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Day 4 Presentations

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I thought the presentations today were good for the most part. I thought the idea to choose the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Raiders was smart because there is a lot to talk about in the area of conflict and change. I thought the presenters were very well prepared today and did a good job of expanding on information not found on the slides. One issue I noticed with the Pittsburgh Pirates presentation as well as previous presentations is deciding to use pictures as slide backgrounds. I think if done properly this is an effective method. The issue I'm noticing however, is the use of black writing that is tought to read because of the picture. If you are going to do it this way you need to make sure the slides are easy to read by all.

Day 3 Presentations

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Day three presentations had a lot of information, but overall were too long and slides were bogged down by text. The general rule of thumb is to have no more than five bullet points with no more than five to ten words per bullet point. Having too many words on the slides results in the presenter reading directly off the slides, this happened today. I know that public speaking can be very nerve racking for some, but if you practice your presentation enough you should not have to read off the slides. Having said that I thought the Under Armour presentation was interesting. Mentioned in the presentation was the salary cut of the owner. I would like to know if the stock options he picked up as owner made up for the salary cut he took. A lot of times in big companies the owner's salaries are not overboard, but when you look at their stock options and benefits they make large amounts of money.

Day 3 Presentations

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Day three presentations had a lot of information, but overall were too long and slides were bogged down by text. The general rule of thumb is to have no more than five bullet points with no more than five to ten words per bullet point. Having too many words on the slides results in the presenter reading directly off the slides, this happened today. I know that public speaking can be very nerve racking for some, but if you practice your presentation enough you should not have to read off the slides. Having said that I thought the Under Armour presentation was interesting. Mentioned in the presentation was the salary cut of the owner. I would like to know if the stock options he picked up as owner made up for the salary cut he took. A lot of times in big companies the owner's salaries are not overboard, but when you look at their stock options and benefits they make large amounts of money.

Minnesota Basketball

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I think Andre did a very good job with his presentation. Being a student manager, he had a lot of information about the topic and presented it in an efficient manner. I also thought his speaking pace and volume were excellent. A lot of people tend to get nervous and speak too fast, but he did a very good job. I thought it was interesting that most of the team goals tended to be centered on winning Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championship. I think with the current player behavior issues they have been having they would incorporate that into their team goals. I think in college basketball as Andre mentioned the head coach has to be a dictator for things to work. Through his values and teaching methods, Tubby Smith has achieved success by getting his players to buy into his program. Overall great presentation and interesting organization.

Decision Making

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When looking at most organizations, decision making is a collective process that incorporates multiple individuals. Unlike most organizations the Oakland Raiders are controlled by one person, Al Davis, who makes almost every decision. Faithful Oakland Raider fans have gone as far as renting a billboard outside the stadium encouraging Al Davis to hire a general manager to make some of the organizational decisions. Slack and Parent discuss the importance of groups making decisions so that multiple viewpoints and ideas are brought into play (262). One issue that the Oakland Raiders have recently had is their drafting process. Many teams have the head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, general managers and the owner work together to put together a draft board. Al Davis through his senile management style ignores all other inputs and drafts players based upon how he thinks they will help the team. His major area of interest is speed and often time's looks over more important qualities such as leadership and knowledge of the game. By using the management science approach, Al Davis analyzes player's statistics and performances during the NFL combine to make decisions on who he wants to draft (263). One model used to describe decision making is the administrative model. In this model the person making the decisions is limited by their mental capacity to evaluate alternatives. They also have a limited number of criteria and have a simple model for analyzing problems (262). I believe this approach is being used throughout the Raider's organization. Al Davis is making decisions based upon his emotional commitment to the team. One thing an organization must do to remain effective is empower its employees to make their own decisions and handle their environment. The Oakland Raiders have not had a coach for longer than two years in the past decade. With the environment that Al Davis creates, coaches are uncomfortable with the amount of power and flexibility they are given. This hinders their ability to make decisions. It has even been rumored that Al Davis has made phone calls to the sideline to call plays during a game. Coaches and managers are unable to work through the decision making process and choose the best alternative when Al Davis is consistently putting restraints on what they are able to do. Al Davis can be described as a constricted decision maker. He is the organization's owner and CEO and has the final say for all decisions (269). His majority ownership of the Oakland Raiders guarantees his voice will be the only one that manners if he is unwilling to change his ways. The atmosphere created by Al Davis makes it undesirable for coaches and players. Other NFL teams have effectively incorporated decision making in their day to day operations. By allowing numerous people to be a part of the decision making process they keep employees happy and are able to avoid attrition. What can the Oakland Raiders do, if anything to change their decision making process? Is the removal of Al Davis necessary for success in Oakland?

