Business Case Studies, Leadership Case Study, Coach Carter: The Change Agent

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Case Title:

Coach Carter: The Change Agent

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Industry: Sports & Sports Related


Case Code: LDS0031

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment:  Not Available

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Woven around the movie Coach Carter, this case study can be used very effectively either in Change Management module or Leaders as Change Agents module. Coach (Ken) Carter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, takes up the job of coaching the undisciplined and poorly performing basketball team of Richmond High School (RHS). Driven by his vision of changing the lives of the basketball players of Richmond High School through the game of basketball, he implements extreme strategies such as making the players sign contracts and locking up the gym when the players failed to uphold the terms of the contract. However, he faces intense resistance to change from all quarters – the players, the school principal, teachers, parents and the general populace of the neighborhood of Richmond.

Although the lockout ended against the wishes of Carter and the team also lost a significant basketball match, Carter was still a winner as he was able to effect change. On the other hand, while Carter was successful in achieving his vision, his strategies in effecting change were quite extreme and debatable. How was Carter able to bring about change? Could there have been a better way of effecting change? The case study further debates whether the use of such extreme measures brings about fruitful change in the corporate world? What strategies and tactics of Carter can be applied in the business context of change management?

Pedagogical Objectives:

      This case study’s pedagogical objectives, in the light of Coach Carter movie, are:
  • To analyse the appropriateness and selection of Ken Carter as the new coach for Richmond High School’s poorly performing basketball team (his personal and professional background, his credentials to add value, etc.)
  • To discuss and debate on the vision, strategy and tactics of Ken Carter as a coach and mentor and articulate the desirable qualities of an effective change agent
  • To analyse the leadership style of Ken Carter using the frameworks of Daniel Goleman, Jim Collins and David Ulrich, among others, and debate on the appropriateness of different leadership styles for different change management initiatives.

Keywords : Leadership and Change Management, Change Management, Change Agents, Leaders as Change Agents, Leadership Styles, Level 5 Leadership, Resistance to Change, Goal Setting and Vision, Coach Carter, Ken Carter, Mentor, Counselor, Team building, Change Management and Vision


  • Pedagogical edagogical Objectives
  • Ken en Carter Carter's 's Vision
  • Carter Carter's 's Style of Coaching
  • Managing Success

  • Team Building
  • Resistance to Change
  • Timo Cruz
  • Junior Battle
  • Kenyon Stone
  • Change Effected

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