“THE DAMNED UNITED”
1. Sum up the story and describe the problem.
Set in the late 1960’s and in the early 1970’s England, “The Damned United” tells the story about, perhaps, the most brilliant and one of the most controversial coaches in the U.K, Brian Clough and it offers an examination of what went wrong for him when he took over at Leeds United, the reigning champions in 1974. Leeds has been previously managed by his irreconcilable rival Don Revie and with him, this club had lived its most successful period ever as a football club. However, Leeds was perceived by many to represent a new aggressive and cynical style of football – the antithesis of the dynamic, flamboyant, outspoken young football manager Brian Clough, who had achieved astonishing success as manager of the modest Derby County building teams in his own vision with trusty Peter Taylor his lifelong professional colleague. Taking the Leeds job without Taylor by his side, with a changing room full of what in his mind were still Don’s boys, would lead to a deep examination of Clough’s belligerence and brilliance over 44 days. The Damned United concentrates on one of Clough’s few managerial failures, who after less than two months managing Leeds United Football Club, was fired for a combination of bad results and an abrasive style which extended to the club’s board of directors.
2. Describe the Leeds´ organizational culture and the differences with Clough's Derby County Basically, Leeds and Derby had similar organizational cultures. Going through Gomez Mejia’s book, the functions of the Organizational Culture were clearly defined in both cases and they had some of the recommended categories in order to create and maintain the Organizational Culture: ceremonies, icons, values, principles and why not, leadership. However, the main difference was the way they tried to achieve their goals using a style diametrically opposed in accordance with the manager of each club: there is an old saying in English that says: “The end does not justify the means”. It is clear that there had always been a strong, some might say unhealthy, rivalry between the two teams and the managers in particular and paraphrasing Brian Clough could be a good way of realizing, according to him, the differences between both institutions: “We have different styles in football and in life...I am a warm man, an idealist, I do believe in fairies and that´s my outlook. Don is slightly different; he is hardness, a cold person”. If we continue analysing Brian Clough as an example of his club Organizational Culture, another consideration we might take into account is a distinction between style and competence. Here we might borrow from the ideas of cognitive style/level distinction. It is plausible to consider that we should identify the criteria for excellence and beware of putting together all aspects of a leader’s style as associated with a leader’s success. Brian Clough had many aspects associated with winning the trust and commitment of his followers. It has to be reminded that Brian, despite being well known for his brash, charismatic, unorthodox approach as he was for
“THE DAMNED UNITED”
his success flamboyance, honesty and flair, also had unpleasant behaviour patterns which got him into trouble as a football manager, and would almost certainly restrict his long-time success as a business leader. Don Revie - Leeds: win, no matter what. Derby County: win, football is a beautiful game; it needs to be played beautifully. Finally, as before-mentioned, both clubs shared different aspects of the Organizational Culture, but maybe we could point out that Leeds seems to be closer to “Club culture” and Derby County is closer to “Academic Culture” – pages 107-108, Mejia´s book, “Administración”.
3. Describe the barriers that Brian Clough found when he arrived to Leeds and tried to change everything Brian Clough´s first day at Leeds was very illustrative: the...