Advertisement

The Organization as a Mixed Martial Artist: A Metaphor for Environmental Uncertainty

  • Carlo A. SerranoEmail author
Chapter
  • 29 Downloads
Part of the Christian Faith Perspectives in Leadership and Business book series (CFPLB)

Abstract

Infamous boxing legend Mike Tyson once declared, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.” Simply put, even the best laid plans often come up short in the heat of the battle. Organizations are not exempt from these realities. Although it seems unorthodox on the surface, research suggests that organizations have a lot in common with combat athletes such as the mixed martial artist. One could argue that organizations that are prepared to overcome environmental uncertainty share three qualities with mixed martial artists: flexibility, adaptability, and reliability. This chapter explains how in the same way that mixed martial artist must prepare for the unknown of the combat environment, organizations must also strategically prepare for disruptions and change. For the organization, preparation involves both an offensive and defensive approach to change. The metaphor presented in this chapter serves as a conceptual bridge between organizational theory, the Christian scriptures, and organizational practice.

References

  1. Bruneau, M., Chang, S. E., Eguchi, R. T., Lee, G. C., O’Rourke, T. D., Reinhorn, A. M., & von Winterfeldt, D. (2003). A framework to quantitatively assess and enhance the seismic resilience of communities. Earthquake Spectra, 19(4), 733–752.Google Scholar
  2. Burnard, K., & Bhamra, R. (2011). Organisational resilience: Development of a conceptual framework for organisational responses. International Journal of Production Research, 49(18), 5581–5599.Google Scholar
  3. Chen, M., & Cheesman, D. (2013). Mental toughness of mixed martial arts athletes at different levels of completion. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 116(3), 905–917.Google Scholar
  4. Gracie, R., & Danaher, J. (2003). Mastering the art of jiu-jitsu. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  5. Hatch, M. J., & Cunliffe, A. L. (2013). Organization theory: Modern, symbolic, and postmodern perspectives (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kahn, W. A., Barton, M. A., & Fellows, S. (2013). Organizational crisis and the disturbance of relational systems. Academy of Management Review, 38(3), 377–396.Google Scholar
  7. Kuhn, R., & Crigger, K. (2013). Fightnomics: The hidden numbers in mixed martial arts and why there’s no such thing as a fair fight. Cedar Rapids, IA: Graybeard Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Maher, B. S. (2010). Understanding and regulating the sport of mixed martial arts. Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal (Comm/Ent), 32(2), 209–246.Google Scholar
  9. Mamouni Limnios, E., Mazzarol, T., Ghadouani, A., & Schilizzi, S. M. (2014). The resilience architecture framework: Four organizational archetypes. European Management Journal, 32(1), 104–116.Google Scholar
  10. Mierzwinski, M., Velija, P., & Malcolm, D. (2014). Women’s experiences in the mixed martial arts: A quest for excitement. Sociology of Sport Journal, 31(1), 66–84.Google Scholar
  11. Miles, R. E., Snow, C. C., Meyer, A. D., & Coleman, J. J. (1978). Organizational strategy, structure, and process. Academy of Management Review, 3(3), 546–562.Google Scholar
  12. Morgan, G. (2006). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Nelson, C. A. (2013). Services marketing in mixed martial arts, developing jiu-jitsu in Seoul, Korea. Journal of Marketing & Management, 4(1), 31–44.Google Scholar
  14. Peli, G. (2009). Fit by founding, fit by adaptation: Reconciling conflicting organization theories with logical formalization. Academy of Management Review, 34(2), 343–360.Google Scholar
  15. Pries-Heje, J., & Baskerville, R. (2008). The design theory nexus. MIS Quarterly, 32(4), 731–755.Google Scholar
  16. Schneider, M., & Somers, M. (2006). Organizations as complex adaptive systems: Implications of complexity theory for leadership research. The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 351–365.Google Scholar
  17. Singh, J. V., House, R. J., & Tucker, D. J. (1986). Organizational change and organizational mortality. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31(4), 587–611.Google Scholar
  18. Sutcliffe, K. M., & Vogus, T. J. (2003). Organizing for resilience. In K. S. Cameron, J. E. Dutton, & R. E. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
  19. Vaccaro, C. A., Schrock, D. P., & McCabe, J. M. (2011). Managing emotional manhood: Fighting and fostering fear in mixed martial arts. Social Psychology Quarterly, 74(4), 414–437.Google Scholar
  20. Wicker, P., Filo, K., & Cuskelly, G. (2013). Organizational resilience of community sport clubs impacted by natural disasters. Journal of Sport Management, 27(6), 510–525.Google Scholar
  21. Yasai-Ardekani, M. (1986). Structural adaptations to environments. Academy of Management Review, 11(1), 9–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regent UniversityVirginia BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations