American Journal of Economics, Finance and Management, Vol. 1, No. 5, October 2015 Publish Date: Jul. 20, 2015 Pages: 460-467

Organizational Effectiveness Models: Review and Apply in Non-Profit Sporting Organizations

Hossein Eydi*

Department of Sport Management, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran


Organizational effectiveness continues to be a popular topic in management settings, seminars, and research projects. Similar levels of attention prevail in area of sport management. OE is at the theoretical centre of all organizational models and is the ultimate dependent variable of organizational studies, despite more than 60 years of research on the area; substantial challenges concerning how to conceptualize, measure, and explain OE remain. As the study of organizational effectiveness in profit organizations is complex and confused, studying the construct in nonprofit organizations like sporting organizations may be even more troublesome due to their distinctive nature. This article draws down from the general literature on organizational effectiveness and the specialized literature on organizational effectiveness in sport and nonprofit organizations (NPOs). Result showed five major approaches to measuring organizational effectiveness, i.e., Goal attainment, systems of resources, internal procedure, multiple constituency and competing values framework have been reported in the literature.


Organizational Effectiveness, Goal Attainment, Systems of Resources, Internal Procedure, Multiple Constituencies and Competing Values Framework

1. Introduction

Organizational effectiveness (OE) research was quite common from the 1960s through to the mid-1980s exemplars of such work include [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11]. However, besides a exceptions [12], there has been relatively little activity in this stream of research since a number of important reviews appeared in the mid- 1980s [13,3,14]. Similarly, the study of the effectiveness of sport organizations reached to its peak during the 1980s and early 1990s [15, 16, 17, 18, 14; 19, 20]. But then declined. Recently, however, there has been renewed interest in the effectiveness of sport Organizations [21, 22, 23, and 24]. OE is perhaps the most critical dependent variable in all organizational analyses and almost all organizational theories include the notion of effectiveness [3,24]. Despite this significance, the construct has eluded a clear definition and/or description. Instead it has emerged as one of the most complex and controversial issues in management [25]. The concept of effectiveness is of great importance to an understanding of Organizational behavior [26]. However, organizational Effectiveness is a term that is complicated, controversial, and difficult to conceptualize [15].  Various models and theoretical approaches have been developed to assess it. Herman & Renz (1997) stated that there are as many effectiveness models as there are models of organizations. Different models with their relating criteria reflect different values and preferences of schools of thought concerning effectiveness [26]. The best known models are the goal models [5,20]. The system resource model [27]. The internal process approach [28,29]. The multiple constituency models [30, 31, and 32] and the CVA [33,9]. See also Table 1. Researchers have examined effectiveness in a variety of sport organizations including intercollegiate athletic programs in Canada [16] and the United States [22, national sport organizations (NSOs) in Canada [25,18]. Australia [23] and Greece [27,34] Finnish sport clubs [35]. According the above statements, author attempted to review the most important model of OE and present best model for evaluating OE in nonprofit sport organization.

2. Methodology

The method of the research is to analytical-descriptive. For this purpose, required literature got by gathering, classify and analyzing of the articles, books and resource related on organizational effectiveness and the specialized literature on organizational effectiveness in sport and nonprofit organizations (NPOs). After review of literature, suggestions for nonprofit sporting organizations were conducted.

3. Result

Organizational effectiveness continues to be a popular topic in management settings, seminars, and research projects. OE is at the theoretical center of all organizational models and is the ultimate dependent variable of organizational studies. Despite more than 60 years of research on the area, substantial challenges concerning how to conceptualize, measure, and explain OE remain. As the study of organizational effectiveness in profit organizations is complex and confused, studying the construct in nonprofit organizations like sporting organizations may be even more troublesome due to their distinctive nature. Result of below draws down from the general literature on organizational effectiveness and the specialized literature on organizational effectiveness in sport and nonprofit organizations (NPOs).

3.1. Organizational Effectiveness Approaches

A number of authors have attempted to decrease the complexity inherent in the effectiveness theory by narrowing the perspective from which effectiveness is viewed and/or measured   [2, 36, 30, 20, 29, 37, 9, and 38]. These various approaches to effectiveness can be subsumed under five different approaches. In other word, theorists have postulated five approaches to measuring organizational effectiveness- the goals model, the system resources model, the process model, the multiple-constituency model and competing values approach [15,32].

