Managing Sport Organizations

1.  As a rule, contemporary sport organizations have a complex organizational network, which should be viewed at three levels: internal, external and inter-organizational. It is important to underline the fact that all organizational networks are extremely significant for the normal functioning and development of modern sport organizations. In this respect, it should be said that organizational networks should be closely intertwined and provide the organization with maximum flexibility in order to maximize the organizational performance.

In fact, the internal organizational network represents the internal structure of the organization, a carcass on the basis of which the entire organizational structure is built up. In actuality, the internal organization networks comprises the organizational hierarchy and involves relationships between people employed within a sport organization. For instance, in a sport organization, the internal network can comprise of different units which focused on the fulfillment of specific organizational tasks, including the administrative unit which focuses on the administration and management of the organization; a sport team, which consists of players and coaches, and aims at the fulfillment of sportive goals of the organization; the health care unit, which involves specialists which provide health care service to help sportsmen recover after injuries and stay in a good physical shape during the season.

As for the external network, it should be said that sport organization cannot work in isolation from the external environment. In actuality, the organization needs to develop positive relationships with supporters and fans of a sport team, which naturally implies the organization of networks of fan clubs supporting the team of the organization. In addition, it is important to maintain positive relationships with all supporters of the team to attract the audience and, therefore, ensure a positive marketing performance of the organization. At the same time, many modern organizations need to work with mass media which also imply the creation of an external network which allows the organization to maintain contacts with mass media to promote itself. For instance, a public relations unit of the organization can organize press-conferences to present recent news related to the sport team that involves the use of media by the organization.

At the same time, modern sport organizations need to develop effective inter-organizational networks. What is meant here is the fact that sport organizations need to cooperate with similar sport organizations to organize competitions and improve their marketing performance.

For instance, a sport organization can create an inter-organizational network by means of creation a league, such as NHL or NBA, where similar sport organizations are involved into championships and they are united under a common brand.

2. As any other organization, a modern sport organization and its members have their own needs, which though can be classified, according to the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which clearly explains basic needs of organizations and their interdependence. On analyzing the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it should be said that physiological needs lay the foundation of the hierarchy of needs since they are basic needs without which members of the organization as well as the organization itself cannot survive. In terms of a sport organization, the physiological needs may include the need of the organization in the sport equipment, training facilities, etc. At the same time, employees working in any organization need feel secure and safety needs are also of the utmost importance for the organization because they contribute to the stable functioning of the organization. As the matter of fact, an organization cannot develop normally if its employees are insecure. For instance, if they are uncertain in their future within the organization or when they risk losing their work place, the effectiveness of their work within the organization will decrease dramatically. In such a way, it is hardly possible to underestimate the significance of safety needs. At the same time, physiological and safety needs are basic fundamental needs which provides  organization with the possibility to exist, but to improve the organizational performance and to function effectively, organizations have to meet other needs, such as love or belonging needs. These needs imply that employees working within the organization need to feel their belongingness to the organization, to the team in which they can work effectively and have positive interpersonal relations with their colleagues. The satisfaction of love-belonging needs naturally evokes esteem needs since individuals naturally strive to satisfy their own ambitions and they need gain confidence in their own powers and the respect of their colleagues as well as people they are working with. In sport organizations, the satisfaction of esteem needs may result from the achievement of success in the field of sport, for instance, by means of winning a championship or just a game. Finally, the hierarchy of needs is accomplished by the need of self-actualization. What is meant here is the fact that an individual working in a sport organization needs to have internal balance, he should be able to accept facts as they are and solve problems efficiently, remain objective and have moral values which meet his personal philosophy. The satisfaction of this need will lead to the maximization of the effectiveness of employees’ performance. Moreover, it is important to meet all of the aforementioned needs to gain the positive results in the organizational performance.

3. In the contemporary business environment, the role of leaders is particularly important. In this regard, sport organizations also need effective leadership in order to attain positive results and to maintain a positive organizational performance. At the same time, it is not always possible to achieve positive results in the leadership because often modern organizations have managers, who are actually unable to be effective and successful leaders. This is why it is important to refer to the existing leadership theory and approaches which can improve the leadership qualities of managers of sport organizations. At this point it should be said that, according to Fiedler’s contingency model of leadership, a successful leader should develop positive relationships with his employees and subordinates. Moreover, a leader needs to maintain his authority and power in the organization and in order to be able to lead employees using his authority and charisma. At the same time, the leader should be able to set clear tasks and guide subordinates to meet these tasks. In such a way, the leader can lead the entire organization to the success and form a positive organizational culture.

Speaking about leadership traits an effective leader needs to possess, it should be said that he should have traits which allow him to develop positive interpersonal relations with employees and maintain his authority. To put it more precisely, the modern leader should be friendly to establish positive, interpersonal relationships with employees, cooperative to be able to guide employees to achieve the defined goals, and encourage them to act creatively to meet these goals. In addition, the modern leader should be supportive and open that will help him to gain confidence and respect of employees, which can improve his leadership position in the organization because the effective leadership is based on respect and admiration of employees with their leader.

At the same time, it is necessary to remember about motivation, which becomes particularly important in sport organizations, where all members of the organization need to know what they are actually working for. In fact, the leader should be able to get his subordinate motivated because without motivation they cannot achieve any positive results. In this respect, it is possible to use both material, or financial, motivation and psychological motivation, which is oriented on human feelings, emotions, ambitions, etc.

4. In this respect, obvious that views of Fiedler and McClelland on motivation differ consistently. On the one hand Fiedler is focused on the creation of positive relationships between employees and leaders and it is through their mutual trust, support and friendship it is possible to achieve positive results in the organizational performance. On the other hand, McClelland stands on the ground that the major priority of a leader should be keeping his subordinates motivated, while interpersonal relationships are secondary compared to the motivation of employees.

5. The evaluation of performance should occur at individual, unit/program, and organizational levels.  At the individual level, the performance can be evaluated on the basis of the progress of an individual, for instance, in relation to a sportsman it can be the improvement of his physical shape and results. At the unit/program level, the performance should be evaluated on the basis of the achievement of goals set before the unit. For instance, a team’s performance can be evaluated on the basis of the place it takes in competitions or championship. The program needs to be evaluated since it is crucial for the successful performance of the entire organization. If program’s performance is poor the stable development of the organization can be under a threat. At the organizational level, the performance is evaluated on the basis of the overall analysis of the organizational performance and the fulfillment of strategic goals and mission of the organization.

6. On assessing the effectiveness of the athletic department of a Division I university, the effectiveness can be evaluated on the basis of the involvement of students in athletic activities, i.e. the large number of students involved in the athletic department is evidence of its efficiency. At the same time, students need to achieve positive results in their performance that means that the places athletes take in competitions and prizes they win should be also taken into consideration in the evaluation process. In addition, it is important to assess progress of each sportsmen in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the entire department. For instance, within a half-year period sportive results of each student should be assessed and their progress will indicate to the effectiveness of the department.

7. Diversity is an essential part of modern sport organizations. This is why it is important to develop tolerance to diversity. This can be achieved through organization of diverse teams, i.e. teams consisting of representatives of different ethnic groups, for instance. As they work as a team, they grow more tolerant in relation to each other.

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