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Question:

You will write a 275-word abstract of either “Lessons Can Be Learned from Athletes’ Mistakes” (Article is attached). In lieu of a title, put the APA article citation at the top of the page.
Then, on a separate paragraph, evaluate the article in 275 words. Is it informative? Persuasive? Ineffective? Who might find it useful? Can you tell what type of audience for which the article is intended (one hint for this—in what type of magazine/journal did it appear?)? Do you agree or disagree with the author’s points; why or why not? To what extent? This is graded according to the Abstract and Evaluation Rubric.


Answer:

Abstract and Evaluation of Steve Tobak’s “Lessons Can Be Learned from Athletes’ Mistakes’

Abstract

This article by Steve Tobak, a management consultant and executive coach with Invisor Consulting focuses on former cyclist Lance Armstrong.  Armstrong rose to fame initially as a triathlete early in his life before proceeding to the status of a professional road racing cyclist. Lance came into the spotlight following a doping scandal that he was investigated for and after which he eventually admitted to doping during a popular American reality television show. This article compares Lance Armstrong’s situation to that of stakeholders in the business and corporate world. People fighting to climb up in the business world exhibit competitiveness, great drive, and are willing to do almost anything to move forward. Tobak (2014) suggests that Armstrong’s circumstances reflect day-to-day business realities. He demonstrated the same qualities that define the corporate world. Tobak (2014) explains that most people building their careers take huge risks. There are many instances of executives telling lies in their resumes earlier on in their careers only to be caught later after great advancement, like Yahoo’s Scott Thompson who faced a resume-gate scandal. Other scandals, such as stock option backdating in high-technology sectors are also explained in the article.

The article goes on to explain that most people do not have bad intentions but take big risks especially when they are young and desperate for success. If these risks initially pay off and the individuals makes progress, then they build the success on that foundation only for their inconsistencies to catch up with them later (Bailey, 2008). Therefore, in Tobak’s (2014) view, these situations are comparable to Armstrong’s story. Like business leaders, Armstrong was highly motivated to become successful in his sport and hence opted to look for performance enhancing options. Unfortunately, his success was short-lived. This article draws attention to the fact that most people have used unethical means even at the most minimal level to gain advantage. It explains that Armstrong should not be automatically dismissed as irredeemably unethical (Tobak, 2014).

Evaluation

This informative article is informative because it draws comparison between Armstrong’s unethical actions and the daily circumstances of today’s business executives. Its effectiveness arises from the persuasive manner in which it suggest solutions to ethical dilemmas similar to the one Armstrong encountered. It is adequately informative because it cites practical examples that most people know of as a justification for the view that Armstrong should in fact be accorded some leniency and respect. It is easy for most people to relate to Tobak’s (2014) article. His voice appeals to even the most reserved people by inspiring them to reassess their own beliefs and opinions on the issue. The author does not directly impose solutions but rather seeks to appeal to the reader who can potentially be faced with a similar dilemma. In terms of relevance, the article could be useful to people concerned with career development, leadership, and management. It does not seek to defend unethical behavior but rather to simplify an understanding of people’s reaction to various career growth dynamics. This article is thus intended to managers and leaders who are responsible for coming up with leadership and management strategies for both short-term and long-term purposes.  I do agree with the author that Lance should not be excessively victimized and should be allowed some form of leniency or at least understanding. However, ethics should be a priority and everyone should strive for success on a basis of ethics, hard work, and integrity. Results that are derived from an ethical approach are likely to be permanent and a source of immense pride. The practical lesson to be learned from Armstrong’s debacle is that motivation, high expectations, and self-drive sometimes pushes people beyond ethical limits to attain goals.

 

References

Bailey, S. (2008). Athlete First: A History of the Paralympic Movement. Chicester: John Wiley & Sons.

Tobak, S. (2014). “Lessons can be learned from athletes’ ‘mistakes’.” In Thomas Riggs. Are Athletes Good Role Models? Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.


 

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