Major league baseball franchises and their minor league players

Major league baseball franchises and their minor league players

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Major league baseball franchises and their minor league players maintaining a relationship on and off the field
Keating, Michelle
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University of South Florida
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Relationship theory
Employee relationships
Relationship management
Dissertations, Academic -- Mass Communications -- Masters -- USF ( lcsh )
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theses ( marcgt )
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ABSTRACT: In today's professional arena, organized sports have grown to become institutionalized and highly organized through corporations in a multi-billion dollar industry. Through the use of in depth interviews completed online, this study investigated the role franchise communication plays in the development of nineteen minor league players' relationships within the Major League Baseball (MLB) sports industry. Results found that players feel their organizations disproportionately help some players achieve success over others and withhold information. As players, they felt they have a limited voice regarding the direction of their careers. Despite a difficult working environment, the players' desire to achieve success and perform at their best on a consistent basis remains strong. A majority of the players experience job satisfaction and feel motivated, but these factors were not related to their employer's organization.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Michelle Keating.

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Major league baseball franchises and their minor league players :
b maintaining a relationship on and off the field
h [electronic resource] /
by Michelle Keating.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
3 520
ABSTRACT: In today's professional arena, organized sports have grown to become institutionalized and highly organized through corporations in a multi-billion dollar industry. Through the use of in depth interviews completed online, this study investigated the role franchise communication plays in the development of nineteen minor league players' relationships within the Major League Baseball (MLB) sports industry. Results found that players feel their organizations disproportionately help some players achieve success over others and withhold information. As players, they felt they have a limited voice regarding the direction of their careers. Despite a difficult working environment, the players' desire to achieve success and perform at their best on a consistent basis remains strong. A majority of the players experience job satisfaction and feel motivated, but these factors were not related to their employer's organization.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 101 pages.
Adviser: Derina R. Holtzhausen, Ph.D.
Relationship theory.
Employee relationships.
Relationship management.
Dissertations, Academic
x Mass Communications
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Major League Baseball Franchises and Their Minor League Players, Maintaining a Relationship on and off the Field by Michelle Keating A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts School of Mass Communic ations College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Derina R. Holtzhausen, Ph.D. Kim Golombisky, Ph.D. Randy Miller, Ph.D. April 8, 2008 Keywords: Relationship theory, employee relationships, sports, relationship manage ment, communication Copyright 2008, Michelle Keating


i Table of Contents List of Tables ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... iv Chapter One ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 1 Importance of Relationships in Baseball ................................ ................................ .................. 3 Chapter Two ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 7 Relationship Dimensions and Types ................................ ................................ ........................ 9 Trust ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 12 Openness ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 14 Commitment ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 18 Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 19 Job Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 22 Motivation ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 24 Major League Baseball ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 28 Chapter Three ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 36 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 36 In Depth Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 37 Online Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 38 Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 40 Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 41 Research topics ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 42 Chapter Four ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 43 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 43 Openness ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 43 zation ................................ ............................. 4 3 No one really knows what is going on ................................ ................................ ................... 45


ii Of the organizational staff, who do you turn to for information? ................................ ........ 48 It would be nice to know where I stand in their eyes every once in a while ......................... 49 Understanding what it takes to advance your career ................................ ........................... 50 They never give you a chance unless you are a prospect, it seems ................................ ...... 51 You can make yourself one of them if you have all the elements the y are looking for ........ 55 Commitment ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 57 I just want to be with a team that wants me ................................ ................................ ......... 57 ................................ ............................. 59 Motivation ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 65 Can the organization do anything to incre ase your motivation? ................................ .......... 67 If it is not the organization that motivates you to perform at your best, where does your motivation come from? ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 68 Job Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 69 Screaming girls, lots of fans, intense competition, and the promise of lots of money ......... 69 Player pe rspective: Is the current system effective? ................................ ............................. 71 Chapter Five ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 73 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 73 Discussion of the results ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 73 Communication format ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 74 Openness ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 75 Trust ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 76 Commitment ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 76 Job Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 77 Motivat ion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 77 MLB culture ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 78


iii Chapter 6 ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 80 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 80 Implications for MLB baseball ................................ ................................ ................................ 80 Implications for relationship management theory ................................ ................................ 81 Discussion of the method ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 81 Limitations of this Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 82 Future Research Direction ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 83 List of References ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 85 APPENDICES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 91 APPENDIX A ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 92 APPENDIX B ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 97


iv List of Tables Table 1.1 ................ 30


v Major League Baseball Franchises and Their Minor League Players Maintaining a Relationshi p on and off the Field Michelle Keating ABSTRACT highly organized through corporations in a multi billion dollar industry. Through the use of in depth interview s completed online this study investigated the role franchise communication plays in the development of nineteen minor league player relationships within the Major League Baseball (MLB) sports industry. Results found that players feel their organization s disproportionately help some players achieve success over others and withhold information. As players, they felt they have a limited voice regarding the direction of their careers. Despite a difficult working environment, the players desire to achieve success and perform at their best on a consistent basis remains strong. A majority of the players experience job satisfaction and feel motivated, but these factors were not related to their em


1 Chapter One Introduction fessional sports arena, organized sports have grown to balance both its profit motivation and its public competitive entertainment persona. Through the use of organizational methods and sports theories, organizations have begun to build corporate empires t hat center around a few player employees who provide entertainment for the public. For these organizations, dissecting the behavior of each employee and failure. In an e nvironment where sports are increasingly retaining business organizational strategies in their corporate plans, as scholars, we must be mindful of understanding the sporting atmosphere and understanding corporate management limitations in this environment. To help determine the success of organizational effectiveness, theorists have proposed that managers emphasize relationship building to help fulfill this objective. Researchers must realize that relationship theories developed in the business setting ma y not translate well in the athletic sports industry due to structural expectations, and performance differences. With team sports, the relationship between individual player traits and team performance is complex. There is an abundance of sports related research across history, psychology, economic, marketing, and sociology disciplines. Despite the fact that sports have grown into highly organized corporations in a multi billion dollar industry, few studies have focused on the internal communications betw een the players and the organization. A study of the relationship dynamics in a sports


2 organization might provide unique insight into player/employees and organizational communication on satisfaction and motivation. In the interest of understanding and i mproving player labor relations, this study seeks to explore the development of employer player/employee relationships within the Major League Baseball (MLB) sports industry by seeking answers to questions regarding suggestions of using relationship theory to build better employee/employer relations. Interests in researching this topic have to do with improving the relationships between the players and their organizations, and maxim perceptions of the role communication plays in their relationship with their organization. The following research introduces new as pects of minor league player perspectives, but also borrows heavily from past research in both public relations relationship and sports organization studies. Next, current minor league baseball players were questioned about the relationship they have with the MLB organization they perspective. This research uses participants from several baseball franchises to understand if the individual perspectives are developed fr om a unique organizational environment or a pervasive culture crossing individual organization boundaries. Researching several team organizations and not just one can investigate problems throughout the environment and highlight areas of improvement that a ll teams need to be aware of when internally auditing the strength of their relationships with minor league players.


3 Through this research, I hope to provide greater awareness of the need for improved relationships and communication between organization al teams and minor league baseball players. Possibly this research will promote dialogue about communication systems within the MLB organizational structure and increase interest in a research area that previously has had little scholarly interest. Impo rtance of Relationships in Baseball Successful teams not only have highly able and motivated players, but they also achieve synergies that other teams do not have. More specifically, successful teams ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of its pa rts. Organizations, realizing the interdependence with their employees, develop different types of relationships, seek to minimize conflict, and maximize productivity. To do this, organizations solicit active support from proven systems in the environment Many researchers emphasize that relationships help to reconcile goals between organizations and their constituents, therefore helping to advance the goals of the organization (Grunig & Huang, 2000; Ledingham & Brunig, 2000; Weintraub & Pinkleton, 2001). In most industries it is difficult to determine the value of an employee and compare one employee against another. However, in baseball, every action a player player has a constant but unknown underlying level of performance. Changes in the


4 Given the high amount of information employers have regarding the performance interest to attempt to cultivate a positive relationship with their player employees to maximize performance levels. Research findings sh ow managers who use communication as a strategic tool to build and maintain relationships help to reduce organizational conflicts and help to foster cooperation between an organization and its employees (Huang, 2001, p. 275). Generally each employee has a perception of the quality of the organization within his or her environment -a perception constructed by personal evaluations of investment in the employee (Tsui, Pierce, Por ter & Tripoli, 1997), and the patterns of how people communicate (Monge, Rothman, Eisenberg, Miller, & Kirstie, 1985), and the degree to which they perceive organizational communication to be supportive (Eisenberger, Fasolo, & Davis LaMastro, 1990; Tansky & Cohen 2001) all contribute to the overall working environment in an organization and help management understand the elements of organizational effectiveness. Although baseball is a team game, many different individuals play this game and have diffe rent arousal/ anxiety levels and motivation strategies required for consistently high levels of performance. A common goal of both players and the organization is for the player to consistently demonstrate a high level of performance in game play through s trong motivation. The way leaders promote and create high levels of group motivation can have a dramatic effect on the way a group performs (Turman, 2003). By examining the relationship between the organization and its players one can begin to conclude what


5 organization motivation strategies and player motivation needs could highlight a weakness in organizational processes. Management scholars have noted the associa tion between effective organizations and the presence of good leaders and successfully functioning teams. In a study of baseball performance and increase the probab ility of their team winning, Singell (1993) found that performance was found to be improved through motivation of individual players, which can be affected by the way man agers conduct practice, use players in game situations, or mediate disputes between players. Managers are found to contribute significantly to the productivity of the organization and the performance of their subordinates in major league baseball. S analysis indicates that a team that has a good versus average manager is likely to win several more games over a season, all else equal, which often is the difference between first and second place (p. 58). The organizational communication manager needs a theory that identifies when employees might develop cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors that may hurt or harm the organization, as well as a theory that tells him/her when and how to communicate with his/her employees. It is the communica tion managers who must help their organization adjust to and influence a complex environment of other baseball managers are in a position to utilize communication and relationship tools to improve the players and maximize performance.


6 Several theories such as rhetoric theory, social exchange theory, and organizational information theory relating to communication styles and subsequent effects of employer and employee r elationships have been developed and are in use today. These theories have been practically applied in numerous corporations and organizations, resulting in a strong history of literature that profiles situations in need of successfully or unsuccessfully implementing theoretical strategies.


