Essays on Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards and McLelland's Three Needs Theory Case Study

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The paper "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards and McLelland's Three Needs Theory" is a perfect example of a case study on management. Lately, a lot of research has been revolving around Transformational-Transactional leadership theories and produced a response of motivation. These are helpful in evaluating and describing the behaviors of leaders. This paper will present a comparative analysis of leadership and motivation theories and their effective application in real life. The famous movie “ Remember the Titans” (2000) will be analyzed to predict the factual relevance of the theories amid major roles in the movie. Transformational leadership theory represents a leadership style that reflects charisma, highly attractive personality traits, shared vision among followers and their leader, and the ability to inspire and stimulate subordinates to generate outstanding results.

It correlates with a positive rating of faith within management and absorbing a leader’ s direction. Intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and individual consideration are its three basic elements. (Robbins, 2005) Transactional leadership theory revolves around a “ give and take” operational affiliation of followers and leaders. A reward system is established for meeting the required objectives. Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are considered as its basic elements.

Even though both leadership styles are reviewed as opposite ends of a spectrum, their effective combination can yield profitable results. (Robbins, 2005) Briefly stated, the movie at hand revolves around a degenerating football team of a high school, T.C. Williams, desperately in need of a season win. An African-American Football coach Herman Boone is hired, who along with Bill Yoast creates a culturally hybridized but competent team. Tackling all racial issues, the football team goes on to win a flawless season. Herman Boone apparently displays proactive personality traits.

His leadership style, as depicted in the movie, is that of a transformational leader. He inspires and motivates his football team to rise above their self-beliefs, racial attitudes, and focus on achieving a clean win, a single goal attached to the whole team. He takes a direct initiative, takes control, and guides the team towards a set objective. During the camp fight also, he takes over as a transactional leader and supervises structured drills and grueling practices to make the team strong from inside. He also gives the players pep-talks to encourage team involvement.

He focuses on their skill proficiency and dedication to the game. His leadership sets up productivity behaviors as well as establishes the expected commitment in players. Coach, Bill Yoast is presented as a respectful, trustworthy, and supportive entity. His leadership is also seen varying from transformational to the transactional leader. He is also seen showing his paternalistic views about the players. His ability to provide intrinsic motivation strengthens the confidence among team members. One such situation is when he suggests Coach Boone of trick plays as they motivate the team members.

At the moment, when players are capable in skills and knowledge, their lack of encouragement and motivation comes highly from Coach Yoast. The main players are Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier. Julius can be seen as an introvert but a stable player, who reflects conveying other’ s values instead of focusing on self-gratification. Gerry is a gregarious, conscientious person who knows what he believes in and is presented as an authentic leader. At the time, when the team is going through a storming stage and shows interracial conflicts between Garry and Julius at the training camp, Coach Boone recognizes racial tensions among the members and creates opportunities for interracial interactions.

Even at the time of Gerry’ s accident, he boosts Ronnie’ s confidence and gives him a pep-talk explaining his importance for the entire team. (Davidson & Griffin, 2005) Motivation among staff and their goal-driven performance is highly affected by the communication behaviors of their leaders. Intrinsic motivation aims at achieving competence, knowledge, and experience. In Remember the Titans, intrinsic rewards are confidence boost, skill competency, and close friendships instilled by Coaches.

Extrinsic rewards are reaped in the form of perks, pay-per-performance, public recognition awards, lavish facilities, etc. In this movie, the extrinsic reward for the football team is acquiring a state championship. David McClelland’ s theory of acquired needs persists that needs are acquired over time in accordance with life experiences (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2004). He specified three basic needs, which are: Need for achievement: It corresponds to one’ s drive to outclass in one’ s field. Need for power: It illustrates one’ s desire to force others towards a different behavior. Need for affiliation: It reflects one’ s desire for friendly associations and intergroup relationships.

(Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2004) In the movie, Coach Boone can be stated as someone satisfying his need for achievement (his drive to win the tournament and strive for success) and his need for power (using his legitimate power and authority to force the team into becoming competent players aimed at winning the game only). He is also seen asserting his dominance over Coach Yoast from the start. Coach Yoast utilizes referent power and legitimate power to influence players and raise their self-esteem.

His need for affiliation is seen clearly as players impart full trust in him. His need for achievement is evident as the Coach seeks unity among players and delegates power to his players. It is apparent when Ronnie declines his position for a play for Petey. Even though Yoast wants him to play, he allows the player to make the final call. (Schermerhorn, 2005) Julius and Gerry both are seen showing a high need for achievement and need for referent power. This is especially evident when the players have mastered their proficiency in skills and have resolved the racial tensions.

Their collaborative effort to put aside their self-interests puts the team together. The last game shows that players are highly motivated and a single pep-talk by one of the players drives the whole team to efficient performance. Finally, the team is seen winning and holding the state championship after overcoming all physical and interracial conflicts. (Schermerhorn, 2005)


Davidson, P., & Griffin, R. (2005). Management: An Australian Perspective (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Robbins, S. (2005). Essentials of Organizational behaviour (8th ed.). Prentice-Hall Of India Pvt. Limited, 2005.

Schermerhorn, J., Hunt, J., & Osborn, R. (2004). Core concepts of organizational Behaviour (1st ed.). Wiley.

Schermerhorn, J. (2005). Management (8th ed.). Wiley.

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