men's and women's athletic department in 2002? 2) In what ways can change be positive for an organization? Negative?