A Question of Readiness

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOrganisational strategy should emerge from an assessment of the opportunities and challenges in the external environment and a diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses of the internal environment. Of key importance in the development and implementation of strategy is the concept of matching capabilities of the internal environment with the opportunities available in the external environment. This encourages organisations to follow strategies that are appropriate for the needs of their organisation and within its resources.

However, the activities of many sport organisations in less developed sport systems are often determined by the availability of funds for particular programmes. For example, the Pacific Region National Olympic Committees and their associated national federations are heavily influenced by funding that is available from Olympic Solidarity for pre-determined activities. As this is the major, if not only, source of funding for these organisations this ‘ring-fencing’ of funding encourages managers to follow strategies which may not be appropriate for their size, level of development, or other resources. An example of this is the running of coach education programmes because funding is available despite the absence of a competition infrastructure that will enable coaches to practice what they are being taught.

In an attempt to address this, the research below is initial work on a framework being developed to help managers of sport organisations carry out a structured and comprehensive assessment of their internal environment. The aim of the research is to develop a structure that will help to identify the level of development that their organisation has attained and any associated organisational development needs. The objectives of the research are to identify the areas of performance or organisational pillars that make up a sport organisation; to determine the activities and attributes that constitute these pillars; and to determine whether these activities and attributes form a continuum of organisational development from a ‘basic’ organisation to an ‘elite’ organisation.

The research has taken an inductive approach where the findings of the research emerged from a series of four focus group discussions and activities held with senior staff and volunteers from Olympic sport organisations in the Pacific region. Participants in each focus group were asked to complete a number of tasks and the work of the first, second and third group formed the basis of the activities undertaken by the following groups. Content analysis of the research evidence led to the development of an initial framework made up of eight organisational pillars which are constituted by a continuum of activities and attributes. The ‘pillars’, with examples of their constituent attributes are: Governance (rules, policies); Management (structure, administration); Sport Activity (competition, events); Communication (methods, technology) Finance (budgeting, planning); Physical Resources (equipment, facilities); Human Resources (type, diversity) and Values (cultural, behavioural).

There appears to be a strong level of agreement that the eight identified organisational pillars contained elements that evolve as the organisation matures. Furthermore, these elements appear to demonstrate that it might be desirable for each of the Pillars to evolve in a more or less even manner in order to show sustainable growth and as such might for an excellent platform for determine the ‘Readiness’ of an organisation to undertake specific program or project initiatives regardless of the funding that is made available.

If you would like a copy of the full paper without the Attachments it is available for download from the ONOC Development Website in the documents section. Happy reading and all comments welcome..

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