Myerscough Golf Academy Strategic Change


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Myerscough Golf Academy Strategic Change

  1. 1. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes Strategic Management Analysis - Myerscough Golf MA Sports Management – Strategic Thinking in Sports ManagementResearch Group: Lloyd Bailey, Philip Barnes, Paul Borelan and Dennis Presler.Research Subject: Myerscough College – Golf Department and Facilities St Michaels Road Bilsborrow Preston, Lancashire PR3 ORY Contents1. INTRODUCTIONSection 1.1: Overview Page No. 2 1.2: Purpose 22. RESEARCH METHODOLOGYSection 2.1: Aims 3 2.2: Approach 3 2.3: Limitations 43. DISCUSSIONSection 3.1: Key Themes 4 3.2: Current Strategy 4 3.3: Education 5 3.4: Commercial Cartel 6 3.5: People 7 3.6: Communication 7 3.7: Facilities/Development 8 3.8: SWOT/PESTEL 8 3.9: Conclusion 94. REFERENCES & APPENDIX Page No. 1
  2. 2. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes INTRODUCTION “We will provide the opportunity for all our students to achieve their full potential, whatever their level of study, background or origins, and will ensure the very best experience for all.” Mission Statement, Student Charter 2008 - 20091.1. Myerscough College is a specialist provider of higher education opportunities in an array of unique areas, and in particular, golf. The Golf Academy is sure to give users of the Indoor Studio (Chipping & Putting Green), Simulated Training Centre, 9 Hole Course, Outdoor Putting Green and Shop the ‘ultimate golf experience.’ The College is home to the International Institute for Golf Education (IIGE) 1 who accredit degree courses and carry out further research into the sport; justifiable with roughly five million players pursuing the sport nationwide in a game worth an estimated four billion to the UK economy. In the most recent OFSTED inspection (2008), Myerscough was labelled outstanding in every area.1.2. This study will examine the current strategic situation of the golf facilities at Myerscough and assess the effectiveness of the strategic thinking underpinning the current situation and potential future development of the site. Thinking strategically in sport organisations gives them a competitive edge where they can more readily cope with change (Thibault, Slack & Hinings 1993; Slack 1997; Vanderzwaag 1998; Watt 2003). Given the educational purpose of the facility, key aims should be focused on resource utilization and cost efficiency whereas high quality learning must be seen as but an absolute requirement (Thompson 2001). This study will also help assist when producing proposals for the future development of the Myerscough Golf Academy. DeWit & Meyer (1998, p.137) suggest that ‘a corresponding problem occurs when strategic managers, by holding untested assumptions, unwittingly collude to restrict their knowledge.’ The authors’ then highlight the important influence people ‘looking in’ can have on1 In association with the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) Page No. 2
  3. 3. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes organisations that may become quite rigid in their progression thus further supporting the purpose of this study. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY2.1. Watt (2003, p.124) poses the question ‘if we do not know where we are going, how are we going to get there, and how will we know if we have got there?’ According to Thompson (2001, p.15), the real meaning of strategic management is based around a conscious understanding of ‘how successful and strong the organisation and its strategies are, and how circumstances are changing;’ by looking at previous actions and analysing the thought processes for future ones, we can gain an insight into the level of strategic thinking applied by management within the Academy.2.2. Following a brief analysis of the facility and considering Watt’s (2003) strategy process model (Figure 1), several interview schedules2 were designed to help capture the Figure 1: The Strategy Process (Watt 2003) relevant data desired in Section 2.1 (See Appendix 1 for Example).2 Various schedules were devised due to the range of roles of interview participants; a commercialdirector, golf professional, course leader and lecturer. Page No. 3
  4. 4. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes This model highlights the key stages of the sequential strategic processes for an organisation from which each had to be taken into account when commencing interviews. Open questioning was used to persuade greater discourse and self reflection, giving the person in question the freedom to answer as they deem appropriate. Note taking was undertaken which was later analysed and summarised for more efficient analysis (See Appendix 2 for Commercial Director Example, See Group Reports for Rest of Summaries).2.3. Limitations to the research were minimal although did exist through difficulty accessing certain interview participants. The solution to the problem was seen to email the participants the interview schedule for completion at a later date. This undoubtedly restricted the level of data collection and eliminated the chance to rephrase or probe answers from any questions that tended to over elaborate. DISCUSSION3.1. Key themes that emerged from the interviews and focus group included: + High Quality Education + Commercial Cartel ± People the Asset: Employees, Students, Local Community ± Opposing Views on Communication Processes ± Standard of Facilities/Development3.2. The college has a current HE Strategy (2008 – 2011) that aims to ultimately develop Myerscough further which will help it ‘remain an independent institution.’ Seven key aims are identified in the strategy:  Develop Higher Education Portfolio  Employer Engagement  Research  Partnerships  Learning and Teaching Page No. 4
  5. 5. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes  Student Achievement and Progression  Widen Participation Watt (2003) believes that when establishing a strategy, all members should share the common vision of the organisation; the Golf Professional is synonymous with this belief, considering the Academy’s strategic vision to have one long term goal, of which smaller targets were set to help make the main goal more achievable. The Commercial Director suggests strategy is kept simple to encourage accurate communication; Thompson (2001, p.51) provides support suggesting that at the heart of a strategic vision should be ‘a clear, understood and supported mission…employees must appreciate the fundamental purpose and be committed to its achievement.’ The author proposes a strategic perspective model, taking into account each unique area of the business environment, their processes, values and potential outcomes. People and ideas come top of the list of inputs to highlight their importance. They merge to form creativity, an essential component of strategic management (Ford & Gioia 1995; Henry 2001; Thompson 2001). Figure 2: The Strategic Perspective Model (Thompson 2001)3.3. In what is essentially a marketplace, the UK’s higher education system provides opportunities to fee-paying students. Taking into account Thompson’s earlier statement (Section 1.2) that high quality education is a Page No. 5
  6. 6. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes requirement rather than an objective, the gauntlet lies with the provider to provide a top experience for their ‘consumers’ to ensure a competitive edge over rival providers; ultimately, the easiest way to retain customers is to satisfy them (Westerbeek et al. 2006). Providing a top quality education comes across as the true essence of Myerscough; the college’s strategic objectives aim to enhance teaching, widen participation and improve student achievement and progression. The Commercial Director affirmed this ethos considering education to be at the ‘core of the business.’ A key theme across the interviews between top level management was the importance to help the pupils achieve their maximum potential. In terms of the Academy, the facility caters for high quality teaching to ensure this due to technological advancements and sporting infrastructure; the Lecturer believed they generally help increase the quality of the golfers. Measurement is an essential duty to help assess and evaluate performance (Thompson 2001; Watt 2003); the success of these strategies can be measured through student’s appraisals or employment post-study surveys for example.3.4. Financial resources are directly linked to the evolution of the facility and provision of services. Thibault, Stack & Hinings (1993) highlight the ‘fundability’ aspect of sport which can be used as a vehicle to attract capital from external sources. The Academy has done this to a great extent through the recent sponsorship with sports brand Nike and affiliation with the Professional Golfers’ Association, English Golf Union and the IIGE. These are just few of the commercial links helping form the commercial cartel that has helped fund the recent development of the facility, with the current HE Strategy reporting that the college has a ‘steady stream of income from its commercial enterprises representing well over one million pounds per year.’ The Commercial Director mentions the notion of the ‘Myerscough Brand,’ aspiring to become known for high quality in every form. Mullin, Hardy & Sutton (2000, p.9) consider two major approaches to sports marketing; the first involves promoting Myerscough to consumers whilst the second involves the ‘marketing of consumer and industrial products or services through the use of sports promotions.’ This is where the director sees great potential for the Page No. 6
