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This essay is a descriptive evaluation of globalisation and how it affects an organisation, making reference to the ethnographic study conducted. The report will draw various theoretical frameworks from different authors in other to understand the meaning and concepts of the phenomenon "globalisation" and the relating it to Liverpool football club and how it impacts its performance. This essay will be an indebt analysis of globalisation using the functionalist approach to gain a wider understanding of the scope of globalisation. Conclusion would be drawn by constantly referencing the ethnographic study conducted.
On the 6th of December, 2010, I had the privilege of going to Anfield, home of arguably one of the most successful football clubs in England to watch a football match between Liverpool and Aston VIlla. I decided to use the opportunity to conduct an ethnographic study and evaluate the impact of globalisation on a traditional English event. Getting there was hectic, the weather was cold and traffic was really heavy. This barely had an effect as the turnout was incredible. At the receptionist desk, I was welcomed and ushered to my seat which was an executive box of ten people with mixed nationalities; four Africans, three British-Pakistani nationals, two Europeans and one Indian. In the lobby there were paintings of Liverpool legends from different generations. The attendants were wearing white shirts over black trousers with red ties and crested Liverpool amulet on. The box was well equipped with modern facilities; a flat screen to watch the match, a buffet style dinner setting and a patio of 2 banks with Italian leather seats. In the patio, directly to my left was the famous Liverpool kop and to my right was Liverpool assistant captain Jamie Carragher's family box and the match clock.
In the box, we were giving refreshments for starters. This was followed by a 3-course meal at half time. On the menu, there was an array of continental dishes from Europe and Asia. This intrigued me and on inquiring from the waiter who was from Ukraine, he informed us of the deliberate attempt to accommodate tastes and preferences of a wide range of nationalities. This was because of the global appeal for the Liverpool football club brand and spectators coming from all nooks and crannies of the globe to be part of the Liverpool experience.
The crowd was divided into two, the home side and the away side. It was not evenly distributed, with the home side having the obvious advantage. The crowd was huge with about 44000 thousand fans present at the stadium; with different racial backgrounds, cultures and personalities unified for the love of football. The crowd was predominantly full of male and a few females, mostly friends and families in groups. It is true what is said about football being "like a religion". The atmosphere was great and alive with the sense of it all breathing. The crowd was beautifully coloured in red except for the away side which was just a population of somewhat 3000 travelling fans that were easily absorbed by the home fans. There were flags, flyers, mufflers and banners flying and a happy noisy cheering crowd singing the popular Liverpool anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone". You could hear this euphoric war-like chant throughout the game.
The two teams were made up of players from different countries all over the world. 10 different countries were represented in the line-ups of both teams and I couldn't help but wonder what the language of communication on the field of play was. An interesting point to note was that in a football match played in the United Kingdom between two English teams; both owned by Americans, the three goals scored were by a French player, an Argentine and a player from Holland.
The emergence of globalisation can be traced back to the 1950s; a process that was characterized by growing international trade, economic integration, capital flows and migration. Globalisation can be argued that it is driven by absence of trade barriers, increase in technology and emergence of low wage developing countries. IMF (2007), defined globalization as the process through which an increasingly free flow of ideas, people, goods, services and capital leads to the integration of economies and societies. Globalisation is not just the interdependence of economies but also the cultural homogenisation and integration process of national states through trade, foreign direct investment and growing multi-national companies. Globalization can therefore be referred to as the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole (Robertson, 1992, p. 8). This can be further stated as the coming together of national states through politics, economics and culture to form a bounded structure economy. Redding (1999, p.19) views globalisation as the increasingly integration between the markets for goods and services and capital and at the same time break down of boarders. That is harmonisation of sovereign nations through political, cultural, economical and technological factors. The proponents of globalisation argue that globalisation brings about expansion of market across regions with the benefits of improvement of standard of living, economic efficiency, individual freedom and democracy and unprecedented technological progress.
Globalisation enhances economic prosperity and leads to more efficient allocation of resources, which, in turn will result in higher output, more employment, lower prices and higher standard of living (Yeh and Vaughn no date)
Therefore, globalisation can be defined in the words of Held et al., (1999 p. 16) as a process or set of processes which embodies a transformation in the spatial organisation of social relations and transactions, expressed in transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and power. Thus globalisation is not only reorganising power at world level but also at national and sub-national levels (Alden, 1999).
The topic globalisation has over the years raised several theoretical controversies. Critiques of globalisation have raised serious questions about globalisation and its aim. Questions like has globalisation liberated the poorest economies of the world? Have often been asked Trainer (2000) linked globalisation to capitalism and also argues that globalisation is the breakthrough that capitalist needed to accumulate wealth. Some would argue that globalisation is the process by which capitalist is been exported and spread all over the world. However, Held et al., (1999, p. 2) try to construct a framework for the interpretation of globalisation; that is hyper-globalizers who tend to emphasize the decline of the nation state under the pressure of economic process and development of cross national boarder trade and multinationals, the sceptics argue that the process of globalisation has been exaggerated, nation states remain crucial actors and multi-national companies depend on the home state and the transformationalist argue that there are profound changes occurring but the direction of these process is uncertain, uneven and contradictory.
Globalisation can be argued as the enactment of world culture. Buckley (2002), states that globalization is the process of harmonizing different culture and beliefs. Castells (1997) also went ahead to state that globalization is the process of erasing differences in culture and producing a seamless global system of culture and economic values.
