Each athletic department has exceptional structural aspects of its organizational structure. Most organizations and companies have various levels of hierarchy of work units and subunits. It is common to see this in athletics department. Several sport organizations have also developed specific organizational structures over time. According to Engelberg, et al. (2010), this structure influences the flow of information, philosophical statements, and the setting of rules and policies. Authority seems to be distributed variably within every athletic department. It is extremely imperative for the athletics administrator to comprehend the organizational structure. Hanton, Wagstaff, & Fletcher (2007) pointed out that one must have a good understanding of the two crucial aspects of his or her organization’s structure in order to manage the department efficiently. These aspects include environment and characteristics.
Marketing in any business environment has gone through several changes. Some of these changes are intended, whereas some thrust the process by changing the environmental factors. For instance, if one considers the process of sport organization communicating with its members in 1986, as opposed to 2006, the various tools of communication then were significantly reduced. There were no email, and there were extremely few mobile phones. As a result, athletics department had to depend more on traditional tools including manual databases and mail-outs. According to Hylton et al. (2001), technology has simplified the communication between athletics departments, members and stakeholders over time. Technology is an example of an environment factor that has affected the athletics department. It is extremely hard for athletics department to predict future events in the sports industry. However, Western Illinois University can keep ahead of any changes by using information from external sources.
This external environment defines the structure and landscapes that the athletic department operates within. An example of the political landscape is the shift towards political ideology with more compromised views on the role and governance of the athletics department in the society. Because of the mass appeal and profile of the athletics department, politics has been very keen in associating itself with successful and popular athletic program. According to Shank (2005), certain politicians have influenced the view of the public towards certain sports by being major supporters. Politics has an effect on the administration and operations of sports as depicted by two major areas, which might be included in the environmental scanning process. The first area of effect from the political environment is the policies and ideology of the governing bodies. According to Slack & Parent (2006), this factor can determine the involvement level and support for sport as an industry or as a past-time. In fact, ideological differences can exist between various departments or tiers of government, which creates turbulence for the athletic department and makes the process of environmental scanning increasingly difficult. According to Slack & Parent (2006), governments tend to operate on various tiers and attempt to coordinate and regulate organizations and people via various areas of influence, which include regulation and legislation. Title IX is one of the government legislation that has constantly been shaping the external environment of the Western Illinois University athletics department. For instance, for athletics department to obtain the funding, they have to adhere to Title IX regulations.
According to Shank (2005), the economic environment comprises two areas that are macro and micro environment. The macro-environment is a term focusing on the interactions of the wider economy. On the other hand, the micro environment focuses on the individual decisions made by the athletics department administrators and the structure of the department in the industry. In the US, the prospect of economic support for professional athletes from local governments have attracted athletics department to new economic markets. Certain economic initiatives taken by the federal government and regulatory bodies, including leagues, have an effect on the capability of the Western Illinois University athletics department to communicate with their market. Such initiatives seem to influence the financial health of athletics and allow the athletics department of WIU to invest in marketing opportunities that can further improve the success of the department.
Every organization must consider various differences and beliefs between the potential members and members. Differences along cultural, geographical, societal and ethical lines seem to increase the changing nature and composition of this environment. According to Slack & Parent (2006), athletics has a conventional role in the societies of several nations worldwide. Various athletic programs have dominated from high publicity and high participation that have enabled those involved with them to depend on the traditional link with such aspect of society as class. For instance, golf is often linked to the class of the rich. From Shank’s (2005) perspective, the divide between social class and athletics has long been established and was recently highlighted by personal incomes. This resulted in certain sports to depend heavily on this tradition and enter a state of marketing myopia. Western Illinois University athletics department has to address the social impact of this notion.
According to Engelberg et al. (2010), the societal composition of suburbs of Western Illinois has transformed dramatically over the past two decades. With such shifts, the traditional perception of athletics has significantly been changed. The athletics department needs to transform its strategies in line with the changing perception of the public towards sports.
Changes in the demographic composition are another social effect. Demographics is one of the categories that athletic departments use to determine the amount of resource to allocate to an athletics department. In this case, demographics comprises the various teams and fans. With regard to team, gender ratios seem to remain constant in Western Illinois University. However, in spectator sport, there is a need for the athletics department to attract more women into traditionally male dominated environment. Women are more responsible for and hold a significant influence in the household and financial decision making.
Athletics has also been a common form of television programming for several years, and various high-profile sports have used earnings from broadcasters to aid in the financing of their operations. Western Illinois University athletics department has to appeal to broadcasters and consumers in order to benefit from these earnings. However, they are faced with one challenge, which is unpredictability. According to Hanton et al. (2007), broadcasters are often attracted to very unpredictable sports. As a result, broadcasters play the key role in creating a fan base for the various athletic programs offered by the athletics department.
This is perhaps the most uncertain and dynamic external environment facing the majority of athletic departments. Technology affects the ability of an athletic administrator to operate and administer sports. Therefore, technology that has improved the performance of athletes, and technology allowing for more efficient administrative are two different areas that athletics departments of WIU need to be aware of. Athletic departments have deployed new technologies in order to improve the playability of their sport for several years. There are certain scenarios where technological impacts have significantly benefited athletics by making it more attractive to the audience. Stadium developments might have exclusive domains of more rich international sporting organizations (Shank, 2005). The inception of the racquet material technology in sports, such as tennis and squash, has enabled many of the participants to use similar equipment as the elite tennis players on the international circuit. The technological problem faced by Western Illinois University ensued in the constant changes. Changes in technology have resulted in more expensive equipment required by modern athletes.
The ethical and natural environments have emerged since the early 1990s. These environments are concerned with the interaction of organizations and consumers with the ethical and natural environments. Key issues, such as ethical consumerism, sustainable development and global warming, have risen from outside the sport industry but are having an effect on procedures and policies of athletics departments. The increase in the concern about the natural environment and global warming has resulted in changes in the nature of consumption of sports. Operators of athletic facilities now implement sustainable procedures in order to make sure that noise and waste levels of these facilities do not cause environmental problems (Shank, 2005). This is a direct responsibility of the WIU athletics department to the growing demographic that is aware of the social responsibility issues.
This is the final environment force affecting athletics department. This environment comprises a combination of regulations and laws that might arise from governing associations or legislators. When assessing legal aspects, the athletics department is often subject to act within the law as specified by the constitution (Hanton, Wagstaff, & Fletcher, 2007). Legislations are often ratified by the national government, and their impacts affect all organizations and individuals within its jurisdiction. WIU athletics department is not an exception.
The environmental factors affecting Western Illinois University include the general economic conditions, the legal conditions, political situation, demographics, and territory and domain that the sport organization stakes out for itself, as well its perceived environment. Title IX is one of the government legislation that has constantly been shaping the external environment of the Western Illinois University athletics department. Certain economic initiatives taken by the federal government and regulatory bodies, including leagues, have an effect on the capability of the Western Illinois University athletics department to communicate with their market. Differences along cultural, geographical, societal and ethical lines seem to increase the changing nature and composition of this environment.