This research paper evaluates group dynamics in the movie “Hoosiers”. The paper discusses the effectiveness of the group in the movie and how the effectiveness helps foster harmony within the group. Secondly, the paper looks into the group leadership styles, communication and decision making processes exhibited in the movie. Further, the paper explores how controversy and conflicts are handled within the group. Creativity being an important element of group work, this paper considers how creativity is enhanced in the group. Conclusively, this paper looks at how the group can be strengthened by incorporating group techniques. It is argued in this paper that understanding of group dynamics would have helped the group toward greater heights.
Group effectiveness plays an important role in determining how a group develops and nurtures its members. To nurture members and execute objectives effectively, a group has to be well orchestrated. This means that groups have to lay down clear terms of engagement and the terms have to be put into practice (Fujishin, 2007, p.144).
In Hoosiers movie, the Hickory basketball team has set standards that all members have to adhere to. They also have instituted a certain culture and common practices; an effective technique in promoting and sustaining the team spirit. The team coach comes out as instrumental in building and sustaining team spirit in the group. Through efficient coaching and team handling skills, he is able to keep the team going despite myriad challenges. He works well with the team offering encouragement and urging them on.
In the final segment of the movies, his prowess is proved as the team wins most of the matches from the preliminaries to finals. Watching the last segments of the movie, one cannot miss out the effectiveness with which the team plays. They are well coordinated and this can be linked to proper task distribution within the group. The coach has balanced the team tasks among the players. He achieves this through role identification, and trying to identify each player’s strengths and needs. Moreover, the coach has enhanced the functionality of players by promoting individual responsibility and responsiveness in the group. What this means is that each team member feels responsible towards the rest of the group. Each of them takes the success of the team as a personal responsibility.
Group leadership involves distribution of power and control in a group. Good leadership focuses on maintaining relationship and influencing the group to achieve its aims. In the first part of the Hoosier movie, leadership is concentrated in the hickory basketball coach.
The coach, Mr. Norman Day, uses autocratic kind of leadership whereby he is the sole decision maker and does not allow for his decisions to be questioned or challenged by anybody. He firmly asserts the decisions he makes and imposes his will on everyone on the team. For those who do not like autocracy, it may appear like he was mistreating his players. However, as it turns out, this approach helps him instill the discipline and necessary values that later enable the team to win many matches. As the team continues to bond and work as a unit, his authoritarian tendency tends to dissipate.
However, he does not at any point loose command and a sense of direction for his team.
Communication and the Team
Group communication is about freedom and capacity of team members to convey and express thoughts, opinions, feelings and ideas to other persons. Efficient communication assists individuals and group members to take to situations confidently. Communication plays an important role when it comes to negotiating personal, business and social issues (Fujishin, 2007, p.167). Moreover, good communication enhances better resolving of conflicts and handling of difficult people in groups. Effective communication is evident in the movie. There are well established communication channels.
The coach of Hickory team is able to bond with his players because he communicates efficiently. He addresses issues in a direct way and addresses players individually by their names. Communication in the team goes beyond mere passing on of official messages to personal interactions within the group. The coach takes the initiative of visiting his players at home and engaging them in dialogue about their life. Every member of the technical team is given an opportunity to communicate his concerns to the players.
The players in return are allowed to voice their concerns. Respect for each other’s opinions is encouraged in the team. Efficient communication, in the Hickory team, leads to members trusting each other, developing a sense of belonging thus becoming dedicated to each other and the team at large. It is this cohesiveness that helps the team to achieve much success i.e. winning most of their matches. Poor communication is exhibited in the first sessions the coach had with the team.
During the introductory session, some players openly expressed dislike of him; while he was talking, they too talked. In a show of democracy and understanding, he gives them the option of leaving the arena, which they do because they do not approve of him. Effective communication and listening facilitates his understanding of the group. Through speaking clearly and allowing the players to express themselves, he is able to win their trust thus forming a formidable team.
In the first section of the movie, team decisions are made by the coach. However, over time, the players begin to take active roles in team decisions. Group decision determines whether members remain happy in group or not (Forsyth, 2009 p. 339).
When decisions are imposed on others, they are likely to rebel them. In the first segments of the movie, players only follow the coach’s decisions due to his position authority. From the movie, it would appear that in some instances unilateral decisions by leadership is necessary while in others, democratic decision making has to be allowed. Good decision making involves putting into consideration and valuing needs and opinions of every individual member of the group.
Each group has to deal with conflicts at one point or another. Group conflicts result from differences in the group in terms of opinions, interests, aspirations and ego needs. Conflicts can be caused by conflicting values, norms or performance expectations within the group.
When conflicts are negotiated or handled properly, they help to strengthen the group (Forsyth, 2009 p. 341). In each group’s development, there has to be a storming stage where fear of failure or exposure and other ego needs lead to conflicts. In the early days, as a coach of hickory, players and later the school athletic association rebelled or could not click with Mr. Norman. Had it not been for his teams support, the school athletic association had resolved to dismiss him. The dynamics at play in the team augment the fact that effective handling of controversy and conflicts within a group determines its success.
Creativity helps teams to come up with innovative ideas, which assist the group to function and grow to greater heights.
Creativity helps in providing quality solutions to problems, increases flexibility and aids decision making. Rigidity in a team is not a good thing. Rigidity and bureaucratic ways of doing things stifle creativity. The freedom enjoyed in the team led to, for instance, creation of creative slogans.
Having a team slogan “team” was also a creative move that brought the group together.
The movie “Hoosier” presents an elaborate sample groups that exhibits major dynamics that determine failure or success of groups. From the early stages of the movie one can notice all stages in group formation i.e. forming, storming, norming and then performing. Poor management of the storming stage nearly cost the school an awesome coach.
However, the team stood by their coach and the team normed well to become great performers. They won most of their games to the amazement and surprise of all critics and even fans of Coach Norman.
Forsyth D. R.
(2009). Group Dynamics. New York: Cengage Learning Fujishin, R. (2007). Creating Effective Groups: The Art of Small Group Communication.
Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield