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MMS714 Sport Organisation Behaviour

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MMS714 Sport Organisation Behaviour

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Course Code: MMS714
University: Deakin University

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Country: Australia


Students will complete an essay delving into the current opportunities and challenges of hiring in sport management. This essay will require students to have a working knowledge of contemporary sport management and hiring practices which will be touched upon in class. However, students must also review the prescribed text in this unit, as well as seeking to incorporate traditional literature on human resource management, but may also sinclude cholarly research on group dynamics, unconscious biases, and psychosocial and behavioural aspects.
It is critical that you relate and support your argument with scholarly research which originates from disciplines such as business, psychology, and/or sport management.


The level of achievement in the field of sports is soaring in the twenty first century; as a consequence, human resource management is slowly gaining momentum in the field of sports and in sport organizations. With advancement in technology and enhanced business control functions in the case of sport organizations, better results have been achieved in the last few decades, which has indirectly affected the character and perception associated with sports. Sports management is an all encompassing term for all the processes involved with sports development and planning activities that take into account operations, relevant resources, processes, human resource development, business functions, coordination and communication, organized sports and so on (Marcu & Buhas, 2014). The sole purpose of sports management is to implement suitable solutions so as to eliminate any kind of destructive conflict. Sports management strives to ensure that sport activities, which are quite complex in nature, are carried out in a way that is efficient, economical and rational; this also means that marketing teams involved in sports management take care of negotiations and advertising, to start with (Masterman, 2014). Effective sports management would ensure that it provides a competitive edge to the sports organization in question; it takes into account acquisition of data and information, processing of data obtained, response to the numerous changes in sports environment, management of information, detection and application of innovative, new technology, development on old and existing knowledge and so on (Stewart et al., 2018). As a matter of fact, sports management entails skilled human resource management, involving sports managers, athletes, clubs and teams; a scientific and systematic knowledge of sports management is recommended in human resource management so as to promote a degree of professionalism and to ensure that the market economy laws are adhered to.
To study the literature prevailing with respect to sports management, it is first important to review the concept of management in sports. Management can be called an art – the art of leading, coordinating and deciding. It would be wrong to state that efficient and skilled managers form the foundation of any organization. The role of a sports manager involves governing, organizing, planning, designing and forecasting (Dowling, Edwards & Washington, 2014). While sport managers have been around for years, the rise of sports management as a definite science began only in the 1980s. Earlier on, in the 1970s and the 1960s, there was ongoing research on the business models associated with control and planning; in the 1980s, management theorists first developed the concepts of sophisticated data processing and strategic planning models. In accordance with this development, universities across the globe began to incorporate sports management as a part of their curriculum. This was a period of transition for sports organizations, with several groundbreaking theories and concepts emerging like sport sociology, sport psychology, business administration et cetera, all of which were incorporated into the sport organization business models. In the 1990s, sports management emerged as a full blown industry, which was expanding at an alarming rate (Pedersen & Thibault, 2018). Essentially, there are five tenets of sports management – namely, planning, personal management, organization, control and management (Pedersen, 2013). An individual involved in the sports management sector is expected to possess three primary skills – one, he or she must possess conceptual and logical thinking skills which include decision making and solving skills, two, he or she should be able to effectively regulate interpersonal relationships and three, certain technical skills would also be required (Van den Berg & Braun, 2017).
Before reviewing human resource management in sports organizations, it is important to clarify the concepts of strategic human resource management (HRM) as a whole. The essential components of human resource management are recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation, job design and performance analysis (Armstrong & Taylor, 2013). The concept of human resource management emerged in the 1980s, and is founded on principles of morality and practicality. The purpose of human resource management is to ensure that an organization is able to effectively use its people; it also seeks to retain and motivate the skilled and impassioned workforce in an organization (Bratton & Gold, 2017). The human resource team at an organization, sports or otherwise, would develop and enhance the inherent capabilities of employees – their potential, contribution and employability; it would also provide more scope for development and learning opportunities. In addition, human resource management would pave the way for high performance operation systems that would include – rigorous recruitment procedures, training activities that are customized to cater to business needs, management development and incentive and compensation systems in accordance with performance levels (Marchington et al., 2016). HRM is of the belief that employees are indeed the most important stakeholders and an environment of mutual trust and cooperation must be established to support them. Also, harmonious and productive relationships must be established between the employees and the top authority; such relationships would be based on flexibility and team work, not a silo attitude. Human resource management seeks to strike a balance between the requirements of the stakeholders and that of the organization itself; moreover, there should be rewarding systems in place which recognize efforts of employees and make them feel appreciated. An integral function of human resource management is also to ensure that equal opportunities have been made available to all employees; ethical approaches which are fair and transparent should also be adopted for the employees, keeping in mind their interest. To sum up, it can be said that human resource management is aimed at promoting the overall mental and physical well being of all individuals who are part of the organization (Alfes et al., 2013).
