Implementing change or transformations is one of the primary challenges that organizations need to face at times, as directed not only by its ultimate goal to succeed but also by the necessity to cope with an ever-changing environment. However, central to organizational transformation is the necessity to survive under the industry or social, economic, and political milieu in which the organization operates and functions, particularly posed by performance-based competition.
Therefore, the primary reasons why organizations need to undergo change include changes in the conditions of the environment that greatly affects the performance of the organization and the gaps or discrepancies between the quality of performance exhibited by various organizations that raise the issue of competition and the need to survive amidst this particular struggle. (Wischnevsky, 2004, pp. 1-2)
With the issues of organizational transformation at hand, exploring the matter calls for a practical application of the concepts involved in organizational transformation, the process of transforming organizations, and transformational leadership. For this purpose, the organizational transformations involving the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees shall be explored, in an attempt to interpret transformational processes under the theoretical framework of organizational transformation.
The dynamics of sports teams as competitive groups, the necessity for sports team outlast the games, and the environmental changes that occur in the sphere of sports, from performance improvements, the additions or deductions in the roster or line up, and such, seem to substantiate Wischnevsky’s arguments on primary reasons why there is a pressing need for the implementation of changes or transformations in organizations. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have been one of the most famous rivalries in the history of Major League Baseball in the United States.
In a news article published in USA Today, baseball fans have expressed why the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has since been a momentous or noteworthy event that most people watch for. It is for the reason that watching sports is a valuable part of their memory. The most significant moments in the history of Major League Baseballs are the primary reasons why baseball fans devote their time and effort to show their support for the two of the top baseball teams in the country.
(O’Connor, 2005, p. 07c) The corresponding performances of the Red Sox and the Yankees, as well as the strong support of baseball fans in the country, has fueled the stability of the rivalry, consequently allowing these two sports teams to make crucial decisions in improving their performances through organizational transformation. There are various types or organizational change or transformation based on how the process is implemented and the purpose and the results of such processes.
According to Levy and Merry, organizational transformation approaches include planned change, second-order change, changing the paradigm of the organization, the need to make the organization an excellent system, reframing, rechanneling energy, and raising change consciousness. (Levy & Merry, 1986, p. v-vi) These approaches to organizational transformation shall be explored in the process of comparing and contrasting the various organizational changes that occur within the Red Sox and the Yankees.
Over the years, the Red Sox and Yankees have undergone organizational transformations for the purpose of upping their game and increase their influence among supporters and sponsors. For the Red Sox and the Yankees, the year 2008 until present time has signaled various internal and external changes in the team’s structure. Since it is the off season, the primary priority of the Red Sox and the Yankees is to change the rosters. This particular precedence is visible in the sports team’s player move records.
However, Red Sox is more focused on putting new players to the test as it only provided one-year contract deals to new players. (The Boston Red Sox, 2009) The Yankees, on the other hand, are prioritizing on establishing the stability of the team on a more long-term basis by signing up players for extended contracts ranging from one-year to seven-year contracts. The Yankees has also signed up more players than the Red Sox. (The New York Yankees, 2009a)
Another organizational change that the Red Sox underwent in order to transform the team’s control of the environment and amplify its ownership for the predicted development of the community within the immediate surroundings of Fenway was its decision to build a hotel near the stadium. (Bailey, 2005) In November 2008, the Red Sox also decided to rebuild Fenway in an effort to make repairs on some of the major problems within the physical structure of Fenway. In addition, the seats in the stadium will be modified as a means to provide comfort to the large audience.
(Ballou, 2008) The Yankees, on the other hand, focused on the management of the Yankee Stadium in terms of selling premium seats and luxury boxes. (Sandomir, 2009) In addition, the Yankees are also expanding its list of sponsors and partners by signing up a marketing contract for Sony under its brand of high-definition technology. The partnership will not only foster marketing relationships between the Yankees and Sony but will also help in improving the facilities within the Yankees Stadium. (The New York Yankees, 2009b)
This particular transformation in the internal structure of both teams pertaining to changes in the roster was fuelled by their goal of maintaining excellence in improving team performance for the purpose of accomplishing objectives for the next season. The off season is a time for sports teams to engage in training in order to ensure their position for the next season of games. Other changes that were implemented were founded on management processes that look after other concerns pertaining to the sports, such as the physical structure and facilities of the stadium, profit, and other marketing opportunities.