3.1.1. Goal Attainment Approach

The earliest is the goal attainment approach and is characterized by an identification of goals to measure performance. The goals model defines effectiveness as the degree to which an organization has achieved its goals [33]. The goal approach is the most widely used, according to Weese (1997). It assesses the effectiveness of an organization in terms of its success in realizing its goals. Regarded as the "most logical approach" to study organizational Effectiveness [17]. The goal approach nevertheless has its weaknesses. Most obvious is the reality that an organization may have numerous goals that may conflict with one another. In addition, an organization’s goals may shift over time, especially its short-term operative goals [15,32]. Goal shifts may result from an organization’s interactions with its environment, from internal changes, or from outside pressures. When an organization’s goals are "unclear, unstable, and conflicting with each other" [17]. It becomes very difficult to measure organizational effectiveness using the goal approach. In other word, one of the earliest approaches used to assess organizational effectiveness, specifically in sport organizations, was the goals approach. This approach focuses on the goals or output of an organization and on evaluating how well the organization meets those goals. Thus, a national sport team's final standing in the world championship would indicate the effectiveness of the national sport organization (NSO) [15]. Early studies in the area of organizational effectiveness of sporting organizations used the goal approach and tended to focus on, or note, the potential importance of win-loss records as a measure of effectiveness [18]. Trail and Chelladurai (2000) investigated the importance that faculty and students attach to the goals and processes of intercollegiate athletics. The results demonstrated differences in the relative importance faculty, students, males, and females attached to these goals and processes [39]. Clearly, this approach may have some merit for elite-level sport, but at the mass participatory level and in the totality of organizational responsibilities it is less useful. The weakness in this approach is clearly manifest in the sporting environment. That is, the propensity to measure effectiveness in terms of gold medals and success at international competitions is too great to overlook. Much of sport’s history is cluttered with administrators’ myopic views of success [40].

3.1.2. System Resource Approach

The second framework is the system resource approach, Yuchtman and Seashore (1967), who proposed the system resources model, defined effectiveness as "the ability of the organization, in either absolute or relative terms, to exploit its environment in the acquisition of scarce and valued resources. [32]. as is the case with systems theory in general, this view of effectiveness focused on an organization’s ability to attract resources to ensure viability. Attracting necessary resources and maintaining a harmonious relationship with the environment is central to the application of the systems model. Thus, an NSO would be considered effective based on its ability to obtain significant funds through corporate and private donations to carry out its programs. A school of physical education would be considered effective if it can attract a large number of students to enroll and/or recruit highly qualified faculty members. It is assumed that since resources are required to achieve the organization's goals, the greater the resources are the greater the organizational effectiveness would be [15]. In the case of national and state sporting organizations, the true nature of this interrelationship is "manufactured," as public money is guaranteed to ensure organizational stability. Equally, sporting organizations have usually been single-minded in their search for sponsorship dollars, often at the expense of broader integrated marketing strategies. Once again, this approach highlights the ability to measure some inputs and outputs, but this is not necessarily a measure of effectiveness [41]. Frisby (1986) extended the research in this area by integrating the goal approach and the systems resource approach. Using the goal model, the world ranking for each sporting organization’s Olympic team or teams, the percentile ranking of each Olympic team, and the most recent change in world ranking was used. System resource issues explored included an examination of the operating budgets and increase in funding from Sport Canada (federal government department responsible for sport in Canada). Frisby’s study produced weak positive correlations between variables of the goal and systems resources model. Specifically, the study showed that larger operating budgets tended to be associated with successful results in international competition [18]. Chelladurai, Szyszlo, and Haggerty (1987) also investigated the effectiveness of Canadian NSOs employing the systems resource approach. The theoretical framework of this study was "derived by superimposing the distinct domains of elite and mass sport on the systemic input-throughput-output cycle to yield six dimensions of effectiveness—input-mass, input-elite, throughput mass, throughput-elite, output-mass, and output-elite. Although the empirical results did not completely support the theoretical conceptualization of NSO effectiveness, the study represented an important attempt to better understand the operations of Canadian NSOs [25].