Strategic human resources help to align the human resources strategy with that of the business as a whole (Bailey et al., 2018). The purpose of any business is to ensure that its strategies are adhered to; this is where the human resources managers come into play. The human resource management is endowed with the responsibility of translating the business strategy into HR practice. This allows the business to adapt to the changing needs and meet the requirements of customers so as to optimize customer satisfaction levels. Additionally, this is also expected to improve the financial performance of an organization.
Before proceeding to human resource management in sports, it is imperative to study the role of organizational behaviour in sports. Without a properly integrated organizational behaviour, it would be impossible for the sports team or organization to make progress. Organizational behaviour in this respect would refer to the behaviour demonstrated by an individual or a group of individuals or teams or even in the case off inter-organizational structures and processes. The sports industry has multiple stakeholders, including sport volunteers, paid staff, athletes, trainers, coaches and administrative staff. It is also assumed that each of these stakeholders would have varying levels of commitment and attachment to their specified roles. This also sheds light on the fact that different people would have different attitudes toward their work. This is more prominent in the case of sports organizations where different groups have different sets of skills or areas of expertise. With regards to organizational behaviour, one must also investigate sport psychology; it is an interdisciplinary area of study which determines how certain psychological factors affect participation and performance in sports; it would require a sound knowledge of physiology, psychology, kinesiology and even biomechanics (Wagner & Hollenback, 2014).
To now proceed to the concept of human resource management in sports organizations, it is first important to understand the current scenario. In the international context prevalent today, sports has become quite a commercialized sector. As a matter of fact, sports make a significant contribution to the economy of a nation as well; the awareness of such benefits has garnered international attention, calling for effective human resource management in sports. As discussed in the previous section, employees can be called as one of the most important assets of a sports organization, and also its chief brand ambassadors (Chelladurai & Kerwin, 2017). In most countries around the world, sports and similar recreational activities are primarily funded by the government. With increase in demand for sports and sporting activities, most sport organizations have shifted their attention from amateur sports to professional ones. The strategic human resources in sports can be segregated into its various aspects based on functionality, which takes into account both quantitative and qualitative elements of HR and manpower planning. In the sports industry, HR planning is largely based on intuition and uncertainty, and at the same time, keeping an eye on the internal and external environment and financial aspect of an organization (Taylor, Doherty & McGraw, 2015).
Recruitment forms the first step in human resource management in sports; as the name suggests, this process involves the hiring and selection of the best possible candidates for a particular role (Selemani et al., 2014). As of 2011, there were approximately 95,000 people employed in the sports and recreation industry, and the industry was growing at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent. The process of recruitment is slightly different from that of selection; a sports recruitment executive would be expected to short list candidates who would be suitable for a particular role and then encourage these candidates to apply for the said job. There are usually two ways in which a candidate is hired – external and internal. In the former, recruitments are carried out through sources like newspapers and advertisements over different platforms. A strong and robust recruitment and hiring process would enhance individual commitment to the organization and also improve socialization practices (Aisbett et al., 2015). It must also be stated in this respect that selection and retention of existing employees have posed to be a problem in the past for many sport organizations. In Scotland, more than sixty eight per cent clubs have failed to recruit new members, fifty four per cent of existing employees chose to resign and more than thirty four per cent sport organizations demonstrated troubles with selection processes (Wicker & Breuer, 2013). External recruiting would include hiring people who have had no prior experience in the same firm; while this enlarges the applicant pool, attracting a large number of fresh candidates, it is not exactly cost effective since the sport organization would have to invest more in training programs. Internal recruiting means that the sport organization would hire people from within the company itself; this is beneficial because the candidates are already familiar with the terms and conditions of the firm, thus reducing chances of conflicts (Storey, 2014).