Culture

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Organizational culture is oftentimes overlooked and not fully understood, but it is vital for success. In order for employees to get along and work together they must share a common culture. Organizational culture can become confusing because of the wide variety of definitions it encompasses. "There are some general themes within these different definitions, including values, beliefs, basic assumptions, and shared assumptions..." (Slack and Parent 275). Because there are numerous definitions it is important that everyone within the company recognize the corporate culture and is tolerant of other's beliefs. Within any organization there are two different types of culture, thick culture and thin culture. An organization that exhibits a thick culture shares and agrees on values that are seen through day to day operations. An organization with a thin culture does not always share values and these values can often clash between departments (Slack and Parent 280). An organization's effectiveness should not be sacrificed based upon its type of culture. Whether it has a thick or thin culture employees need to respect each other and work together to achieve their goals. Many organization's structures today result in different divisions having different cultures, making many organizations multicultural. Some values may overlap, but often times different goals within a subunit result in a different culture. An example the book uses is a research and development branch having a different culture than a sales department. Both branches within the organization have goals that clash and result in cultural diversity. An organization must effectively create, manage and change within a sporting atmosphere. Peters and Waterman describe two ways to create culture within an organization. The first way involves having a high sense of vision. The founder within that organization generates excitement and the employees values are shaped through this. The second method is exhibited by leader's attention to detail. By setting strict values others are motivated. Like anything within an organization culture must be managed to optimize its effectiveness. "Schein suggest five primary mechanisms: 1. What leaders pay attention to, measure, and control 2. Leader reaction to critical incidents and organizational crises 3. Deliberate role modeling, teaching and coaching by leaders 4. Criteria for allocation of rewards and status 5. Criteria for recruitment, selection, promotion, retirement and excommunication Successfully managing organizational culture is vital to an organization's success. Lastly an organization must be able to change its culture if it is a detriment to operations. Changes in employee turnover and attitudes can have a major impact on organizational culture. Organizational culture is important and vital for organizational effectiveness. If values, beliefs and basic assumptions are different among employees in an organization must work out differences so that everyone is working towards the same goal. 1. How have you experienced differences in organizational culture? 2. To what extent can organizational culture be detrimental to day to day operations?

Leadership

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"Leaders play an important role in creating and transmitting an organization's culture because they not only choose the basic mission and the environmental context in which the new group will operate, but they choose the group members and bias the original responses that the group makes in its efforts to succeed in its environment and to integrate itself" (Slack and Parent 308). Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders plays a crucial role on the leadership that is seen throughout the organization. Having a good coach is vital for an NFL organization. One of Al Davis' most infamous mottos is "just win baby". Through this motto the organization has seen five coaches over the last seven seasons. Because a coach and the leadership they bring to the field through the players is so important, the Raiders have continued to struggle through a lack of consistency. Players are unable to rely on having the same leader year in and year out making it difficult to buy into what the coach is preaching. Also, whenever an employee is consistently unsure of their job status it is tough to do your job. If you do not do what Al Davis tells you to do your stay in Oakland will not be long. This negative environment has an impact on employee's performance and impacts their desire to be in Oakland. Earlier this season the Oakland Raiders traded for defensive end Richard Seymour. Seymour initially refused to go to Oakland because of the organization and they state it was in. He was playing in New England whose leadership and coaching are considerably better, so this in his eyes was a turn for the worse. The owner of an organization ultimately impacts who wants to be there and what leadership roles they take on. The structure of the Oakland Raiders also inhibits leadership. Good leaders need the chance to grown and make vital decisions on their own. In Oakland everything runs through Al Davis and if it lacks his approval it is not going to happen. In achievement leadership, leaders have the confidence to allow challenging goals to be taken on by their subordinates and assume the goals will be met (Slack and Parent 298). Because Al Davis seldom gives enormous freedom to his coaches and employees he is making them unable to become leaders themselves. When working for an organization, employees want to feel important and allow their leadership to help their organizations and further the career. The Oakland Raiders are essentially in a state of dictatorship where Al Davis' structure and culture hinder leadership. As a result of this Oakland is a struggling organization and many analysts believe will not be a desirable location until Al is out of the organization. Is there anything short of a new owner that can help the Oakland Raiders through their current struggles? If you were looking to work for an NFL Organization and Oakland was the only available option would you work there and why?