  7. 7. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes Myerscough Golf Academy, aiming to secure ‘one main line sponsor, a world wide brand.’ His vision goes hand in hand with the current HE Strategy which aims to ‘maximise the opportunities to link education and research with commercial enterprise for mutual benefit.’ To market the facility effectively, management will have to form a tactic that will explore all potential options, challenge the existing suppositions and find the most productive solution (Farmer, Mulrooney & Ammon 1996; Shilbury, Quick & Westerbeek 1998; Morgan & Summers 2005). In summary, the commercial strategies of the Academy are exceptional as they seek to increase and develop their presence in the ever-swelling sports business; key to managing strategy is the ability to detect emerging patterns and help them take shape (Mintzberg 1987, p.74).3.5. One common belief across the research was that people are the major asset to the Academy; many authors support this considering people to be a crucial strategic resource providing quality, originality and guidance (Thompson 2001; Malone 2003; Morrill 2007). Comments such as ‘people are our biggest asset (Director)’ and ‘we have good team work and a hard work ethic (Golf Professional)’ raised prominence regarding the people involved. The students also considered teaching and coaching quality to be of a high standard, however, they believe the ratio of students to staff is too great for their requirements.33.6. Effective communication is essential for effective strategic visioning and implementation (Teck, Foo & Grinyer 1995). There are contrasting opinions about communication directions and acceptability. For example, the Commercial Director believes that the Academy ‘embeds quality the whole way through, with communication travelling from the top to the bottom before working its way back up to the top.’ Opposing this strategy are two members of staff that feel they don’t see creativity in current operational strategies and, including the students, that their input isn’t valued well; the Course Leader feels he is ‘never asked to challenge assumptions, or question the current strategic model and targets,’ whereas the students say they are not consulted3 ‘Coaching staff are stretched and there is difficulty reaching staff outside teaching time leaving ustraining and working on more of an individual basis.’ Page No. 7
  8. 8. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes regarding change and future objectives. Creativity is essential in the formulation of strategy, as is input from all members of an organisation; Mintzberg (1987, p.70) warns ‘effective strategies develop in all kinds of strange ways,’ therefore any potential channel of ideas should not be suppressed.3.7. The Lecturer interviewed was once a student and has seen major development 4 to the Golf Academy in his time there. However, more recently the emphasis has been on improving the equipment rather than the facilities. A common perception across the research was that the facilities are extremely high quality; ‘more than high quality (Lecturer),’ ‘very high standard (Golf Professional)’ and ‘a major influence on the recent league success (Students).’ One minor criticism was of the capability of the driving range (Not long enough for Long Shots), which quite literally ‘tee’d off’ the Lecturer and Students. Conflict between departments also raised a communication issue where the golf students felt that the turf management group had priority over golf course usage. The Student Charter 2008/2009 places an expectation on students to give due respect to the College, its resources and the environment. The Commercial Director calls for a mutual respect between the facilities and students. Searching for ‘Myerscough Golf’ on Youtube, the video phenomenon website, retrieves an interesting video with the tag ‘A couple of people playing a bit of dodgeball with golf equipment, courtesy of good old myerscough college!’ Not only does this suggest a lack of respect from certain students, but also could affect potential future sponsors, consumers or development of facilities.3.8. Before strategy comes a thorough analysis of the organisation and environment. To help aid the next phase of this research project, a SWOT/PESTEL Matrix was created using the research findings (Appendix 3). Strategy is derived from the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and the opportunities and threats of the environment. When a strategy is put in4 In the past ten years, £30 million has been spent upgrading facilities at Myerscough. Page No. 8
