Organizational behavior is a rapidly growing field of study. Many books and academic researches give critical assessment to various organizational behavior theories. Explorations in the sphere of motivation and leadership within organizations help building efficient collaboration schemes for workers in all kinds of companies. The importance of research in this field can be easily proved using an example of a film representing the rise and fall of a particular organization. The purpose of the current study is to analyze organizational behavior aspects presented in the film “Troy”.
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The current study examines theories of motivation and leadership and their implementation in the film “Troy” because the plot of the picture is based on the war between two large armies. Every army is a complex organization with hierarchical structure what makes it an ideal example for the analysis of organizational behavior. The film “Troy” is a dramatized interpretation of the Trojan War depicted in “the Iliad” by Homer.
The story is remarkable because many characters act as living embodiments of leadership types. The plot revolves around a paternalistic leader, Achilles and his Myrmidons fighting the Greeks. Nevertheless, the film presents a good depiction of other leaders including Hector and Menelaus. The current study uses theories of motivation and leadership presented in two works: “Organizational leadership: A conceptual analysis” by Surya (2015) and “Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership” by Miner (2015).
In her study, Surya (2015) explores the development of concepts and describes different approaches and styles of leadership. The film “Troy” presents both types of leadership outlined in the study: authoritarian and paternalistic. Menelaus, King of Sparta, acts as an authoritarian leader. According to Surya (2015), “an autocratic leader keeps strict, close control over followers by keeping close regulation of policies and procedures given to followers” (1798).
This type of leader does not take into account the value of human life or someone else’s opinion. The word of the king is the highest law that should be obeyed without any doubt. People must fulfil his orders with all their commitment not asking for the reasons. In case of the cruel king, this style of ruling makes people fear and hate their leader. They want to betray him at any moment but hide their true attitude under the veil of respect.
Fear acts as the only motivation for people to obey his ruler. Miner (2015) defines this approach as power motivation that is often accompanied by low affiliation motivation. Even Queen Helen leaves the King in disgrace fleeing with prince Paris. The leader of Sparta presents example of a wrong management implemented in an organization.
Achilles presents the second style of leadership, being a paternalistic ruler. According to the name of the style, he acts as a father to his soldiers and feels responsible for them. He also demands obedience and fast fulfilment of his orders, but leads his warriors into battle showing them an example of courage and fortitude. According to Surya (2015), “workers under this style of leader are expected to become totally committed to what the leader believes and will not strive off and work independently” (1798).
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A paternalistic leader allows his subordinates to talk and consult with him about all their problems without restrain because they should feel his support to remain loyal and motivated to obey his orders. Achilles knows everyone among his soldiers by name and values their lives as his own. Due to his commitment to his warriors, he earns their unlimited trust. His organization is firmly built on unity and motivation to achieve mutual goals.
Goal setting is crucial for the motivation in the organization. People feel confidence when they know exactly what their aim is and understand its value. In his book, Miner (2015) examines the goal-setting theory and claims that “through goal setting managers may facilitate the operation of a superordinate goal to guide those who work for them” (172). Goal setting is the most effective approach when people are already motivated for the type of activity they are assigned to do.
A wise leader can motivate his people to accomplish a goal that demands full commitment of all members even in the most difficult circumstances. Workers are usually accustomed to working at a low level of performance individually, but a motivated team can sacrifice everything for a mutual goal. Achilles uses his personal motivation for conquering the Troy to set an ultimate goal to his warriors. At the end of the film, he gives a speech to his soldiers, telling them basically that they are all going to die in the battle. Nevertheless, the men roar in support of their leader. Their readiness to sacrifice themselves is based on the right goal-setting approach implemented by Achilles.
They are already motivated because he has always showed them the example of courage. The soldiers value his opinion and respect him for making good decisions in battles. They know how to fight and understand what he is asking for. The warriors of Achilles are not frightened to walk in to certain death because their leader has promised them immortality and goes first into battle. The combination of paternalistic leadership and wise goal-setting approach allow Achilles motivate his people even for self-sacrifice in the name of the greater aim.
I really like the film “Troy” because it raises the theme of leadership and develops it from the beginning until the end. The actors create bright characters who embody different styles of leadership. The film is valuable for my future experience in the field of organizational behavior because it shows the benefits and limitations of various leadership approaches and motivation techniques. All leadership styles depicted in the film are effective to some extent but they are not ideal.
The analysis of each style will help me to understand what situations call for particular approaches and techniques. In the previous part, I have outlined the difference between the main protagonists of the story to show the difference between paternalistic and authoritarian approaches. Now I will dwell on other types of leaders presented in the film to analyze how their examples can help me and other people understand better organizational behavior theories and approaches.