The diverse interests or priorities of the Red Sox and Yankees prove how the management of both teams follows a collaborative process of improving the organization as a whole – that is, not only the game, but also other aspects of sports team including its shared values with business industries, the satisfaction of the audience, the survival of the organization in terms of partners and marketing opportunities, and such. According to the approaches in organizational transformation, the changes implemented by the Red Sox and the Yankees may be categorized as First-Order Changes, according to the collated definitions by Levy and Merry.
First-Order Changes, unlike Second-Order changes, are minor or minimal, steering away from the broad “paradigmic” shifts suggested by Second-Order changes. The transformations undergone by both the Red Sox and the Yankees, although dissimilar in nature, were in line with the goals and objectives of these sports teams. There were no major revamps in the internal structures of both teams, and there were no problems seen on the basic foundations of the Red Sox and the Yankees in order to force them to make major and radical changes.
(Levy & Merry, 1986, 6-9) Perhaps, the decision of the Red Sox and the Yankees to make minor changes is influenced by the fact that it has been in the sports industry and the business for many years. The organizations’ familiarity with the ins and outs of the Minor League Baseball and the management strategies to handle both teams, and the firm foundations built by the Red Sox and the Yankees have helped in minimizing the changes that need to be done in order to improve the structure and dimensions of both teams.
However, they were successful in implementing change since the diversity in the transformations covered the issues and aspects of the team comprehensively since changes were not only focused on improving the performance of the team from the additions and deductions in both teams’ rosters, but also including changes on how some aspects of the teams were managed. The Red Sox focused on increasing their influence in Fenway’s surrounding neighborhood, while the Yankees was able to conclude a partnership with Sony Electronics for marketing opportunities as well as the improvement of the Yankee stadium.
These particular changes within the organizations were not intended to change the entire landscape of the Red Sox or the Yankees but to simply add to or improve the present conditions of both sports teams. References Bailey, S. (2005). Sox Deal Seen to Build Hotel Near Fenway. Boston Globe. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from Newspaper Source Plus via EBSCOHost. Ballou, B. R. (2008). Change-Up: A Nip, Tuck for Fenway. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from The Boston Globe Online. Website: http://www. boston. com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/11/07/change_up_a_nip_tuck_for_fenway/ The Boston Red Sox. (2009a).
Hot Stove Report. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from Advanced Media L. P. Website: http://boston. redsox. mlb. com/mlb/news/hot_stove/y2008/free_agent_tracker. jsp? teamAct=bos The Boston Red Sox. (2009b). Sony Electronics Finalizes High-Definition Technology and Marketing Pact with New York Yankees for New Stadium. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from Advanced Media L. P. Website: http://newyork. yankees. mlb. com/news/press_releases/press_release. jsp? ymd=20090108&content_id=3736776&vkey=pr_nyy&fext=. jsp&c_id=nyy Levy, A. & Merry, U. (1986). Organizational Transformation. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.
The New York Yankees. (2009). Hot Stove Report. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from Advanced Media L. P. Website: http://newyork. yankees. mlb. com/mlb/news/hot_stove/y2008/free_agent_tracker. jsp? teamAct=nya O’Connor, I. (2005). Red Sox-Yankees: Mother of all Rivalries. USA Today, Sports, p. 07c. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from Academic Source Premiere via EBSCOHost. ISSN 07347456. Sandomir, R. (2009). Yankees Try New Strategy to Market Premium Seats. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from The New York Times. Website: http://www. nytimes. com/2009/01/14/sports/baseball/14tickets. html? _r=1&ref=business