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MBA6140 Strategic Leadership And Stakeholder Management

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MBA6140 Strategic Leadership And Stakeholder Management

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Course Code: MBA6140
University: Edith Cowan University

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Country: Australia


Project – Analysing a Leader
You will select a leader and crucially analyse their development, capability and achievements. The focus in your analysis should particularly be on enhancing your understanding of
(i) the struggles your chosen leader has experienced and
(ii) how the chosen leader has been critiqued by various stakeholders.
Overall this should result in a series of actionable recommendations for this leader.
Before starting this assignment, you should have read the instructions below and raised any concerns with your lecturer and confirmed the leader you have chosen to study.
Assignment instructions
The purpose of this project is to apply the concepts and theories in the unit to the analysis of leadership of a well-known leader. Select any type of leader for whom there is sufficient information to provide a good analysis of leadership processes and outcomes. Examples include political leaders, military leaders, business executives, religious leaders, sports coaches, and leaders of social movements.
You must read at least three separate sources (biographies and articles) that provide enough detail to identify specific traits and skills, behaviours, influence processes, and relevant aspects of the situation. The most useful type of source is a biographical account of the leader’s activities and accomplishments.


In this project, development, capability and achievement of Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, will be analysed who is also one of the youngest billionaires in the world. Most of the people at this age struggles and try to make decisions regarding their career whereas Mark Zuckerberg made his dream come true at an age of twenty-four.   With innovative and visionary quality, he has become one of the leading entrepreneurs in the world possessing a self-made net worth of approximately US $ 71.5 billion (Biography.com , 2018). The success of Facebook has made Zuckerberg gain immense popularity throughout the globe. However, there were many struggles as well as pitfalls that came in the way to success for Zuckerberg, but with efficient leadership trait and strong entrepreneurial quality, he was able to surpass all of them (Astrum People website, 2018). The leader was even criticised many times by stakeholders due to issues found in Facebook management which will be discussed further in this report after analysing biography and leadership style adopted by Zuckerberg. Along with it, this report will also make series of actionable recommendations for this leader so that he remains successful in upcoming years without entailing stakeholder’s criticism.
Early Life
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born in 14th May, 1984 in White Plains of New York. He belongs to a well-educated comfortable family and got raised in nearby village of Dobbs Ferry. Edward Zuckerberg, Mark’s father ran a dental clinic that was attached to his home while his mother Karen, who is also a psychiatrist used to work before giving birth to four children: Mark, Randi, Donna, and Arielle (Biography.com , 2018). From a very tender age, Zuckerberg developed keen interest in computers and technology and used Atari BASIC for creating programs based on messages which he named as ‘Zucknet’. This program was used by his father in dental clinic where the receptionist could inform about new patients to the doctor without shouting across the room. Even, the rest of his family members along with his friends used ‘Zucknet’ to communicate with each other.
Rise of Facebook
The concept about Facebook came into the mind of Zuckerberg in those days when he used to study in Phillips Exeter Academy. The idea about publishing annual student directory where headshot pictures of every student along with faculty members and staff was liked by everyone. He named his concept as ‘Facebook’. However, at that time he had planned to service students only within Ivy League as they were having issues in networking with each other. Later, his idea was developed with other roommates to share this technology with universities and schools. This approach of Zuckerberg shows his entrepreneurial quality as he identified methods to transform initial idea into an opportunity. His passion to get connected with other people with technological advancement tools assisted him throughout his early struggles. And thus, an inception of a popular social media networking site was developed with advanced marketing and business-related features (Vargas, 2010).
Mark Zuckerberg entrepreneurial orientation
The strong determination and visionary approach of Zuckerberg helped him to develop a networking site that facilitates networking among people situated at different corners of the globe and that too with minimum cost and availability of internet. His website not only connects masses, but also assists small businesses and entrepreneurs who looks to elaborate their contacts as well as promote their business in social sites (Walter, 2014). It can be noted that Zuckerberg not only initiated an idea of creating personal website, but also adopted business related features those are required by entrepreneurs before establishing an organisation. He even adopted all-inclusive model related to entrepreneurial process influenced by sociological, personal and environmental factors.
Personal Traits
