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In the film, Remember the Titans, there is a poignant moment, a run through a forest near Gettysburg, where Coach Boone, in an effort to show his players the realities of fighting each other, says, “… This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here fighting the same fight we are still fighting amongst ourselves… Take a lesson from the dead; if we do not come together on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed just like they were”. An inspirational appeal from a transformational leader. In addition, Coach Boone, displays classic transformational leadership behavior when he singles out a character named “Lewie”, in order to help him achieve the required qualifications for graduating high school and admittance into college, by asking to see his grades every term. This film successfully demonstrates, via its characters Gerry and Julius, the similarities and contrasts of both leaders and followers. As the film progresses, it is evident that Gerry becomes an effective leader and Julius a follower.
“The change theory of focus in this case is first order, second order and third order of change.” Literature tells us that the “level of change defines the type of leadership that is required.” The characters in the movie and via Coach Boone, speaks of change theory per se, and a major paradigm shift that is clearly in effect throughout the film. Coach Boone’s attempt to change the football team, and the change manifested by forced integration for the community of Alexandria, it is high school system, and the culture of this area is a prodigious task. Coach Boone, a highly educated man, seems to know that the odds for success look dismal at best, so he starts out establishing an environment of fear and intimidation.
And, given the timeline, it is obvious that he never studied about reframing organizations. But, as with all good organizational leaders a key question must be addressed first and foremost: “What keeps the innovations that organizations need from taking hold?” Keeping in mind, that a voluminous body of unsuccessful attempts by leaders incorporating change of their organizations can be cited. Given that “there is no shortcut to developing this kind of expertise.” Nonetheless, Coach Boone seems to possess innate qualities that resemble the theory of reframing, thereby improving his odds for a successful conclusion.
Per Bolman & Deal (2017), “change invariably creates conflict, a supercharged tug-of-war between innovators and traditionalists to determine winner and losers. Change usually benefit some while neglecting or hurting others.” By using frames, Coach Boone in this case, can create a list of change agents to keep themselves cognizant of the issues and formulate a proper response. Creative change agents have a tendency to flop when they disregard human resources, political and symbolic components. Furthermore, “creative change agents can use ideas to stimulate thinking and spur imagination as the develop an approach that fits the circumstances,”. In Coach Boone’s predicament, the federal government’s mandated “forced integration” change, destabilized Alexandria, Virginia as well as the entire nation’s fundamental structure, thusly generating ambiguity, misperception and wariness. Fortunately, the transformational leadership exhibited in the film establishes outcomes that are both positive and synergistic in the change progression as illustrated in the film. Moreover, it is only when the players realize that they must stop fighting and start cooperating amongst each other that they can achieve the common goal of becoming states champions, that one sees the change agents incorporated are in fact succeeding in converting them into a team. Coach Boone and Coach Yoast’s innovations invariably produced the four issues caused by change. Per Bolman and Deal (2017), the players did not feel they were effective, valued and in control, the way things were are being disrupted causing them confusion and insecurity, and with this new direction, they did not know if they were benefitting or losing. Lastly, the players felt a sense of loss because everything, as they knew it, was changing. This inevitably forced the team and coaches, to negotiate their circumstances and believe that it would be a better, instead of grieving they celebrated by embracing the common vision and goal of the team; a state and national championship.
In conclusion, it is stated, “that leader and follower relationships are created through interpersonal exchanges in which the parties to the relationship evaluate each other with regard to trust, ability and integrity.” This film, “Remember the Titans” crafts exactly that, leaders and followers from different backgrounds are compelled to come together as a team despite outside factors; race issues. Then it struggles with what we call, multi-frame analysis, revealing how “participation, training, structural alignment, political bargaining and symbolic rituals of letting go,” actually, helped the team, coaches, school officials, parents, and in the long run, the community. Their ability to grasp and view the potential of new opportunities and what might be possible aided them in finding hope in the bowels of fear. Freedom is about having a choice, and that same exact freedom is vital in attaining free will and commitment.
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