Case Study - Two Coaches

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Case Study Analysis: A Tale of Two Coaches – Part 3
After reviewing the articles regarding the leadership styles of Coach Knight and Coach Krzyzewski (Coach K), it becomes apparent that each coach displays a very different means of pursuing and obtaining competitive objectives. Generally speaking, Coach Knight displays a strict and rigid leadership style, whereas Coach K’s style seems more personal, sincere, and at times, compassionate. A brief analysis of both Fiedler’s contingency theory and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II (SLII) model will better illustrate the differences that exist between the coaches and their leadership strategies.

Fiedler’s contingency theory is best described as a leader-match framework in which leaders are assigned to the most appropriate situation given their attributes and capabilities (Northouse, 2010). Thus, a leader’s effectiveness is contingent upon how well the leader’s style fits the current situation. Coach Knight, for example, displayed characteristics of a task motivated style in which his primary concern was to reach specific goals. He was not concerned with leader-follower relations, nor was he aware of the disconnect that existed between him and many of his players. Based on the model, Knight’s leader-member relations were low while task structure was high. Moreover, his position power was high as reflected by his regular abuse of verbal and physical punishment. Based on his regular outbursts, Fiedler would suggest that Knight’s style was mismatched with his situation because while “under stress, the leader reverts to less mature ways of coping that were learned in early development” (Northouse, 2010). These immature reactions, which included thrown chairs, screaming, and cursing, resulted in poor decision making, negative leadership outcomes, and the eventual jeopardy of Knight’s long-term career (Snook, Perlow, & Delacey, 2005). On the other hand, Coach K’s leader-member relations and task structure were both...
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