Case Study Analysis 4: a Tale of Two Coaches

Topics: Leadership, Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight Pages: 4 (1365 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Case Study Analysis Paper 4: A Tale of Two Coaches
Elizabeth Smith
Grand Canyon University: LDR 600
January 30, 2013

The path-goal theory describes the way leaders support their followers in achieving their goals by removing obstacles, clarifying expectations, and making the work more satisfying and rewarding. Leaders who adapt their style to the situation or the motivational needs of the follower can produce more successful outcomes (Northouse, 2010). The key considerations of this theoretical perspective will be analyzed in the leadership styles of two coaches, Coach Bobby Knight, and Coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K.).

Coach Knight and Coach K. shared a similar follower directive; do not do anything that could be damaging to yourself or the program (Snook, Perlow, & Delacey 2005a). Aside from this rule, the coaches displayed dissimilar leadership approaches toward motivating their players.

Coach Knight had one goal for his players, to win, and he displayed one leadership style, directive. Coach Knight, known as, “The General” is an in-your-face- taskmaster who leads through discipline and intimidation (Silverthorne, 2006), he tears his players down to build then back up (Klein, 2006). Coach Knight initiated structure, instructed on what he wanted, and set clear standards of performance. The “General” pushed his players past skill development to playing their hardest at all times. Coach Knight’s style incorporates many of the key elements of path-goal theory: clarifying expectations to keep his players on track toward their goal, setting challenging goals to get the highest level of performance, and working with his players to prepare them through “meticulously planned and flawlessly executed drills” (Snook, Perlow, & Delacey, 2005b). A key element that may seem to be missing from Coach Knight’s approach was as a supporter. Coach Knight though passionate about his team and his team’s success, was not apparent in his show of concern for...

References: Allen, R. K. (2012). A model of leadership. The Center for Organizational Design. Retrieved from
Klein, P. (2006). Management styles: Bob Knight vs. Coach K. Organizations and Markets. Retrieved from
Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership theory and practice (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Silverthorne, S. (2006). On managing with Bobby Knight and “Coach K”. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from
Snook, S. A., Perlow, L. A., & Delacey, B. J. (2005a). Coach K: A matter of the heart. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from
Snook, S. A., Perlow, L. A., & Delacey, B. J. (2005b). Coach Knight: The will to win. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from
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