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Leadership style

�Coach Knight� and �Coach K� Case Studies Instructions

After reading the case studies (make sure you read both!), you will write a two-page double-spaced

minimum (12-point font, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins) paper.

Please include the following in your case study summary.

  1. Briefly summarize the cases (approximately half a page).
  2. Answer the following questions in the remainder of your paper:

a. Compare and contrast Coach K and Coach Knight. How are they different? How are they similar?

  • Describe Coach K�s leadership style. What are his basic assumptions about motivation and leading?
  • Describe Coach Knight�s leadership style. What are his basic assumptions about motivation and


b. Who is more effective? Why?


Leadership style refers to the style adopted by a leader in providing motivation, direction
and also the implementation of various plans for the achievement of the goals. The leadership
styles can be exhibited or applied in the sports, business or other fields of interest. The leadership
styles exhibited by the two coaches in this case study are based on their values, preferences and
also beliefs (Zentner, 2015). The leadership styles will efficiently operate when they are adapted
to the difficulties facing the specific field of operation. In the case study provided, the analysis of
coach Knight and coach k is provided. The two coaches are successful in their field of work
although the different style of leadership is applied by each of them in their activities. Coach
Knight led through intimidation and tough discipline on the other hand Coach K led through
positive reinforcement, confidence and also trust (Zentner, 2015).
The two coaches in the case study have some similar and different approaches when it
comes to leadership. The similarities and differences between the two provide a perfect basis for
contrasting and comparing the coaches. One if the similarity is that both of them have effective
leadership styles that help them maintain good records and achieve great success in winning.
Each coach exhibits major achievements in their accomplishment as leaders. Coach Knight was
able to exhibit achievements such as three national championships, the only coach to do a triple
crown and also four coaches of the year (Sitkin & Hackman, 2011). Similarities occur as coach k
also has three major accomplishments in his career. Coach k was eight times coach of the year

won three national championships as his counterpart coach Knight and was also honored the best
America coach in 2002 while considering all the sports. Both the coaches are passionate,
competent and also disciplined in nature that is a major reason for their great achievements
(Sitkin & Hackman, 2011).

The two coaches are also different where their differences are mostly exhibited in their
leadership philosophies. Coach Knight uses the sincere communication, supportive
encouragement and also reinforcement in his leadership style. His leadership philosophy is more
about the trust and the sense of caring. On the other hand, his counterpart coach Knight assumes
that people are inferior in nature with no self-drive. Coach Knight believed that unless the team
is forced or clearly shown what it entails to become successful, they will not achieve any
objectives and set goals (Zentner, 2015). These styles indicate the different leadership
philosophies between the two where Coach K employs a sense of family approach while coach
Knight is strict with a more harsh style of leadership. The leadership style by coach Knight is
more about tough discipline and strictness during the performance of various activities (Sitkin &
Hackman, 2011). The basic assumption about motivation and leading by coach Knight is that
people should follow a hard motivational track to succeed. Coach Knight assumes that people
need strict follow up for them to achieve the set goals. Coach K believes that people should be
motivated in a personable and positive way. Motivation would be easily acquired through having
trust and proving encouragement effectively. According to coach k, leading others entails the use
of positive reinforcement and also having confidence in others (Zentner, 2015).
Coach k has a more effective leadership approach as compared to coach Knight. Coach k
uses a positive motivation approach as compared to Coach Knight, who uses a negative

motivational approach. The leadership style by coach Knight is old fashioned, unacceptable and
difficult for application in the currently developing world. The style of leadership by Coach K is
peaceful and favorable to most people and also meets the current standards of behavior (Sitkin &
Hackman, 2011). In this case Coach K is more effective than coach Knight.


Sitkin, S. B., & Hackman, J. R. (2011). Developing team leadership: An interview with coach
Mike Krzyzewski. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 494-501.
Zentner, A. (2015). Outside of the Lines: A Comparison of Leadership Styles of Two Collegiate
Athletic Coaches. Available at SSRN 2625895.

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