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Adam Karg, Deakin University Paul Turner (Advisor), Deakin University David Shilbury (Advisor), Deakin University Organizational theory/culture Abstract 2010-107
June 4, 2010 11:10 AM
25-minute oral presentation (Audubon F)
The evolution of sport national governing bodies (NGBs) “from traditional to professional structures is a recurrent feature of the evolution of national sport systems” (Madella, Bayle, & Tome, 2005, p. 207). With NGBs globally progressing towards more business like operations and structures (Madella et al., 2005; Stewart, 2007), the modern NGB is represented by diverse functional units operating within complex environments, networks and systems. Bayle and Robinson (2007) presented the organizational structure of modern NGBs as functional with varied differentiation across predominantly three areas; administration, sporting and finally, communication and development which includes promotion and marketing. It is the complexity presented by these differentiated functions which has generated a need to identify and understand structural frameworks of NGBs and how they are configured to best achieve performance. Structural and operational differences between individual NBG sub units require integration across the NGB to ensure it operates as a functional organization. The relationship between differentiation and integration is often central to organizational tension and crisis (Lawrence & Lorsch, 1967), which can develop into strategic issues that impact organizational performance. As such, adequate integration has considerable positive implications for sport organizations, their functioning and the achievement of outcomes. Alternatively, tensions or conflicts arising from a lack of integration can potentially hinder organizational performance. Understanding how separate and potentially conflicting functions act and interact to produce performance (Bayle & Robinson, 2007), as well as where issues or tensions may emerge in the interplay of sub units, therefore represent important and underdeveloped research outcomes for sport organizations. Applying a configurational research approach permits a theoretical framework under which complex organizations such as NBGs and their functioning can be addressed. Using this approach, the organization is viewed as a system of parts, with components and interrelations between components considered. The approach corresponds with a “specific epistemological and methodological approach which seeks to articulate the relationships between internal variables of the organization and those within the environment” (Meyer et al., 1993, p. 1178). When investigating structure using a configurational approach, structural variables are defined as differentiation and integration (Dow, 1988; Lawrence & Lorsch, 1967). As such, the design of the organization is dependent on two attributes of structural design: the division of tasks into subgroups (differentiation) and the integration of the subgroups towards a functional organizational unit. While forms of integration and differentiation have been recognised in the body of work on sport organizational structure (Gomez, Opato, & Marti, 2008) the concepts of differentiation and integration have been little examined within sporting organizations, and therefore create areas of investigation by which the strategic nature, structure and functioning of sport organizations can be assessed. This study investigated three such areas of NGB structure and functioning. Firstly, the research defined the characteristics of differentiation present across NBG functions or sub units. Secondly, it assessed the requisite need for integration and the mechanisms NGBs use to achieve integration. Finally, an agenda of strategic issues based on imbalances between differentiation and integration was developed. The identification and treatment of these strategic issues provides insight into future strategic and structural decisions of NBGs, and sport organizations more widely. Research using the configurational approach is generally undertaken through case studies given the level of intra-‐ organizational analysis involved. In the case of national sport systems, each NGB is considered a configuration of resources (Snow, Miles & Miles, 2005), which is designed and evolves to best cope with its individual environment. Data collection methods included the use of documentation, ranking tools adapted from previous studies, and in-‐ depth interviews with CEOs, general managers, operational staff and board members. Within this approach, the variables of differentiation and integration were assessed using an adaptation of past approaches (Lawrence &
June 1 – 5, 2010
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