Case Study

Pep talks: Tapping into collective emotions

6 pages
December 2020
Reference: IMD-7-2228

Pep Guardiola is often hailed as one of the most successful football managers in the world. He frequently appeals to players’ individual emotions to motivate them and to generate a feeling of belonging to the team. This case delves into his first season as a coach at FC Barcelona (2008-09), with a particular focus on his team’s journey to the UEFA Champions League final and his use of collective emotions to motivate his team to perform. The case zooms in on events in the dressing room that preceded the final game. Instead of his usual speech before kick-off, Pep showed an inspirational video to all players. The moving video illustrated the team’s accomplishments, hard work, and dedication. It leveraged heroic images with emotive music, touching the hearts of the players. The case intends to explore the complex relationship between the use of collective emotions and team performance and allows to explore and apply frameworks to participants’ own leadership.

Learning Objective
  • Recognizing the importance of appropriately using the emotions at hand for effective leaders.
  • Understanding emotions in terms of their intensity (low-high) and valence (pleasant vs unpleasant).
  • Recognizing how different emotions can affect a team performance.
  • Reflecting on one’s immediate environment (family, friends, colleagues, boss, team) and exploring examples of appropriate / inappropriate use of emotions.
  • Applying the model to one’s own leadership and exploring what to improve.
Emotional Intelligence, Team, Communication, Sports
Catalunya, Spain
FC Barcelona, Travel and Leisure, Football
June 2008 – June 2009
Published Sources
© 2020
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note
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