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BA251 Organizational Behavior

COACH CARTER: A Movie Analysis

Group 3: Jonileen David Hon Michael Dy Vanessa Historillo-Manaoag Johnraja-Zaid Ladja Sheila Mozenda Mendoza Raymond Santos Aleli Sison Maureel Tabudlong

BA251 Organization Behavior

A true-to-life story, Coach Carter is an inspirational account of a controversial high school basketball coach, who received both high praise and staunch criticism when he made national news in 1999 for benching his entire undefeated basketball team for poor academic performance.


Movie Synopsis 1

The movie is about Richmond Oilers basketball team and their team coach, Ken Carter. Coach Carter takes the job as coach of his old basketball team, Richmond Oilers. Coach Carter observes that the team members are rude and disrespectful.He gives the team individual contracts, instructing them to attend all of their classes, seat in the front row and maintain a grade average of 2.3. During the first meeting, three players including Timo Cruz refuse to follow the contract and quit the team.Coach Carter also asks the school staff for progress reports on the players' attendance. Through it all, Coach Carter coaches and guides the team well and allowed them to win their first victory while playing properly. Cruz attempts to rejoin the basketball team after watching their last game, but Carter refuses and gave Cruz a condition. Cruz decides to do the condition of 1,000 suicides and 1,500 push-ups. Aided by his teammates, Cruz eventually succeeded and accepted back. The team wins a holiday season basketball tournament and is invited to a suburb mansion by a fan, which Carter finds out and crashes in the party with the mansion's owners. Enraged by the incident, Carter returns to his office, only to find-out the progress reports of the team with failing marks and skipping classes. Coach Carter begins the series of lockdown on the gym, which forbids the team from playing until they improve their grades. This angers the locals resulting to verbal and physical abuse of Carter by numerous people. The school board held a public hearing on the matter and confronts Carter, who justifies his action and explains he wants to give his team the opportunity and option for further education. The board, except Principal Garrison and the chairwoman, vote to end the lockout. Carter quits his job and finds the team studying in the gym, unwilling to play basketball. Eventually their grade improved and the Coach allowed the team to play basketball. Later, the team play in the high school playoff with St. Francis as their first opponent. The team loses, but is still proud with what they have achieved and become. In the end, the movie reveals six of the players including Daniel, Cruz and Kenyon all went to college.


Research Question

What explains Coach Carters success in leading the team to succeed both in their studies and in basketball?

BA251 Organization Behavior


Frameworks for Analysis

Tuckmans Five-Stage Theory of Group Development Managing Conflict and Negotiating a. Metaphors of Conflict b. Conflict Handling Style Interpersonal Trust involves a Cognitive Leap (How to build trust) Contingency Model for Selecting for Selecting Communication Media Motivation through Goal Setting Improving Individual Job Performance: A Continuous Process

1. Chapter 10: 2. Chapter 13:

3. 4. 5. 6.

Chapter 11: Chapter 14: Chapter 8: Chapter 9:



Tuckmans Five-Stage Theory of Group Development

This is the first framework that we think is applicable in the setting of the film. The film revolves on the Richmond High Schools basketball team and their unorthodox coach and all their struggles and conflicts to reach their goals. Forming- In the movie the team has already been formed for years, it is primarily consist of male students with great interest and skills in basket ball. Coach Carter on the other hand is the newest member of the team as a coach although he used to play for the team decades ago when he was studying in the same high school. Their primary goal was just to win and become champions in the entire state.

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Storming- Conflicts emerge over tasks, behaviours, goals and particularly leadership. The film does not portray significant conflicts between the team members. Conflicts happen between Coach Carter and the players, especially when he required them to perform well in their studies in order to play as he wanted them to someday get college scholarships. Two members quit on different occasions but eventually returned after certain events happened and they realised that coach Carters method was for their own good. Norming- Coach Carter wanted that his players are not only good in basketball but he also wanted them to perform well in their school work so that they could be able to go to college. He locked-out the gym when most of his students grades were failing and cancelled the games, even the most important ones. This caused a great controversy in the town as everybody wanted the team to continue playing. This situation reached the school board which decided to end the lock-out. Disappointed with the boards decision Carter resigned but on the way to the gym to pack his things he came upon his team also refusing to play and studying. Despite at first the team was against his policies, in the end they realized that what Coach Carter wants was a win-win situation for them, so they supported and accepted his rules. Performing- With the players grades improving and everything has been settled, they returned to playing basket ball and even became one of the best in the state, but lost in the final game. In the end they all achieved the goals that they wanted, they played well almost winning the state finals and also Carter got what he wanted, 6 of his players who were seniors got college basketball scholarships and the team became one of the best in California. Tuckmans Five-stage theory of group development was perfectly shown in the film, it started from the formation of the group (the entry of Coach Carter) to reaching the goals that they wanted, they had conflicts but in the end they became successful.

