Movie: BlacKkKlansman

Year of Release: 2017

Director: Spike Lee

Clip: 1 minute, 12 seconds. This clip is currently available as the first 1:12 of this YouTube video (

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 50 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Ethics, work orientation (job, career, calling).

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

Overview of film and clip: BlacKkKlansman, based on a true story, is the harrowing yet sometimes comedic depiction of a black police officer’s attempt to infiltrate the racist Ku Klux Klan. In the clip, Ron Stallworth, the black officer who works behind the scenes, talks with Flip Zimmerman, his white Jewish partner who interacts face to face with the Klan. Zimmerman questions whether the assignment is worth the risks to his life and security, telling his partner, “For you it’s a crusade. For me it’s a job.” Stallworth reminds Zimmerman that the Klan is prejudiced against Jews, too, to convince Zimmerman to buy into their scheme. Note: The clip includes and alludes to profanity and offensive remarks and behavior.

This film clip can be used in any class in which students are encouraged to reflect on the meaning of work and work motivation, such as Business Ethics or Organizational Behavior. The clip can function as a short and quick introduction to types of work orientation (job, career, and calling). It can also introduce a more in-depth conversation about the ethics of calling – such as whether a calling can be self-interested, whether it is necessarily prosocial, and whose ethics determine what is prosocial. These discussion questions serve to introduce these and other topics:

  1. Work orientation theory (e.g., Wrzesniewski et al., 1997) posits three different ways in which people relate to their work: as a job (a means to material ends), career (a means to advancement), and calling (a means to prosocial ends and/or an end in itself). In that context, what does Zimmerman mean by his statement, “For you it’s a crusade. For me it’s a job”?
  2. It’s particularly interesting that Zimmerman uses the word “crusade,” insofar as many Ku Klux Klan members think of themselves as crusaders for a different cause, namely, white supremacy. Can white supremacy, or any other unjust vocation, be a calling?
  3. Stallworth attempts to convince Zimmerman that their work should also be a crusade for Zimmerman because, as a Jew, Zimmerman has “skin in the game.” Can a calling be motivated by self-interest?

Movie: The Circle

Year of Release: 2017

Director: James Ponsoldt

Clip: Clip 1; 01.19.20 to 01.24.20. Clip 2; 01.15.13 to 01.19.00.

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 30 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Ethics in qualitative management research

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

For the exercise, clip 1 is shown first, followed by clip 2.

The circle is a techno-thriller movie. The movie portrays a timely theme—privacy and accountability in the social media era. In addition, it involves a young and popular cast, including, Emma Watson. These factors will make the movie (and in turn, this exercise) interesting to students.

The purpose of this exercise is twofold:

  1. To familiarize students with ethical considerations in qualitative research (through clip 1).
  2. To introduce various theoretical perspectives on research ethics (through clip 2).

The students will watch clip 1 first. The main characters in the clip are Mercer, Mae, Audience, Public, and Eamon. We see that there is an unreasonable demand put on Mae to track down her friend Mercer, who does not wish to be found. Mae is clearly not happy with this activity. However, her bosses force her. Neither Mae nor Mercer gave their consent to be part of this activity. Mae is coerced to participate, Mercer is coerced to play along. Mercer’s private information (his whereabouts) are made public. Neither of them is made aware of the risks of harm involved in the game. Due to this, Mercer faces both physical and emotional harm. Mae also faces emotional harm and distress. The audience and the public are still unaware of the harms involved.

The students discuss the ethical considerations at play in this situation. Some of these considerations are:

  • No unreasonable demands on participants
  • Participation based on informed consent
  • Voluntary participation, free of coercion
  • Communication regarding risks of harm
  • Confidentiality and anonymity
  • Effective handling of environmental risks
  • Effective handling of emotive risks and distress—to prevent guilt, anger, frustration, or even trauma
  • Relationship between industrial support/funding and ethics

After the students discuss these ethical considerations, they will be shown clip 2. Clip 2 is in fact the scene before the one in clip 1. In this case, Mae is asked to track down a criminal who is in hiding. She succeeds in doing so. The students are then asked if they consider the activities in this clip unethical. They have to substantiate their answers. Some students might argue that these activities are ethical because they involve capturing a criminal. Others might say that they are unethical because the criminal’s privacy and confidentiality are violated. In this situation, we introduce the theoretical perspectives on ethics. Some of these perspectives are:

  • Universalism/deontological approach: Ethical rules should never be broken. Regardless of the actions of the participants, ethical rules remain the same.
  • Utilitarian/teleological approach: Decisions are based on consequences of the action; the harms and benefits are weighed and the decision that produces the best outcome is made.
  • Situational or principled relativism: Decisions are made using a case-by-case approach. According to this perspective, nothing is universal, not even ethical considerations.

Discussion questions:

  1. What are the ethical considerations involved in clip one?
  2. What is the most unethical aspect of that activity? Why?
  3. What could Mae have done to prevent this unethical aspect?
  4. How are these ethical considerations connected to qualitative research?
  5. What possible measures can researchers take to ensure these ethical considerations are met in their own research?
  6. What do you think about clip two? Is this activity ethical? Why/why not?
  7. How are these perspectives connected to the ethics of qualitative research?
  8. Consider a management research scenario. For instance, imagine you are collecting qualitative data on sexual harassment in top IT companies. (This could include interviews, digital data, archival data etc.)
      • What step(s) would you take to ensure your study is conducted ethically?
      • What ethical perspective(s) will you take?

This exercise was originally developed to supplement the chapter on ethics in the following textbook. Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. Sage. However, the ethical considerations and perspectives mentioned here are fundamental and hence are discussed in several other textbooks as well.

Movie: Downsizing

Year of Release: 2017

Director: Alexander Payne Clip: 13:56-24:28 (10:32 total)

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 30-45 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Purpose of work, defining success

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

The clip opens with the movie’s protagonist, Paul Safranek (played by Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristin Wiig) entering Paul’s high school reunion. After a chat with a former classmate reveals an unfavorable comparison to his own career path, Paul sits at a table contemplating banners hung around the venue with inspirational slogans such as, “The door to happiness opens outward.” His reverie is interrupted by the arrival of former classmates Dave and Carol, who have been “downsized” to 5 inches tall and live in a community for “small” people. Paul learns from Dave that the primary reason to downsize is not “that crap about saving the planet,” but rather to take financial pressure off one’s life, in effect “saving yourself” from bills, debt, and the ills of modern society. In the next scene, Paul and Audrey, at home, contemplate the happy lives Dave and Carol seem to be leading and their own continued financial straits. We next see Paul and Audrey tour Leisureland Estates, Dave and Carol’s community. They see a sales pitch, which highlights the material wealth they could have in Leisureland, where money goes further than in the present world: diamond jewelry can be had for $83; a month’s grocery budget is $40, and 12,000 square foot mansions cost $63,000. The clip ends with Paul and Audrey speaking to a sales representative and trying to decide which plan they will buy in on, the Regency Level or “something more deluxe.” Paul tells Audrey to choose, explaining, “I just want you to be happy.”

In this clip, as in Alexander Payne’s body of work more broadly (e.g., Election, Sideways, About Schmidt), we see a contemplation of the American success myth, that “the opportunity for material attainment and spiritual fulfillment is every individual’s birthright and is within each person’s power” (Levinson, 2012, p. 1). Scientific advancements allowing downsizing in the fictional near-future transport those who get small into an alternate, parallel world in which money is not a worry and leisure and happiness rule. Free from the need to work to pay bills, those who are downsized can pursue their passions, travel, and generally live as they wish. The clip connects in several important ways to themes of career development, motivation, and the meaning of work. The assumption is that material wealth and happiness are connected, essentially conflating objective and subjective career success (e.g., Ng, Eby, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2005) in a way that does not necessarily exist in real life (e.g., Sennett, 1998). The clip thus allows a rich discussion of tradeoffs between objective and subjective career success (i.e., that money cannot always buy happiness), as well as the careful choice of social comparison groups in defining career success (Grote & Hall, 2013). It also allows a discussion of what motivates employees, intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors (Amabile, Hill, Hennessey, & Tighe, 2 1994), as well as what orientation they have toward the ideal place of work in life: as a job, career, or calling (Wrzesniewski, McCauley, Rozin, & Schwartz, 1997). One of the assumptions when work is a source of deep meaning and fulfillment is that one would continue to work even if making money were not an object (Bunderson & Thompson, 2009).

