Sport and Organizational Dynamics Conference

All sport teams seek a performance "edge."

To achieve this edge, teams have, very appropriately, adopted data analytics and sport science. 

As argued by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, however, "analytics have become so commonplace as to have lost their edge; they have resulted in homogeneity" (April 12, 2016).  Moreover, Verducci proposed that teams are now adopting "new buzzwords (such as) modalities, mental conditioning, neuro-scouting, recovery, informatics, sleep patterns, sports science and the like (to) individualize and customize a performance plan for each player" (SI, April 12, 2016).

Analytics, thus, contribute to competitive parity, but not to a competitive edge. The new buzzwords, based on sport science and analytics, are in common use to optimize individual, not team, performance.  

What has yet to be leveraged within sport in a systematic, best-practices based approach is organization dynamics to provide a competitive advantage for sport teams.  To this end, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business is again hosting the Sport and Organizational Dynamics Conference.  Leadership and organizational experts from American's top schools of business and world sport organizations will share recent research and experienced-based best practice related to organizational dynamics. Participants will learn how they can provide a competitive edge to their sport team performance. (See testimonials from past participants below)

Emphasis in the sessions will be on two areas of organizational dynamics: developing a winning organizational culture and fostering positive leadership.  Research on these topics in relation to sport team performance will be provided, and participants will have opportunities to identify ways in which the principles associated with positive leadership and organizational culture can be applied to their sport.  Participants will leave the conference with systematic approaches to develop positive leadership and a winning team culture.


The Experience

In this two-day Sport and Organizational Dynamics Conference, participants engage with faculty members and leaders in the world of sport in an exciting, interactive journey concerning how to create an edge in team performance.  The Conference provides participants with the tools necessary to leverage best practices in Organization Dynamics not currently leveraged in sport—and thus, the opportunity to gain the competitive advantage that all sport teams seek. Topics will be addressed via pre-conference readings, interactive presentations, panel and group discussions, and pragmatic implementation guidelines.

More specifically, best practices covered address:

  • Developing an optimum team culture
  • Leading in the era of analytics: how to leverage new sources of performance without being overwhelmed by it
  • How to develop a sustainable competitive advantage in sports in times of dramatic complexity and change
  • Overcoming resistance to change
  • Leading a group of specialists (e.g., in coaching, analytics, sport science, medicine, psychology) such that the 'whole is greater than the sum of the parts'

Scott DeRue, Dean, Ross School of Business

We are proud to host the Sport and Organization Dynamics Conference at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Nearly every sports organization has embraced analytics to chart performance and manage talent, but it is the people, the culture and the leadership of the organization that create champions. Winning organizations are built on a sustained culture of excellence and leaders who get the best out of their teams. This conference will bring together the very best from the world of sport with thought leaders and researchers on leadership and organizations to answer how sport organizations achieve sustained excellence.


Past Participant Testimonials

Noah Croom, Assistant General Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves

Great management is a fundamental element of achieving success in professional sports. To sustain success, the truly great teams incorporate the lessons learned from the larger world of business. I could not be more enthusiastic about what I learned at the first annual Sport and Organizational Dynamics Conference. There is an entire cannon of literature and research in the field of management that sports teams could and should be putting to use. At the conference, the best practices related to organizational dynamics were discussed extensively and applied to sport teams performance.  I think anyone involved in team sports will walk away with several tools capable of providing their team a competitive edge in team performance”

Carla Tagliente, Field Hockey Coach, Princeton University

“The Sport and Organizational Dynamics Conference was an incredibly valuable experience.  We always have been big believers that culture is important, but we haven’t been able to fully leverage it to maximize our strengths.  Since leaving the conference, we have taken a deeper dive into our group and individual identity, and we have been very intentional in using critical takeaways to build a stronger culture.    Professor Quinn’s statement, “You get the culture you deserve,” has left a lasting impact on our staff.  As leaders and as team members, we all have to take accountability for our environment.”

Sports Industry Leader Testimonials

Mark Shapiro; President and CEO, Toronto Blue Jays

My management team and I first met with Michigan Ross faculty when in 2005 when I was the General Manager of the Cleveland Indians.  At that time, we discussed the Indians approach to the more quantitative orientation that many baseball teams were adopting in assessing talent. However, Michigan Ross faculty were less interested in the technical aspects and more focused on process issues concerning its implementation and acceptance within the Indians organization.