Change

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Change within an organization is inevitable and is often a political process. There are four major areas where change is likely to occur in an organization: technological, products and services, people and structures and systems (Slack and Parent 239). Most changes within an organization go through six different stages. The first stage, pressure and arousal, puts top management in a position where action needs to be taken. Pressure from other employees or senior management reveals a need for change. The second stage, intervention and reorientation, is the stage in which management puts the blame on a secondary source. In the third stage, diagnosis and recognition, groups are formed to help reveal the source of the problem. Stage four, invention and commitment, is used to introduce possible solutions to the problem at hand. Stage five, experimentation and search, the organization decides on a method of change and tests its effectiveness. The sixth and final stage, reinforcement and acceptance, the change is made and its effects are noticed throughout the organization (Slack and Parent 248-9). In many situations change is needed for an organization to remain successful, but often times there is a resistance to change within an organization for several reasons. The first reason employees resist change is for self-interest. When the idea of change is mentioned, people often times assess how this change will affect them and their role within the organization. If the proposed change is likely to negatively impact their role or existence within the company they will resist (Slack and Parent 245). Another reason organizations are likely to resist change is the amount of time and money it costs to effectively implement a change. Significant change often results in financial investments that place strain on a company in the short term. If a company is not fully confident that changes being made will make up for this investment they may be reluctant to adopt the change (Slack and Parent 245). Because most change will be resisted by at least one member of an organization there must be ways for organizations to deal with resistance. One way to reduce resistance is to educate and communicate with employees. By making employees aware that change will ultimately lead to greater success and successfully communicating the message to them top managers are able to reduce the amount of resistance. A second method for reducing resistance is to make sure all employees participate in and are involved with the process. "By involving potential opponents to the change process, it is possible to deal with the problems before they escalate" (Slack and Parent 246). For an organization to achieve long term success they must be able to effectively implement change. There will often be people opposed to decisions being made so it is essential that an organization take steps to reduce resistance. Change is not always a negative thing and can often result in positive consequences. How can a company effectively implement change if top level managers and executives do not realize it is necessary? How is the current economy forcing companies to change?

Kenny Mauer

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I thought today's guest speaker Kenny Mauer was very informative. It is always interesting to find out things that happen behind closed doors. A lot of the issues Mr. Mauer talked about dealt with the power struggle between the NBA referees and the commissioner's office. One bit of information that I found to be fascinating was the fact that the NBA commissioner's office had access to all of the referees financial statements and mortgages that gave them insight into how long some of the younger referees would be willing to hold out. I feel as this gives complete power to the NBA and should violate some kind of law. With this information the NBA is given the upper hand in negotiations. I also found it intriguing how the college referee system showed their support for the NBA refs by not allowing their officials to ref the NBA preseason without consequences. Through uniting the referees are able to acquire some of the power they are losing through the information battle. It is dumbfounding to think that the NBA would be this cheap to the referees who are among the top in the world. Officiating is not an easy thing and the NBA seems to be short changing them in operations. I believe Mr. Mauer's approach was well thought out and very wise. Throughout his years as a referee he has gone through labor battles like this before so he was prepared for what was to follow. He mentioned during a previous labor dispute that he made well over $100,000 by not signing the deal. Knowing that the NBA would look foolish to bring an entire new referee group made Mr. Mauer realize that his job was somewhat safe. The power structure of the NBA referees was also informative. They have nine representatives that are voted in every five or so years who represent the entire group. The way in which the majority votes among these representatives is how the entire body will be run. The last bit of information that I found interesting was Mr. Mauer's voting style. He had mentioned that he never voted for any NBA contract that was placed before him. He did mention that he would hold his ground, but if the rest of the union wanted to vote for he would show his support in doing so. I think this was a very worthwhile class period and would recommend doing it in future years if possible.

Conflict

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Conflict within an organization is inevitable, but not always negative. An important role for each employee throughout an organization is to manage the conflict so that it does not result in unwanted consequences. Conflict management is just as important as other areas within an organization such as planning, communication and motivation (Slack and Parent 217). If an organization is able to communicate and identify conflicts that arise they will ultimately be better off and more effective. The first thing an organization must be able to do when addressing a conflict is to determine the source of the vertical or horizontal conflict. Vertical conflict occurs between employees in different hierarchical levels whereas horizontal conflict occurs between subunits (Slack and Parent 218). One reason a conflict may arise is due to a lack of resources. When different subunits are forced to compete for a limited number of resources there is likely to be disagreement over which subunits needs them more. This is becoming increasingly important during the current economic times and the lack of money, the most valuable resource. Subunits are forced to stretch the money they have and often are even forced to cut from their budgets. Another source of conflict is differentiation. Because different groups within an organization have individual goals they look to achieve their goals rather than helping other subunits (Slack and Parent 222). By doing this the organization becomes more divided and overall performance is hindered. Another source of conflict is lack of communication. When a company is split up into different departments and each department has different terms for actions there is likely to be a lack of communication. One subunit may choose to withhold information in order to gain a competitive advantage and help reach their goals first (Slack and Parent 224). With conflicts being almost unavoidable a company must be able to manage these conflicts so they do not interfere and hinder operations. One method of dealing with conflict is delegating authority to certain employees. By doing this people are in charge of disciplining others and are put in charge to handle conflict. In organizations such as the NBA and MLB commissioners are used to enforce rules and make sure everyone abides by the guidelines (Parent and Slack 226). By doing this, employees are less likely to be in conflict with each other because they realize that the rules are being enforced by a third party. Another way to deal with conflict is to increase the amount of resources available. However, with current economic times many companies are unable to do this. With less competition over resources subunits have less competition with one another and are less likely to engage in conflict. Although conflict exists and needs to be monitored to ensure effectiveness a lack of conflict can be just as detrimental as too much conflict. Without conflict there may be an inability to create new ideas and change ways of operating. What examples of conflict are seen through the four major sports today? What is an example of when conflict helped in your work experience?