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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Managers, like coaches, affect group success,
January 12, 2007, 7C.
Regardless of your particular loyalties or leanings in
college football, you have to congratulate and respect the
University of Florida’s football team for their victory in
this week’s BCS Championship Game. The Gators, who some
deemed unworthy of playing for the national championship and
who few analysts gave a chance of winning the game,
thoroughly dominated the Buckeyes both offensively and
defensively. It was a complete team victory.
are composed of members who work together interdependently
to accomplish goals. It is the combined contributions of
all team members that make up the team’s performance. In
the BCS game, it was the players on the field who made the
plays that led to victory. However, it was also apparent
that the Florida players were well coached and prepared for
the game. In the weeks leading up to the game, Gator
coaches conceived a game plan for victory against the
Buckeyes—which they shared with their players and prepared
them to enact in the game. As the actual game evolved,
coaches and players made adjustments and corrections to the
plans to defeat Ohio State.
research into the importance of managers and leaders on
group performance analyzed group performance before and
after replacing a manager. The results were inconclusive.
In some cases, replacing a manager with another resulted in
improved group performance and in other situations it harmed
performance. Many empirical investigations on management
influence from a “succession” perspective used professional
sports teams and managers as their samples. Sports teams
provide researchers with organizations that are similar in
size, goals, tasks, and roles. Additionally, sports teams
compete against each other and performance is easy to
measure and compare across teams and seasons.
are two extreme views on the importance of managers and
leaders on organization performance. The symbolic view
suggests that group and situational factors have the
greatest influence on organization performance and that
managers have minimal influence. The omnipotent view
suggests that managers have complete control and influence
on organizational performance. As concluded by later
succession researchers, the true influence of managers and
leaders is often somewhere between the symbolic and
omnipotent views. Characteristics of the tasks and the
nature of the work, the degrees of cooperation and teamwork
needed to perform the work, and the personalities and
backgrounds of the individuals that make up the team all
contribute to the required levels of group and manager
influences needed for successful performance.
correctly assess performance issues within organizations,
the influences of groups and managers need to be evaluated.
Firing a manager with little control over a situation is as
incorrect as heaping praise upon a manager who did little
more than wear a title and watch the group perform.
Management, group, and situational factors must be assessed
to determine actual contributions to organizational
performance. The Gator’s victory arose from a total team
effort. The players enacted the plans and game strategy
that the coaching staff developed. Players and coaches both
deserve credit for the victory. Go Gators!
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