Culture is a complex phenomenon; Culture is a way of life adopted by certain people and defines the parameter of their thinking process. Culture varies from one group of individuals to another and it is not likened to any individual but rather is based upon beliefs, faith, practices, customs and it takes different forms. According to Ball and McCulloch (1996), culture has its own sense of beauty that has been developed through history, and is composed of attitudes, values and related behaviours. Spradley et al (2009 p. 518) defines culture as the acquired knowledge people use to interpret experience and generate behaviour. Culture and nations largely function through basic structures such as the family, local groups, circumscribed traditions as a result; organisational structures and functioning are impacted by distinctive cultural traditions (Michael, 2002.). Therefore, global identities are created upon confrontation of cultures (Huntington, 1996). The dawn of the twentieth century has brought about the crystallization of world cultures consisting of universally applicable models that shape states, organisations and individual identities (Meyer et al., 1997). Thus it can be said that globalisation has brought about the fading away of culture.
Football has over the years become a global culture; it is one of the world's popular sports, with over 200 countries affiliated to it. In 2006, the popularity of football grew rapidly during the world cup that took place in Germany; FIFA the world football governing body reported an estimate of a total of 1 billion people watched the world cup finals. It will then be argued that football is now a global brand, especially the way it changes ownership and how the rules are continually changing.
Liverpool football club is an English football club found in Liverpool. It is one of the most successful football clubs in the history of the English football. Its origins can be traced back to the 18th century. Liverpool football club was a result of a dispute between neighbouring rivals Everton Football club of both the Merseyside. In Europe, Liverpool football club is ranked third and ranked sixth in the world.
Liverpool FC is a multi-national organisation, it is owned by an American and the team is made up of players from different regions, nationalities and cultures of the world according to Knights et al., (2007) it is a growing globalisation of sports and as a way of life for its many fans. With the influx of international players into the Liverpool FC squad, not only has it increased the level of internalization but also an increase in international fan base and revenue. In 2007, Liverpool FC bought Fernando Torres from Atlectico Madrid; Fernando Torres is a highly recognized play in Spain, his addition to the Liverpool FC team means and increase in international fan base and at the same time increase in revenue through sales of merchandize, TV rights to the new market.
Globalisation treats the world as a single entity that harmonizing different cultures into one entity. The Liverpool FC team is made up of different nationalities and cultures but football is the unifying force. Schwartz and Davies (1981: p. 33) further states that culture is a pattern of beliefs and expectations shared by the organisation's members; this beliefs and expectations produce norms that powerfully shape the behaviour of individuals and groups in the organization.
The famous Liverpool FC kop was named after the battle of Spion kop" the second Boer war. Liverpool fans refer to themselves as the kopites which has a cultural heritage in the British history. The club is also referred to as the "reds" this is also a symbolic and cultural colour of the city of Liverpool. That is to say culture is a way of life adopted by certain people and defines the parameter of their thinking process. It can be deduced that Liverpool FC is culturally linked to the city of Liverpool.
The internalization of Liverpool FC goes beyond the football team, the manager is from Scotland and the owner is an American, it's obvious the staff are from different nationalities as the waiter that i spoke to was from Ukraine and his English was not really fluent; and the fans is a mixture of different nationalities as it was the case with the box i was allocated to; four Africans from different countries, three British-Pakistani nationals, two Europeans and one Indian a total of seven different nationalities in one box and the array of continental dishes from Europe and Asia on the menu shows that Liverpool football club has undergone the process of globalisation. As Redding (1999, p.19) would put it globalisation is the increasingly integration between the markets for goods and services and capital and at the same time break down of boarders.
It can be argued that football is a culture, in the context of socio-political and economical aspects. The differentiation between the home and away fans can often look like political and social battles rather than the game of football. Rivalry in football can be traced back to when football originated, it can be territorial as the case of Liverpool F.C and Everton F.C both clubs are located in the city of Liverpool or historical when one club continuously suffer defeat. In this case, Liverpool F.C won the match with a 3 goal margin that means the rivalry continues and Aston Villa would be looking at revenge in the next fixture. The battle of supremacy and power between football clubs can be viewed as the breakthrough of capitalism that Trainer (2000) was talking about, the accumulation of wealth through globalisation.
The crowd was huge with an estimate of about 44,000 fans that was dominated by mostly the male gender and a few female, hats, flags, banners, mufflers and jerseys are a football culture. The anthem you'll never walk alone is sung all over the world especially places where Liverpool F.C has great influence on the people or community.
In conclusion, globalisation promotes regional integration, be it through culture, technology, capital flows or economically. Globalisation is a process that keeps on evolving and has been around for over a period of time. It is no doubt that globalisation has aided the growth of Liverpool football club to one of the most successful English football clubs. The advancement of information technology has bridge the gap of communication and made it possible for Liverpool F.C to increase publicity through internet and other media houses. The inculcation of different cultures into the Liverpool football club movement through different nationalities is also a sign of increasing globalisation. The absence of trade barriers and free movement of labour across national boundaries has brought about increase in standard of living of national states. It is often argued that globalisation fades away culture, culture is a way of life of people and it comes in different forms Elderidge and Crombie (1974: 89) defined organizational culture as the unique configuration of norms, values, beliefs and ways of behaving that characterize the manner in which groups and individuals combine to get things done. This could be said of Liverpool football club as it is an organisation and the aim of the club is to continue to flourish in football and generate more revenue and grow through internalization.
Globalisation is transforming the face of the global economy and it affects all aspects of life and has the potential to benefit underdeveloped economies providing the mechanism through which poverty can be reduced (Kohler, 2002) and Mittelman (2001) states that globalisation has explain the intricacy and variability of the ways in which the world is restructuring.
Liverpool Football club exhibits all the process of globalisation it been a multi-national company, to the harmonisations of different cultures into one single culture "football" and internalization to generate revenue. It reflects how it has benefitted from the process of globalisation.