Agamemnon is presented in the film as an authoritarian leader whose main interest is achievement of his goals. His army is always in critical condition what is suitable for conquering the kingdoms by brutal force. He is able to envision his future great kingdom. In contrast to Menelaus, he allows others to contribute to his strategic decisions to achieve better results. He understands that there are professionals who understand more in some spheres of knowledge than he does what is a major feature of any successful leader. Nevertheless, his moral image is questionable because he can use any means to achieve his goals.
The greatest limitation of his leadership approach is selfishness and unwillingness to fulfil his commitments. He diminishes his own greatness by his attempt to make Achilles weaker taking from him the temple priestess Briseis. Nevertheless, he shows a great example of self-control in his communication with Achilles. Agamemnon uses the techniques of the reinforcement theory to support his ruling.
According to Miner (2015), for the successful application of this theory the leader should “select reinforces that are powerful and durable for the individual and design contingencies” (117). He expresses honor to the kings under his ruling and allows them to be in his council and give him advice on the crucial matters in his lands. Therefore, Agamemnon is a good authoritarian leader, but he needs improvement of his ethics. He is powerful but not bloodthirsty showing reason in negotiations with Triopas. His example teaches me that selfishness and unwillingness to fulfil commitments can greatly diminish the power of the leader in his or her organization.
King Priam presents an example of a democratic leader. According to Surya (2015), “This style of leadership encompasses discussion, debate and sharing of ideas and encouragement of people to feel good about their involvement” (1798). A democratic leader allows his subordinates to take part in the discussion of his decisions and motivates them to present their solutions to arising problems.
King Priam feels his responsibility for his people and makes choices taking into account their prosperity. His councilors understand that he listens to their propositions and uses their wisdom in his ruling what motivates them for further collaboration and better results. In contrast to Agamemnon, his ethical image is impeccable except for his decision to let his son bring Helen from Sparta into his Kingdom.
Nevertheless, he lacks force in his leadership approach while his kingdom is in critical situation. He ignores the consequences of the unravelling war actions caring more about his son whose moral flaws and self-centered conduct leads to the fall of Troy. Listening to all of his councilors he fails to hear the advice from his elder son, Hector. Therefore, his style of leadership can be used in times of peace, but not in the crisis situations. His example teaches me that the lack of foresight and force in crisis situation can lead to the fall of the organization under the rule of a democratic leader.
In comparison to his father, Hector’s leadership is autocratic and is based on wise goal-setting. He combines strong ethics with logical judgements in his ruling. In communication with his subordinates he uses discussion striving to propose his vision of the situation to others. As he combines strong goals and autocratic approach, Hector becomes an effective leader for the soldiers of Troy. He has force to inspire his people for action in the critical situation.
As a true autocratic leader, he demands his orders to be fulfilled without any delay and with all commitment from his subordinates. People of Troy respect him and follow his commands while enemies value his strong ethics and admit that he is a strong adversary.
Hector is an effective leader, but his powers are constantly diminished by everybody surrounding him. His father ignores his advice what leads to the fall of Troy and the death of Hector. His discussion style of communication helps only his wife to foresee danger and save many of the citizens using a secret passage. Hector is a great leader who finds himself in malevolent surroundings. His example teaches me that a successful leader should always be aware of the dangers in communication with his own subordinates.
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Watching films is a great opportunity to analyze different approaches in organizational behavior. The film “Troy” presents a variety of leadership styles and motivational techniques. The plot of the film revolves around a paternalistic leader, Achilles who always care for his people and shows them an example of courage. His wise goal-setting technique provides evidence that people can sacrifice their lives for the greater aim if they are enough motivated for the action.
The approach of Achilles is opposed to authoritarian leadership style of Menelaus, King of Sparta. For him human lives and their opinions do not matter. He demands fast fulfillment of his orders by his subordinates without any doubts. Nevertheless, the film is not limited to these two examples of leadership presenting complex variations of ethical autocratic, unethical authoritarian, and weak democratic approaches to the ruling of the kingdom in critical circumstances.
Analyzing the leadership styles of Agamemnon, Priam, and his son Hector one can make many considerations about the benefits and limitations of various ruling approaches. The film underlines that motivation of subordinates can be the result of both ethical and unethical leadership, and that the wise goal setting can make people sacrifice their lives even for the unachievable aim. This film is good for any beginning leader who wants his organization to prosper in the times of peace and in the situation of strong competitiveness as well as in crisis. In any situation, a leader should not depend fully on his own decisions and on the opinions of his subordinates because it leads to a very narrow approach in ruling and gives place to all kinds of mistakes that can result in a disaster like the fall of Troy.
Miner, J. B. (2015). Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership. New York, NY: Routledge.
Surya, S. (2015). Organizational leadership: A conceptual analysis. International Journal of Organizational Behaviour & Management Perspectives, 4(3), 1796-1800.