7 Chapter Two Literature Rev i ew To some scholars, relationship management has become synonymous with public relations (Ledingham, 2000, 2003; Ledingham & Bruning, 1998). The study of organizational relationships h as become an important research topic in recent years (Broom, Casey, & Richey 19997, 2000; Huang 2001; Hung 2005; Hon & Grunig 1999; Ledingham & Bruning 2000). Scholarship includes definitions, dimensions, attitude studies, public organization types, outco mes, and process models that all contribute to the theory that the relationships an organization builds and maintains with various publics Ledingham (2003) describes four developments that led to the emergence of framing public relations within the relational perspective. He states that first relationships came to be recognized as a central role within public relations. Within the notion of ns was re conceptualized as a management function. Scholars went on to identify types and elements that contributed to relationships between organizations and publics. Finally, scholars developed models to accommodate relationship processes and outcomes ( p. 182). In reviewing the development of this topic, Broom, Casey and Richey (1997) explore the concept of relationships and note the absence of an operational definition in public relations theory. In an attempt to further relationship theory, Broom, Ca sey and Richey (1997) construct a concept of relationship tenets that includes distinct measurable


8 properties for future scholars. Following this, Ledingham and Bruning (1998) provide a definition of an organization exists between an organization and its key publics, in which the actions of either can impact the economic, (2003) describe their vision of a relationship as a joint activity between two parties in which they share information, and that is jointly interpreted and integrated into a shared They describe the process as routines tha t encode formal and informal procedures and scripts for how the parties have learned to do things. They also go on to note that an to the forces in the environment ov er which the parties in the relationship have little or no Ledingham (2003) argues that relationship management has evolved into a comprehensive body of work and needs to become a general theory in public relations. Ledingham states that the relationship management perspective as a theory explains that the purpose and direction of an organization is affected by relationships with key publics interests of organizations and publics through the management of organization public practitioners with a framework for demonstrating the contribution of public relations initiatives Therefore, the desired outcomes of public relations practice are strong public relationships. This perspective holds that public relations initiatives should generate


9 understan ding that benefits both organizations and publics. Ledingham (2003) also strongly argues for practitioners to realize the importance of the theory, stating that the public relatio public relationships involve an ongoing interchange of needs, expectations, and fulfillment. The outcome of effective relationship management is mutual understanding and benefit. This relationship state reflects mutual perceptions of needs and expectations of fulfillment. In return, mutual benefit strategies can generate economic, societal, and political gain for zes the importance of the theory by stating: the value of relationships can be determined by reduced costs of litigation, regulation, legislation, boycotts, or lost revenue that result from bad relationships. Relationships also help the organization by al igning with donors, consumers, shareholders, and legislation needed to support organizational goals. (p. 10) Relationship Dimensions and Types After conceptualizing organization public relationships, researchers started proposing characteristics tha t represent qualities of the relationships. Based on the principle that there are many factors (dimensions) that affect relationships, scholars (Broom, Casey, & Ritchey, 1997; Grunig, 1999; Hung, 2005; Ledingham & Bruning, 2003; Ledingham, Bruning, Thom lison & Lesko, 1997; Sriramesh, Grunig, & Dozier, 1996) have contributed to a body of research identifying individual dimensions that contribute to the process and outcomes of relationships.


10 Ledingham and Bruning (1998) attempt to identify ways relations hips are initiated, developed, and maintained. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods, they identified trust, openness, involvement, investment, and commitment as separate dimensions that all contribute to a good organization public r elationship. They explain: Relationships flourish when there is a balance within the relationship; both parties feel the other party is investing time and themsel ves both parties are willing to commit to the relationship; and both parties can be trusted to act in a relationship supportive manner. (p. 58) complete a relationship, as well as overlap in agreement regarding other qualities. For the purpose of this research, three of the most commonly cited dimensions (trust, commitment, and openness) will be used. Ledingham, Bruning, Thomlison, and Lesko (1997) developed a list of 17 relatio nship dimensions: investment, commitment, trust, comfort with relational dialects, cooperation, mutual goals, interdependence/power imbalance, performance satisfaction, comparison level of alternatives, adaption, non retrievable investment, shared technolo gy, summate constructs, structural bonds, social bonds, intimacy, and passion. These variables were studied qualitatively to help determine organization public public re lationship centered around building trust, demonstrating involvement, investment, commitment, and maintaining an open communication has value in that it impacts the stay


11 ranked an organiz ation highly with regard to the specified five relationship dimensions (trust, involvement, investment, commitment, open communication) were more likely to attempted to unde rstand what dimensions contributed to well initiated, developed and to be seen as mutually beneficial, based on mutual interest between an organization and its sign Hon and Grunig (1999) contributed to relationship dimensions in their guideline for measuring relationships. They identified the following four relationship outcome indicators: control mutuality, trust, commitment, and sati sfaction. Control mutuality (the ability of one side to influence the other) can also be seen as a condition in a relationship as well as an outcome of the relationship. Researchers found that organizations, depending on how they want to inter act with publics in their institutional environments, develop different types of relationships. In their guideline, Hon and Grunig (1999) identified communal rel ationships and exchange relationships as two types of relationships. Later, Hung (2005) studied mutual, communal, covenantal, contractual, symbiotic, manipulative, and exploitive relationships. Below is an analysis of the three relationship dimen sions (trust, openness, and commitment) that have historically been emphasized as keystones in relationship literature. The analysis is followed by a review of organizational culture, a term that will help in understanding how the three dimensions are prio ritized and regarded in the context of the baseball setting. Finally, a thorough review of motivation and job


12 satisfaction will be used to understand how these relationship elements can influence the players. These terms have been explored from both the pu blic relations and sports literature standpoint, to give greater understanding of how the dimensions can be manipulated within a sports setting. Trust Trust is a foundational characteristic that allows organizations to exist (Grunig & Huang, 200 0). Because managers often serve as an intermediary between the players and team owners during sports personnel changes and contract negotiations, trust for employees on an interpersonal and organizational level in an MLB organization is essential to keep business on track. In employee/ employer relationships, Grunig (1999) stated that trust is one of the willingness to open itself to another. This would indicate that trust is a learned emotional skill. Ledingham and Bruning (1998) relationship can rely on each other. Dependability, fo rthrightness, and trustworthiness are trust between the employer and employee (Hosmer, 1995; Ledingham and Bruning, 1998; McNight, Cummings & Chervany, 1998). Trust forms b to trust. A breakdown in trust between employee and employer results in negative consequences on both sides.


13 viewpoint. Stacks and Watso doing what it says it wi the behavior of the relationship partner. In a business context, it is important to understand levels of trust that develop due to the actions or behaviors of another party. Institu tion based trust maintains that trust reflects the security one feels about a situation because of guarantees, safety nets, or other structures. Cognition based trust maintains that trust relies on rapid cognitive cues or first impressions, as opposed to p ersonal interactions. Seines and Sallis (2003) stated that Cummings and Chervany (1998) noted that some trust theorists previously have b elieved trust develops gradually over time. By presuming that trust grows over time, theorists assume that trust levels start small and gradually increase. Cummings and Chervany also cited studies reflecting high levels of initial trust when two parties be gan working together. Research shows a discrepancy between initial demonstration of high levels of trust and a notion that trust develops over time. This lack of clarity in the formation of trust, shows a weakness in understanding determinate formations of trust between parties.


14 Openness Ledingham (2003) standpoint, openness is a key factor in relationship building of knowledge is an important challenge for organizations and their managers. To make knowledge available, it is crucial that individuals and departments become involved in the process of knowledge sharing. Employers and employees can improve their joint learning by facilitating information exchange, developing common learning arenas, and updating behavior accordingly. As stated by Messmer ( be able to share all of the details about business decisions or activities, they should strive to keep staff updated on critical matters...keeping your staff in the loop prevents rumors Research conc erning different factors influencing the degree and ways in which people share their knowledge has grown. Vries, Van den Hooff, and Ridder (2006) explain that emphasis has been placed on the relationships between team communication styles and job related c ognitions. Knowledge sharing is conceptualized in terms of two knowledge sharing attitudes: eagerness to share and willingness to share knowledge. and jointly create new sharing behavior consists of bringing or donating knowledge as well as getting or collecting knowledge. Both behaviors distinguished here are categorized as active


15 processes. People are eith er actively communicating to others what they know or actively consulting others to learn what they know. Vries, Van den Hooff, and Ridder (2006) continue to explain that while both ledge sharing, orientation toward the group. It implies a positive attitude to other members of a group; a readiness to reply to colleagues kindly. Publics are willing to provid e access to their to behave similarly. They do not initiate actively sharing their knowledge easily if they are uncertain about whether others are also willing to co also donating and collecting knowledge as an orientation toward the subject about which knowledge can be shared. Whether other group members will also share their knowledg e is not really relevant to them -it is the subject about which knowledge is being shared that triggers them. People are eager to let others know what they know because they themselves consider it valuable and expect others to appreciate their knowledge. I t implies a positive attitude to actively show knowledge about a certain subject. Actors eager to share their knowledge will spout their knowledge, invited or uninvited (p. 117). Pincus, Knipp and Rayfield (1990) discuss a communication climate wi thin an various stimuli coming from the organization (p. 174). The organizational structure, individual responsibilities, reward/punishment, performance standards, warmth / support,


16 communication climate (p. 175). Contributors to an organizational communication climate are the quality and accuracy of downward communication, empathy with subo rdinates, quality and accuracy of upward communication, and information reliability (p. 176). Essentially, effective communication requires a free exchange of information. In a study to understand the dynamics of openness in the workplace, Borowski (1998 an attitude where managers feel they are outsiders in the firm they work for. Managers no connection with employees and thus will act in ways to show their power in the workplace. It fosters a belief among employees that discussing anything with 1630). T he development of this attitude due to a lack of communication and empathy is One solution to close the gap between employees/ employers is the implementation of feedback. Feedback can promote job enrichment. When relevant information is provided in a timely fashion, workers are more likely to make needed adjustments to their performance. Frequent feedback makes it less likely that workers will be demoralized by realizing that their previous work e fforts have been incorrect or that their work needs to be modified. This can also create connection between employers and employees that Borowski (1998) feels is lacking in the workplace. Generally in sports, although field management is closest to and in the best position to evaluate player performances as successful or failing, the decisions are made


17 individual cognitive processes for athletes failing in sport perfo rmances noted the high office staff. Players look for clues to the evaluated status of their performances. In the absence of concrete ollowed, taboos avoided and fetishes guarded -all as strategies believed to provide added control over outcomes, and Ball (1976) regarding the fails players for non game performance reasons; length of hair, reputation for eccentricity 733 ). As players read clues into the behavior of field management, they attempt to resea


18 Commitment p. 58). Commitment satisfaction and employee commitment to the organization has been found to develop Research of different employer employee relationships finds that employees perform better, and express a higher commitment level when they work within an Porter & Tripoli, 1997, p.1106). This research argues that employers who invest time, feedback, communication, and support in their employees equal to or greater than the employees have invested in their jobs will see a greater return in productivity and performance. Ledingham et al. believes that employee s judge the commitment of an organization by its committed welfare to its community. Under the assumption that a business views its employees as an asset, not an expense, commitment examines the degree to which both the employee and the organization believ e the relationship is worth spending energy, resources and time to cultivate and promote.