Metaphors of Conflict Conflicts may be viewed as (a) a war (win at all costs), (b) an opportunity (be creative, grow and improve), or (c) a journey (a search for common ground and a better way). In the movie, Coach Carter used conflict very effectively in making the team succeed both in basketball and in their studies. Some of the conflicts that Coach Carter introduced were: a. Requirement for a 2.3 GWA b. Attendance to class, seating in the front row, and wearing coat and tie c. Lockout of the gym These caused conflicts between Coach Carter and the team because for the team (and almost all the other characters in the film), success is defined only by winning basketball games. For Coach Carter,

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success should not be confined to winning these games, rather, by passing their subjects and succeeding in their studies too. Coach Carter used the journey metaphor in dealing with this conflict when he made it clear that when the basketball players failed in their subjects, they (including Coach Carter) failed in their goal. These conflicts resulted to agreement, stronger relationships, and learning. The players, realizing the reasons behind these introduced conflicts, agreed to the terms of Coach Carters contract. One of the most powerful scenes in the movie was when the gym was opened and the players still continued studying in the gym to show that they agree with Coach Carters reasoning. This also shows the strong relationship that has been established between the team and Coach Carter. Also, this developed the teams self-awareness to the problems they are facing not only in the basketball court, but also in their lives. Conflict-Handling Styles

Coach Carter used Dominating conflict-handling style in the movie primarily because he knows that he is right and everyone else is wrong. His belief that success should not be limited to winning basketball games, as suggested by the Principal, and as exemplified by members of his team, warranted the use of a dominating style conflict to this situation. However, this should not be interpreted as Low concern for others and High concern for self, as the model suggests. In the movie, Coach Carters use of Dominating style actually showed High concern for others (the team) and Low concern for self since he could have readily given up the job and return to running his business. Instead, he faced the adversities because he wants the team to succeed in basketball and in their studies.

BA251 Organization Behavior Interpersonal Trust Involves a Cognitive Leap

Guidelines how to build trust: 1. Communication: Contingency Model for Selecting Communication Media

The model illustrates how to select the appropriate medium2 in communicating by matching its richness3 to the complexity of the problem/situation. a. Media richness is based on four factors:

2 3

Kinds of Media: a. Impersonal Static Media, b. Personal Static Media, c. Interactive media, and d. Face-to-face Media Richness Capacity of a communication medium to convey information and promote understanding

BA251 Organization Behavior Feedback (ranging from fast to very slow) Channel (ranging from combined visual and audio to limited visual) Type of communication (ranging from personal and impersonal) Language source (ranging from natural body language and speech to merely numbers in FS) b. Complexity may range from low to high. As problems/situations become more complex, richer media should be used.

Part of Coach Carters success was attributable to the correct communication media he used to effectively convey his message to the team, their respective families, and to the school principal and faculty members. Knowing that he cannot implement all the changes by himself alone, he had to involve and effectively communicate with all the people who could contribute to the attainment of his goals for the team. First, we can see from the film that the contracts he gave to each player to bind them to attend their classes and maintain a grade average of 2.3 (i.e., personal static media) have not been effective to drive the players to still do well academically, side by side with playing basketball. He has always put utmost concern in the problem/situation that most of the students in Richmond High School end up as criminals and not being able to go to college. With this high situation complexity, a richer communication medium was used by the coach thru faceto-face explanation of the reason why he is implementing these policies to the players, their parents and to the school principal and faculty. He even had to repeatedly remind the faculty members during meetings to submit progress reports and to personally visit classes, coupled with a number of confrontations/conversations with the principal just to stress his point. Ultimately, he supplemented this face-to-face medium of communication with the lockdown of the gym (i.e., nonverbal communication). This bold act made the players realize his firm stand that the grades of the team members should not suffer in their pursuit to win the basketball competition. The assertiveness of Coach Carters communication style and actions made the students realize the importance of the message he had been trying to convey from the start. The students were able to realize the endless opportunities awaiting them outside basketball and high school. This realization was reflected with the eventual improvement in the grades of the team members, the big leap they had made for the Richmond Oilers basketball team, and having some of the players go to college. Trusting someone involves having faith in their good intentions. This faith is known as cognitive leap. We examine how Coach Carter gained the trust of the Richmond High Basketball Team which is essential in accomplishing their goals.

