Structures’ role in Organizations: Yankee Stadium

For my capstone, I took a course that analyzed places and the influences that they have on the people that pass through them. From the meaning behind front porches and the culture that ensues, to place as a time period and how that may shape us, we analyzed all forms of place. In our analysis, I have come to realize that in one respect places can be defined by the past actions that occurred there. Watch haunting movies today, and the building was most definitely home to a murder, torture, or some sort of cruelty. Disney world are associated with childhood, and happy lands we wish we could live in (without using drugs). With time, places begin to adopt an identity of their own. Going into a “haunted” building, or walking into Disney World, your mind and body have preconceived feelings about how you will or ought to feel in these places. So to some degree, these structures are just as likely to define our actions, as we are to define what it is.

Yankee Stadium (1923)

Yankee Stadium (1923)

I began applying this idea to organizational theory a few days ago when I was purchasing tickets to Yankee’s games. As many people know, the old Yankee Stadium in NY has been knocked down, and a new stadium has been built literally right across the street. To start, let us look at a brief history of Old Yankee Stadium. The stadium was born in 1923 in the Bronx, NY. The stadium seated 57,545 fans and hosted 6,581 regular season games in its lifetime. The stadium has been nicknames “The house that Ruth built” after the most famous player of all-time. It hosted 37 World Series games, was home to 26 championship teams, and hosted 4 all-star games. (Wikipedia: Yankee Stadium (1923)) Through its time, some of the greatest players of all time have played on its field, changed in its locker room, and called this place their home. Anyone who has every stepped foot in the stadium can immediately feel the rich history and the presence that the stadium brings to the city of New York. In the outfield lays a small memorial for the greats that passed through the walls. History is everywhere in the stadium. I would say that it is this history, soaked into the cement foundation that makes the team, the experience, and the grandiose of NY come to life. It makes fans cheer louder, players run faster, and even makes hot dogs taste that much better.

Through it all, my point is that while we define our own actions, it seems that the places we reside can equally influence us into making certain decisions. At Enron outsiders even commented on the extravagance of the trading floors. Lehman Brother’s was lined with dark stained woods, classy furniture, and expensive appliances, which played a part in how employees acted (stuck up if you ask me). Across the world, entrepreneurs, event planners, and a host of others look for the perfect place to hold something special. For all the money they spend clearly, the place must do something. For corporations, how does a place affect the company culture, the actions of its employees, the enthusiasm and yearning to work?

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3 Responses

  1. First of all I would like to say that there is no reason to ever buy Yankees tickets (as they are horrible) and the only team that matters in MLB is the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. With that said, I agree 100% about the influence of physical structure and surrounding on organizations. It creates an aura or an attitude that definitely translates to those individuals who are involved in the organization. I think there is a kicker though; which is figuring out what kind of structure (surrounding) to create in order to get the desired outcome. The designers of Lehman and Enron could have thought that nice furniture etc. would make people feel stronger about the importance of themselves and their work.

  2. Sounds interesting. There is org theory work done on physical space. Did you check in the book index? Let me know if you find something good to anchor your paper with.

    One thing I noticed in your post is that what makes the most sense is how the space can affect interactions or other org activity. The age of Yankee Stadium may matter less than some of the design features which enable meaning and culture to develop. For example, how close fans are to field, or the displays to past champions.

    Lessig’s work, whcih we read, talks about architecture and how it codes for certain behavior. The book is on-line and may be useful

  3. […] I wanna read your paper: Geoff with Structures’ role in Organizations: Yankee Stadium […]

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