The Use of Normative Control in Voluntary Organizations: An analysis of the USTA 18's & 16's Junior National Championships
Alvin Zander, author of The Purposes of Groups and Organizations, defines a group as a "collection of individuals who interact with and depend upon one another". 1 In order for a group to be successful it must consist of members who are committed to that group and its particular cause. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) 16's and 18's junior national championships is no exception. In fact this group relies tremendously on its members to make it the best junior tournament in the world. In the fifty-one years the tournament has been held at Kalamazoo College there have been only two directors, Dr. Allen B. Stowe and Rolla Anderson. This in itself says something about the kind of special organization it is. In the thirty-plus years that Anderson has been at the helm he has built up a volunteer network from just two people when he first started as the director of the tournament to over 750 volunteers in this years tournament which happens to be Andersons last. Next year Timon Corwin will be taking on the dual role of head men's tennis coach for Kalamazoo College and tournament director. In his first years the tournament was small enough so as to allow Rolla to handle most of the organizational aspects himself, thus he only needed a couple of assistants. As the tournament began to flourish and grow, the organizational demands on Rolla required that he begin setting up committees to handle different parts of the tournament. This meant that as the tournament grew, the number of volunteers Rolla needed also grew. Today, Rolla's primary responsibility as director is to secure sponsors for the tournament. The actual organizing of the different aspects of the tournament is left to several committees which are headed by loyal volunteers, many of whom are good friends of Rolla's who are committed to helping the organization live up to its billing as the premier junior national tennis tournament. The most striking characteristic of the tournament, however, is the number of volunteers involved with this past years tournament. Over seven hundred volunteers helped out with this years tournament many of whom keep coming back year after year. Obviously something is motivating them into returning each year and spending tremendous amounts of time in order to see that the tennis tournament can be the best it can be. There has been attempts by some people in the USTA's national body to move one of the age divisions to another site, but these proposals have been overwhelmingly voted down mostly because of the efforts of the individuals involved in the tournament. Kalamazoo has proven to people around the country that its group members are committed to keeping the tournament right where it is. A group must have a reason for its' existence. The Kalamazoo tennis volunteer organization seeks to serve and promote junior tennis in the U.S.A .. This group has consistently received tremendous support from the volunteers, Kalamazoo College, and the surrounding community. I plan to study the basic questions of why people join groups, like the Kalamazoo volunteer tennis group, why they find it necessary to become members of particular organizations and why certain organizations are more popular than others. In studying these questions, I hope to apply them to how the tournament attracts its members, concentrating on how it keeps its volunteers coming back year after year and what is the motivation behind why people put in tremendous amounts of hard work to see that the tournament succeeds? In addition to discussing the above questions I will attempt to apply some theories derived by Randall Collins that deal with organizational theory. I will show how these theories help to "sensitize" you to some of the important aspects of the tournaments' organization. These theories tie into the previous questions I stated and should help explain why people commit themselves to different organizations. They also help to explain why the amount of loyalty to the group a person has, varies among different individuals. In attempting to accomplish all that I have described above, I have done a number of things to insure that I get as much information about the organization as possible. This includes studying every relevant aspect of the tournament as a participant-observer. In addition I distributed surveys and conducted interviews with a few select people from the tournament. All this I hope will provide a concise and detailed report as to the answers to all the questions that I have posed above. It is my hope that the tournament, will follow many of the theories done by past research on other organizations and will also shed new light on why the tournament has been such a success during its' fifty-one years in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College.
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