In the training phase of the human resources process, the new employees would have to be trained with regards to the business strategy; right from the orientation process, the employees would be educated about the company policies and principles and during training, they would be made aware of the various aspects of sport organizations like health, safety, ethics, rules and regulations and so on (Aswathappa, 2013). The initial phases of training would be generalized, and would not be organization specific. The specialized training, which is to be implemented later, would refer to specific skills that are particular to that sport organization. In the sports industry where employees are constantly in a high pressure situation, a well defined induction programme could go a long way in increasing productivity, performance and dependability and thus contribute to the effectiveness of the organization as a whole (Hurrell & Scholarios, 2014). Induction strategies could be informal or formal, collective or individual (group sessions or single employees), disjunctive or serial, divestiture or investiture, variable or fixed and random or sequential. A good induction process would establish transparent communication lines between the employees and the management and would deliver the message to them with clarity (Dhar, 2015). Also, a socialization process follows induction, which eases the new employee into the organization; it takes place in three stages from anticipatory socialization (when the employee is hired), through encounter socialization (when the employee starts working to role management (when the employee finally settles in). Similarly, the importance of rewards and compensation cannot be reinstated; sports and recreation managers can use rewarding system to boost the morale of the employees. The analysis of the performance level and productivity of a new employee also entails examining person – organization fit (how compatible the person is with the organizational goals and values) and person – job fit (how compatible a person is with his or her job role).
To comment on the current scenario of human resource management in the sports industry, it must be mentioned that there has been increasing pressure on sport organizations to adopt sophisticated management systems that are business oriented. For instance, in the early 1990s, employees in this industry traditionally referred to volunteers, which have now been replaced by paid staff (Saksida, Alfes & Shantz, 2017). While this has certainly changed management, it has also brought about tension and conflict. The sport industry is characterized by heterogeneity, intermingling o consumption and production and intangibility (Wolsey & Whitrod-Brown, 2013). Sport organizations were originally governed by enthusiasts of sport activities who cared about the sport; in addition, success was measured on the basis of on field success and not operational effectiveness. However, there is a massive pressure at present to formalize sports management and to juxtapose them with the impending challenges of financial and limited human resources, traditional administrative systems and informal planning. Moreover, the research into organizational structures has espoused a need for optimized utilization of available human resources and to align the HR strategies with business objectives and goals. Human resource management in the sports industry is a brand new pragmatic and innovative approach to the industry in the current context; it has two primary functions. One, it would involve the management of all athletes by sports scientists, coaches and other aspects of the authority and two, it would also include the management of the entire sport organization as a whole, taking into account everyone who is involved in the organization, from the volunteers to the athletes.
However, it must be ascertained that human resource management is a problematic and complex process and the general HR practices cannot be easily translated to the sports industry (Weerakoon, 2016). Since this industry is still in the exponential phase, there is a lack of research on legislations, recruitment or selection processes, reward management, training and so on. Moreover, a large number of sports organizations have witnessed issues rising from informal or formal approaches, although the latter is credited as being more beneficial as far as teamwork and employee motivation are concerned. Management of employees and staff members play a crucial role in any sport; it canopies adoption of management methods, adherence to policies, supervision of players and also monitoring the commercial growth of the industry. Here are some challenges that such an industry could face: one, the sports industry all over the world has stringent laws and regulations in place; to keep up with these changing laws and policies could pose to be a problem for the organizations. Two, since the sports industry is growing, there are changes taking place everyday which must be implemented within the organization; efficient management of the change process and ensuring that no inconvenience is caused to the employees is an important challenge. Three, most sport organizations have obtained a professional status now; this means that the employees working at the organizations or the new recruits would have to be trained properly. However, most organizations have deemed such training programmes as unnecessary investments. Four, sport technology is on the cusp of a breakthrough; several groundbreaking innovations have been introduced in this sector in the last few years. However, implementing these technologies could prove to be a problem for many organizations, Five, the increase in complexity levels and the commercialization of the industry demands that leaders rise up to the occasion and adapt their leadership strategies and styles to the changing needs (Millar, Chen & Waller, 2017). Earlier, leaders in the sports industry were accustomed to having complete monopoly over all decisions made; their subordinates were expected to accept their authority without questioning it. However, the incorporation of human resource management into sports has emphasized on the important of a leadership style that encourages the team members, motivates them, imparts valuable insight and also creates a collaborative working environment (Doherty, 2013). Conflict management is another challenge in human resources in the sports industry; the conflicts could be on a wide array of reasons, like difference of perception as to how the sport organization should be run, disappointment regarding the way people are treated, questioning the authority’s decision, ineffectual communication skills and so on. This is all the more poignant in the case of the sport industry, because more than any other sector, passion is the driving force here. Furthermore, social marketing plays a key role in promoting sporting events and activities; but only a few clubs and organizations have been able to successfully able to implement it so far (Abeza, O’Reilly & Reid, 2013) Nevertheless, it must also be mentioned that the growth in popularity of professional and regional clubs and teams have helped in spreading awareness about the importance of professional sports management.
