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NASCAR

NASCAR

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Published by Kenyon Stanley

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Published by: Kenyon Stanley on Jan 31, 2012
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Waltrip Racing & Group Communication
Michael Waltrip Racing: A Look at Small Group CommunicationMarch, 2011Davida JacksonKenyon StanleyKristen Bostedo-ConwayLeah Beth Parsons
 
Waltrip Racing & Small Group Communication
2
Introduction
 NASCAR is a sport that developed from running moonshine to becoming one of the highest grossingsporting organizations in America. The success of the NASCAR industry can be attributed to the millions of devoted fans, the billions of dollars companies spend on sponsorships, and the hard working dedicated employeesthat can be found throughout the industry. One of the most unique things about NASCAR is that it consists of family owned and operated teams. There are twenty-six teams with fifty-one drivers in the Sprint Cup Series(NASCAR operates 4 series). Each driver and team member puts his or her life on the line each Sunday hoping to bring home that the next big win. Dedication to the race team is vital in this sport and industry, because of thehigh risks that are involved. In order to achieve their goals NASCAR uses small groups to make up their organizational structure. To explore NASCAR’s highly efficient use of groups, Michael Waltrip Racing- aconsistent top ten team – was chosen. The organizations value of transparency allowed us to study the industriesuse of small groups. Using Systems Theory as a theoretical grounding, an ethnographic observation wasconducted to determine how the engineering group of Michael Waltrip Racing functions using the following smallgroup concepts: phases of group development, cohesion, diversity, stereotypes and group think.
 
Waltrip Racing & Small Group Communication
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A Systems Theory Approach to NASCAR 
At a glance, NASCAR may appear to be a sport where the skills of the driver solely determine the successof a particular race team. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, NASCAR race teams exist inincreasingly turbulent and dynamic environments. For this reason, Michael Waltrip Racing is an organization thatis best viewed when looking through a system’s theory lens. According to Eisenberg, E. & Goodall H.L. (2010),a system can be defined as a “complex set of relationships among interdependent components or parts” (p.79). Tostudy the interdependent relationships of Michael Waltrip Racing’s engineering group, this paper will explorehow small group concepts are exhibited in the following Systems Theory components:
Interdependence – When small groups are mutually dependent on each other to complete tasksand develop solutions to an overall outcome (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2010).
Open to the Environment – how the system is affected by contexts outside of the system(Eisengberg & Goodall, 2010).
Equifinality – the idea that an end state can be reached in many ways or through different means(Bertalanffy, 1968).
Feedback – is a monitoring signal which provides the system with relevant information regarding performance (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2010).
Input, Throughput and Output
o
Input--receiving information from outside.
o
Throughput-- the process of creating a product.
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Output--releasing the product back to the environment (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2010).
Synergy – two or more people working together to obtain a result that would not be obtainableinterdependently (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2010).At Michael Waltrip Racing, the complexity of their system is evident by the fact that the organizationalgoal is to build the fastest car against other teams who are equipped with the same tools. Furthermore, with thedemand that a new race car needs to be produced every week, and delivered to a new location by Sunday, the timeconstraints that Michael Waltrip Racing are under increases the complexity of achieving organizational goals

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