19 Culture Sriramesh, Grunig, and Dozier (1996) studied the concept of organizational culture. They used corporate culture to describe the nature of the communicat ion system inside organizations and the external communication that organizations have with publics outside the organization public relations. Once theorists recognized the strong effect of culture on organizational processes, including communication, they quickly began to ask Corporate relationships are an important variable that may help explain the communication and relational activities of an organization. Researchers use the concept of organizational cu lture to explain why organizations have the type of communication systems they have. Scholars question that if relationships can be changed, then a subsequent change in culture might change the communication system to make the organization more effective. way to change its culture. rules of the game for getting along in the organization, or as the ropes that a newcomer must lea organizations have formal orientation procedures to acclimate new employees to the organizational norms, acculturation takes place at other informal levels. They found corporate cultur e to be important variable that might help explain the communication and public relations activities of organizations. Holladay and Coombs (1994) investigated the role that delivery of a message especially as it pertains to


20 charisma among message recipients (p. 183). I n a study of workplace behavior, Fodchuk (2007) explains that it is the workplace environment and cultural perceptions of justice that create the behaviors of the employees and the relationships they develop with their organization. Fodchuk cites several a spects within a working environment that leads to counterproductive employee behavior. 28). Examples cited are theft, violence against colleagues, gossiping, blaming co workers, and submitting below par work performances (p.28). Just as a workplace environment can create counterproductive behavior, it can also influence employees to go above and beyond their job requirements for their organization. Fodchuk (2007 ) explains antecedents to employee citizenship behaviors. Employee citizenship behaviors are defined as voluntary individual behavior that the organizations reward system does not directly recognize such as altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship and co urtesy (p.29). The concept of organizational culture has thoroughly been studied by Schein (1985). He believes that organizational culture manifests itself in behavioral cues and actions that are unwritten but followed by members of the organization. Sch ein believes that organizational cultures develop to help members cope with their environment: A pattern of basic assumptions, invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaption and internal in tegration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems. (p. 9)


21 Schein (1985) attributes culture as a profound influence on situations and argues that our failure to take culture seriously in the corporate world stems from the abstractness of the more important concepts such as assumptions, norms and values. The failure of organizational leaders to seriously consider their own culture when implementing (1985) work describes the pervasive and unquestioned organizational realities discussed as assumptions, cultural norms, and values. Assumpt ions are described as an unconscious awareness of truths that members believe to be their reality. They are typically taken for granted and are beneath ordinary awareness by organizational members. These unquestioned aspects of culture penetrate every part of cultural life and infiltrate everyday experiences. Cultural assumptions only become seen when an outsider spends time in a foreign culture and questions the behaviors and thought processes of the members. Cultural assumptions encompass cultural value s. According to Schein (1985), cultural values are social principals, goals, and standards that organizational members ng in the culture and help make up a moral code for the organizational members. While values specify what is important to organizational culture members, norms establish expectations for behaviors among one another. The unwritten rules that lead members of a cultural organization to act, behave, and guide their expectations are defined as norms. Norms define what is considered normal and abnormal. By creating a code of conduct by which an individual or group is expected to behave, norms are an


22 expression of values. Dress code, appropriate behaviors, such as being courteous of co workers, and expected consequences such as disrespecting superiors are all examples of cultural norms. Together assumptions, norms and values create an invisible world that is unique to the environment and followed unquestionably by its members. All the cultural factors mentioned in the previous paragraphs -communication styles, unwritten rules, and leadership qualities -contribute to the culture of an organization. Understa nding the complexities and relationships of organizational culture helps to create an understanding of the player and organization actions within an environment. For this research, in an effort to understand various dimensions of MLB relationships, an unde rstanding of the underlying culture will help this research explain its findings and help create realistic suggestions for positive changes to the relationship between MLB players and the organization. Job Satisfaction While research shows that bitter ness and blame is likely to result when people are deprived of long term career jobs (Judge & Watanabe, 1994, p. 101), a predictable career progression with long and diligent service to one employer are luxuries that MLB employee achieve. If players are likely to feel bitterness while employed with an MLB organization, why do they continue to pursue a baseball career? People are attracted to sports at which they are reasonably good. Such behavior is consistent with organizational psychology research that has examined the association


23 between job satisfaction and job performance ( McAllister & Michalik, 1995, p. 386). compromise his or her ideal balanc e of work and leisure with the prevailing demands of the employer. This raises the question of balancing life outside of work. Providing benefits that outweigh the cost of maintaining a relationship where employees feel positively towards one another has been of interest to researchers. Player employees of baseball organizations often find themselves on a new team or in a new organization from year to year due to trades, releases, and contract ee mobility found that: Mobility is not just the degree to which an attractive alternative position is available, but also the probability that the position will be accepted. For higher levels of mobility, an employee will be more likely to leave than t o stay. When this occurs, the employee may begin to be seen as one of them rather than one of us. Past research has shown that a person can be seen as psychologically part of an out group even though, nominally, that person is still part of the in group. ( p. 384) received greater rewards than the highly mobile employee or highly immobile employee; can be applied to baseball players, then it could be assumed that each player participates in his job function under various degrees of treatment depending on individual contract situations. Judge and Watanabe (1994) proposed a compensation hypot hesis that suggests work into other domains


24 ( workers with dissatisfying jobs seek out pleasurable experiences in their non work lives ) is appropriate for some individuals, and the segmentation model ( there is no relationship between job and life satisfaction ) will accurately describe other employees. Results of their study suggest that for most individuals job and life satisfaction are positively related. The spillover model seems appropriately to characterize most individuals, while the compensation and segmentation models also characterize many. Lance (1991) studied job satisfaction and found that in a competitive job market 141). Employers are forced to compete for talent, and employee job satisfaction increases is re asonable to question if the attractiveness of a currently held sports position would opportunities provided by other teams competing for players would lead to increas ed job Motivation motivations can lead employers to structure their organizations i n a fashion that efficiently could maximize employee potential. Psychologists express the performance and motivation relationship as P=A*M where P is performance, A is ability, and M is


25 motivation (Chung, 1968, p. 64). Scholars have found a broad range of significant employee motivations and the environmental difference (business and sport) leads to a difference in employee motivations. The discrepancy between a corporate employee and athletic player employee provides insight that employers need to tailo r a motivational climate meant to enhance individual organizational work groups. Since there has been a motivational difference between players and corporate employees, employers need t o be careful not to assume that corporate motivational packages will have similar effects on athletic player employees. he increasingly dynamic nature research found that individuals display a performance orientation and tend to demonstrate their competence by making comparisons of their ability with others either to obtain favorable competence appraisals or to avoid negative jud gments of their abilities (p. 1085). She created a model that focuses on learning, proving oneself, and avoiding failure. Dragoni finds that leadership and climate perceptions are likely precursors to state goal orientation. Also, the consistency of leader particular achievement goal over time and across group members leads to a pattern among the employees trying to also emphasize that particular achievement goal (p. 1085). Generally, certain achievements that are recognized by employers become achievement


26 form of goal orientation for employees. learning goal orien tation and overall job performance. A goal orientation is explained as individuals with a high learning goal orientation approach new tasks with the intention to develop skills and increase abilities. Comparatively, individuals with low learning goal orientations view their abilities as fixed and immobile. In sports, a good understandin talent. Unlike the corporate world, motivation in mature athletes has been found to be a dispositional, stable, and a developed self element. Mallett and Hanarahan (2004) asked monstration of a high ability in an achievement setting) and internal motivations (pursuit of being someone special and personal goals) are motivating forces within an athlete, rather than financial reward or winning. f baseball players focused on their fear of 726). His explanation that te ams are structured around their game generated positions and are essentially closed systems, consequently, there is no place for failures to go but out of


27 that system (p. 732). Due to the explicit set of rules within the game of baseball and the simple goa l for the outcome of the game (to have the most points), Ball identified failure as a separation or unsuccessful pursuit from a goal specified position (p. 726). Essentially, if an athlete fails to meet their specified goals, then they are discharged from their position. failure is always upon them; it is one of the constantly problematic facets of their ). Failure and the position and the timeliness of the failure. Baseball performances are public and a failure likely to be one of organizational teammates and officials is a strong motivational incentive to perform at the for different groups of publics watching the performance. Sports organizational theorists could benefit from the kn


28 Major League Baseball MLB is a multi million dollar industry with a complex organizational network that operates through over 30 fr anchise organizations, or teams (Ozanion & Badenhausen, 2006, p. 1) Many Americans are never exposed to the highly complex corporate structure and simply see the resulting games that are played at the highest level of performance. Each individual MLB tea m is privately owned by one or many people. The day to day management of the teams takes place in a typical institutional setting with its levels of responsibility and departments. The administrative structure includes a media relations department and se curity and merchandising departments. The team also includes a general manager, a big league manager, a farm director, and an assistant farm director. In addition to these managers, six big league and numerous minor level scouts report to various managers players who play on other teams, as well as players still competing on school teams. The teams also have individual team managers, coaching staff, strength and conditioning coaches, an d certified athletics trainers The games America sees publicly televised each year are games that compete at the highest achievement level -the major leagues. However, MLB has set up a minor league system to help prepare players for the major leagues. O rganized professional baseball is built upon a hierarchy of leagues. The major league at the top constitutes the upper caste. Several minor leagues beneath are classified into a categorized lower caste. These classifications systematically vary in salary, prestige, and player ability, and can be arranged into a traditional stratification pyramid with the high caste majors at the apex,


29 the high minors at the top of the lower caste, and the low minors at the base. Throughout this system, minor league teams are owned outright, subsidized, and tied in terms of teams in the United States, some in Canada, and the remainder in Mexico. There are six levels of minor leagues t hat players advance through before appearing in the major leagues. The players are not required to compete at each level, and team to send a player to, based on the the team. The teams allow each level to compete against another franchise team during the season. Generally, a young player who is signed to a team out of school will enter minor league spring training leagues. Players expect to spend several years advancing through the minor leagues. These players are routinely moved from team to team depending on space availability, injuries, and performance levels (J. Wesley, personal communication, October 2008). Each team is placed in a small suburban town where the franchising team either leases the stadium from the town or a stadium owner. Each minor league team competes for an entire season, attempting also to compete in a playoff series, set up exactly as the major league team is set up. The players on the roster may not remain the same throughout the season, but the team managers are attempting to show the head office their own managing and coaching skills by creating a winning team (J. Wesley, personal communication, Oct ober 2008).