  9. 9. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes place, an organisation must restructure in order to meet the strategies needs. Slack (1997) portrays this process in a simple diagram (Figure 3). Assessment of Environmental Threats and Opportunities Organisational Strategy Structure Internal Strengths and Weaknesses Figure 3: Strategy Structure Model (Slack 1997)3.9. Watt (2003) compares the role of a coach or team captain in a sports setting to a managerial role in the sports industry; each must motivate each member, encourage team work and use creative ideas to help conquer a competitor. The Myerscough Golf Academy is a top facility with top people. Strategic thinking is very effective in ensuring the facility maintains its high quality status at present, whilst a common vision within the Myerscough community is a bright unique future as market leader. Analysis is a necessity preceding strategy which must be created to ensure constant growth and change to ensure the facility maintains a competitive edge over its rivals (DeWit & Meyer 1998); across the research findings and literature, strategy and change at the Academy share a siamese bond. Page No. 9
  10. 10. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes REFERENCESDe Wit, B., Meyer, R. (1998) Strategy: Process, Content, Context. London:International Thomson Business Press.Farmer, P.J., Mulrooney, A.L., Ammon, R. (1996) Sport Facility Planning andManagement. Morgantown: Fitness Information Technology Inc.Ford, C.M., Gioia, D.A. (1995) Creative Action in Organisations. London: Sage.Henry, J. (2001) Creative Management. London: Sage.Malone, A.J. (2003) Managing Your Greatest Assets. Oxford: Trafford Publishing.Mintzberg, H. Crafting Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 65(1):66-75, 1987Morgan, M.J., Summers, J. (2005) Sports Marketing. Scarborough: ThomsonLearning Nelson.Morrill, R.L. (2007) Strategic Leadership. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.Mullin B.J., Hardy S., Sutton W.A. (2000) Sport Marketing. Leeds: Human Kinetics.Myerscough College. (2008) HE Strategy Plan 2008 – 2011. Bilsborrow:Myerscough College.Ofsted. (2008) Myerscough College: Inspection Report. Manchester: Ofsted.Shilbury, D., Quick, S., Westerbeek, H. (1998) Strategic Sport Marketing.Melbourne: Allen & Unwin.Slack, T. (1997) Understanding Sport Organisations: The Application ofOrganisation Theory. Leeds: Kinetic Theory.Teck, F.C., Foo, C.T., Grinyer, P.H. (1995) Sun Tzu on Management. Oxford:Butterworth Heinemann.Thibault, L., Slack, T., Hinings, C.R. A Framework for the Analysis of Strategy inNon-Profit Sport Organisations. Journal of Sport Management, 7(1):25-44, 1993Thompson, J.L. (2001) Strategic Management: Awareness and Change. London:International Thomson Business Press.Vanderzwaag, H.G. (1998) Policy Development in Sport Management. Westport:Praeger Publishers.Watt, D.C. (2003) Sports Management and Administration. London: Routledge.Westerbeek, H. Et Al. (2006) Managing Sport Facilities and Major Events. London:Routledge. Page No. 10
  11. 11. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes APPENDIX Appendix 1 – Interview Schedule for Commercial DirectorInterview With: Commercial DirectorCandidate Name: Gary WilkinsonDate of Interview: 12 / 02 / 2009Awareness of Strategic Thinking • How would you describe the term strategic thinking? • How do you see the relationship between strategy and change?Current Strategic Situation • What are the key strengths of the organisation? • Do you see any weaknesses? • What are the most common reasons, if any, why management fails? • What is the current strategic situation of the facility? What strategies are in place that you are aware of? • Would you consider that planning within the facility is more tactical or creative? • Would you say that communication between the team exists between all levels in relation to strategy design? • Are you in co-operation with any allies to help deliver your business plan? If not, how could you go about identifying any? If so, could you identify more?Aspiration and Goals • What are the organisation’s clear milestones? • Outline, in very broad terms, how you would create a strategy, for say, increasing the number of student memberships? • What opportunities do you think could be exploited? • As you develop a strategic vision for the venue, what key criteria would you focus on? • What is your vision for the future of golf at Myerscough College? • Ending Comments Page No. 11
