Systemic Vision – Its Necessity in the Management of Sports Organizations


Diagnosing the activities of a sports organization requires, without doubt, the use of the methodological advantages of a systemic approach. Purpose: This diagnosis was aimed at making an intricate analysis of the sports club in order to detect any deficiencies/problems which might appear in the management process. Methods: The evaluation of the management system was carried out by means of a questionnaire survey, in which the sample, made up of subjects from the Management Department and Technical Department, was invited to assess 10 items, each on a scale from 1 to 5. Also, a PEST analysis and MFSOA matrix were carried out, based on a SWOT analysis. Results: This endeavour leads to the evaluation of their system of management and, at the same time, to actions which can improve the management system of the sports club. Conclusions: Management without solid theoretical foundations and without a systemic vision can lead to syncope within the management system. The organization must have the ability to maintain itself and evolve under the demands of the external environment, as well as the ability to adapt/ readapt to the changes in the internal environment.

Keywords: Management, organization, vision systems

1. Introduction

The increasing complexity of the managerial process has made necessary a systemic approach to

this process. This concept defines the system as “a set of elements organized and based on inter-

conditioning connections the function of which allows certain objectives to be reached” (Burduș, 2007:


Management includes methodological, decisional, informational and organizational components, a

fact which allows it to be treated as a system. Management does not exist without an organization, and

an organisation cannot function without management.

Organizations generate a system of actions from the perspective of the members of the organization

and their actions in different situations. The members of the organization personalize and adapt the

organization according to the situations encountered in the system. The manager and situations

necessitating action together form a logic of action: “The meeting of the manager with a situation leads

to interactions which allow the creation of laws of action” (Amblard et al., 1996).

In the diagnosis of the activities of a sports organization, a methodological approach to the system

is, without doubt, necessary.

The systemic nature of sports organization has been studied since the 1990s, several authors

(Chiffler, 1993; Defrance, 1997; Loret, 1993) addressing the systemic vision of sports organizations in

terms of interdisciplinarity, because management of sports organizations is based on concepts and tools

borrowed from other fields: economic, sociological, managerial.

A systemic vision permits uncovering the components of structural parts, relationships, interactions

and inter-conditioning, which can explain a process, a phenomenon or an activity with the adjustments

and mutual influences responsible for the unit, the coherence of certain actions, or responsible for the

disorder or incoherence of others. A systemic approach leads to emphasis on the dynamics of the


A systemic vision highlights subordinate and/or superordinate relationships of the different

structures and relationships between the aims of the organization and the results obtained.

In the light of managing a sports organization, a systemic vision is aimed at the function of the

whole, as well as the individual parts of which it is composed, the relationship between the managerial

system and that which is managed, and the dialectical connection between the systems of the

organization, the organizational environment and the orientation towards a specific goal (Livian, 2008:


The systemic approach facilitates the analysis process, but it also permits, thanks to the global

vision, the discovery of a logic to the recommendations made in order to re-stabilise the coherence of

the organization with its environment. Every organization possesses the ability to self-transform, self-

adjust and acquire a certain synergy.

For the success of the organization, the manager must analyse both its internal and external

components. Focusing solely on internal issues can lead to ignoring the environmental conditions

which affect the activities of the organization, or to the lack of ability to recognize the constraints or

opportunities of the employees and the athletes. This is why the manager must focus his actions on

managing the relationships between the organization and its external environment (Donna, 1990: 13),

meaning in fact permanent adjustment of the organization’s activities according to the conditions

presented by the surrounding environment in which the activities are conducted.

Directly related to the environment, the organization provides a transfer of information between the

components that constitute its internal systems and between them and the environment, acting through

its external systems, thus enabling a process of self-regulation of components and relations between

them (Aldea, 2010: 19).

Emphasizing the differences between internal and external factors as determinants of performance

has remained an organizing principle in strategic management (Mihăilescu, 2008: 43).

By studying the literature (Simion, 2009; Frâncu, 2000; Fugigi & Petrache, 2000), we observe

interest in the managerial work of sports organizations. The specific managerial methods used in this

research are found in scientific studies whose objective results generate the tools needed for

redesigning the managerial system.

2. Materials and methods

The diagnosis performed on Chindia Targoviste Football Club included an investigation designed to

evaluate the management applied within the club. 10 members of the Human Resources Department of

the club were investigated, while a SWOT analysis provided us with internal and external information

which was necessary in making the best decisions and founding a development strategy for the

management system. A sports organization contains and functions as a complex, dynamic, open

system, with multiple, varied internal and external connections determined not only by the actions

within the organization, but also the political, economic, social and technological (PEST) influences of

the external environment, this analysis having also been carried out at the aforementioned club.

Following the SWOT analysis, we developed an elaborate matrix of the strengths, weaknesses,

opportunities and threats (MFSOA).

All of these lead to the evaluation of the management system of the club and, at the same time, the

discovery of actions which could improve the club’s system of management.

