Sports: Lessons for Managers

Image result for Sports: Lessons for Managers“Sports is a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and achieving against great odds. Athletes, in times of difficulty, can be important role models.” -Bill Bradley, former pro basketball player and United States senator.

When scholars discuss what makes a great business leader, they often turn to sports as the ultimate metaphor or analogy. A manager lagging in her work is “behind the eight ball” while another who is changing tactics is “calling an audible.” If your staff can’t do the basic “blocking and tackling” required on a project, better improve your “bench strength.”

The following stories from our archives look into sports both as a business opportunity and as a metaphor. Are you ready to level the playing field?

Alex Ferguson’s Lessons on Leading

For almost three decades, Sir Alex Ferguson developed the Manchester United soccer club into one of the most recognized sports brands in the world. Here’s how he did it.

In the Future of Sports Investing, Media Is the Best Bet

Sports investing is no longer just about buying teams and selling beer. Media, digital devices, and invention of fan-friendly sports are driving next-generation investors.

Marketing Maria: Managing the Athlete Endorsement

A case study on the marketing of tennis powerhouse Maria Sharapova.

Is it Worth a Pay Cut to Work for a Great Manager (Like Bill Belichick)?

Few of us want to take less money to move to another organization, but this research on a legendary coach shows that hooking up with the right mentor can quickly increase your value.

On Managing with Bobby Knight and “Coach K”

Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski were arguably the two most successful college basketball coaches in the country. But their leadership styles could not be more different.

Bringing ‘Moneyball’ to the NBA

Are people better off as a result of your presence? Leadership lessons from basketball, the ultimate team sport.

Diagnosing the ‘Flutie Effect’ on College Marketing

After one of the most dramatic plays in collegiate football history, Boston College benefitted with a dramatic upswing in applications. Other universities have benefitted similarly. The reality behind the “Flutie Effect.”

Lessons from the Lance Armstrong Cheating Scandal

A case study looks at the behavior of teammates who were swept up in Lance Armstrong’s cheating scandal. When do followers need to break away from their leader?

Research Papers

How Much Is a Win Worth? An Application to Intercollegiate Athletics

The authors investigate the short- and long-term direct monetary effects of operating a winning athletics program for an academic institution of higher education.

More Effective Sports Sponsorship—Combining and Integrating Key Resources and Capabilities of International Sports Events and Their Major Sponsors

This field-based study of the Union of European Football Associations and its main international sporting event, the European Championships, explores key organizational capabilities that underlie value creation and enhancement in an event’s portfolio of sponsorship relationships.