  12. 12. MA Sports Management Philip Barnes Appendix 2 – Summary of Participant’s Views Interview 1: Commercial DirectorStrategic ThinkingParticipant believes strategic thinking to be an ‘awareness of why we are here and ouraspirations.’ They believe it should be brought into practice for both staff andstudents. The key theme is ACHIEVABLE. Strategies can be compared to a businessplan – they need a guide to help you and monitor success. Involves having a plan anda timetable and monitoring these ‘strategies’ on a regular basis to see were they are inrelation to achieving goals.Relationship between Strategy and ChangeSolid Link – They go ‘HAND IN HAND.’ You need to be flexible with the plan,revisit the plan. Should allow for a mix of developed and emergent strategy.Key StrengthsPEOPLE are our biggest asset. Our resources. The Myerscough Brand – Known forQuality. LOCATION**WeaknessesLOCATION** Again. It is quite a remote site therefore there are accessibility issues.Strategy to overcome these issues – private bus links.When Management FailsVery rarely fails, one instance was a natural disaster – Flooding. Loss of emails – lossof communication. Received criticism, review of current disaster plan, emergentstrategy implemented to improve disaster planCurrent strategyEmbed quality all the way through e.g. Marks and SpencerFiltering communication from top to bottom, or bottom up through the organisation.Try to keep strategy simple to keep communication accurate.Strategy for the organisation focused around vision and mission. Strategydevelopment involves all areas and department involvement, taking separate issuesinto consideration.New StrategiesRevisit old strategy and adapt! Time scale/Govt, directorate, Managers, staff, pupilsKEY VALUESFinancial protocols to go through. Quite structured. Evaluate risk Page No. 12
  13. 13. MA Sports Management Philip BarnesGolf – Capital to develop, down to moneyInvolves analytical approach to strategy; financial, health and safety. But room fromcreative ideas.Allies in co-operationGolf manufacturers, Sponsorship – PGAIIGE, Affiliation with EGU and UCLAN, Partners, StakeholdersAlways more partners available if required.Numerous partners, i.e. Nike.International allegiances, e.g. footballClear MilestonesRecruit numbers, keep them and help them ACHIEVECompetitiveHelp pupils go on to meet personal goals in the future**Education is the core of the business**Strategy for Encouraging Optimal Usage of FacilitiesQUALITYCourse – Golf has overriding influenceDual resources, i.e. turf and golf, indoor facilities used by various groups. Golf dept.has last say over turf department.Outside Members • Quality and Cost Efficiency • Made aware that the main use is a teaching resourceConferences, horses, gym, parties – extra incentivesBalance between outside members and studentsSUMMER GOLFSummer golf membershipsFundraisingSaudi Arabian VisitorsCorporate DaysAdult UCLAN coursesThe outside member is not essential for future of the site, not relied upon to developthe site.OpportunitiesOlympic links possibly with equestrian centre and othersLooking to Olympics (not golf) as training venueKey criteria for strategic visionKey issues for new strategy development; STAFF, maintain QUALITY.BudgetingSurveys are done, ask staff, conferences, suggestion boxes, to find out what users anda range of people within the organisation think. Page No. 13
  14. 14. MA Sports Management Philip BarnesEconomic issues, seen problems such as spending at the bar. Risk – RecessionVision for the future of golf at Myerscough CollegeRespect for course from students, and vice versaKeep existing sponsors and support with moreLike one big sponsor! Or brand.Looking for main line sponsor, world wide brand outside golf, but maybe with linksto tournament sponsorship. Appendix 3 – SWOT/PESTEL Matrix Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities ThreatsPolitical Public Funding Lack of Funding Olympic Planning to enhance Training – Permission for Sports Facilities London 2012 DevelopmentEconomic Brand Heavily rely on Ryder Cup Recession, Lack of Sponsorship funding and 2010 Links, Sponsor sponsorship for Sponsorship, future Increase development StudentsSocietal Community Lack of Usage, More Student/Community Involvement Respect for Involvement Ratio – Educational Facilities Site First & ForemostTechnological High Quality Driving Range Training Rivals improving Facilities and Too Short Centre for Technology, Equipment Ryder Cup Recession Golfers, impacting Olympic development AthletesEnvironmental Remote Remote Facilities Natural Habitats Location, Location, Expansion Endangered Diverse Duration of Landscape Golf Course MaintenanceLegal Health & Location, Diversify Faulty Equipment, Safety Health & Accessibility Golf Course Regulations Safety, Rescue Maintenance, Services Accessibility Page No. 14