Questions for Discussion/Consideration:

  1. Why does downsizing appeal to Paul and Audrey? What do they hope to gain? What will they lose?
  2. What are current examples of the appeal of downsizing in our real world?
  3. Why do you work? What are the benefits of working? What are the costs?
  4. If you could afford to live the life you wanted without working (e.g., you won the lottery), would you choose to work anyway? Why or why not?
  5. What does career success mean in America? How does it differ in other parts of the world?
  6. What does career success mean to you? How do you know if someone is successful or not?
  7. When we meet Paul in the film clip, does he appear to be successful?
  8. Who does Paul compare himself to in the film to gauge whether his career and life have been successful? Who do you compare yourself to? Why does it matter who your comparison point is?
  9. How does the film distinguish material from spiritual fulfillment?


Amabile, T. M., Hill, K. G., Hennessey, B. A., & Tighe, E. M. (1994). The Work Preference Inventory: Assessing intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(5), 950-967.

Bunderson, J. S., & Thompson, J. A. (2009). The call of the wild: Zookeepers, callings, and the double-edged sword of deeply meaningful work. Administrative Science Quarterly, 54, 32-57.

Grote, G., & Hall, D. T. (2013). Reference groups: A missing link in career studies. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(3), 265-279.

Levinson, J. R. (2012). The American Success Myth on Film. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ng, T. W. H., Eby, L. T., Sorensen, K. L., & Feldman, D. C. (2005). Predictors of objective and subjective career success: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 367-408.

Sennett, R. (1998). The corrosion of character: The personal consequences of work in the new capitalism. New York: Norton.

Wrzesniewski, A., McCauley, C., Rozin, P., & Schwartz, B. (1997). Jobs, careers, and callings: People's relations to their work. Journal of Research in Personality, 31(1), 21-33.

Movie: Founder

Year of Release: 2016

Director: John Lee Hancock

Clip: 1hr 16 min – 1hr 25 min

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 35 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Innovation and ethics

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

Set the Stage: Ray Kroc, who has entered into a partnership with the McDonald brothers to franchise McDonald’s locations, is struggling to generate positive cash flow in his franchise locations and secure capital for expansion. He is finding that the brothers, who were innovative in their restaurant design model, are not open to his ideas for product innovation and expansion. Specifically, they are not willing to back his ideas regarding basements in the restaurants for storage, or powdered milkshakes to avoid storage costs. At this point Ray is quite frustrated and meets Harry Sonneborn, a financial analyst. Play clip.

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your thoughts on the McDonald brothers’ response regarding the powdered milkshakes? How would you have responded?
  2. What business do you think the franchise owners are in?
  3. How did viewing the restaurant as a real estate business change how the business operated?
  4. What are the ethical aspects involved in the decision to buy the land and lease it to the franchisees?
  5. Consider the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that developed the fast food burger under the McDonald brothers, and then think about the growth potential that Ray was able to achieve with his pivot of the business model. Whom do you consider the better entrepreneur(s): the McDonalds brothers or Ray Kroc? Why?

Movie: I, Tonya

Year of Release: 2017

Director: Craig Gillespie

Clip: The length of this clip is 9:26. The clip is an edited version of the film which isolates scenes showing the relationship between Tonya Harding (Athlete) and Diane Rawlinson (Coach).

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 30 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Teams

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

For the actual exercise, each clip is integrated into PowerPoint with discussion questions mixed in. If fully conducted, the activity would last between 25 and 40 minutes. For discussion in the PDW, not all aspects of the activity need be explored and can easily be adapted to a round-robin format.