3.1.3. Internal Process Approach

The third framework is the internal process approach [25], According to this model; organizations that can offer a harmonious and efficient internal environment are viewed as effective operations. However, the shortcomings of this model lie not only in the one-sided view of effectiveness (as important aspects such as resources, outputs and satisfaction of clienteles or participants are ignored), but also in identifying the valued internal processes and in developing methods to assess them. Factors such as trust, integrated systems, and smooth functioning are viewed as more precise measures of organizational effectiveness compared to, for example, the goal attainment approach. The process model emphasizes the internal logic and consistency among the throughput processes of the organization since they convert an organization's inputs into desired outputs [20,25]. The basic hypothesis of this approach is that there is a clear linkage between the internal processes (such as decision making and staffing) and desired outputs. Notwithstanding the above concerns, another problem that is common to the goal attainment, systems resource, and internal process model of effectiveness is their failure to consider the political nature of organizations. Non-profit organizations, such as Hellenic national sporting organizations (NSOs), are political entities, whereby multiple constituencies (volunteers, coaches, paid administrative staff, state representatives, etc.) function together to realize organizational goals and seek satisfaction for their needs or expectations. In these terms the multiple constituency models can provide a more representative picture of the effectiveness of such organizations. This is because in reality strategic constituent groups determine the way organizations are functioning and what is to be perceived as effective or ineffective [4]. Chelladurai (1987) presented the input-throughput-output cycle which was based on an open system view of organizations. This framework integrated several models of effectiveness: the goal, system resources and process model which their focus was respectively on the output, input and throughput sectors of an organization [15]. Connolly et al. (1980) argued that the previous models, the goal approach and the different systems approaches, are inadequate because they only use a single set of evaluative criteria. The multiple constituency models conceive effectiveness not as a single statement but it recognizes that organizations have multiple constituents or stakeholders who evaluate effectiveness in different ways [4].

3.1.4. Strategic Constituencies Approach

The emphasis on human resources leads to the fourth framework, recognized as the strategic constituencies approach, Emanating from the work of Connolly, Conlon, and Deutsch (1980), the identification of the key stakeholder’s view of effectiveness is considered paramount. In other words, the multiple-constituency model, according to Connolly et al., is based on, A view of organizational effectiveness in which several (potentially, many) different effectiveness statements can be made about the focal organization, reflecting the criterion sets of different individuals and groups we shall refer to as constituencies[4]. A few researchers stress on attention to political view of effectiveness and recommend the multiple-constituency approach as a viable alternative for investigating effectiveness in both a profit and a non-profit organizational context [4, 41, 42, and 43].

Since these constituent groups (both internal and external) would have different perspectives on what the organization should be doing, they are also likely to organizational effectiveness are evaluate the organization's effectiveness differently. Obviously, the question arises so to which of these perspectives should take priority in the determination of organizational effectiveness. Using this model, the administrators of a faculty may consider the unit effective but the students may rate the faculty as very ineffective. Both assessments are legitimate [15]. Each constituent group may have a different notice in the way the organization performs. Equally, each constituent group provided support in some way as an employee, board member, sponsor, player, official, or volunteer. An exploratory study by Cameron (1978), who interviewed representatives of internal coalitions of universities (i.e. academic, financial, general and student affairs administrators, and deans and heads of academic departments), though cluster items into effectiveness dimensions on an intuitive basis, concluded to the identification of nine composite variables relevant to the effectiveness of educational institutions. These were entitled: student educational satisfaction; student academic development; student career development; student personal development; faculty and administrator employment satisfaction; professional development and quality of the faculty; systems openness and community interaction; ability to acquire resources and organizational health [44]. scholar such as Chelladurai&Haggerty (1991), Morrow&Chelladurai (1992), Vail (1985) Papadimitriou, (2000) Karteroliotis& Papadimitriou(2004) [11,32,26,28,34] although acknowledging the theoretical value of the multiple constituency approach, investigates the construct by either examining a small number of constituent groups or imposing effectiveness variables on NSOs. Specifically, Vail (1985) attempts to study the importance placed by different interest parties on six pre-determined variables indicating organizational effectiveness within the administrative field of a representative sample of NSOs (i.e. adaptability, communication, finance, growth, human resources and organizational planning). The researcher concludes that sport administrators, governmental agencies, coaches and sponsors ranked as equally important indicators of effectiveness the six selected variables [26]. Papadimitriou& Taylor (2000) study applies the multiple constituency model of organizational effectiveness to a sample of Hellenic national sports organizations (NSOs). They reported the identification of a five-factor structure of organizational effectiveness representing the perspectives of constituent groups from within Hellenic NSOs. The five resulting dimensions included (a) caliber of the board and external liaisons, (b) interest in athletes, (c) internal procedures, (d) long-term planning, and (e) sports science support. The multivariate and unvaried tests of variance revealed that athletes, coaches and scientific staff are the least satisfied groups, while international officials and board members produce the most favorable ratings of effectiveness [28]. However, the five effectiveness factors extracted in the context of Hellenic NSOs are only partially consistent with previous measures suggested by Chelladurai et al. (1987), Chelladurai and Haggerty (1991), Morrow and Chelladurai (1992) and Vail (1985) in reference to Canadian NSOs. Although Chelladurai and Haggerty (1991), Koski (1995), and Papadimitriou and Taylor (2000) all employed the strategic constituencies approach, limited research reporting the use of the Competing Value Approach in studying the effectiveness of sporting organizations and sports clubs  was identified in the literature[40].

