Businesses thrive on hard-work, endurance, the ability to leap across obstacles and achieving targets in unfavorable circumstances. They rely not only on individual brilliance but also on people slogging together as a team to excel in competitive markets. All these qualities draw a striking parallel from the field of sports. Modern sporting giants like Dallas Cowboys or Bolton Celtics today are businesses in themselves. In addition, businesses in different fields apply the takeaways from sports in their day to day operations. Robert W. Keidel attempts to pitch sports as a model for providing business solutions. He advocates a forced analogy approach where business is compared to a sports team and management dons the hat of a coach.
Managers that identify with a particular sport draw similarities between their organization and the game. Concepts like “giving 100%”, “competitiveness” and “all for one and one for all” are qualities that managers strive to imbibe in their organizations. The kind of organization which they manage as well as their affinity towards a particular sport influences their actions. Their approach towards solving organizational problems could be the way a coach looks at a game. The author, in his paper, attempts to illustrate analogies between business and three professional sports, in particular- baseball, football and basketball.
Consider a sales organization or research institute where each individual excels in a certain specific area. These contain high performing individuals or individuals that work with a certain autonomy resembling a baseball team. The performance of the entire organization, similar to the winning/losing of the team, depends on the level of performance of these individuals. Efforts towards the success of the organization generally lean towards developing and improving individual skills. Additionally, the organization could be located in different locations similar to the player dispersion in baseball. The characteristic of being physically separate as well as low cohesion make these organizations a loosely coupled system. Managerial co-ordination required here is low which gives flexibility. Analogous to baseball where there are no elaborate game plans but rather just in time decisions, managers of such organizations need to be quick thinkers.