The purpose of this class activity is to examine the concept of functional teams that operate in a non-traditional manner. The use of I, Tonya brings in an element of pop culture to showcase that teams are not always in an office nor are they always nice. Students tend to enjoy being shocked and so the unexpected use of a figure skating team also works to engage the students. Typically, functional teams are embodied by individuals who work together on a daily basis with similar tasks and must coordinate their efforts while working for a central manager. Functional teams, however, can be more simplistically designed, which, in turn, can complicate the relationship. Take for instance the relationship of an Olympic athlete and their coach. This relationship goes far beyond just a student/teacher relationship; rather, it is a team that must work together to achieve a common goal: winning! The dynamics of the team are such that the traditional manager role or attributes can be unclear. For example, is it the coach who holds the technical knowledge or is it the athlete who executes the knowledge and pays the bills? Is it possible to work and/or manage without a power differential?

The relationship between athlete Tonya Harding and coach Diane Rawlinson embodies this struggle to identify how a non-traditional functional team can work. Athlete Tonya Harding possess the tangible skills (jumps, spins, footwork) necessary to win at competitions and produce the product, gold medals, while Coach Diane Rawlinson possesses intangible skills (packaging, political savvy, mindset) necessary to produce gold medals. Are they a level team? In the end, who is the decision maker?

Adding to the non-traditional functional team model is the issue of team dysfunction. Harding and Rawlinson display very different personality types. Harding, who is type A, is combative, emotional, and self-oriented, with a propensity to be a “Blocker,” “Attacker,” and “Gatekeeper.” Rawlinson, who is type B, is supportive, thoughtful, and relationship-oriented, with a propensity to be a “Summarizer,” “Harmonizer,” and “Reality-tester.” In the end, both team members share the common goal; however, the paths they take to reach this goal differ greatly.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: (which are dispersed throughout the video as the depicted relationship progresses)

  1. Did the Harding/Rawlinson team follow the five stages of team formation? If not, which stage do you think was not given appropriate attention? Why?
  2. What were some examples of punctuated equilibrium/noise within this team?
  3. Harding’s mother is seen as an outside influence on the team. Is she actually a member of the team? If not, would you make her a formal member of the team? Why?
  4. Consider the point at which Harding fires Rawlinson: Would this be a true example of “adjourning” or more of a “punctuated equilibrium”? Why?
  5. Would you consider Rawlinson’s offer to reteam with Harding an example of “punctuated equilibrium,” “storming,” or “forming”? Do the demands made by Rawlins make her the informal team leader? Why (not)?
  6. As they prepared for the Olympics, Rawlinson adopted a pronounced encourager role while Harding adopted a pronounced doer role. Did these extremes produce a balanced team or did one person possess more power? Why?
  7. In the end, Harding and Rawlinson failed to produce their product (Olympic Gold Medal). Who caused this team to fail: Harding or Rawlinson? Why?
  8. Take a moment to pretend that you were asked to join Harding and Rawlinson as Harding prepared for the Olympics. What role could you have played on this team to make it successful? What decisions would you have made to better pursue the desired goal?
  9. Some might say that Harding/Rawlinson were never a functional team but rather a friendship team. Please make an argument for why this was a friendship team.

This exercise is designed to be used with either of the following textbooks; however, the language in the exercise can be easily adapted to the terminology of most any Organizational Behavior, Management, or Business Communications textbook.

Cooper, C. D., Hellriegel, D., and Slocum Jr., J. W. (2017). Mastering Organizational Behavior, Version 14.0. Boston, MA: Boston Academic Publishing.

Lussier, R. (2014). Management Fundamentals Concepts, Applications, and Skill Development, 6th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Movie: Joy

Year of Release: 2015

Director: David O. Russell

Clip: The most comprehensive clip (00:32:50 – 00:51:20; total time of 18:30) See table for additional clips and details.