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Guidelines how to build trust:

1. Communication. Coach Carter informed all concerned stakeholders of his intentions for the basketball team. Formally, he communicated his policies and decision regarding being good students through a contract to the basketball team, the parents of the team and the school faculty. Coach Carter communicated the commitment that the team should have. 2. Support. Coach Carter was available for his team. Even during the night as seen when one team member cries to Coach Carter after a traumatic experience and begs the Coach to take him again, Coach Carter consoled and accepted him. He also assured that team his support for them to get to college. 3. Respect. First, Coach Carter taught his team respect and showed them how to have self respect and respect for each team mates and their competitors. Most importantly, he showed the boys to obey and respect their commitment, decision and agreement they made. 4. Fairness. After the team achieved their goal of reaching a 2.30 GWA, Coach Carter ended the lockout. 5. Predictability. Coach Carter established set of rules and punishment for the team to live by. 6. Competence. As a former basketball player in the same high school with a college basketball scholarship, Coach Carter knows how to become a student-athlete

BA251 Organization Behavior Improving Individual Job Performance: A Continuous Process

Motivation through Goal Setting As defined by Edward Locke, Goal is what an individual is trying to accomplish. In the context of this movie, Coach Carters primary goal is for the members of his team to become Student Athletes, that is for them to put their academics on top of everything while also excelling in basketball. He sees this as a gateway to reaching his ultimate goal for each of his players to get a college education afterwards. To Coach Carter, it is through this way that he can effect change in the lives of his team. The Goal Setting Process Below table discusses the three important steps in setting the goal and how these were translated in the movie. Each preceding step is important in the succession of each level. Framework 1. Set Goals As exhibited in the movie Knowing how Richmond fared in basketball tournaments and the statistics of the school graduates and the community per se, prompted Coach Carter to set SMART goals for the team Coach Carter used the Contract in clearly communicating his goals for the team. This became the bind to both sides in committing to achieve the conditions that were stated in the contract. Upon distribution of the contract, Coach Carter

2. Promote Goal Commitment

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3. Provide Support and Feedback

assured his team that Losing stops now provided that players will also listen and learn. Coach Carter sought support from the parents of his team members and academe Progress reports from the teachers were used as instruments to measure the performance of each student in meeting the required 2.3 GWA At the end of each game, Coach Carter used the statistics to discuss with his team their shortcomings and where they can still improve at.

What follows below are the four motivational mechanisms of goal setting. This concept explains how goal setting became an effective tool to Coach Carter in motivating his team. Framework Goals Direct Attention Goals Regulate Effort As exhibited in the movie Coach Carters goals led his players to lean to activities related to pursuing that goal; practice games , review sessions. The set goals prompted the players to go beyond their usual way of doing things. This is depicted on scenes where gradually, the players slackness in their studies turned to enduring review sessions in order to meet the required GPA. As the visions of Coach Carter become clearer to the team, the students become motivated and became persistent in adhering to the principles of Coach Carters goals. One scene which strongly emphasized this cause is even if the gym lockout has already ended, the players continued to study rather than practice until they meet the prescribed GPA and be allowed to play again. The conditions underlying in the contract are the groundwork for Coach Carters strategies in teaching his players to learn respect, discipline and form good attitudes. As Coach Carter puts it, Winning in here is the key to winning out there. Below are some of the strategies and action implemented by Coach in the movie so that

Goals Increase Persistence

Goals Foster the Development and Application of Task Strategies and Action Plans

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players are constantly reminded of the need to meet the goal 2.3 GPA to be maintained Attend all classes To enforce discipline on promptness or display of an attitude during practice hours, suicides and push-ups serve as penalties. Suspension of players which means that they are allowed to practice but not play in actual games if found out that classes are being skipped (case of Junior) The gym lockout. Cancellation of games



Carter honed the teams basketball skills through the use of unorthodox techniques and an extensive training module. Also, to ensure that players will perform academically, he got the team to sign a contract. He knew that in order to achieve his goal, he needed to communicate his vision and solicit the help of the parents and the school. This created a conflict with the team, the parents, the school and even the whole community, but Coach Carter stood his ground and challenged the old system where students are more likely to end up in jail than in college. In the end, Coach Carter gained the trust of his team by making them see his good intentions and setting the right goal, a college education and ultimately a brighter future. Through feedback and coaching, Coach Carter motivated the whole team to work together and help one another to achieve their goals to qualify in the state championship and win college scholarships for the graduating students. Coach Carter envisioned an end beyond winning basketball competitions, he wanted winners in life.