Corporate sport contributions to industrial corporate cultures

PhD M.A. Rodionova1
PhD, Associate Professor V.A. Rodionov1
Dr. Hab., Professor L.I. Lubysheva2
1Surgut State University, Surgut
2Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPE), Moscow

Keywords: corporate sports, industrial physical culture, corporate culture.

Background. Modern socio-economical challengers, growing requirements to the working capacities, longevities and skills, governmental initiatives to revise the pension age, growing life intensity and stressfulness, inflow of new production technologies with gradual elimination of human labor and many other factors have brought to the forefront multiple health issues due to the growing physical inactivity. The relative physical inactivity of the service and management personnel in modern increasingly automated industrial processes with the rapid falls in demand for purely physical labor associated with the growing burden of responsibility, health risks and stressors – often result in overstresses of the key physiological systems, depressed working capacity and increased fatigue [5].

As things now stand, the industrial health theory and practice has accumulated extensive knowledge and experience of industrial physical culture with its physical education and health domains geared to maintain the high working capacity, physical activity on the whole and professional activity in particular and cultivate modern health agenda with support from efficient recreation and health improvement services [1]. On the other hand, many issues with concern to the meanings and definitions of the modern corporate sporting and physical education cultures and their contributions to the corporate culture, industrial operations and corporate progress in the market economy on the whole – are still underexplored at this juncture.

Objective of the study was to analyze the modern meaning and definition of corporate sports and their interrelations with and contributions to the industrical physical and corporate cultures.

Resultds and discussion. Issues with concern to the corporate culture building by industrial companies with the relevant notions and definitions have been analyzed in many theoretical and practical study reports [6]. It should be noted that the public interest in these issues is on the rise with growing acknowledgement of the corporate physical education and sports (PES) benefits for the corporate operations and progress in the market economy. Our analysis of the available research and analytical literature on the subject, however, shows that the research community still disagrees on the notion of corporate culture. Thus, Y.V. Borisova and S.A. Shapiro define corporate culture as ‘the constellation of the key assumptions and values generated by a purposeful analysis of the practical corporate experiences shared and appreciated by the staff members and visualized and symbolized by the corporate logos, signage, history and artifacts to help form, advance and develop the relevant corporate systems including the management data processing and dissemination ones and facilitate the decision-making processes’ [3]. O.S. Vikhansky and A.I. Naumov interpret corporate culture as ‘the set of the key assumptions accepted by the corporate staff and manifested in the corporate values proclaimed by the company to form a basis for the corporate conduct, guidelines and service standards’ [4]. M. Armstrong in his turn defines corporate culture as the ‘array of beliefs, relations, behavioral standards and values’ [2]. It may be summarized, therefore, that most of the leading foreign and national analysts tend to agree that a corporate culture may be interpreted as the complex array of the key assumptions (including the corporate management philosophy and ideology, values and priorities, beliefs, expectations and standards of conduct) unreservedly accepted and shared by the corporate personnel. It may be also emphasized that multiple factors contribute to the unique corporate culture development process in every company, with contents of each corporate culture determined by the above constituents.

As far as the notions of corporate culture and physical culture are concerned, it is important to emphasize that they are ranked by many as the key domains of a general culture: see the Diagram hereunder. Industrial physical culture may be visualized as one of the key domains of such general cultural field that emerges on the intersection of the relevant specific cultures – that may be defined as ‘the system of methodologically grounded physical practices and physical education, health and sporting events designed to maintain, stabilize and improve the professional longevity and working capacity’ [11]. It may be pertinent to mention that the conceptual and practical foundations for the modern national industrial physical culture were laid by the Soviet health, labor physiology and PES research schools back in the 1960-80ies.

Diagram 1. Interrelations of cultural domains in corporate environments

Sporting culture may be also ranked among the domains of the general culture. In our study of the modern meaning and definition of individual sporting culture and its design and contents we were governed by the findings of V.I. Stolyarov and L.I. Lubysheva. Thus V.I Stolyarov, S.A. Firsin and S.U. Barinov define modern sporting culture in their monograph as the ‘historically variable positive-values-driven individual attitudes to sports viewed as the activity fields, physical progress tools and accomplishments in the attempts to analyze, preserve and develop the sporting process aspects, functions and components highly appreciated by every individual staff member governed by the relevant social ideals, semantics, symbols, standards, reference points and behavioral models collectively referred to as the values’ [8]. As provided by L.I. Lubysheva, sporting culture may be defined as the ‘values, socio-educational process standards, relationships, sporting events and training systems worked out by the society and succeeded by new generations’ [7]. As demonstrated by the above Diagram, the corporate sport domain emerges on the intersection of the corporate and sporting cultures. Generally corporate sports with their sporting culture are relatively new for the global business policies and practices although they have fast proved their benefits for the western companies and won their deserved positions in the corporate intensives systems.

Analyses of the available theoretical and practical literature on the subject confirms the objective need for the theoretical rethinking of the notion of corporate sports and their benefits for the personnel physical activation and health improvement programs to effectively meet the growing socio-economical challenges. Thus I.V. Antipenkova, P.Y. Fomin and F.R. Zotova define modern corporate sports as ‘one of the ways to realize the social responsibilities of business communities plus the efficient personnel management tool largely contributing to the positive corporate image’ and believe that the modern corporate sports facilitate the business expansion policies and help establish new business contacts [1, 10]. It should be mentioned that some analysts tend to interpret corporate sports as the company-sponsored sport events including the internal competitions (of the branch offices, divisions, operations etc.) plus the inter-departmental and inter-sector tournaments and events with or without contributions/ support from the local relevant governmental agencies and mass media organizations. We would define the modern corporate sports as the corporate culture domain with its interpersonal relationships, standards of conduct, values and priorities of the local sporting culture, competitive processes plus the special provisions and inputs designed to consolidate the personnel, cultivate the team spirit, establish informal friendly interpersonal relations in the teams, contribute to the staff loyalty to and trust in the company management, reinforce the managerial authority and contribute to the positive corporate image on the whole.

Modern corporate sports may be viewed as the successful and competitive business model that helps settle the potential conflicts, formulate the corporate polices and strategic objectives, set priorities and goals and outline the ways to attain them.

Conclusion. Nowadays corporate success largely depends on the staff commitment to work hard so as to fully mobilize the creative and professional resource of every teammate for success of the company. Corporate sports may be interpreted as one of the most efficient staff consolidation methods to help alleviate the job-specific stresses and emotional tensions, identify and promote informal leaders, cement the work teams, appreciate and mobilize individual resource of every team member and improve the corporate health standards on the whole.


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The article analyzes the meanings and definitions of the modern corporate sports and their role in the corporate cultures, in view of the fact that the corporate sports are increasingly considered among contributors to the competitiveness building and business success policies. The authors give the rationale for this concept being applied for success of every corporate sport event, sport competitions of departments, branches and other operations inside the company, plus the inter-sector events supported the relevant government agencies and mass media organizations.

Corporate sports are interpreted in the article as the integral part of a corporate culture with the relevant relationship system, corporate conduct rules, popular sport/ cultural values and competitive spirit and success motivations; with the sport trainings designed to cultivate the teamwork and team spirit, establish informal contacts, improve loyalty to and trust in the company management and thereby form a positive corporate image on the whole.

The authors make the conclusion that modern corporate sports help consolidate companies, mitigate stresses and emotional tensions, mobilize natural informal leadership, unite the teams for success, acknowledge individual gifts and contribute to the health agenda of every team member.