30 Triple A Double A High A Low A Rookie Ball Short Season Major League


31 Players often view baseball team managers as a communication link to the organization, acting as an intermediary between the players, the team, and the front office (Singell, 1993, p. 50). The manag resource when they are seeking personal information regarding their career and organizational decisions. However, in reality, managers must be careful to maintain a stability and advancement. The conflicting role of the manager leads one to wonder how Baseball managers, like other supervisors, a performance. Managers directly affect team performance by their determination of how the individual players are used during a game. Duties include determining the players in the starting lineup, the pitching rotation, and othe r numerous game tactics. These decisions require an understanding of the game, an ability to monitor and assess player weaknesses (Hakes & Sauer, 2004). Managers often are given conflicting orders and priorities from the head office. Minor league managers compete for resources due to budget constraints and team marketing efforts. The overarching goals for the franchising team are to develop key players to the best of their ability, maintaining a winning (high revenue) minor league team, while constantly evaluating costs and maintaining a budget (Singell, 1993, p. 51). Franchises often dictate the amount of playing time allotted to specific players, and managers ar e responsible for creating winning game plans while also limiting some key


32 requesting more playing time in order to advance in his own career, one wonders where alty lies. Is it with the player who sees him on a daily basis and respects him as a person responsible for career making decisions, or does he instead carry out the orders of the franchise, when they might go directly against the wishes of some of his pla yers? The minor league teams are dispersed throughout the country as well as Canada, so the need for communication, organization, and technology is great. The complexity of a franchising team makes it clear that the sports industry is fertile gro und for testing theories, performing studies, and conducting research relating to issues of communication. Contrary to the extreme precision, measurement, and data collection surrounding sports performance today, organizations often lack the deg ree of clarity of objectives, processes, and outcomes that sports are expected to exhibit. As sports have undergone a profound transformation over the past 50 years, business principles increasingly migrate into sports. Two of the more obvious changes have been acceleration in the trend toward professionalism and corporate sponsorship. Prior to the 1970s individual owners were thought to own teams for entertainment purposes. Baseball was regarded as a sport often y, professional ownership has been thought to be profit motivated, and MLB now operates like many business enterprises. As part of the sport entertainment industry, MLB provides excellent examples of strategic marketing, brand management, customer service, and the impact of leadership qualities. All of these elements focus on the maximization of profits (Scully, 1989).


33 Under the assumption that sports teams are business enterprises, Schmidt and Berri (2006) studied the link between fan support, t eam performance, and profit maximization. They found that teams can no longer count on a predictably solid level of fan support. Fan loyalty is increasingly determined by the win/loss record of the team. approximately 0.006 in team winning percentage, an additional win was worth just more than 57 additional fans per game in 1950. Across a season, the additional win would increase total attendance by 4,400. For the 1955 2000 periods, the win was worth 202 m ore fans per game, and almost 16,400 th century is less about loyalty to agency, and a general change in the focus of s ports away from simple pastimes to one of If a team is dependent on customers and fans to generate a profit, and fans are generated through a winning team pe to an overall better performing team. While an abundance of research exists on the topic of professional sports, little has been directed towards identifying indicators of franchise organizational success or measuring the state of excellent relationships within the organizational unit. While Irwin, Zwick and Sutton (1999) argue that sports production, distribution, and consumption place unique demands upon marketing management and personnel (p. 604), much room remains for scholars to apply mainstream business and public relations theories to sport franchises.


34 This work aims to evaluate relationships as part franchise management. Management realizes that marketing of sport organizations has become a critical factor in determining success or failure for the franchise (Irwin, Zwick & Sutton, 1999, p. 604). Previous st udies have focused on marketing factors affecting success. These studies have shown that while criteria such as win/loss records and attendance often are used to ass essment processes such as these only foster the same inherent weaknesses as cited for winning tends to stimulate demand due to the perceived quality of product and increas ed value of holding a ticket to an upcoming event, Irwin et al. (1999) recognized the potential of communication professionals to influence team performance and possibly m performance, possibly personalized customer relations, marketing personnel and charting organizational strengths could influence attendance and ticket sales for a team. There is little information on employer attempts to create relationships with specific franchise athletes. Studies have focused on major league athletes almost exclusively and have also only focused on performance records affecting team revenues and popularity. A good relationship and supportive behaviors between organizations and publics often correlate. If it is the goal of the team to have a player successfully navigate through the minor leagues, then it might be crucial for the organization first to have a relationship with its players to encourage performance success. There fore, it would be in


35 environment.


36 Chapter Three Method There is no one simple research tool, technique, or methodology that will completely measure the rel ationship between an employee and his/her organization. Therefore, this research will use a combination of qualitative data analysis and interviews to better opinions an researcher to develop a better relationship with the research participant, which means the participant will provide a more candid assessment of the organization public relations topics in depth and detail (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). This is best used for exploratory or descriptive research that tries to uncover and understand what lies within the complexity o f a phenomenon or system by conveying the interaction of context, setting, and Qualitative studies are especially suited for purposive sampling in that researchers are able to select in formation rich cases that create a comprehensive and detailed account Participants in this study came from a small number of MLB franchises. The players came from a total of five different franchises for a total of 20 players. These participants were chosen using snowball sampling. I personally know several players on different


37 teams and asked them to participate. These participants were then asked to provide contact information for other team members who might be willing to participate in the study. My personal connection to a current minor league player makes me an insider and an outsider to the players. I am an insider as a friendly face that many of the players inter viewed have seen and met on an ongoing friendship basis over the past several years. I am an outsider because I am not a player in an organization and I am a woman. Therefore, some of the knowledge for this research was acquired from personal understandi ngs of the minor league process, while the majority of it was learned knowledge from participating minor league players. It is important to note that I was able to infiltrate this environment and gain the trust from the players due to my previous history w ith many of the players. In Depth Interviews (p. 4). Holstein and Gubrium (1995 ) argue that 90% of social science research uses some type of interview, making it the most widely used data collection instrument of the social sciences. The interview is designed to lend a first person perspective of the situation being investigated. The flexibility of this method allows the researcher to adjust according to emerging concerns and needs. Therefore, data are not constrained by predetermined categories, and


38 researchers are able to explore the depth and relationships of the topics s elected. Through qualitative interviews, researchers are able to understand experiences and rebuild events although they did not participate in them. Interviews explore how and why an event happened, allowing researchers the opportunity to observe the rela tionship of an issue under study. Each individual is expected to have a unique perspective and respond MLB players and their employers supports the choice of using in terviews. conduct each interview and transcribe notes all contribute to the associ ated costs of an interview. The combination of costs along with other limitations such as sampling reach and obtaining honest and thoughtful responses led this research method to be adapted into interviews that were conducted online. Online Intervie ws The interviews were conducted online through the use of Myspace Instant messenger. Myspace Instant Messenger is a free Myspace based program that anyone with internet access and a Myspace account can download and transfer messages with other u sers. The program allows for a virtual conversation between the interviewer and to face interaction.


39 On line interviewing is a relatively recent method that has b een met with positive or time, we explore the notion of a virtual form of ethnography, suggesting online, textual interactive interviews are worthy of research consid Crichton & Kinash, 2003). Academically, online interviewing has been evaluated to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the interview results (Crichton & Kinash, 2003; Mann & Stewart, 2000). ble to sustain conversations beyond the scope of many traditional face to face interview sessions, noting that the participants has been found that this electronic method of collecting information enables the researcher to overcome a number of obstacles for completing the study. can be conducted across geographical boundarie s, allowing interviews to take place in multiple states or countries. All the participants in this study are living within the United States. Mann and Stewart (2000) discuss the online interviewing technique as a method to information that is risky for a person to dispense due to their vulnerability if by exposing sensitive information. Mann and Stewart explain that resistance accounts are easier to obtain through online discussions due to a perceived anonymit y between the researcher and interviewee. The baseball players who were interviewed were placed in a vulnerable position because they were asked to discuss their experiences regarding the organization that employs them. Due to the sensitive nature of


40 thes e accounts, remaining anonymous could help lead to an honest and comfortable environment. When interviews take place online, the participants are given ample time to reflect and give thoughtful responses to the questions being asked. The computer format allows the participants to edit their answers and produce in depth, well thought out responses. these players were asked questions about concepts that they rarely ha ve been asked in an interview pertaining to baseball. It was, therefore, important that they were able to think about the question and give honest answers. Online interviews are also being praised for their convenience to both the researcher as well as the interviewee (Chen & Hinton, 1999; Mann & Stewart, 2000). Once the correct software has been downloaded, the interviews can take place from the home. The interviews are inexpensive because they do not require travel time and for the participant they will be performed in a familiar and comfortable environment. The researcher is able to save the transcriptions directly to computer files, therefore using the time saved to complete more interviews. Design The study used a total of 19 mal e players from five different teams. All minor from 21 to 29 years old, and the nationalities included are all citizens of the United States. All the players speak and understand English fluently.


41 contacts were used, and each source was able to provide contact information for other teammates and friends who also play baseball in the minor leagues. The players were contacted during the month of January. This is during the official players signed contracts either to remain playing wi th their former team or join another team. January is one month before the players leave their residences to start spring training with their respective teams. It was also chosen for the amount of free time players had to devote to the interviews before th e busy baseball season started. The players were contacted either online or through the telephone. The researcher introduced herself and briefly explained the study, concluding with assurances for anonymity After the player expressed interest in participating, the study design was explained in depth to determine that the participant was able to use the software required and could access a computer. After those two criteria were met, a time was set up to perform the interview. Signed consent forms were obtained electronically before each interview. Analysis Grunig (1999), has developed a quantitative questionnaire that focuses on the four relationship elements being studied. The questionnaire employs a series of agree/disagree statements tha t pertain to the relationship variables. These questions were used as a


42 questions are appropriate for measuring certain relationship elements. An example question for meas In addition to his quantitative study, Grunig (1999) also developed a series of questions that measure the relationship elem ents qualitatively. These questions were the individual dimensions of the rela were considered and used when appropriate during the interview process. Research topics perceptions of trust, openness and commitment to their organization were discussed in depth, as well as the play ers reported perceptions of additional elements of job satisfaction and motivation. Answers provided by the players were also scrutinized for cultural contexts. Questions were asked to uncover how the dimensions exist and influence one another in the conte xt of relationship management theory.


43 Chapter Four Results This study was designed to find out how minor league baseball players perceive three aspects of their relationships with their employer o rganizations: openness, commitment, and trust. In addition, questions were asked regarding their job satisfaction and motivation. Most participants described the nature of their relationships as weak or unsubstantial. They believe not only that they are a lone in trying to advance in their careers, but also that the organizational communication system does nothing to increase their motivation, job satisfaction, or job performance. As one participant put it, the minor Openness The players who have worked for more than one organization cited the character of their players, want Christian boys. Another one is known for having guys


44 about you being fit and working out for spring training. I mean everybody is, but they are Although the participants feel that there are differences between baseball franchise organizations, the organizations themselves do not communicate potential differences to incoming players. Instead, the players often learn about their new The players who have played for multiple organization s were asked about their first communicative contact with their new organization and later asked how they initially learned about their new employer. Only one of the participants has been contacted by his new organization to discuss goals, priorities, or e xpectations before the season began. He said that the initial three phone calls he received by an organizational representative, pitching coordinator, and strength coach impressed him. The phone calls consisted of welcoming him to the team, reviewing expe ctations, asking for his input regarding flight schedules, and explaining what his role will be when he reports to the new team. The calls were a surprise to him because he had not received similar calls from his former organization. He said that in compar ison, he preferred the communication rather than his former organization where there were no welcoming phone calls to explain expectations. transition between his new an d old organization at the time of this research, so he was unable to comment if the team continues its open communication once the season begins. None of the other players who have worked for multiple teams had received welcoming phone calls from the ir new organizations explaining organizational roles, and


45 expectations or asking for player input. Information regarding report dates, workout schedules, and contact information was mailed to them in a generic mass communicative format. When these p layers were asked how they learned about their new organization, all of them cited that they either learned about the organization as they played or there and play. You l can get overwhelmed. And if I have a friend who played for a team he will call me and No one really knows what is going on When the participants were asked a bout the communication system throughout their organization, the players were aware of the chain of command and tried to explain who is privy to information from the head office. When one player was asked to explain the communication process in the minor l he gaps start from the top down. Coaches don't know what is going on half of the time just like the players. The coordinators don't fill the coaches in, and then the coaches have nothing to tell the Additionally, inform or even with other pl


46 Many of the players describe a situation in which no one knows plans or deci sions regarding player development, and information is circulated through a gossip Many of the players cited examples of learning about career decisions from tell me [about the possibility this player would be starting the previous season at a certain In this case, and often, the information ended up being incorrect, but the players do not hold the incorrect information against one another, they view the gossip exchange as a way to look out for each other. Players rely on the rumor mill heavily because when information is officially released to them, the player is given substantial news, such as moving to a new city to play on a new team, and is required to act quickly. Often the player is given just a few hours to pack up his belongings before a bus takes him to the airport. In the interviews, several of the players said that no one knows plans or decisions being made. And these players truly mean no one. The coaches and managers who interact with the players on a daily basis are seen as friendly people, but they are viewed as useless for learning information because they themselves do not have the y knows what is going on besides the


47 best everyday and hopes that the front office will move him up. When another participant was asked who he turns to for organization al information, the player admitted there is no another participant said that the previous season he was told by his coach on a weekly When one participant was asked what he would do to improve communication in general manager of the entire organization and the coaching staff because sometimes they ( seems to believe that an increase in communication with the players would either overwhelm the minor league structure or be too great a burden on franchise staff to be taken seriously. Alternatively, other players believed that coaches and managers are privy to information but will not share the info two answers provided when asked to explain how organizational information was gue coordinator, but there were three of them [during his time with the organization], and I never established a good relationship with


48 the organization, a majority of the players felt that they had not been misled because they have never been told anything to begin with. Just one player believed that the daily staff he interacts with shares information ryone is working towards a believe (that you will advance in baseball) is the coaches and managers who see you play every day. They will let you know if you are wasting your time or if you will have a Of the organizational staff, w ho do you turn to for information? performance factors and the organization itself is a distance away from its players, the now they are both


49 encourages players to advance through the levels and leaves the playe rs with very little time to develop trust and communication with staff members. As discussed previously, one player said he believed the coordinators have the he does not turn to anyone in the organization for honest information. Several other When one veteran player was asked how he learned about organizationa l movements regarding his career, he responded: about four hours later they wi ll get a call from the organization saying they got traded. It would be nice to know where I stand in their eyes every once in a while The information the trusted sources provide ranges from c lear to ambiguous. or the most part if the person knows something he will tell me, but in a vague response, because that is how they are player n example of a


50 When asked why an organization fails to go over a specific plan with the players individually, the players perc know, I wish they would tell you what they are looking for. What you need to nother player views the lack of communication as a lot about a month and a half. I think the guys who are the top 20 guys, then they [the organization] will take the tim Understanding what it takes to advance your career created through their perfor mance. The organizations are looking for high performing players and will move these players to a more competitive level as a reward for the job performance. seems to be a common understanding among all the players. However, when pressed players do not kno w what numbers the organization needs to see before a movement is made. It is commonly known among baseball players that a hitter needs to bat as close to


51 1.000 as possible, and in reality an average of .300 is considered a well performing average. A pitc her needs his numbers to be as close to 0.00 as possible, with an average below 3.00 as generally accepted as respectable. However, each organization seems to have its own level of acceptable numbers. So when questioned if the organization looks for the p layers to meet predetermined goals or personal bests, the players were unable to role and what is going on with them. My organization maybe tells their bonus babies needs to be done to advance. You just have to play well and keep playing well an d hope that they need you at the next level. Some guys will be having great years and never get are made for poor performing players, while high performing players are not re warded for their performances. Below is an analysis of this common situation. They never give you a chance unless you are a prospect, it seems prospect is a player who has be en identified by the organization as likely to advance into entered the minor league system. It is possible for a player to become a prospect after a spectacular seas on, and it is possible for a player to be considered a prospect by one organization, but a regular player by another organization. According to the players,


52 are denied There are varying degrees of bitterness among the players regarding the path of the prospect. In a majority of the interviews, questions about prospects were never even broached; it was the players who steered the conversation into the differences i n the the minor league system works, there is a vastly different experience perceived between the two types of players. When asked what prospects are given differe ntly than regular players, every plans for the moment these prospect players will enter the major leagues, and the organization opens up spots on teams at each advancing level to prepare the player in a scheduled manner.) One veteran player who has been considered a prospect throughout his career explains his observations: There is a shorter leash, and there is a longer leash. They [the organization] let the longer leashes kin d of do whatever. They kind of pamper them. This [viewpoint] worked my butt off. I did everything I needed to do and more. But some guys, on the wrist. Other players, say who got drafted in the 50 th or 40 th round, and say


53 Another player echoes this line of thinking by explaining that rules and boundaries within the m inor league organization change according to which player is breaking the rules. He goes on to highlight a mindset where being a prospect may him: If a guy got $600 ,000 to sign out of high school and is eighteen years old, and he keeps screwing up and doing stuff off the field, and showing up late and not ty two year old senior out of college who signed for got two or three years where I can do whatev work my butt off and get into the big leagues as a twenty A veteran player with a history of six years in the minor leagues took a uaranteed anything. I think some have more opportunity. It is just a different road there [to the major leagues]. who they [the organization] Interestingly, although the players recognize an inherent difference in equitable treatment among the players and prospects, when prospects were interviewed, they did not consider (or admit at least ) themselves a prospect. These people were identified by other players as a prospect to the interviewer, or they were drafted in high money rounds, indicating they were considered a prospect at the time they were drafted. When one prospect player was inter viewed, he expressed doubt that the organization was committed


54 given a large signing bonus and drafted within the first 10 rounds, the player was considered by others to be moved up a level although his numbers did not reflect the reward earned, or the player has been observed to receive special treatment by the organization. According to one prospect player, it is possible to bridge the gap between equally. When asked if the organization communicates between prospects and other players dif that some players who have been with the organization for a number of years will the staff i n a sea of new players every year and is on a familiar basis with the coaches and a nd have been in the system for a little bit, they [the organization] usually communicate with them same as a first rounder or a 40 th [Free agents are players who have a contract to play for an organization for only one season. At the end of the season, the organizations and players either renegotiate new contracts, or the player is free to leave and sign a contract to play for a new organization.] the players who


55 He responded that it is possible to decrease the gap between prospects and home grown players who are receiving informational communication, but there is still a great divide regarding jo is a sit You can make yourself one of them if you have all the elements they are looking for ions look for in a good baseball player, and poor numbers will be overlooked, while the organization does what it can to improve the player. it seems that these qualities are perceived to turn a player into a prospect. Possession of these elements was cited as player recounted his experience when he entered the minor league system as a regular player but displayed elements that turned him into a potential prospect:


56 I remember my first year I almost triple crowned the league and I opened some eyes. I was a senior sign, and I went to mini camp and everything was cool. I nd out my first month, I was hitting .310. Then I sprained my ankle. I dropped to hitti I show up March 7 th ( Extended refers to extended spring training. This is a holding place for players that the organization is unsure about keeping, trading, or releasing. Sometimes players are also sent to extended to finish recovering from an injury.) T material, and then slipping back into his marginal position once he was injured. While he he organization and given specific details of plans for him. Once his numbers dropped, and his future. In a system where advancement is the ultimate goa l for both the players and the organization, it seems that there is no clear goal laid out for the players to strive for. accomplishment needed to advance to the next level. Eac h player is introduced to the minor leagues with the understanding that he must play to the best of his ability each day, in the hopes that the organization he plays for will advance him as a reward. However, there is no one, no manager, coach, or teammate with the ability to explain to this player what exactly needs to be accomplished to advance. To complicate the process further, the players believe that they are being judged according to unknown standards but that there


57 are special chosen teammates who compete on a different set of standards. The players are placed on a team of competition; players compete against each other for an opportunity to advance, but intuition and observation have taught them that the playing field is unbalanced and unequal. Commitment I just want to be with a team that wants me When players were asked if they are loyal to their organizations, the answers were mixed. The younger inexperienced players do feel loyalty; whereas, the older players often do not. The players who do feel loyalty have only played for their current organization. Of the players expressing loyalty, one of them appears to be in a transition process where he is currently losing his loyalty, and another feels loyalty to a team he is no longer affili ated with. The players who express loyalty to their organizations are all playing baseball on their original team. Except one, they all have played minor league baseball for three or fewer years. The player who is currently examining the loyalty he feels, first expressed that he is loyal, but then offered further statements that questioned that loyalty. major leagues) with the team that drafts you, and you help them organization.


58 Most of the participants who have played for more than one organization state organization can do to increase his loyalty, he responded that the organization has no Due to the minor league setup, where players interact daily with some personnel but know that decisions are being made in an unseen front office, a question was asked whether the players differentiate between the unseen head office organization and everyday interactive staff, there is no discrepancy. All employees are seen as a piece of the organization, and there is no loyalty to coaches, coordinators, or head office staff personnel. his lack of loya can be gone at any time. Imagine working for an organization for 10 or 11 years, and they several years since one participant played baseball with the team that offered him a chance to play in the major leagues, yet he still feels loyalty to that particular team. He has not played for this organization in several seasons and has since become affiliated with many other organizations, but he cites a loyalty to the first team oyalty


59 you always feel loyalty to the team that gave you your first chance in the major leagues. I always want them to do well because they gave me my chance. But oth One prospect player stated that he is loyal to every organization he plays for. This player has had a long and successful career playing for two organizations. Your competitiveness, your heart. When you change a team, your hear new team. You still have friends, but you move on and represent the team that to happen. You go out there, you show up every day, and you have that loyalty and fa ith. A common response by the players was explaining the importance of finding a that wants them (believes that the players possess major league abilities and cre ates opportunities for the player to advance), then the player believes that both his and the was the response from one participant. The veteran player clarified th is meant that as would have better opportunities at another organization, then he would be loyal. Although there are a few baseball players who continue to play the game into their 40s, a majority of players end their careers in their late 20s. Injuries, family from baseb


60 Organizations often release players due to injuries, age, or a failure to live up to the o returning from injuries do not always recover fully, and often organizations decide that the man is no longer a viable player. birthday, he knows that the day approaches when he will be replaced by a younger and faster player. If a player has not established himself by his late 20s, he risks being released by his organization. interviewed, only two of them had been released by an organization. this number reflects that only a limited number of players are capable of being released by one organization and signed to a new contract to play baseball with another organization. Both players interviewed were released by their organizations unexpectedly. One of the pl ayers has been released by several team organizations and says that it depends on the organization if it tells the player the honest reason why he has been It was a num bers game. Sometimes they would just tell you something to make you The second player who was released from a team offered a detailed account of the experience. He explained that he believes the release cam e from the front office because he feels that he is a hard worker with a good attitude who got along with and was


61 let him go. He expressed this sentiment in the fol lowing way: though. I was walking into the building during spring [training], and one of the coaches met me in the parking lot. He told me that the office is releasing me, and t just kept saying how much everybody likes me. what I was going to do. Some of the other guys were asking me about the day (activities), and I told them I had been released. No one could believe it. It gets quiet, and everyone kind of tries to give you your spac Although never released himself, one player explained his perspective of an different scenarios (of why player and stop encouraging the player to perform better. Another player who has never been released offered a perspective tha you. You know, some organizations typically horde their players. You have twenty six, twenty seven year olds in the Flor ida state league [A ball], or double A, where if the players got released and had good agents or put up a good year, he organization that is typically filled with younger, inexperienced players, either due to a smaller budget, or being new in the baseball market and not having the


62 ability to sign older players who are in long term baseball contracts with other organizations.] I think organizations hold players back a little bit because they T r ust I guess I beli e ve what they tell me There is a low trust level towards the organization on the part of the players trust the organization to make decision themselves often introduced statements referring to their low trust of their organization. When the participants wer e asked if they felt the organization has their best interests in mind when making decisions, all but two of the men answered negatively. acts in accordance to the pl The explanation the players gave for their opinions was based on the minor league structure. First, there are several men competing for one position. It is in the ormance of the players. player echoed this when he explained the organizational envi pretty much every man for himself. If you win [as a team] along the way, great. But to get to the top you


63 Second, the distance both geographically and socially between the players and decision makers crea tes an environment where the organization cannot act in accordance assumed that it is investment players. A note of interest: All players responded to the question as if you, they'll give you more of a chance. If not, you have to do good year after year for to learn and improve the tasks associated with his position, then the organization has interests when making decisions regarding pla regarding] a level that you think you should be at The two players who believe the organization acts on their behalf both share the same viewpoint. They believe that the organization in agreement (to advance the player to a higher level), and therefore the organization will get the best out of any playe


64 Although the organization often makes decisions to demote a player to a lower level or release the player of his job completely, these players do not mention these aspects of organizational decisions The second question that was aimed at gauging the level of trust p layers feel for the participants said they do not feel misled by their organization because there is no information in their environment; therefore, they could not say they felt misled. Only one participant confirmed that he has felt misled by his organization. The responses were similar to the one exhibited by the first player interviewed. they did tell me the organization does not give you information very often, though the information is In addition to these two questions, other trust statements were produced in the to play baseball for a new organization. When asked if he believed the information he was given by his new organization, he answered that he trusts his new organization more Several other participants cited examples of times when they have heard conflicting information that they believed came from the organization, but the inaccuracy


65 of the information became attributed to a breakdown in source reliability. Information pro vided directly by the front office organization is believed to be correct and true; whereas, information provided by coaches and managers is sometimes found to be inaccurate. Many players provided examples of times when they were told one thing by a coach or manager, but something else happened. One player explained this perspective when asked if he has felt misled by the organization: told I was going to be starting left field in AA last spring through hearsay from a manag Motivation Does the current communication style help or hurt your performance? When players were asked if the communication provided by the organization affected their performances, the players suggested a variety of motiva tional performance words were motivational, but their input was regarded as having a limited effect on the player. Other players explained that they believe the current communication climate impedes their performances. Often the participants responded that their motivational sources are internal and that the communication they receive from coaches and the organization is viewed as informational rather than motivati


66 motivates him] but my own mot ivation has made me a better baseball player than the In contrast to being motivated by organizational communication, it is the lack of energy he used wondering what the organization was thinking caused him stress. He explained: S ometimes well it would be nice to know if they are planning on moving you up, or vice versa if you're not doing well. Like I said, after playing for four years, I have learned not to let things I c an't control affect my playing. method in the minor leagues hinders his performance as well. He explained that often players are told placating lies rather than tr uthful statements. If he were told he is not performing as well compared to another player, this would provide a standard for him to work toward, and he would work harder to become better than the other player. He explained: Sometimes they just tell you t hings you want to hear. Things that will keep you playing time, but they have a high draft pick who requires a certain amount of playing time, they might not tell you. Because th trouble.


67 He went on to explain that while this method of white lies keeps potential flares ups from occurring, it negatively impacts his performance: d harder and more, just to get better than that guy. But sometimes they just tell you something to make you happy. Some guys might be pissed off to hear they are not good enough. But I would be motivated to work harder. Can the organization do anything to increase your motivation? participants did not consider this an easy question to respond to. This is perhaps due to the inherent drive that seems to motivate the play ers interviewed. None of the players named minor league monetary compensation or could suggest a benefit that matched their own internal drive. The players did suggest examples of monetary compensation, days off, and more communication as eleme nts that would make their experience in the minor leagues more pleasurable, though not necessarily increase their motivation. When the participants were asked why they enjoyed playing for one organization over another, some cited improved health insur ance benefits or monetary reasons for preferring one organization over another. However, when they were specifically asked if baseball franchise organizations could provide an incentive to encourage the players to play at their best, all of the players exp but not cause them to pursue careers with particular teams.


68 Although amenities such as paychecks, healt h insurance, and signing bonuses seem to make one organization more attractive than another, these are not motivators to hough another player said that due to improved health insurance, he preferred one former organization over others that he has worked for, but this was not enough to create a commitment to the franchise or motivate him to play his best for that particular o rganization. If it is not the organization that motivates you to perform at your best, where does your motivation come from? A desire to advance to the major leagues is the driving motivation for all he minor leagu es are the same everywhere. We all want to get to interviews. When one player was asked if the promise of big league money was a hat is what keep s me going. The desire to make it to the big Additionally, all except one of the players interviewed discontinued their educations when they began playing professional baseball. One player suggested that many players continue playing baseball when the opportunity to be moved into the major leagues is minimal because they have nothing else to fall back on.


