I’m sure some of you may have heard (or if not, now you will have), in the summer of 1970 when England was defeated by Germany in the Quarter Final , just 4 days later Harold Wilson lost the election to Edward Heath’s Conservatives. This may be of no coincidence, but many Labour politicians at the time believed England’s sudden and unexpected World Cup exit had a huge part to play in Labour’s loss in the 1970 general election. Now, keep this in your mind, sit back and read on…
We are currently living in a time where economic prosperity and confidence seems far away. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank it 3. But what if the solution to economic prosperity and confidence could simply be sport.
In the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, interests in sports will be at its highest – everyone will play sport, talk sport and watch it. A study conducted by Hudson (2006) has shown that sport and conversations between staff/customers, managers/staff, men/women can have a positive impact on boosting morale and improving mood, motivation and productivity in the working environment. Results showed 63% of men and 52% of women said that sporting success (i.e. their team winning) has an impact on their approach to work.
Sport encompasses many important skills which can have an overall positive impact in the workplace. It enables people to improve their team building skills, make effective decisions and judgements, anticipate reactions and responses, provide mental strength and much more. Though before we can have economic prosperity and confidence, one (i.e. individuals) needs ‘confidence’ in order to perform.
This is a pretty bold statement what I am saying, but what I am suggesting, that a way of overcoming this lack of confidence is through ‘sport’. Yes, you heard me ‘sport’. A huge amount of psychological literature exists linking sporting success and fan self-esteem, as well as self-esteem with productivity. Posten (1998) suggests that sport can simply increase self-esteem by association and affiliation. In other words, when a team does well, fans feel high self-esteem related to their team’s victory.
Studies conducted by Ashton et al. (2003) suggests that large-scale sporting events such as the World Cup, The Ashes, The British Open and Wimbledon may have a tangible impact upon the economic performance of a country and businesses contributing to that economy, suggesting that potential success in next year’s London 2012 Olympic Games could provide a huge boost to the UK economy if they succeed and perform well. So the question is: could events such as the London Olympic Games be the solution to saving the British Economy? The evidence I have presented suggests it can only help and whether or not it means the economy performs well, it should also serve as a lesson that many skills can be gained by participating in sport that can help businesses succeed and prosper.