Coach Knight and Coach K Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Question 2: How would you describe Coach Knight's leadership style? What are his basic assumptions about motivation, leading, and human nature?

Coach Knight has a passionate and a demanding leadership style with huge focus on willing to win. Coach Knight is a perfectionist, as he requires and applies an authoritarian leadership style because the University had offered him all the required authorities for running a School Basketball program. Therefore, Coach Knight also had a complete backing from the leadership of the University which provided him control and more power in managing maintaining discipline (Komives & Wagner, 2009).

The element of motivation was driven from the willingness to win and to thrive for a much better performance in the future. Coach Knight had developed a system in which a player could attain his place in the team if he is hard working and plays hard during the match. The team selection made by Coach Knight was purely on the basis of merit which motivated other players as the selection was not on the basis of favoritism. As discussed in the case, Coach Knight also associated the placement of Keith Smart in the team for the next tournament on the basis of performance, even though Keith Smart had been awarded with the Outstanding Player of the Tournament. Therefore, players had the motivation that they could still play for the team if they had the willingness to win and desire to perform as a perfectionist in the team. Moreover, the act of fairness from Coach Knight could be judged from kicking his own son due to poor performance.

Coach Knight has the making of a great leader as it could be reflected on the performance of Indiana University and as well as the performance of Texas Tech. Coach Knight has brought home many trophies while winning major leagues and championships. The Universities provided all the authorities to build a strong Basketball team that could compete with other Universities. Therefore, huge authority allowed Coach Knight to display authoritative leadership which sometimes led towards physical and verbal abuse. Coach Knight led the team on the basis of maintaining discipline which reflected the old method of leading style which was once adopted by his father. Although this leading behavior has been successful but it does not allow players to engage positively towards the coach as Coach Knight quoted that he does not want any student to like him, but to respect him. He taught his students to become obedient and kept expectations high from the players. A strong will for winning kept the team to perform at higher standards and meeting the expectations set by the coach. However, the element of change is missing in the leadership of Coach Knight as shifting the University brought slight changes in the behavior but the basic leadership tactic remained the same.

Coach Knight’s friends, family, and close relatives would define his personality as unexpected as they still have yet to understand him completely. As quoted in the Season on the Brink, Coach Knight has many characteristics as he is warm, sensitive, and a funny guy apart from all the yelling and verbal abuses. Coach Knight also believes that most of the times the verbal abuse would mean to judge the response of an individual and the best coach is he who has the teaching style of an actor. He believes that a successful coach needs to adopt a different personality while coaching at different times. This human character has led the team to many famous wins, but also it has led towards many controversies.

Question 3: Who is more effective? Under what conditions would you hire Coach K? Coach Knight?

The leadership style of Coach K is more effective than Coach Knight because the element of trust and maintaining good relations with players on and off the field has provided an air of trust amongst the players and the coach. Since Coach K is not aggressive in his leadership style, he plans how he would approach each player and would explain each of them in their own way of understanding. However, Coach Knight believed in a single strategy of working hard and maintaining discipline until the social and personal life of a player is affected. Moreover, Coach K did not have a close proximity with his players which failed to develop the element of trust and love. Coach Knight only believed in the willingness to win, however, Coach K maintained to develop a good human character of their player along with playing for the team as he believed in mutual trust and love and made changes according to the situation.......................................

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