Based on my experience in a number of leadership positions with the Indians and now with the Blue Jays, I am convinced that the real point of differentiation in achieving excellence in baseball (and I imagine in other sports) is not sport science or analytics given that our competitors have access to the latest approaches in these areas.  I believe that developing a strong culture offers the best opportunity for differentiating a team.  I look forward to attending the S& OD Conference at Michigan Ross.

Bob Quinn – Executive Vice President & General Manager of the Detroit Lions  

Having recently moved to Michigan, I am quickly learning of the many excellent resources available to the Detroit Lions.  A professional colleague and friend, Warde Manuel, the Athletics Director of the University of Michigan, has introduced me to faculty at the University’s Ross School of Business.  Through Warde, I have learned about the Ross faculty's interest in sport--from a fascinating perspective--that of the relationship between organizational science and performance of the team on the field of play. 

While there certainly is expertise on the “business side” of sport, as well as on matters related to team performance such as analytics, nutrition, exercise, weight-training, injury prevention. etc., I am not aware of another center which focuses on what the Sport and Organization Dynamics Conference at the Ross School will focus on--organization dynamics--and its effects on team performance.  I very much look forward to attending the S&OD conference in February and hope to see many of you there.

Anita DeFranz; International and U.S. Olympic Committees

I have spent my career in sport, first as an athlete at Connecticut College, then during my law school time at University of Pennsylvania as an Olympic athlete, followed by a number of leadership positions in sport (Vice-President, Organizing Committee for the LA--1984 Olympic Games; President of the LA84 Foundation; Vice-President, International Olympic Committee) as well as serving on a number of boards (e.g., the Executive Board, International Olympic Committee; NCAA Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics). I have, therefore, attended many sport related conferences.  What I find exciting, and unique, about the Sport and Organization Dynamics Conference is that, for the first time that I am aware of, there will be a systematic effort to address how organizational dynamics best practices, as determined by empirical research conducted by business school experts, can contribute to sport team performance.

Given my experiences, and current challenges faced in sport, a topic to be addressed at the conference which I find very timely  has to do with team culture, and how leadership can develop a culture that will result in "the whole truly being greater than the sum of the parts" (as stated elsewhere in this brochure).  Developing such a culture must address "differences" that exist on teams--whether they emanate from players or coaches from different countries or from American players and coaches with different socio-economic backgrounds. I am delighted that experts who have studied such matters in business will bring their knowledge to the world of sport.

Who Should Attend

Senior leaders responsible for sport team performance--on the field of play.

Typical Titles Include:

  • General Manager
  • Assistant General Manager
  • Athletic Director
  • Assistant Athletic Director
  • Head Coach
  • Assistant Coaches

Conference Director Testimonials

Co-Director Kim Cameron examines the impact of research-based dynamics on sport teams

Co-Director Richard Wolfe on team performance

SODC

Tuition & Fees

Early bird discount price for an individual is $995 through July 1, 2019. After July 1, the individual price is $1,195. If two or more people from the same organization attend, the price for each is only $995.

University of Michigan and Ross School of Business degree-holding alumni receive a 50% discount!

The program fee includes tuition, instructional materials, continental breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks each day, and selected dinners. Fee is payable in advance in US dollars and is subject to change. See our Cancellation, Transfer and Substitution Policy.

Accommodations are on your own. However, we have reserved a limited block of guestrooms at the Michigan Ross Executive Learning and Conference Center ​ in the Ross complex on the campus of the University of Michigan.  Book your room by calling​ 734-764-ROSS (7677)​​ or clicking here.

More info

Early bird discount price for an individual is $995 through July 1, 2019. After July 1, the individual price is $1,195. If two or more people from the same organization attend, the price for each is only $995.

University of Michigan and Ross School of Business degree-holding alumni receive a 50% discount!

The program fee includes tuition, instructional materials, continental breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks each day, and selected dinners. Fee is payable in advance in US dollars and is subject to change. See our Cancellation, Transfer and Substitution Policy.

Accommodations are on your own. However, we have reserved a limited block of guestrooms at the Michigan Ross Executive Learning and Conference Center ​ in the Ross complex on the campus of the University of Michigan.  Book your room by calling​ 734-764-ROSS (7677)​​ or clicking here.

Brochure and Program Information

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