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 55 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Entrepreneurship and New Product Development

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

This learning activity is aimed at clarifying for students entrepreneurship and new product development factors with specific treatment of opportunity identification, concept generation, new product process, product testing and prototyping, fundraising, intellectual property, pilot manufacturing, vendor selection, failure, success, and characteristics of entrepreneurs. Characteristics exhibited in the film include: internalized locus of control, necessity of income, networking capabilities, empowerment, perseverance, and problem-solving ability. The film also provides an excellent example of the struggles and achievements of a female-driven start-up. Based on the true story of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, the movie is a rags-to-riches account of a single mother played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Consult the table below for more detailed descriptions of the above concepts along with several additional clips that effectively convey entrepreneurial learning in a compelling context that is often missing from traditional management education.

Classroom activity: After viewing, learners are put into groups of two to four students. Discussion questions are provided to prompt students to discuss how the clips are applicable to the entrepreneurial and new product process, and interestingly, how Joy Mangano may be compared to Cinderella. After 15 minutes, groups are called on to provide their feedback to the entire class.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how Joy comes up with her Miracle Mop concept and design.
  2. How does this story fit in (or not fit in) with the framework of the New Products Process (Crawford & DiBenedetto, 2011)?
    • Phase 1: Opportunity Identification and Selection
    • Phase 2: Concept Generation
    • Phase 3: Concept/Project Evaluation
    • Phase 4: Development (both technical and marketing tasks)
    • Phase 5: Launch

*Note: Other frameworks are applicable for this exercise, such as the New Product Development Process: 1) New product strategy; 2) Idea generation; 3) Idea screening; 4) Business analysis; 5) Development; 6) Test marketing; 7) Commercialization; and 8) New product (Lamb et al., 2018).

3. How do Joy’s family and network help or hinder her entrepreneurial efforts?

4. What suggestions would you have for Joy in proving her product’s viability in the field with customers?

5. How could Joy have better handled the intellectual property and supplier matters?

6. What personal characteristics possessed by Joy were most important for her eventual success?

7. What role, if any, did serendipity (luck) play in this story?

8. A prominent film reviewer, A.O. Scott of the New York Times, compared the character of Joy Mangano to the Disney fairytale character Cinderella. Do you see any similarities? If so, discuss.


Crawford, M. & DiBenedetto, A. (2011). New Products Management, 10th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Lamb, C., Hair, J. & McDaniel, C. (2018). MKTG 12: Principles of Marketing, 12th ed. (Boston: Cengage).

Mariotti, S. & Glackin, C. (2013). Entrepreneurship: Starting and Operating a Small Business, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson).

Russell, D.O. (Director) (2015). Joy. Motion picture. Fox 2000 Pictures.

Scott, A.O. (2015). Saved by a mop, if not a glass slipper. New York Times, Dec 25, 2015, C8.

Movie: La La Land

Year of Release: 2016

Director: Damien Chazelle

Clip: The piano playing clip ( and (

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 60 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Motivation, Job Characteristics Model, Intrinsic Rewards and Empowerment.

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

Film details: La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, released in 2016. In an early clip, we view Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) arriving to work in a restaurant, a place he had worked in the past, to play piano for the diners. His boss reminds him to stick to the set list. He agrees but later he drifts off and starts playing a piece he likes. As he becomes more engrossed in what he is playing, the spotlight shines only on him, as the rest of the restaurant disappears; he is transported into a fantasy scene, dancing with Mia (Emma Stone). After the song ends, we return to reality. When the lights come back, and the restaurant returns to focus, we find the diners staring at Sebastian. His boss summons him over and fires him. Sebastian tries to argue that he will stick to the song set, reminding his boss it is the holidays, but the boss doesn’t budge. Sebastian walks away, hurt and angry, ignoring Mia, who approaches to pay him a compliment.

This clip helps students to see that as the Job Characteristics Model posits, autonomy is a key ingredient of intrinsic motivation; its absence threatens motivation and desired performance.