Table 1. Approaches to Organizational Effectiveness.

Effectiveness Criteria Effectiveness Defined Model
Productivity, efficiency The extent to which goals are accomplished Rational Goal Model
Morale, cohesion Employee satisfaction Human Relations Natural Systems Systems Model
Stability, control Smooth internal functioning Internal Process
Resource acquisition,flexibility Acquisition of resources from environments System Resource Open Systems
constituencies Satisfaction Satisfaction of all Constituencies, trategic Multiple Constituency Model
Change in above criteria over time and space Integration of above definitions’ effectiveness Competing Values Model

Source: Lewin & Minton, 1986 [7].

3.1.5. Competing Values Approach (CVA)

The CVA originally was designed to measure organizational effectiveness in profit organizations. The CVA and its effectiveness criteria emerged from the judgments of organizational theorists and researchers about organizational effectiveness in profit organizations. The strategic constituencies approach has been the precursor to the CVA (Competing Values Approach) and it is therefore logical to the extent the measurement of effectiveness incorporating constituent groups within the three dimensions composing the CVA [40]. The most rigorous and influential multidimensional approach build the five framework of organizational effectiveness, the CVA of Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1981; 1983). The CVA was an attempt to identify the shared criteria that academics use to evaluate organizational effectiveness. In the first stage of their study, the purpose was to reduce Campbell’s (1977) list of 30 effectiveness indices in order to remain singular non-overlapping constructs with the same level of analysis and pertaining to performance. Academic experts were asked to judge the effectiveness criteria on four decision rules. In the second stage, the panel members were asked to evaluate every possible pairing between the remaining 17 criteria [45]. Multidimensional scaling was then used to identify the basic value dimensions that academics use to conceptualize organizational effectiveness. The results suggested that individuals evaluate organizational effectiveness based on three super ordinate value continua. The first dimension is organizational focus: an internal (micro focus on the development of people in the organization) versus an external focus (macro focus on the development of the organization itself). The second dimension is related to organizational structure: a concern for flexibility versus a concern for control. The third dimension is related to organizational outcomes: a concern for means (important processes) versus a concern for ends (final outcomes). Each dimension represents values that influence criteria used in assessing effectiveness. Each criterion in the construct of organizational effectiveness reflects various combinations of these values. The combination of the first two value continua (or ‘axes’), the organizational focus and the organizational structure produces four cells. The human relations model has an internal focus and flexible structure. The open system model has an external focus and an emphasis on flexibility. The rational goal model places an emphasis on control and has an external focus. The internal process model has an internal focus and places an emphasis on control and stability. The combination with the third axe, means and ends, reveals that eight cells represent four basic models of organizational effectiveness [9,46]. More recently, Shilbury & Moore (2006) addressed the issue in Australian NSOs using the CVA as theoretical framework. They operationalized the effectiveness dimensions of the CVA using semi-structured interviews and pilot testing by panel experts. The psychometric properties of the CVA scales were tested using separate principal components analyses, structural equation modeling and confirmatory factor analysis. The high correlations between the four quadrants of the CVA suggested a high degree of multicollinearity among the four latent variables. Therefore, a model with ten manifest factors loading on four latent variables was not supported. The data suggested a model with the ten manifest factors that loaded directly on and contributed to organizational effectiveness as a latent construct [41].

