It’s that time of year. So when our university media relations folks called, I agreed to do a little segment for the local Fox News Station (channel 9, in the Twin Cities market) on the madness of the NCAA’s annual college basketball tournament. Turned out, the TV team wanted to talk about its impacts on office productivity–not exactly something I’m an expert on. Luckily, I got a few leads from former Contexts graduate board student editor Wes Longhofer (who is now in the business school at Emory University) on research suggesting that while productivity does decline a bit, it is more than offset by increases in workplace morale. (See here, for one such study.) I’m not exactly sure about the methodology and all, but it was a starting point.
Anyway, I told the producer I could talk about the relationship between productivity and morale a bit, and then try to explain–from a sociological point of view, of course–both why morale may be more important than we often realize *and* why sport provides such a great context for building office culture and community. I also said I wanted to say a bit about the dangers and limitations of all this, especially who might be left out of this (think, gender and those who don’t like sports) and how and when things can get out of whack (think sports obsessiveness and excessive gambling). I even provided links to a couple of pieces on community and gender I’ve written that I thought would be useful for prepping and framing these points.