Questions to ask before showing the clip:

  1. Provide the framework for the Hackman-Oldham Job Characteristics Model (JCM) as well as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow and its application to job design. Suggested discussion points:
  2. The foundation of the model is that a challenging job enhances motivation. Do you agree?
  3. Why is autonomy so critical to the Motivating Potential Score?
  4. How does autonomy foster a feeling of employee empowerment?
  5. In what ways does autonomy relate to the other four dimensions in the JCM?
  6. How do the principles of flow, as outlined by Csikszentmihalyi, relate to the motivating potential of a job?

Questions to ask after showing the clip:

  1. What motivated Sebastian to return to that restaurant?
  2. Why wasn’t the extrinsic reward sufficient to keep him on task?
  3. How can we create jobs that have a high level of autonomy?
  4. In what ways could the restaurant owner have empowered Sebastian while still meeting the needs and expectations of customers?
  5. Would permitting Sebastian to play a few songs other than those on the play list be sufficient to create a feeling of empowerment?
  6. According to the JCM, why isn’t money a sufficient motivator? What do you think about money’s role as a motivator?

Exercise for after the discussion:

Ask students to find a partner for the exercise. Create a raffle of job titles and have each pair select one. Next, have each pair identify ways to enhance the motivating potential score of the selected job through increased autonomy. Each pair will then present to the class how these changes would help to empower employees who hold that job.

Movie: Miss Sloane

Year of Release: 2016

Director: John Madden

Clip: 0:31:55-0:34:00

Estimated Activity Time: Full teaching plan uses 4 different clips. Each individual activity takes approximately 30 minutes. If all segments are used, plan for 2 hours.

Teaching Concept/Topic: Strategic Decision Making, Ethics in Decision Making.

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

Movie synopsis: In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Madeline Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price.

The movie offers excellent several opportunities to spark discussion on ethics and ethical leadership, as well as a nice starter for talking about strategy and strategic decision making.

The clip shows prime examples of political behavior. Members of the lobbying firm are trying to impress Bob Sanford and their own boss, George DuPont. When Sanford orders, Pat Connors orders the exact same thing (and casts a glance in Sanford’s direction). As Sanford steps away from the table, Connors acknowledges Jane Molloy’s contribution to reeling him back in. R. M. Dutton immediately tries to “one up” Molloy by saying “I’m sorry, who closed him again?” while casting a glance in DuPont’s direction.


  1. Do any of the actions in this clip constitute political behavior? If so, what form?
  2. Who engaged in the behavior?
  3. To whom was it directed (i.e., who was the actor trying to influence/impress) and why?

Follow-up Discussion. Jarrett (2017) states that organizational politics “refers to a variety of activities associated with the use of influence tactics to improve personal or organizational interests” (p. 3). Political behavior takes one of two forms: 1) impression management – systematic attempts to behave in ways that create desired (positive) impressions (Gardner & Martinko, 1988); or 2) self-protection – behaviors aimed at minimizing the likelihood of negative outcomes by avoiding action, accountability, or responsibility. Political behaviors can be legitimate (i.e., acceptable forms of influence aimed at gaining organizationally-sanctioned outcomes) or non-legitimate (i.e., any unacceptable behavior or acceptable behavior aimed at gaining unsanctioned outcomes).

This brief clip illustrates mostly legitimate political behavior, all as impression management:

  • Reasoning: Insights are offered by both Jane Molloy (about Madeline Sloane’s tactics) and R. M. Dutton (about which senators are likely to be targeted and their value if swayed toward the gun owner rights position) and pitched to Bob Sanford. These behaviors are political (to the extent that each is trying to personally win over Sanford), but are legitimate (i.e., in the lobbying firm’s best interests).
  • Similarity: Once the group “lands” Sanford, they order food. When Pat Connors orders his filet prepared the same way as Sanford, it could be political behavior. The subtle nod to Sanford following the order expresses the sentiment “you and I are exactly alike.” This behavior could be viewed as legitimate or non-legitimate.
  • Complimenting/Quid Pro Quo: When Sanford steps away, Connors explicitly states “That kind of insight is exactly why you are here,” complimenting Molloy’s contribution and providing insight (i.e., keep doing this and you will go far). The comment should be viewed as legitimate political behavior. The behavior might also be seen as non-legitimate if he is trying to create an expectation (e.g., I brought you along/I just gave a boost to your career, so you owe me one).
  • Acclaiming: R. M. Dutton’s response is clearly political; he tries to “one up” Molloy’s contribution. As his comment is directed to DuPont’s attention, Dutton is trying to make himself look better than a colleague. Most would view this behavior as non-legitimate.