69 Job Satisfaction Screaming girls, lots of fans, intense competition, and the promise of lots of m oney When the players were questioned about the prospective perks or benefits from working for their organizations, they instead began to cite negative aspects regarding being a minor league baseball player. Poor traveling conditions, insufficient pay a long schedule with no days off, little job security, clashing ethnic cultures, and being separated from friends and family for months at a time were reasons given for disliking the minor league lifestyle. Below one player explained his frustrations wit h the minor league life: might be rooming with a guy from Venezuela or wherever. After the players cited the negative aspects regarding their jobs, several of them then compens ated for their negativity by explaining why they continue to pursue a career in baseball. The most frequently occurring answers to why they continue to stay in the minor league system is their aversion to the corporate world, their love of baseball, or the An aversion to working in a corporate 9 5 job was the most common response then you have to sit communication would lead to mor


70 Although this answer makes sense, it is possible that the conversation and ordering of the questions led him to this conclusion. When the players were asked what they find satisfying about their jobs, none of the scholarly suggestions of trust, openness, or commitment was used in the answers. player. satisfaction by one player. Explaining that he has always been a fan of one particular team located in the northeastern part of the United States, he s aid he would be proud to A majority of the players answered that they receive satisfaction of living a long held dream. All of these players have played baseball throughout their elementary and high school years, and worked toward the goal of achieving an opportunity to become a minor league baseball player. The job satisfaction comes from them loo king into their past and realizing that they have accomplished their dreams. One player said: The satisfaction is the fact that you are doing what you dreamed of when you were a little boy. How many people are living their dream [from] when they were 5 years old? There is a lot of pride of putting on a major league uniform. You get your first taste in spring training when you are just a low level minor leaguer and For these play ers, job satisfaction does not come from the organization that they


71 Player p erspective: Is the current system effective? When one player was asked if the current minor league system is effective to get failures versus. Successes, then the a nswer would be obvious: unsuccessful. But that's not of men to help only a few advance to the majors. If the system was truly successful at developing excellent players, then MLB teams would be flooded with talented men, and a crisis would result where the teams would be forced to expand or reconfigure their he sees that a major ity of his colleagues, possibly himself included, are viewed as sacrificial lambs to be used and thrown away so that a few golden players are given ample years to develop into major league baseball players. After a few interviews, it became obvious t hat for the players, making it to the major leagues is worth almost any sacrifice. These men train year round for six months of pay. They leave their homes and families to pursue this dream and suspend or defer their college educations for the opportunity to play professional baseball. Many of these players receive little monetary incentive and often have little to show for their efforts at the end of their careers. Hearing stories and examples of players who have been passed over for promotions, players w organization that has shown them little recognition led to the development of the simple built to allow a few to succeed and the majority of players never reach the major


72 Other players just said that they want to play for as long as they can because they know that once they stop playing then the dream is over. One player explained how the minor league system continuously pushes players to continue to play without stopping to consider other career options: You cannot take a break in baseball. Once you quit and no longer have recent on. Once you quit, even if you change your mind and wa nt to start playing again, Results from this research have shown that the players interviewed have strong perceptions of the communication climate within their organization. The relationship the players have developed with their organization is often weak and has caused them confusion and stress. Despite perceived obst acles, the players explain that they are committed to their career and are committed to advancing within the MLB structure. Below is a comprehensive discussion of the relationship dimensions as explained by the players.


73 Chapter Five Discussion Discussion of the results The results of this study exploring dimensions of relationship perceptions in minor league baseball franchises found that the majority of the baseball players interviewed were not satisfied with the current relationships th at they have with their management organizations. When questioned about their organizations openness, trust and commitment the majority of those interviewed responded negatively. Few players questioned answered positively to all three elements. Many player s conveyed concern that their organizations disproportionately help some players achieve over others, withhold information, and give players a limited voice regarding the direction of their esire to achieve and perform at their best on a consistent basis remains strong. Questions about job satisfaction and motivation were answered by a majority of the players as strong, but Below is a discussion o relationship perceptions.


74 Communication format During the interview process, it became apparent that many players believe that their organization have poor communication practices. The players expressed a desire for an increased amou nt of information, and with that an increased accuracy of information. A reliable channel for information to be passed and an ability to communicate to higher levels of management was also commonly desired. The players interviewed also stated that they hav e experienced confusion and stress regarding the communication style in their organization. It is common for players to utilize other sources of information rather than try to approach decision making staff members. The players claimed that they r eceive little information regarding organizational selections, events and goals. Several examples were given of times when an organizational decision was made and the player did not receive the reasoning behind that decision. Players interviewed also e xpressed doubt regarding information accuracy. The amount of inaccurate information they receive increases their skepticism regarding the credibility of the source. In the organization structure, the further removed their source was from organizational dec ision makers, the less reliable the information became. The players believe that the poor channels of information in their organization contribute to an overall poor communication climate. Information given to players through a secondhand source can the organization. The players interviewed stated that they have sought information to understand their responsibilities, performance expectations, and organizational structure. However, their


75 inquiries are often met with inconsistent information. Rather than rely on the rumor mill environment, the players turn to other sources such as fellow players, or agents. Situations such as staff turnover, the players own feeling of marginal status, and hear and be heard. Openness All of the players interviewed believe that there are decisions made and information created that they are not privy to. M any of the players believe that not receiving this information stems from geographical, structural, and organizational issues. Some players cited stress, confusion or anger with organizational actions without also providing explanatory information. A majority of the players interviewed perceive that other players receive more or less information than themselves, based on their status within the organization. The players perceive an inequitable atmosphere of openness in their organization. This favorit ism is cited as a primary complaint within their organization. Several players view the inequality as another obstacle in their path to the major leagues. The players deal with this condition by simply tolerating it. Many players believe the reason for thi s inequality invest in only the players it believes will eventually fil l that position.


76 Trust When discussing levels of trust, the players indicate low to no trust of their organization. The high turnover and public release of players was cited as contributors to an atmosphere of instability and distrust among the playe rs. Based on observation, the players perceive that their organization is using them for a short amount of time until a more talented player is available to replace them. Commitment The players interviewed expressed a range of commitment levels to their organization. Most players stated that they felt little to no organizational commitment. Only a few stated a high organizational commitment. Organizational turnovers, a desire for an opportunity to break into the major leagues, and a perceived lack o f personal value to the organization were cited as reasons contributing to low organizational commitment. and Hon (1999), and Ledingham and Brunig (2000) a greed is crucial for the productivity perceptions do not reflect an experience that these scholars describe as contributors to a successful organization. Yet the minor leagues have been a proven success in the baseball industry for producing quality players prepared to compete in the major leagues. The players struggle with an apathetic feeling towards their organizations. While resenting


77 feeling disposable, their desire to pla y ball has contributed to keeping them on their chosen career path. Job Satisfaction Although the players were quick to point out their sacrifices surrounding their chosen career path, when the players were questioned regarding their job satisfacti on, they responded that they experience a strong satisfaction relating to their job. It seems that their minor league lifestyle offers unique opportunities that these players find rewarding. described satisfaction of having achieved a desire they formulated and carried since they were young children. In addition to this self satisfaction, they cited fans, crowds, and possibly large future earnings as sources of job satisfac tion. Motivation The players interviewed acknowledged the coaches and staff of their organization with marginal to some ability to motivate them to continue playing at their best performance level. Most of the players credited themselves as large so urces for motivation and expressed that they see their career as their own responsibility, and that it is a mix of aversion from a corporate office job, and a desire to advance to the major leagues that motivates them.


78 MLB culture One last co ncept of organizational management has been observed though was never asked in the player interviews. This is the concept of organizational culture as a pervasive, yet unseen manner in which an organization operates. Responses from the participants provide clues into the organizational environment that the players live within. Referred to as subtle and unconscious phenomena that are only apparent to organizational non members, Schein (1985) pointed to norms, values, and assumptions as indications of organiz ational culture. During the course of the interviews, many players provided insight into an organizational culture shared by all the franchises through which the players were affiliated, and that the individual franchises also have individual cultures of t heir own. committing to giving an interview. Several of the players said they had been given lectures and warnings regarding the ability of the media to manipulate quo tes from was repeated across several organizational franchises. An example of a franchise individual culture was shared when a player explained a value regardi ng some franchises with whom he has been affiliated. He explained that some franchises prefer to employ a certain type of individual over others. One particular By understanding that these players have been influenced and are predisposed to act and think in accordance to their organizational culture, many of the answers provided


79 by the players are a product of the cultural influence that the MLB franchises has created. By accepting that the players participate in a world of unwritten rules, subconscious gestures, and silent messages, one can realize that there are questions the players cannot answer. Also there are things that players hav e subconsciously have accepted. This research was not focused on learning the culture of minor league baseball, but rather understanding that the answers provided in this research are created in the context of that An understanding of the players perceived relationship dimensions as well as job satisfaction and motivation within the context of organizational culture will help to increase awareness of potential organizational weaknesses within an MLB franchise. Kno wledge gained from this research could also potentially help relationship management theorists understand boundaries of the theory and encourage this theory to be applied to environments outside of traditional corporate settings. Next is a discussion of th e implications for this research while also addressing limitations and suggestions for future research.


80 Chapter 6 Conclusion This research has helped increase understanding of individual perceptions of relationship dimensions within their spor ting environment. Public relations practitioners and sports personnel both benefit from unique aspects provided by this research. Although this research interviewed 19 players from a fraction of MLB organizations, the responses provided insight and areas o f focus for future research direction. This study has shown that these players all have overarching complaints about their organization such as communication channels, methods, and results. The players highlight weak areas when questioned about core relati onship elements such as trust, openness and commitment. Future research is suggested to determine if these weaknesses are a pervasive complaint among minor league players across all 30 franchises. Implications for MLB baseball This s tudy helped to introduce the concept of relationship management into the operational process of current MLB minor league practices. Specifically, by introducing relationship management theory to a sports environment such as the minor leagues, this study be gins to cross boundaries regarding aspects of study in sports literature. New facets of sports inquiry are introduced that need to be considered, rather than the economic, marketing, and sociological aspects that currently saturate sports research.