Personality and personal traits are major components that assists and develops individuals to achieve success. Personality is theoretically a sort of personal characteristics that influences person’s behaviour through attitude and perpetual experience (Brusseau, 2012). In Zuckerberg’s case, strong leadership, adjustment and agreeableness along with openness to envisage dimensions can be seen. Zuckerberg showed his firm leadership quality since he wanted to be a person in charge of his company among others. In one of the events mentioned in Zuckerberg’s biography it was identified that he did not commit or accept twin Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’s business idea in which they tried to appoint Zuckerberg for building social dating site which they named as ‘Harvard Connection’ (Biography.com , 2018).  This personality of Zuckerberg shows that he does not like to be dominated by others and therefore he created his own site Facebook rather than working with Winklevoss brothers. Agreeableness dimension involves those traits that determines whether the person is more agreeable to social factors or not which can be seen in Zuckerberg as he loved spending time with his friends. Adjustment dimension includes those traits that are related to emotional stability in person (Tan, 2013). Zuckerberg showed that he does not have adjustment personality as seen in one of the events when he created Facemash software. He felt upset for a girl and hence created a software where students were compared to farm animals that seemed unethical to others. Nevertheless, the idea generated through the software somehow paved way for the initial idea about Facebook.com. High openness attitude of Zuckerberg led him achieve success where he shows traits and willingness to change his business according to global business environment.
Leadership style
Zuckerberg did what he should do to gain achievement and trust from his followers. He does not hesitate in taking advice or lessons from others that shows his high acceptance to present business environment, like an effective leader (Hossain, 2015). For example, he asked the creator of Napster, Sean Parker regarding how he accomplished success in his business. Although Sean possessed bad qualities like alcoholic and druggist nature along with gaining bad reputation among people, Zuckerberg did not mind about it and took help from Sean’s talent for Facebook success.
Transformational leaders go beyond day to day normal life, focussing majorly on creating exclusive teams of motivated employees through promotion of team building (Ritson, 2011). Transformational leaders not only motivate their employees, but also encourages them in goal setting by implementing incentives along with providing various opportunities for professional and personal growth. Mark Zuckerberg illustrates transformational leadership style as seen in his activities (Baldonado, 2015). He is popular for his motivating skills who keep on inspiring his staff along with showing them organisational vision. He shows disruptive ideas, but his confidence in those ideas along with courageous attitude and vigour makes him a perfect transformational leader (Silva, 2016).
Zuckerberg’s transformational leadership style has made Facebook flourish under a strong leader’s command who understands and motivates continuous growth and changes within the company. Therefore, he is often known as programmer, philanthropist and an entrepreneur who has set an example for other struggling leaders (Baldonado, 2015). Zuckerberg admits and understands that he has made many PR errors in his company, but being a transformational leader, he endeavours to change those mistakes into opportunities (Clark, 2017). Despite many strengths found in Zuckerberg’s leadership style, one weakness found in him was that he never uses to consult with other board of members even during intense situations. Due to these reasons, Zuckerberg has even fallen under ethical stances many times due to lack of clarity and sorting of information’s. 
Struggles and Stakeholders Criticism faced by Mark Zuckerberg
While evaluating Mark Zuckerberg’s life history, comments regarding him were also observed among which one of the comments stated that he is the ‘guy’ who does not care much about making money. Indeed, this remark can prove stunning for a person who was listed seven times in Forbes list.  But, according to famous saying, great power comes with great responsibilities and problems especially during early days (Astrum People website, 2018).
Investment and funding: This were one of the biggest challenge Zuckerberg has to face in early days of his career as an entrepreneur. Finding a good investor along with ways through which Facebook could turn into must-own stock was the issue faced by Zuckerberg for which he ran advertisements in his own website initially. Later, when he got few investors in 2004, he poured that money into Facebook business (Astrum People website, 2018).
Stakeholders criticism:  Every time people talk about great CEO’s names of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs comes instantly in minds. Although Zuckerberg started his career in the same age as former ones did, he is always criticised as ‘Toddler CEO’ from his stakeholders (Aggarwal, 2016). In fact, he also faces criticism and blame for stealing the idea of Facebook from Harvard Connections.com for building a competing product. The twins from Zuckerberg’s senior group claims that he sabotaged their project by betraying them. Zuckerberg also confronted in one of the interviews that he faced constant challenge when Ben Mezrich launched his book named ‘The Accidental Billionaires’ that portrayed Zuckerberg’s story, but obviously in more garnished manner (Aggarwal, 2016).
Decision making challenges: Making decisions always remained challenging for Zuckerberg.  As his business grew, Zuckerberg became more critical while taking decisions every time so that he does not have to face additional issues later. Developing Facebook itself confronted many difficulties for which Zuckerberg started having problem in selecting whom he wanted to sell his company in earlier days.   At first, rumours spread that Facebook is being sold to larger company when Zuckerberg even stated it as a fake news. It was in 2007 when he finally shut every door to the buyers saying that he was not at all interested in selling his company even if it was worth 8 billion dollars at that time (Osnos, 2018).
