Recently in R.J. McGinnis Category

Presentations today were very helpful to hear. I actually enjoyed when the two students who presented on the Minnesota Twins went one after the other. Typically, I think it is looked down upon when two students present the same thing one after another. The two students did a great job sharing different information. I felt like the second student who presented on the Twins did a great job off not covering material the previous student had covered. I also enjoyed the Minnesota State High School League presentation. I thought this was a well put together presentation and it was helpful that the presenter had an internal perspective, considering she is an official for the MSHSL. I enjoyed hearing about this presentation because I was a high school athlete under the MSHSL, which made it interesting to hear more about the organization. Overall, the presentations today were well done and were a good complement to the rest of the course.
The presentations for today were very interesting. One that stuck out to me was the sport organization analysis of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The material was presented well and the presentation had a good flow to it. I enjoyed hearing the Packers presentation because of the history of the Packers that was shared. The student who presented appeared to know some smaller details that were not mentioned on the slides. It was evident that he was a Packer fan through the ways he presented the material. It was helpful to hear about the intramural sports organization, here at the University of Minnesota. I enjoyed hearing the conflict they encountered with double booking the coaching staff. The organization was able to adapt accordingly to avoid the same mistake in the future. The presenter was an official for volleyball within intramural sports, so it was interesting hearing her perspective from an internal standpoint.

Presentations December 3

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The presentations today were fairly strong. The one that suck out the most to me was the Lifetime Fitness presentation, but the others were good as well. I liked the Lifetime Fitness presentation mostly because of the statistics that were shared about the organization. Research can only go so far in helping a sport organization, but I think that the statistics shared were relevant to Lifetime Fitness. Things such as, 66 percent of Americans are considered obese and that only 15 percent of Americans are members of a health club. Statistics like this are valuable information for Lifetime Fitness and other health clubs in the U.S. Lifetime Fitness does appear as though it has been an effective organization considering their increased popularity and the statistics shared in class about them only losing two percent of their members over the last year. Obviously it would be ideal for that number to increase but in these tough economic times Lifetime Fitness appear to be effective.

After taking this course I think it is important to reflect on what my philosophy for a sport organization should be. There are many different things to consider, such as the environment (task and general), the structure of the organization, the power and leadership roles of different individuals, the culture, the constituents, etc. But what do these things have to do with the philosophy of a sport manager? In my opinion, they mean a lot but they should not be the determinant of what your philosophy is as a sport manager. I believe that an effective sport manager will be an upright, moral, selfless, encouraging, and honest leader. I believe that as a sport manager you need to lead by example in all of these areas, so that in return your employees will reflect these characteristics they will be seeing in you. An effective sport manager should create the mission, values, and goals of the organization with the above characteristics in mind. So, when considering the different dynamics of a sport organization mentioned above such as environment, structure, culture, etc., it is important to consider them when pursuing the goals of the organization. With this being said, I do not believe that these aspects of the organization should determine the philosophy of a sport manager. A sport organization needs to be founded on solid, moral practices and not be altered because of certain influences. But, I do believe that the philosophy of a sport manager can change and does not need to be permanent. I believe that there should be core pieces such as values, communication, and honesty that need to be present throughout time. But, as things change in the different dynamics of the organization such as the structure, culture, etc., the philosophy may grow and adapt. My philosophy is that a sport manager needs to be clear about their values and make them clear to anyone who plans on joining the organization. This is very important because it has a large impact on the culture of the organization and can create disunity if the people being hired are not on board with the values of the organization. My philosophy is that communication is of utmost importance because it will allow the employees of the organization to be on the same page and be more efficient in their work. Not only is it important to communicate within the organization but to communicate to all constituents, or at least have information available for them, so that the supporters and those involved in all aspects of the organization stay informed. My philosophy is that honesty needs to be displayed and highly valued and it needs to start with the leaders of the organization. If employees within the organization are experiencing corrupt behavior from their leaders then it will lead them to believe that those are accepted practices. Do you believe that these characteristics of an organization make for a good philosophy? Do you have aspects of your philosophy that conflict with aspects of my philosophy?


The presentations today were very interesting to hear about and were helpful in learning more about different sport organizations. I enjoyed hearing more about the Under Armour organization and how their owner was willing to decrease his salary significantly to do what was best for the organization. This reflects good leadership and a selflessness on his part. One of the recommendations that was made for the Under Armour organization was to advertise more heavily towards women. When I initially heard this I thought it would be a great idea because I do not recall seeing many commercials or advertisements where women were highly portrayed. After more thought, it made me wonder whether or not Under Armour wanted to target women as heavily as men. When I watch Under Armour commercials I feel as though they are definitely targeting men. Under Armour may think it would be more effective for them as an organization to focus their efforts on the male population. Obviously they sell men's and women's apparel, so they have entered into the female market, but could do so more heavily, unless that is not their intention.


