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Power and Politics Role in Sport Organization Coursework

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Updated: Sep 20th, 2022

Power is described as the skill of getting things done by other persons. It is also described as an effortless means of accomplishing tasks in the manner that you wanted them to be conducted. Power cannot be contained in isolation as it is made up of connections between two or more people. It is also important to note that it can be in the presence or absence of authority. This is shown by a good example whereby a criminal may have power with the help of arms but may still lack authority. Whereas power and authority are used interchangeably, authority can be defined as the legitimacy to apply power over others.

The power within sports organizations is not obviously tangible. Inherently there have been different perceptions regarding the role of organizational and individual positions within sports bodies. The widely held opinion is that hierarchical positions in sports organizations directly translate to influential control over those bodies. Apparently, this has not been the case as evidenced by numerous examples in the text (Slack, 2008). Leaders of sports organizations have frequently experienced resistance in the running of sports organizations. The capability of leaders within the sports fraternity to commit others to tasks has been seriously undermined. Power in sports organizations often faces problems and resistance through the formation of parallel bodies and groups. Perceived power also is seen to be personalized hence negating the real definition of power.

Real-world examples of people who hold power but lack authority within sports organizations are owners of professional sports teams. These owners are able to impose reward power, which is defined as the power gained from their control over other individuals’ rewards. This power is further magnified by increasing the amount or importance of the reward. This means that the larger the reward awarded to the recipient, the more power that the person stands to enjoy. This type of reward is not only limited to owners of a sports team but also applies to coaches of sports teams, presidents and chairmen of certain sports organizations (Slack, 2008).

Other examples include sports regulation bodies that are mandated to punish sports offenders such as those who engage in practices that go against the ethics of sports e.g. doping acts. Their power is gained from resentment to the body. This power is defined as coercive power. Punishment in this case acts as a great motivator for people or sportsmen to act. The next example of power is known as referent power which is founded on the basis of individuality and personality. Such type of power is mostly wielded by coaches of certain teams. Coaches have been known to be able to infuse a positive spirit in their players to the extent of influencing how their players play. Another example of power without authority is known as expert power which is gained by the person’s ability to utilize inherent knowledge or skill to influence others or existing systems. Such individuals do not need to be part of the hierarchy within the sports organization but may influence the way in which sports is managed within the organizational body. An information technology analyst may not be relatively powerful but their influence and power may be manifested through their knowledge on how to run tasks.

Reference

Slack, T. (2008). Power and Politics in Sport Organization. London: Oxford Publishers.

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