MGB 301 Video Case: “Remember the Titans” Groups and teams are essential to current business objectives, so understanding how groups form and operate is a major focus of study in Organizational Behavior. The film Remember the Titans supplies a useful example for studying the life cycle of a group, as well as how external pressures can affect group formation and performance, both positively and negatively.
Using details from the Titans growth and performance, we will discuss how conflicts affected the team, the effect of leadership on the group, the advantages and disadvantages of the particular demographic circumstances on the formation of the Titans, and how the team followed the general progression through the stages of group formation. Functional conflict is considered a constructive form of conflict. The functional conflict among the Titans was based on the creation of one team from two previous groups.
The conflict between them stemmed from the solidarity of each prior group and the discrimination among the local area. Although the group were separate, they came together for the common goal of the team; which started as just a goal to win but progressed into the team being a role model for civil rights. The functional conflict influenced the flow of stages one and two, forming and storming. The relational conflict among the team was based in the interpersonal issues among the teammates, which interrupted the flow of stages one through three (forming, storming and norming).
The head coach, Boone, offers equal treatment of all of his players. His authoritarian leadership style offered no favoritism among players based on race; even to those who had racial commonalities with him. All of the players were judged solely on skill and heart in the game. Gerry and Julius served as the two strongest members of the team as the previous group leaders. The team was not able to resolve their differences until Julius and Gerry resolved theirs.
The two leaders were an example for the team; therefore, the team fell in line once Julius and Gerry were able to work together. When they first came together, there was a significant amount of vying and jockeying for power, between the players and the coaches. The leader of the white players (Gerry) tried to assert himself to Coach Boone early, but the coach made sure Gerry knew his place. A coach is a leader and must take charge if a player oversteps his boundaries. The ifference in the coaching styles also showed early on, as both coaches had different objectives. Coach Boone, who was fighting to keep his job, was almost like a drill instructor and demanding. While Coach Yoast was more lenient towards the players and more hesitant to yell at them. This may have been due to the fact that Yoast was told that the head coaching job was his if Boone lost a game. At first, the racial demographic differences stalled any progress toward group formation and success.
There was a lot of uncertainty among the players and coaches about how the team would be able to work together (Forming). Off the field, the cultural differences between the players caused misunderstandings that lead to altercations. On the field, the members faced difficulties because of their inability to work together (Storming). A team that isn’t on the same page can lead to disastrous results, as was the case early on in practice at the camp. After the late night run to the Gettysburg cemetery, the team finally realised that they had to come together.
As time passed, they were more geared toward success by working towards a common goal to win and to change the mindset of the community on racism by setting an example (Norming). With the evolution of the team, the members became willing not only to work together but to inspire the same change in others (Performing). They were not only local sports heroes, but they also became role models to a society that was unsure about the civil rights movement.
Members on the team that did not become a part of the movement were asked to leave because they did not contribute to the team success. The Titans are an example of the progression of a group formation. Through strong leadership the team was able to overcome external and internal conflicts as a group. The particular circumstances that the Titans were formed under were highly stressful and problematic but the Titans’ ability to overcome the team differences and work together made them stronger in the end result.