I think it would be important to note the guest speakers we had in class, with Joel Maturi being highlighted, as my philosphy would be very similar to what they spoke to in their guest presentations. They were very helpful and provided a lot of information that has been discussed and talked about this semester. A few of the things I would like to mention from the guest speakers is the importance of communication, sticking to your morals and values, and organizational culture.

Starting with communication, I think it is important to mention a story that was shared by Coach Wilson. When Coach Wilson saw a man walking out of Regina Sullivan's office and could tell he was angry, he wanted to make sure to communicate with him. In this case, Coach Wilson's desire to communicate was a way of fighting for unity amongst the employees that were a part of the athletic department while it was transitioning through an athletic merger of the men's and women's athletic department. This is something that is very important for sport managers to be aware of when leading an organization. It is employees such as Coach Wilson that makes sport managers jobs that much easier. When a sport manager can lead by example in the way that he or she communicates, it will encourage others within the organization to do so as well. It is important to me that these characteristics are considered in my philosophy.

Sticking to your morals and values was another important point to take from the guest speakers. The values and morals of a sport organization are often evident when reading the mission statement. But, other ways it is reflected is through the decisions that are made within the sport organization. The mission statement is usually presented online or somewhere on the wall inside of the sport organization. The mission statement is seen more evidently by the way that a sport organization carries out its everyday practices. There are some sport organizations that may sacrifice their values and morals to try and get ahead of their competition or to become more effective. This may mean that they need to question their immoral practices or to change their mission's statement to better fit their organizational goals. It depends on the type of sport organization that is trying to be created by the sport manager. For me I would not want to sacrifice the morals and values of the company to try and become "more" effective.

Lastly, organizational culture is a very important aspect of a sport organization for sport managers to understand. This is something that Joel Maturi was unaware of when he came to the University of Minnesota. He may have been aware of the idea of organizational culture, but he had to learn more specifically what the culture was of the Minnesota athletic department. As he learned what the culture was, he was able to move forward more effectively in molding the culture that he believed would be most effective. Obviously these aspects have helped Minnesota deal with the merging of athletic departments, so why would it not work well to incorporate these aspects in your philosophy. Due to the similarity in my desires for my philosophy and the aspects mentioned by the guest speakers I find it fitting to use them as an illustration. I believe that this best illustrates the internal processes because of the communication and involvement of each person in the sport organization (Slack and Parent, 2006).

What have you learned from the guest speakers this semester? Is there anything that you noticed they did poorly or greatly that has enabled them to be more or less effective?


Decision Making Case Study

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1. The three central decisions that needed to be made in this scenario are:

a. To expand on the ChargeUp product line with a new item called ChargeUp with Lipitrine.

b. To recall ChargeUp with Lipitrine after it is linked with gastrointestinal problems.

c. To decide WHO was to make decisions within the organization.


2. The conditions under which this decision is made:

-High Risk


-Uncertain outcomes

-Potentially dangerous if not recalled

-Potential legal action if not recalled


3. We would recommend using the Garbage Can model for this decision making process, because this process has a wide variety of viewpoints and opinions and has multiple decisions to make. It also allows the decision makers to focus on how chance plays a role in the decision and instead of one decision made by one person, it focuses on any number of decisions made by multiple people.

 This scenario focuses on a couple of different problems (product recall and the consequences that follow) and there is a large number of employees making decisions.

Andrew Myers, RJ McGinnis, Adam Vargas, Emily Oberlander



Sport managers around the world are faced with many decisions every day. Many times it is the sport managers' and leaders' ability to make these decisions effectively that will positively improve their sport organization. Slack and Parent reference Peter Drucker when defining a decision. "A decision is a judgment...a choice between alternatives," (Slack and Parent, 2006). Decision making becomes more difficult when trying to understand which alternative will lead your sport organization down a path to success. Slack and parent mention a couple types of decisions, such as programmed decisions and non-programmed decisions. A programmed decision would be a decision in which the sport manager has had experience making this decision and are commonly made or are a part of the sport managers' routine. These decisions may be made because they follow the policy and procedures of the sport organization. A non-programmed decision is one that the sport manager may have never faced before and is not a part of his or her decision making routine. These decisions are new and unique (Slack and Parent, 2006).

This leads us to the different conditions in which sport managers make decisions. Slack and Parent mention risk, certainty and uncertainty as these conditions. Decisions are not always certain to produce specific results. The sport manager needs to weigh the cost and benefits of each decision alternatives and accept the risk that may come with their decision. The decisions that end up being more difficult to make, typically deal with higher risk. Another condition would be certainty. This condition is when the sport manager knows exactly what the costs and benefits are of each alternative. This would be the most desirable condition for a sport manager to make decisions. But, with certain conditions also come uncertain conditions. Uncertain conditions are when sport managers do not know the potential outcomes of their decision. These are the most difficult decisions for sport managers to make and there is no past experience or historical data that helps them with their decision making under this condition. (Slack and Parent, 2006)

Slack and Parent present two different models that deal with decision making, which are the rational model and the administrative model. The rational model is broken down into various steps. These steps include: monitoring the environment in which the decision is made, defining the problem in which a decision has to be made, diagnosing the problem, identifying the different decision alternatives, analyzing the alternatives, selecting the best alternative, implementing the alternative, and evaluating the decision. This is more of an account of how the decisions should be made and not actually how they are made. This model is set up so that sport managers can attempt to make economically wise decisions. The other decision making model that Slack and Parent refer to is the administrative model. The administrative model would say that sport managers make decisions based on their emotions, their limited ability to process information, time constraints, and imperfect information. It discusses the idea that sport managers are limited in what they can handle in terms of information and need to develop models based on what information they can manage. This brings in the limitation of pursuing the potentially best decision to be made (Slack and Parent, 2006).

