The first section of this assignment aims to demonstrate a critical understanding of the main theoretical and conceptual principals of organisational culture and its relevance for sports development. Subsequently discussing the cultural role and impact of leaders within organisations. The second section will consist of analysing the culture of a sporting charity called the London sports trust (LST) through conducting an observation of their most popular holiday programme ‘Safe -camp’. Accordingly there will be a critical reflection of how the LST organisational culture impacted on the experiences of the participants and deliverers of the programme.
The conceptualisation and significance of organisational culture
The understanding of organisational culture is increasingly viewed as a necessary requirement for high performance within an organisation as 84% of managers stated that culture is critical to their organisation’s success (PwC, 2013). However despite the concept of organisational culture being widely accepted the definitions are often complex, used incorrectly and are not universally interpreted (Ogbonna & Harris, 2008). For example some view culture as the “glue” that holds an organisation together and for others it is considered the “compass” that provides direction (Tharp, 2009). Despite the varying definitions and perspectives on organisational culture, common themes arise across the literature such as the organisation’s capacity to comprise the shared nature of the beliefs, values, and norms of its members (Schein, 1992; Hoye, Smith, Nicholson & Stewart, 2018).
Within the literature there is a wide consensus that better performing organisations have strong cultures (Kim Jean Lee & Yu, 2004; Gochhayat, Giri & Suar, 2017). This notion is further supported by Fey and Denison (2003) who claimed regardless of the size, industry, or age of an organisation, organisational culture impacts numerous aspects of organisational performance including innovation and customer and employee satisfaction. Schein (2009) claimed that a strong organisational culture exists when members within the organisation have similar beliefs and behaviour patterns. This is beneficial as Sørensen (2002) states agreement on norms and procedures among organisational members directly facilitates harmonisation among employees’ efforts and practices leaving minimal scope for diversion among the organisation’s best interests. However cultures will only remain strong if they do not continually re-adapt and innovate practices (Cui & Hu, 2012).Therefore the anthropological usage of ‘culture’ can be used to foster positive human behaviour within the organisation ensuring the sustainability and survival amongst members over-time (Girginov, 2011).
Leaders within organisations
Within the literature it is often specified that leaders have the prominent role in determining and managing cultures within organisations. This is supported by Schein (2009) claims that organisational cultures are shaped by leaders and one of the most decisive functions of leadership may well be the creation, the management, and if required the destruction of culture. According to Hersey and colleagues (2001) leadership is an attempt to influence subordinates to accomplish collective objectives and directs the organisation to be more cohesive and coherent. Subsequently the behaviours, values and beliefs of leaders and subordinates become harmonious thus leading to greater performances and effectiveness (Tsai, 2011).
The way we view leaderships has evolved overtime. Accordingly multiple theories have been used to underpin the role of the leader within an organisation. The “Trait” approach is considered the earliest theory of leadership. This theory assumes there are a set of physical and personality characteristics that make a successful leader (Zacarro, Kemp & Bader, 2004). However scholars are often critical of this theory as it undermines the influence of the situational context surrounding leaders (Schaubroeck, Lam, & Cha, 2007) and the primary focus is on how leader effectiveness is perceived by followers rather than a leader’s actual effectiveness (Judge et al., 2009).Consequently this approach has fallen out of favour within organisations as more recent research has begun to develop more normative approaches to leadership. Subsequently transformational leadership was developed and explored.
Transformational leadership is the process of a leader influencing major changes in the attitudes and assumptions of organisational members (García-Morales, Lloréns-Montes & Verdú-Jover, 2008). Transformational leaders seek to enhance this relationship by providing a sense of responsibility. This is achieved by their inward orientated informational role. The leader responsibility within this role is to monitor the performance of employees by offering help when needed and to simulate communicative information through regular meetings (Mintzeberg, 2011). These strategies have been show to initiate and maintain trust, confidence and desire amongst employees towards the leader constituting to employees successfully accomplishing organisational goals without the direct intervention of the leader (Einstein& Humphreys 2001). In addition transformational leaders have been viewed as beneficial to evolving the culture of organisation as Bass (1985) argues that transformational leaders usually work towards changing the organisational culture in line with their evolving vision, while transactional leaders tend to operate narrowly within the confines and limits the existing culture.
Government equality and diversity policies within sporting organisations
Organisational culture is as crucial to sport as it is to other industry sectors however research states that there are significant inequalities within UK sport as disabled, LGBT and ethnic minorities are often underrepresented as employees within sporting organisations (Sport England, 2017). Therefore the UK government in partnership with Sport England introduced an information booklet which included up to date guidance documents and templates aiming to make everyone from national governing bodies to local sporting authorities become aware of the importance of equality and diversity. This process has been beneficial as the employment of disabled staff within sporting organisations has since risen from 4.5%-5.6% (Sport England, 2017).
This process will positively impact culture in sports development organisations as engaging with cultural diversity and equality within internal processes will lead to employees valuing each other’s skillsets and make it easier for team members to work in collaboration to achieve the organisational goals. Moreover according to the office of national statistics (2018) there has been an increase of ethnic backgrounds within the UK. Therefore it can be advantageous to employ people from different backgrounds as diversity is fundamental to increasing new audiences especially in hard to reach populations (Sport England, 2016).