Suggested readings to accompany the clip:

Jarrett, M. (2017, April 24). The 4 types of organizational politics. Harvard Business Review (online edition). [Retrieved from on November 29, 2018.]

Gardner, W. L., & Martinko, M. J. (1988). Impression management in organizations. Journal of Management, 14, 321-338.

Note: these readings can be assigned ahead of time to give students sufficient theoretical/conceptual grounding for analyzing the clips. Alternately, they can be assigned after class discussion to enhance students’ understanding

Movie: Intern

Year of Release: 2015

Director: Nancy Meyers

Clip: 0:00-1:38 and 0:18-1:00 (age discrimination) 0:00-1:19 (mentoring)

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately two 20-minute activities.

Teaching Concept/Topic: Generational workplace issues, age discrimination and reverse mentoring

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

As a class discuss the following:

Prejudice against older workers

  1. How do you think about working with people from older generations? What is your stereotype of age?
  2. Consider potential issues that arise, in terms of productivity, training and learning, social skills, and working relationships, when different generations work together.
  3. What should be done in terms of diversity and inclusion to decrease prejudice and discrimination against older workers and support their inclusion?

Reverse mentoring between older and younger generations:

  1. How do you think that Jules talks with Ben about how to use at Facebook?
  2. How can organizations help older individuals adjust to new work environments and learn new skills and knowledge?

Movie: Steve Jobs Year of Release: 2015 Director: Danny Boyle

Clip: Everyone is waiting for the Mac (2:43)

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 30 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Strategy Development

Facilitation Ideas/Details: This exercise is conducted to illustrate the application of some of the key concepts involved in strategy development and planning. Specifically, the activity highlights the trade-off nature of strategic choices and provides a realistic example of business decisions that have to be made by executives as they plan development of their business.

The activity flows in two parts: First, the students are organized into groups and asked to answer the discussion questions. Then, they de-brief as a class.

Discussion questions:

In groups:

  1. Recollect components of strategic positioning.
  2. Apply strategic positioning frameworks to discuss strategic positioning for Mac.
  3. Identify strategic choices that Jobs had to make?
  4. What were the trade-offs that he had to consider?
  5. Why did Jobs make the decisions that he made?
  6. If you were Jobs, what choices would you have made?

De-brief as a class:

  1. Have groups quickly share their answers for questions 1 – 3.
  2. Have a more in-depth discussion on question 4 and 5.
  3. Manage discussion of question 6 as students tend to get very engaged in that question.

Movie: Mountain

Year of Release: 2017

Director: Jennifer Peedom, Narrated by Willem DaFoe

Clip: Mystery of the biggest challenge; Everest for your organisation. Time: 18.35 to 21.45 min

Estimated Activity Time: Approximately 30 minutes

Teaching Concept/Topic: Knowledge Management, Organizational device policies

Facilitation Ideas/Details:

Set-up/Background: Organisations take a certain time to know their biggest challenges. These challenges would be in terms of innovation, doing something not done previously, or in terms of the boundaries an organization can push. Out of the many challenges faced by the people in earlier times was in terms of figuring out the details regarding the mountains. Additionally, for some there was the challenge of taking on the goal of climbing Mount Everest. Every organisation has its own goals which are untouched but always dreamed of and once these goals are achieved, the direction it opens cannot be planned or matched with anything else.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What were the challenges that you saw while watching the video?
  2. Something which cannot be done earlier is done later on the basis of organizational memory created by risk and failure. Discuss.
  3. Did you learn from your failures and risk-taking behavior which were developed, exhibited or explored during the game?
  4. Why organizational memory and knowledge management of resource is important to achieve success?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Silver Screen Table Discussion facilitated by Michael J. Urick (Saint Vincent College) and Therese A. Sprinkle (Quinnipiac University)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). Written by J. K. Rowling and directed by David Yates. Warner Bros. Pictures. Synopsis.