Have you experienced sport managers making tough decisions in your work experience? What process did they go through when making their decisions? How can you apply it to your future career?


The culture of the MLB in the U.S. is very strong, in terms of expected performance. Fans, coaches, and players themselves, expect a high level of performance, and some will do whatever it takes to succeed. The subcultures that exist come from the viewpoints of the players, coaches, the MLB, and fans. Many players and coaches believe that players should do whatever it takes to win (including PED's), even without publicly admitting it. Fans like to see players succeed, but are split when it comes to PED's. The MLB is completely against PED's and are strongly trying to prohibit them. There are some people among all stakeholder groups who do not care about the players' use of PED's. On the other hand, there are stakeholder groups who are looking for a major culture change.


The MLB's new anti-doping policy is a major attempt to change the culture of PED's within the MLB. It is evident that it is an instrument of cultural change because of the suspensions placed upon players (Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, etc.) The new anti-doping policy is almost used as a scare tactic among players, instead of an actual policy. However, in many players' eyes, it is worth the risk of suspension to use drugs and perform at a higher level. The evironment of "winning above all else" in the MLB has shaped how players decide to play the game, which may include the use of PED's.


One major symbol, unique to MLB, is money. Because the MLB does not have a salary cap placed upon its teams, players can make any amount of money owners are willing to spend. Therefore, players strive to hit more home runs, steal more bases, and record more outs to increase their monetary value, regardless of their reputation. If a salary cap was placed on the teams in the MLB, players would not feel pressured to increase their individual statistics and a "team-focus" would be more evident. The roles of MLB leaders should be to promote a "team-focus" and re-determine their values and strategies, and attempt to de-value to the "winning at all costs" mentaility. One reward that could be given out to promote the ban of PED's would be to award individuals or teams with a bonus at the end of each season to reward for a clean record during that season. Stricter suspension rules could be put into place as well.


Plan to change the MLB's culture:

Unfreezing: Have MLB administrators change their efforts to focus on whole teams, rather than individuals.

Moving: Re-focus the players and coaches viewpoints on the good of the team, rather than the individual. Have teams focus on winning and championships, instead of the "winning at all costs" ethic.

Freezing: Reward teams for a clean record and continue to promote a team focus in baseball.  





Organizational Culture

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The culture of a sport organization varies greatly among sport organizations. Some cultures lead to great success and others lead to great failure. Many people have different ways of thinking about organizational culture. Slack and Parent note that there are general themes present amongst different definitions of culture which include values, beliefs, shared understanding and basic assumptions (2006). There are many different factors that create the culture in which a sport organization finds itself. I think it is important to discuss some of the factors Slack and Parent offer such as symbols, language, and the physical setting.

Many organizations use symbols to communicate to their employees, the culture of the sport organization. For example, think about the American flag. This may communicate to people that they are to be patriotic and be in support of the North America nation. This may be used to promote togetherness, but if some of the employees are from other countries they may be turned off by this representation. Sport organizations may create a language within their organization that may not be recognizable to outsiders. This may make it more difficult for new employees to be effective initially because of the language that may need to be learned to communicate properly with their employees. The physical structure of a sport organization can have a big impact on the culture of an organization as well. For example, if a sport organization is effective largely due to its ability to create a social environment and allow for social interaction, then a building that makes it difficult for people to access each other may not be wise. Symbols, language, and the physical structure are all important factors to consider for sport managers to create a culture that will enable the sport organization to be effective.

Slack and Parent mention there are thick and thin cultures. A thin culture would be a culture where there are not common values and activities being used to build the culture of the organization. In contrast, a thick culture would be seen when people involved in the sport organization would share common values and utilize them in their daily routine. They also point out that there may be more than one culture within a sport organization. For example, the sport marketing culture for an NBA team may be completely different than the culture that is created amongst the team members and the coach. Changing the culture of a sport organization can be very difficult. New staff members, structural changes, or a change in the missions and values all could contribute to changing a culture within a sport organization. A good sport manager will be able to facilitate the changes that would need to occur in order to create a culture than would lead to the sport organization being more successful (Slack and Parent, 2006).

Have you experienced a sport organization go through a change in its culture? What do you think would be most important for a sport manager to be aware of when facilitating a cultural change?