3.2. Nonprofit Sport Organizational Effectiveness

Similar to profit-making and public organizations, non-profit organizations are under continuous pressure to develop strategies and embrace management practices, which ensure organizational effectiveness. This is because many non-profit organizations around the world, though independent entities, rely heavily on public funding in order to survive and provide social services [48]. The construct of organizational effectiveness has gained interest in the nonprofit sector during the nineties besides the growing academic interest in nonprofit organizations; nonprofit organizations realized that being critical at their performances is important to warrant the survival of their organizations [47]. In addition to the pressure of profit institutions to capture the previously considered domain of nonprofit organizations, funders of nonprofit institutions showed an increased interest in their effectiveness [47,49]. As a result, nonprofit organizations are urged to be accountable for their performances. Goals ambiguity or conflicting goals is another inherent characteristic of the non-profit organizations including the NSOs. While the primary interest of the NSOs is the promotion of the sport-concerned within the country (i.e. domestic sport development), their actual involvement in promoting high performance may not reflect accurately their mission statement. Most NSOs aim at pursuing both goals (i.e. elite and development sport), which in practice may appear very difficult, as each one demands different delivery systems and technologies. Furthermore, the measurement of the high performance-related objectives (i.e. medals, breaking records, world ranking) is easier compared to the sport development sector, which is an activity domain with measurement complexity [17]. Another factor that confounds the study of organizational effectiveness in the context of the NSOs is their human resources. Four internal identifiable groups (i.e. volunteers, paid administrative staff, contracted professionals, officials) have to work together in order for the NSOs to delivery their services. Other constituencies associated with the NSOs’ operation are the resource providers and the recipients of the services who also form legitimate expectations about the outputs of their organization. The many of paid staff and very highly specialized professional (e.g. top coaches, marketers, sport psychologies) need to work together with voluntary board members who are elected and thus perceived the leaders of the NSOs. Whether the sport organizations are judged as effectiveness depends also on how successful are the liaisons between the various organizational groups and on how boards enact and exercise their voluntary leadership [49]. Baruh & Ramalho (2006) concluded that business organizations focus mostly on economic and financial criteria whereas NPOs have a preference for human and societal outcomes and internal social issues. The distinction between profit and nonprofit organizations seems to reflect in the choice of effectiveness criteria. The results of studies measuring effectiveness on both types of organizations provide strong rationale to question the use of the same effectiveness criteria when evaluating organizational effectiveness of profit and nonprofit organizations [13].

4. Conclusion

For many years there has been a continuous discussion for the models which in most appropriate way evaluates organizational effectiveness. Researcher should select a theoretical framework that is appropriate for the kind of organization. This paper presented a literature review of organizational effectiveness, theoretical frameworks (traditional and new) particularly in sport and sporting organizations. The concept of effectiveness is of great importance to an understanding of Organizational behavior [17]. In other word, Organizational effectiveness is one of the basic constructs in management and organizational theory [44,13]. Discovering distinguishing features between effective and ineffective organizations is the major challenge for organizational evaluation and the issue is as old as organizational research itself [1, 50, and 41]. In spite of the extensive academic interest in the topic, there still remains confusion and controversy about what constitutes organizational effectiveness and how it should be measured. The lack of a universal definition sharpens this problem. The several alternatives to measure organizational effectiveness reflect that organizational effectiveness means different things to different people [41,51]. However, if effectiveness is problematic in organizational theory, the construct seems to be even more troublesome in the nonprofit literature due to the different nature of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) [29]. However, organizational effectiveness is a term that is complicated, controversial, and difficult to conceptualize, Due to the fact, it involves multiple frameworks, for example goals, processes, and resources multiple constituency and competing value framework (CVF) [15,17]. To date, the multiple constituencies and competing value framework (CVF) in creating a synthesis of the earlier goal approach, process approach, and system resource approach, appears to best represent the multiplicity of organizational effectiveness. After the call of academics arguing that the study of organizational effectiveness in NPOs has been given too little attention [49,53]. It has gained more interest in the nonprofit science in recent years [51,29]. Today, most countries with financial investment in sport, seeking the success on the national and international level and it's not gain without an efficient and effective national sport organization. After review of the best-known Approach of the organizational effectiveness and the weak and strength of them, scholar consensus was that, competing value framework (CVF) and strategic constituencies approach had a best frameworks for measuring the organizational effectiveness. Finally, we suggested that the CVA is a useful tool to measure effectiveness in sport environment, particularly nonprofit sport organizations.


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