Various factions of wizards attempt to locate a mysterious boy named Credence Barebone because he is believed to be able to kill the powerful wizard Albus Dumbledore. As the “Wizarding World” is becoming increasingly divided, various individuals attempt to influence (or lead) others to pursue Credence as well as to recruit him to their side. Though there are many examples of leadership and leadership theories throughout the film, two characters can especially be contrasted. Specifically, two diametrically opposed wizard leaders are the characters of Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald and their differences can be highlighted through two key scenes. The following themes can be discussed through the clips:

Leadership Themes:

  • Leadership definition – a process of influence over others (Northouse, 2018)
  • Bases of power (specifically referent and expert power; French & Raven, 1959) – leaders can become more influential because the relate well with others and are likeable (referent) and because they are perceived to possess a high level of knowledge, skill, or ability (expert)
  • Leader Member Exchange (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) – effective leadership is characterized by a high degree of interpersonal dialogue, trust, good rapport, and a positive relationship
  • Charismatic leadership (Conger & Kanungo, 1998) – a style of leadership marked by values-laden and emotionally charged rhetoric; such leaders often are strong orators whose followers look up to them as heroes
  • Visionary leadership (Nanus, 1992) – leaders are effective because they communicate a clear vision for the future in a way that resonates with others
  • Ethics – leaders must consider issues of morality and the values in which they draw upon in the decisions that they make

Times are approximate the 2019 standard theatrical release DVD.

Characters and Scenes:

Albus Dumbledore

  • Background: wizard professor who seeks to protect muggles – some wizards uphold him as a skilled teacher as noted by characters in the film. Throughout, he relies on positive interpersonal relationships in his attempts to influence others.
  • Representative scene: Dumbledore convinces Newt Scamander to search for Credence. Approximately 17-22.
  • Theories illustrated: leader member exchange, referent base of power, expert base of power

Gellert Grindelwald

  • Background: evil wizard who seeks supremacy over non-wizards (muggles) – some wizards uphold him as a “hero” as noted by characters in the film. Throughout, he communicates his vision through emotionally charged language related to his personal values. He wants to recruit Credence in order to kill Dumbledore who opposes his views.
  • Representative scene: Grindelwald holds a rally for his followers where he communicates his vision. Approximately 1:45-1:51.
  • Theories illustrated: charismatic leadership, visionary leadership, expert base of power

Discussion Questions:

  • How would you compare and contrast Dumbledore’s and Grindelwald’s leadership styles? Which one do you believe is more effective?
  • Did Dumbledore or Grindelwald draw on any specific bases of power? If so, which one(s)?
  • Dumbledore and Grindelwald seem to relate to their “followers” in different ways. How would you describe these differences?
  • What do you view is the role of ethics in the way that Dumbledore and Grindelwald influence others?
  • What is the role of charisma in leadership? Was one of the two leaders more charismatic (or even narcissistic) in nature? Did either of the leaders show weakness? If so, why might they have done this?
  • In your view, is Dumbledore or Grindelwald the “better” leader? Why?
  • What have you learned from these two fictional leaders that you might consider as you develop your own leadership style in the workplace?

Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1998). Charismatic leadership in organizations. Sage Publications.

French, J. R. & Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. Classics of organization theory, 7, 311-320.

Graen, G. B., & Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship-based approach to leadership: Development of leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership over 25 years: Applying a multi-level multi-domain perspective. The leadership quarterly, 6(2), 219-247.

Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary Leadership: Creating a Compelling Sense of Direction for Your Organization. Jossey-Bass Inc.

Northouse, P. G. (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Yates, D. (2018). Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Warner Bros.