In the last 50 years, educational organizations have turned to the judicial system to reform and endorse equal educational opportunities. In areas such as desegregation and school finance reform, the courts have been the leader in protecting the rights of underrepresented student groups and ruling in favor of educational transformation (Plank & Boyd, 1994 as cited in Superfine 2010, p. 108). However, specifically in the area of equal educational opportunity, the courts cannot carry these changes out alone. A mixture of organizations including legislatures, school districts, schools and teachers, are commonly drawn in by the court’s judgment and are called to lead.
The film “Remember the Titans” depicts the effects of one the major court ruling in modern history, Brown vs. The Board of Education. In the film, one all-black high school was shut down and its students were sent to T. C.
Williams High School under federal mandate to integrate. The story was told through the perceptions of the football team. Based on factual events, the team grows to be the unifying representation for the community as the boys and the adults learn to depend on and have confidence in each other. The films focuses on the leadership of Herman Boone. The movie highlights matters of diversity, organizational socialization, and self-efficacy and enacted and espoused values.
These concepts are reviewed in the Kreitner and Kinicki text “Organizational Behavior (8th Edition)” and examples in the film that represent these concepts will be discussed. Espoused values are unobservable (Rousseau, 1990), however documents are observable and the content within those documents can provide some insight of what an organization’s espoused values entails. In the film, the order of the court to integrate would be considered the document which defines the espoused values the school district and schools within it are required to represent. One of the main themes of the Remember the Titans was unity. However this goal was challenged in the film for the espoused values of the school district and enacted values of the employees were not aligned.
None of these individuals, including the students were prepared for these rapid changes and they continued to identify with the culture of previous enacted values set by the organization. In “Remember the Titans,” Coach Boone was appointed to be the first black head coach of the football team in a city that lived and breathed the sport at the time. He was given a chance to head this team to victory, however if one loss occurred he would immediately be fired. School tensions arise when players of dissimilar races were forced together on the same football team. Achieving this goal would prove to be difficult.
For he was faced with adversity from all levels. The district had required him to replace the long time winning coach Yoates, who was Caucasian. This change in leadership would cause conflict amongst faculty, students, parents and others in the community. According to Kreitner and Kinicki (2008), an individual’s first year in a multifaceted organization can be perplexing.
The is a presence of a whirl of people from different backgrounds, contradictory expectations and isolated events. It was clear that the call for diversity in the public schools would prove to be a bumpy a ride. However, Coach Boone and his family were newcomers to the town of Alexandria and they were prepared for the challenges that would await them. Coach Boone’s expectations drew from anticipatory socialization in regards to reality, by way of his professional and personal experiences in life in that era. However, he was very well aware of his self worth, capabilities and his record as head coach and was completely committed to continue in his success in and off the field. Boones self efficacy arose from his experiences of complex cognitive, social, linguistic, and physical skills (Kreitner and Kinicki, 2008).
Ultimately, he would use this platform as tool to help improve the Self-esteem of all the players by way of achievement, ultimately teaching them the lesson of self efficacy as well. Subsequently, he would encounter the next level of socialization when he actually took on the role of head coach. He had to become more familiar with the task at hand and group dynamics of the team. This was the first time in history that black and white students would play together or against one another, this was the only school that allowed both races to play on the same team. Coach Boone soon learned that he would have to creatively manage intergroup conflicts. However, after the rigorous two week training camp to Gettysburg, PA conflict was no longer an issue.
He accomplished this through requiring them to learn each other’s similarities while respecting each other’s differences. As a result, change of acquisition occurred, unity was established and the building of strength, courage, trust and pride amongst the players and the community took place and the presence of diversity in this particular organization began to become more visible. Feldman (1981), noted that adjustment consists of three aspects. Resolution of role demands, the comprehension of job responsibilities and understanding priorities and time allotment (role clarity). Task mastery, becoming skilled at the tasks of the job and obtaining self-confidence in the position (self-efficacy). Adjustment to one’s group, feeling of being liked and received by peers (social acceptance).
Not only was Coach Boone able to successfully adjust in his new position he would also aid in the adjustments of the organization as a whole and would prove to make history through his tactics of leadership.
Feldman, D. C. “Multiple socialization of organizational members academy. ” Academy of Management Review 6 (1981): 9. Print.
Kinicki and Krietner. Organizational Dynamics and human behavior . New York: McGraw Hill, 2008. Rousseau, Denise M.
(1990), “New Hire Perceptions of Their Own and Their Employer’sObligations: A Study of Psychological Contracts,” Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11 (5). Superfine, Benjamin. “Court-Driven Reform and Equal Educational Opportunity: Centralization, Decentralization, and the Shifting Judicial Role.” Sage Journals 80 (2010): 29.