To conclude, it can be said that in the current context, strategic human resource management forms one of the most crucial aspects of sports management. Sport, which was originally a passion driven sport, has now emerged as a commercial industry, drawing in millions and affecting the overall economy of the country. Like any other industry, this too requires effective management practices which would take into consideration human resources, application of technology, devising management strategies, planning and control, flawless administration and even application of innovative technology. The importance of human resource management in this respect cannot be reiterated; as seen in the above discussion, there are several facets of HRM, which include recruitment or selection, training and induction, compensation and rewards, job design and performance analysis. In the sports industry, recruitment and training is instrumental in ensuring high productivity and performance levels. For example, a well defined induction process would familiarize the employees with the management policies and principles and also incorporate them into operations. However, there are numerous challenges that plague sports management. The fact that most sport organizations have acquired a professional status further highlights the importance of training programmes, which can often prove to be a costly affair. Yet, it is estimated that with a strong sports management practice in place, sports organizations would be able to reap the benefits and join the bandwagon of commercial progress.
Abeza, G., O’Reilly, N., & Reid, I. (2013). Relationship marketing and social media in sport. International Journal of Sport Communication, 6(2), 120-142.
Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.
Aswathappa, K. E. M. A. L. (2013). Human resource management: Text and cases. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Bailey, C., Mankin, D., Kelliher, C., & Garavan, T. (2018). Strategic human resource management. Oxford University Press.
Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2017). Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave.
Chelladurai, P., & Kerwin, S. (2017). Human resource management in sport and recreation. Human Kinetics.
Dhar, R. L. (2015). Service quality and the training of employees: The mediating role of organizational commitment. Tourism Management, 46, 419-430.
Doherty, A. (2013). “It takes a village:” Interdisciplinary research for sport management. Journal of Sport Management, 27(1), 1-10.
Dowling, M., Edwards, J., & Washington, M. (2014). Understanding the concept of professionalisation in sport management research. Sport Management Review, 17(4), 520-529.
Marchington, M., Wilkinson, A., Donnelly, R., & Kynighou, A. (2016). Human resource management at work. Kogan Page Publishers.
Marcu, V., & Buha?, S. D. (2014). Sports organizations–management and science. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 117, 678-682.
Masterman, G. (2014). Strategic sports event management. Routledge.
Millar, C. C., Chen, S., & Waller, L. (2017). Leadership, knowledge and people in knowledge-intensive organisations: implications for HRM theory and practice.
Pedersen, P. M. (2013). Reflections on communication and sport: On strategic communication and management. Communication & Sport, 1(1-2), 55-67.
Pedersen, P. M., & Thibault, L. (2018). Contemporary Sport Management 6th Edition. Human Kinetics.
Saksida, T., Alfes, K., & Shantz, A. (2017). Volunteer role mastery and commitment: can HRM make a difference?. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(14), 2062-2084.
Selemani, M.A., Khairuzzaman, W., Zaleha, W.I.S., Rasid, A., & Andrew, R.D. (2014). The impact of human resource management practices on performance: Evidence from a public university. The TQM Journal, 26(2), 125-142. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/TQM-10-2011-0062
Stewart, B., Nicholson, M., Smith, A. C., & Hoye, R. (2018). Sport management: principles and applications. Routledge.
Storey, J. (2014). New Perspectives on Human Resource Management (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.
Taylor, T., Doherty, A., & McGraw, P. (2015). Managing people in sport organizations: A strategic human resource management perspective. Routledge.
Van Den Berg, L., & Braun, E. (2017). Sports and city marketing in European cities. Routledge.
Wagner III, J. A., & Hollenbeck, J. R. (2014). Organizational behavior: Securing competitive advantage. Routledge.
Weerakoon, R. K. (2016). Human resource management in sports: A critical review of its importance and pertaining issues. Physical Culture and Sport. Studies and Research, 69(1), 15-21.
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Wolsey, C., & Whitrod-Brown, H. (2013). Human resource management and the business of sport. Managing the business of sport: an Introduction, 146-168.

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