Scandals and lawsuits against Facebook: Facebook have always been in news due to series of scandals. One of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal remained among hot topics earlier this year. A political analysis firm collected millions of data from Facebook users account and utilised it for developing false voting grounds. This made Zuckerberg fall under ethical stance and had to face public disrespect for letting their personal data fall under improper hands (Wells & McKinnon, 2018). Again, Facebook was found allowing downloading of deleted videos even without even letting know the concerned person. Facebook even faced many internal management conflicts and in one of the articles of Buzzfeed news, Bosworth reported, “Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools”. Although Zuckerberg apologised for every mistake made by him and his company, he was criticised as unethical and insensitive from his stakeholders to let so many errors take place (Jenkins, 2018).
After evaluating Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style and practice undertaken by him, it can be said that he is a successful leader focussing on getting right things done with right people who helps him in accomplishing his goals. However, few recommendations can be made further that can help Zuckerberg in organising things better way in future course. Since, he uses transformational leadership style, authoritarian leadership can be recommended for him after identifying various criticism and scandals faced by him and his company. After all, he has the power and authority over his employees and followers inside organisation. This leadership style will prove beneficial under stressful situations and when lots of errors are seen especially from management side (Heskett, 2018). In one of the above-mentioned incidents it was found that Zuckerberg listened to Sean in early days of Facebook development. This personality, however proved successful at that time, but the situation could have proved adverse if Sean would have taken advantage of Zuckerberg due to his bad reputation. Therefore, it can be recommended that Zuckerberg must be more cautious while selecting people to avoid falling under ethical stances (Brusseau, 2012).
After evaluating Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style and practice, it can be said that Zuckerberg is a person who admires innovation and development along with showing love for debates and challenges. He constantly commands his employees to complete their assigned work while treating them equally that shows a presence of transformational leadership style in him for which he is even loved back. He does not believe in traditional hierarchies and values everyone’s ideas and probable ways. Many challenges came in internal and external business environment of Facebook and in personal life of Zuckerberg, nevertheless, with strong intellectual power and wise decisions, he was able to surpass them. After enduring stakeholder’s criticism and proliferation of fake news, it was seen that Zuckerberg did not fail to announce his personal challenge to develop improved methods for him as well as his company. Therefore, was able to gain respect from public even after falling under ethical stance that shows his supremacy and effective leadership qualities.
Aggarwal, J. (2016). 6 Biggest Problems Mark Zuckerberg faced in Early Days of Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.businessalligators.com/7-biggest-problems-mark-zuckerberg-faced-early-days/
Astrum People website. (2018). Mark Zuckerberg Biography: Success Story of Facebook Founder and CEO. Retrieved from https://astrumpeople.com/mark-zuckerberg-biography-success-story-of-facebook-founder-and-ceo/
Baldonado, A. M. (2015). What Can We Learn from Young Business Leaders Today? International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research (IJMSR), 03(06), 40-43.
Biography.com . (2018). Mark Zuckerberg Biography. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/mark-zuckerberg-507402
Brusseau, J. (2012). Business Ethics. Creative Commons.
Clark, E. (2017). Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Leadership. Retrieved from https://elijahclark.com/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-leadership/
Heskett, J. (2018). What Should Mark Zuckerberg Do? Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/what-should-mark-zuckerberg-do?cid=wk-rss
Hossain, K. A. (2015). Leadership qualities for 21st century leaders. Pearl Journal of Management, Social Science and Humanities, 01(01), 18-29.
Jenkins, A. (2018, 04 06). We’re Keeping Track of All of Facebook’s Scandals So You Don’t Have To. Retrieved from Fortune: https://fortune.com/2018/04/06/facebook-scandals-mark-zuckerberg/
Osnos, E. (2018). Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before it Breaks Democracy? Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/09/17/can-mark-zuckerberg-fix-facebook-before-it-breaks-democracy?mbid=chrome_ext
Ritson, N. (2011). Strategic Management. Ventus Publishing.
Silva, A. (2016). What is Leadership? Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 1-5.
Tan, T. (2013). Mark Zuckerberg Leadership Style. Retrieved from https://markzuckerberg1.blogspot.com/
Vargas, J. A. (2010). The Face of Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/09/20/the-face-of-facebook
Walter, E. (2014). How to Lead Like Zuck. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/ekaterina-walter/as-zuckerberg-turns-30-leadership-lessons.html
Wells, G., & McKinnon, J. D. (2018). Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg admits ‘huge mistake’ — up to 87 million users hit by data leak. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebooks-mark-zuckerberg-admits-huge-mistake-in-not-protecting-users-data-2018-04-04

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