81 Impl ications for relationship management theory Relationship management theory has been furthered in two ways. First, the method of using online qualitative interviews has proven to be a potential new method of understanding relationship management theo ry. In the future, this integration of technology and research methods could potentially be used to understand attitudes, cognitions, and perceptions that are uniquely expressed in this format. Second, these findings will enrich relationship manage ment theory since the theory has been applied in a sporting environment. Literature regarding relationship management theory has previously focused on a corporate social environment Applying this theory outside of the typical corporate environment will t est its boundaries while also strengthening the theory. Discussion of the method with key constitutes can best be appraised by focusing on the elements that exist t o create the relationship (Grunig, & Hon, 1999). This study has followed that advice through the use of questions focused on the relationship tenets. However, Grunig and Hon suggest that relationships be explored through the use of quantitative surveys con sisting of yes or no answers, and this study instead uses qualitative interviews. organization c


82 reached fewer players than a survey for time constraint reasons, the new interview format allowed In this research, the questions were used as an initial guideline, but very often the person being interviewed could control the direction of the interview. At times the player would introduce subjects and topics, and at other times the interviewer would ask about subjects pertinent to the research topic. Limitations of t his Study There are two limitations to this study. First, once the online interview was in pro gress, the amount of time used for typing hindered the amount of questions that could be asked before a player grew restless and lost interest in the interview. Second, the use view. The natural fluidity of relationships means that opinions rarely stay the same over an extended period of time. The first problem arose due to the online qualitative method chosen for this research. The answers to the proposed questions took much longer to type than to verbally express. Therefore, the interviews took a long time to complete a shorter number of questions. (Most interviews lasted approximately 50 minutes but an approximate total of 15 questions were asked, leaving an average of three minutes between answers.) Next, although this study is very insightful for understanding the perspectives of the minor league players interviewed, it is important to note that the interviews were


83 given once, and that the answers only reflect th e current state of the relationship at the time the interview was given Relationships by nature are fluid and ongoing processes. Relationships are created through experiences and while this study is useful for particular point in his career, it cannot be used to describe an extended and ongoing relationship. Future Research Direction Regarding directions for future research, a topically similar qualitative study needs to be completed with managers in MLB organizations. If the players perceive their relationships with minor league players should be addressed. Second, a case study of relationship management withi n the minor league structure is strongly recommended. Using multiple sources and a variety of methods, one could explore the dynamics of organization employee relationships in baseball at a greater depth than this study was able to provide. Furthe rmore, a quantitative study using the relationship framework could provide information that is unable to be collected qualitatively. Through the use of a quantitative method survey, scholars would be able to understand individual relationship perceptions i n greater numbers than a qualitative study allows. Finally, relationships should not be thought of as individual elements or processes, but as a cohesive process. This research did not address all suggested elements of relationship management theory nor did it explore the relationship types that exist


84 these areas would contribute to a more comprehensive perspective of the relationships existing in minor league base ball.


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90 Vries, R., Hooff, B., & Ridder, A., (2006) Explaining Knowledge Sharing: The Rol e of Team Communication Styles, Job Satisfaction, and Performance Beliefs, Communication Research 33 (2) 115 135 Watson, B., (2001) A New Deal? Understanding the Psychological Contract, Public Money & Management, July September 57 60




92 APPENDIX A Informed Consent Form I nformed Consent to Participate in Research Information to Consider Before Taking Part in this Research Study Researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) study many topics. To do this, we need the help of p eople who agree to take part in a research study. This form tells you about this research study. We are asking you to take part in a research study that is called: The person who is in charge of this research study is Michelle Keating This person is ca lled the Principal Investigator. However, other research staff may be involved and can act on behalf of the person in charge. The research will be done on the computer through the use of AOL Instant Messenger. Purpose of the study The purpose of th is study is to explore the development of employer player/employee relationships within the Major League Baseball (MLB) sports industry by proposing, and league players. This study will be used to complete required thesis requirements for the principal investigator. Study Procedures If you take part in this study, you will be asked to


93 Appendix A (continued) Meet with the principal investigator once at a designated time usin g AOL instant messenger The interview will last approximately 45 minuets Provide thorough answers to questions presented during the interview Alternatives You have the alternative to choose not to participate in this research study. Benefits w if you will get any benefits by taking part in this study. Risks or Discomfort There are no known risks to those who take part in this study. The interviews will be confidential and there will be no names or organizational names used within the report Compensation We will not pay you for the time you volunteer while being in this study Confidentiality We must keep your study records confidential. The interviews will be printed for research purposes and used by the principal investigator for appr oximately 3 months. The documents will be kept no longer than 6 months. If the interviews are provided to the thesis chair professor, Dr. Derina Holtzhausen, there will be no names attached to the documents, all interviews will be anonymous. However, cert ain people may need to see your study records. By law, anyone who l ooks at your records must keep them completely confidential. The only people who will be allowed to see these records are: Dr. D. Holtzhausen University of South Florida Certain gov ernment and university people who need to know more about the study. For example, individuals who provide oversight on this study may need to look at your records. This is done to make sure that we are doing the study in the right way. They also need to make sure that we are protecting your rights and your safety. These include:

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94 Appendix A (Continued) the University of South Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the staff that work for the IRB. Other individuals who work for USF that provide othe r kinds of oversight may also need to look at your records. We may publish what we learn from this study. If we do, we will not let anyone know your name. We will not publish anything else that would let people know who you are. Voluntary Parti cipation / Withdrawal You should only take part in this study if you want to volunteer. You should not feel that there is any pressure to take part in the study, to please the investigator or the research staff. You are free to participate in this resear ch or withdraw at any time. There will be no penalty or loss of benefits you are entitled to receive if you stop taking part in this study. New information about the study During the course of this study, we may find more information that could be impor tant to you. This includes information that, once learned, might cause you to change your mind about being in the study. We will notify you as soon as possible if such information becomes available. Questions, concerns, or complaints If you have any ques tions, concerns or complaints about this study, call Michelle Keating at 516 851 1104. If you have questions about your rights as a participant in this study, general questions, or have complaints, concerns or issues you want to discuss with someone outsid e the research, call the Division of Research Integrity and Compliance of the University of South Florida at (813) 974 9343. If you experience an adverse event or unanticipated problem call (PI / coordinator) at (telephone) If you have questions about you r rights as a person taking part in this research study you may contact the Florida Department of Health Institutional Review Board (DOH IRB) at (866) 433 2775 (toll free in Florida) or 850 245 4585.

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95 Appendix A (Continued) Consent to Take Part in this Re search Study It is up to you to decide whether you want to take part in this study. If you want to take part, please sign the form, if the following statements are true. I freely give my consent to take part in this study. I understand that by signing th is form I am agreeing to take part in research. I have received a copy of this form to take with me. ______ Signature of Person Taking Part in Study Date Printed Name of Person Taking Part in Study Statement of Person Obtain ing Informed Consent I have carefully explained to the person taking part in the study what he or she can expect. I hereby certify that when this person signs this form, to the best of my knowledge, he or she understands: What the study is about. What pro cedures/interventions/investigational drugs or devices will be used. What the potential benefits might be. What the known risks might be. I also certify that he or she does not have any problems that could make it hard to understand what it means to ta ke part in this research. This person speaks the language that was used to explain this research. This person reads well enough to understand this form or, if not, this person is able to hear and understand when the form is read to him or her. This pers on does not have a medical/psychological problem that would compromise comprehension and therefore makes it hard to understand what is being explained and can, therefore, give informed consent.

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96 Appendix A (Continued) This person is not under any type of anesthesia or analgesic that may cloud their judgment or make it hard to understand what is being explained and, therefore, can be considered competent to give informed consent. Signature of Person Obtaining Informed Consent Date Printed Name of Person Obtaining Informed Consent

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97 APP ENDIX B List of interview questions *This is an interview guide developed for a semi structured interview. During the interview, questions may need to be modified or introduced depending on the direction of the conversation. The interview will begin with a few general questions, and then become more specific. The specific questions have been grouped together under relationship conditions. General Questions Could you tell me a little bit abo ut your organization? How it differs from other organizations? How many other organizations do you have to compare it to? What are your responsibilities in the organization? What comes to your mind first when you hear the name of your organization? Please explain why. How would you describe your relationship with the organization? What does it mean to you to work for this organization? How much do you identify with the organizations goals? Do you feel a sense of obligation to stay with this organization? Do they feel that way about you?

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98 Appendix B (Continued) What additional things could this organization do to improve your relationship, motivation, performance? Organizational Climate For you as a player, is there a difference between this organization and another one? Would you be willing to invest extra time and effort into your organization? Why or why not? How long would you like to maintain a relationship with members from this organization? How important do you believe it is for the organization to bui ld a long term, positive relationship with its employee? Why do you think so? What are the tools, resources and technology provided to you from the organization to help you in your performance, motivation and career? What are the rewards provided to you f or performing your best? Within the organization, whom do you interact with? Are these people important to your organization? Are they important to you? Why? Where and when do you normally talk to them?

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99 Appendix B (Continued) What do you talk about? Do y ou feel the people you talk to in the organization have the ability to accomplish what it says it will do? Do you feel you have a relationship with this organization? Why or why not? What initiated the development of your relationship with this organizatio n? Describe your relationship with the organization. To what extent do you believe the organization listens to you? Who do you go to when you need to talk to the organization? To what extent do you feel the organization contacts you converse with have cont rol over you? Commitment Do you feel this organization is working on a long term commitment to you? Compared to other organizations, do you feel a loyalty to this one more? Why? What examples can you provide to show that the organization has kept or brok en promises to you? Can you provide any example that shows this organization wants to make a long term commitment to you? Please talk about things you have done to cultivate or maintain a long term relationship with this organization.

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100 Appendix B (Continued ) Satisfaction How satisfied are you with the relationship you have with the organization? Please explain why you are or are not satisfied. Do you feel that you benefit from this organization? Do you enjoy dealing with this organization? Does this organi zation work to satisfy your needs? Have you accomplished anything of value with this organization? Do you attribute it to your work, the organizations, or both? Trust Does this organization treat you fairly? When this organization makes a decision, is it concerned about you? Can this organization be counted on to keep its promises? Does this organization take your opinion into account when making decisions? Do you feel this organization is competent enough to achieve its goals? Does this organization hav e the ability to say what it says it will do? Do you believe this organization is guided by sound business principals? Integrity? Please provide a descriptive word for the running of this organization.

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101 Appendix B (Continued) Do you feel this organization has mislead you? Do you watch this organization to be sure that it is not taking advantage of you? Do you watch it to be sure it follows through with what it says it will do? Where do you seek information about this organization? Would you be willing to al low this organization to make decisions regarding you or your career?


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