2.1. Purpose

The research was initiated with the purpose of identifying existing problems in the different

components of the management system and gaining knowledge of the internal and external

environment of the organization, this being considered a premise to the creation of a development

strategy for the system of management in the sports organization.

2.2. Hypothesis

Promoting a systemic vision within the management of a sports organization and performing a

diagnosis of its management system is a necessary course of action in developing a strategy for the

management system of the respective sports organization.

2.3. Methods

In the research, we used the following instruments of scientific research investigation: SWOT

analysis, PEST analysis, MFSOA matrix, and methodological instruments needed to obtain information

deemed necessary to our research.

SWOT analysis - by using this tool, it was performed a diagnosis of the internal and external

environment of the sports organization, meticulously identifying important issues that could lead to

improved managerial work within the football club and to redesigning the studied management system.

The list of problems on internal environment for being analysed has determined the intensity and

importance of each issue (Table 1), by awarding them a value on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 signifies

very low intensity/ importance, and 5, high intensity/ importance.

Figure 1: List of issues evaluated by the Club President on the internal environment
List of issues evaluated by the Club President on the internal environment
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On the issues identified for the external environment, it was determined the likelihood of their

manifestation and their impact on the sports club on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 means a probability

with very low impact, and 5 a probability with a very big impact (Table 2).

Figure 2: List of issues evaluated by the Club President on the external environment
List of issues evaluated by the Club President on the external environment
See Full Size >

A sports organization is established and operates as a complex, dynamic and open system, with

multiple and diverse internal and external connections determined by the actions within the

organization and the political, economic, social and technological (PEST) influences of the external

environment. To diagnose the management system at the investigated football club, we developed a

matrix of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (MFSOA) which were identified, in order to

develop the club’s management system. MFSOA matrix was developed by:

combining strengths with opportunities, resulting in a development strategy; combining opportunities with weaknesses, resulting in a growth strategy with risk; combining strengths with threats, resulting in a growth strategy with risk; combining weaknesses with threats, resulting in a reorientation strategy.

MFSOA matrix contains nine squares:

four dials for the four key-factors: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.

four quadrants for strategic alternatives resulting from the combination of the four basic factors.

3. Results

With regards to the global evaluation of the management system within the researched club, the

score obtained was 2.23, a satisfactory level according to the evaluation scale used.

The SWOT analysis has led to the discovery of different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and

threats, as presented in the following table:

Figure 3: SWOT analysis of the football club investigated
SWOT analysis of the football club investigated
See Full Size >

In Table 4, we show the results of the PEST analysis for the club researched.

Figure 4: PEST Analysis
PEST Analysis
See Full Size >
Figure 5: MFSA matrix (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
MFSA matrix (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
See Full Size >

Following the diagnosis of the sports club’s management, we have identified and proposed the

following strategic approaches in order to develop and improve the system of management within the

sports organization.

Figure 6: General objectives of the development strategy
General objectives of the development strategy
See Full Size >

4. Conclusions and discussions

Using the SWOT analysis has led to the identification of the actual situation of the club (Table 3),

where we see an important aspect of strengths: quality human resource as well as a worrying aspect

related to weaknesses: informational subsystem is insufficiently defined and opportunities as well, but

the support of local authorities will lead to the development of sports organization. On the basis of

identified MFSOA matrix (Table 5), we achieved development strategies, growth and reorganization of

risk conditions, which has led to improved process of management. Through the managerial approach

proposed and performed, we find that the methods used are effective and lead to diagnosing the

management system and design strategy for improving the activity of the organization.

Managing without a solid theoretical foundation and without a systemic vision can lead to syncope

within the management system. The organization must have the ability to maintain itself and evolve

under the impact of the demands from the external environment, and adapt/ readapt according to the

changes in the internal environment. The good/ poor functionality of an organization is the result of the

actions, either good or bad, upon the internal and surrounding environment, namely the leadership or

management of it. Thus, the efficiency of an organization depends on the ability of its leader or leaders

to use the internal resources available – material, financial, human and informational, to conform to the

trends and changes which take place and exploit the opportunities presented by the external

environment. Within sports organizations, physical, informational and psychological transformations

take place. This is reflected in the external environment of the organization, constituting ‘inputs’ into

the system of the organization. For these transformations to take place, sports organizations have to

possess the ability to act/ react through its resources and efficient work methods, the results of these

transformations representing the ‘outputs’ of the system. Such a vision is essential in the context of

modern management used within sports organizations for the transformation of recommendations into

operational contexts.


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10 June 2016

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Cite this article as:

Cucui, G. G. (2016). Systemic Vision – Its Necessity in the Management of Sports Organizations. In V. Grigore, M. Stanescu, & M. Paunescu (Eds.), Physical Education, Sport and Kinetotherapy - ICPESK 2015, vol 11. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 326-333). Future Academy.