Zuckerberg – the Founder and CEO of Facebook

The social media platform founded by Mark Zuckerberg Facebook back in 2004 with the help of some of his colleagues is suffering problems internally and externally. With a proper organizational development plan, the company can begin its rise once more. Facebook’s mission is to “give people the power to build a community and bring the world closer together.” (Facebook, 2017) Based off of its media offerings, Facebook’s vision is “People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” (Smithson, 2018) According to Facebook, it has five core values and these include being bold, focusing on impact, moving fast, being open, and building social value.

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(F., 2017) Facebook welcomes a hacker culture, a culture that welcomes creative solutions and encourages their employees to take action on problems they are passionate about. (F. 2018)

Facebook’s structure consists of Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO, and four other chief officers sitting atop the company and below them is the board of directors. Not including the CEO and COO, the boards is made up of seven other members. Zuckerberg has adopted a very harsh management style for Facebook. This style could be in response to recent scandals and issues the company has faced this past year including data leaks and declining employee morale. Taking a look at their financial statements we see that at the end of their 2017 fiscal year, Facebook made a total of $40,653(in millions). This is a 47% increase from their 2016 fiscal year revenue. (Annual Reports, 2017) In the market of social networks, Facebook sits at the top, being the first platform to pass 1 billion accounts and having over 2 billion active monthly users. (Global, 2018) With this market position and continuously increasing annual revenue, there are bound to be issues. This challenges range from the recent data leaks to market saturation.

One of the major challenges Facebook has to confront is the issue of user data protection. This year a security breach cause the information of over 50 million users to be revealed. This situation was even brought before congress. Competition is another challenge that Facebook has continued to face. Many other websites and apps are using similar features that Facebook has and have the ability to grow due to the lack of advertisements. Facebook makes a tremendous amount off advertising on their website, but many users find ads to be annoying. A new app offering the same service, but with less advertisement has the potential for substantial growth. Facebook also needs to start focusing on potential products, outside the scope of social media and online networking applications. The challenge facing the culture of Facebook would be Zuckerberg’s declaration of instilling a harsher management style, potentially causing employees, management, and executives to leave. (Mark, 2018)

The main strength the company has is its size. The increase in revenue from their 2016 to 2017 fiscal year is proof of profitability, which draws investors and potential partners. The company has marked its spot in the market and to keep it, it has begun the acquisition of popular applications. Securing the market by taking the competition not only cuts the threat of entry into the market, but increases the reach for Facebook. People go onto Facebook to communicate the importance for causes. In 2015 Facebook launched charitable giving tool, which allowed people to make donations, whether they be for personal reasons or for non-profit organizations wanting to bring attention to their cause. And since the introduction of these tools Facebook has helped raise over $1 billion dollars. (PR, 2018)

The first external weakness to discuss is Facebook’s need to invest in other products. Having seized the social networking platform and taking over apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram, the company will soon find itself in a tight position when it comes to sources of revenue. The purchase of the oculus rift is a step forward, but needs more attention placed into it. The second external factor they face is the threat of competition. There is an abundant amount of applications offering the same service and it could take just one mistake to cause the company to come crumbling down. Their main source of revenue stems from advertisements so it’s understandable why the company displays so many on their site, but these become a nuisance to the consumer, especially when they’re bombarded with ads for products or services they don’t even like.

Facebook has a potential opportunity in fixing their management structure and style. Zuckerberg’s hands off management approach may have been one of the elements that led to a data breach. His answer of placing the responsibility on COO Sheryl Sandberg shows his lack of leadership capability. (Salinas, 2018) Accountability is a subject Facebook can work on which will lead to a more effective work force and overall better culture.

Accompanying the size of this huge company is the equally large threat of a cyber-attack. Facebook is no stranger to data breaches and in the most recent scandal, the issue of whether Facebook could protect their users’ private information was brought up by congress. Now the threat of stolen data is big in itself, but it also brings doubt to the result of the 2016 presidential election. With information arising that Russia-backed propagandists used Facebook to interfere in the election, Facebook decided to respond in silence and when they finally addressed the issue it brought criticism about how they are concerned about the Russian security threat. These issues all have consequences and affect a majority of the systems in the company.

Behavioral is the first system affected within Facebook. The fails at maintaining an effective relationship with his executives and employees. Placing the blame on his COO is not the route to take and adopting a management style that is looked down on caused many employees to leave. When the scandal of the data leak surfaced, Zuckerberg displayed reactive management. He was not involved in creating preemptive measures to combat such a threat due to his hands off management style and in turn when the pressure started coming he decided to not take accountability for his company and instead blame on Sandberg.

The following system is technical. Since the data leak, Facebook has been working towards improving their security and placing more effort into taking down suspicious accounts. Facebook has since then taken action against accounts displaying “inauthentic behavior.” In July the company closed down a total of 32 accounts, but has failed to identify the ones behind their creation. (McMillan, 2018) Facebook has repeatedly mentioned how they’re taking more and more measures to combat the creation of bogus accounts which helps lower the threat of a potential security breach, but the company only managed to find these bogus accounts 15 months after they were created. In this time the accounts had purchased ads and organized a large number of in real life meeting/events. Zuckerberg’s reply to this was stating how security will always be an issue, especially when you have adversaries always trying to evolve and attack. (McMillan, 2018)

Another system affected would be managerial. This is in the sense that maybe a too hands off management approach has led to a lack of focus on important issues and placed an emphasis on being creative and innovative instead. It is great to allow employees to have a say and be creative, but creativity must be aligned with the analytical side of things. But when you drastically change your style, it leads to unsatisfactory results. The shock of sudden change may not be taken well by most employees. The need for organizational development is present.

The last structure affected is goals and values. Facebook’s goal is to give others the power to come together and bring the world closer, but in doing so forgot that there are going to be users who don’t follow the same goal or values the company promotes. The next issue is the company straying from their value of being open. Transparency into who is advertising must have already been implemented, but Zuckerberg did not voice his desire to be more transparent until congressmen demanded it. (Francis, 2017)

Before beginning to conduct a strategy for organizational development, we must ensure that the strategy is aligned with the company’s culture. Referring to the change model we see that a low impact on culture along with minor degree in change is the best choice in obtaining success. Since the culture of the company is very open and free, the intervention we decide to implement must be one that seeks to keep this culture that welcomes creativity. One choice a company has is using a basic strategy for change and in Facebook’s case the first that should be used is the behavioral approach. This strategy focuses on improving the company’s morale, employee motivation, and increases the commitment of members.

The main goal would be to change the attitudes of employees and management while reestablishing the company’s values. The OD intervention for this kind of change begins with conducting a survey to obtain feedback. Reengineering procedures and opening feedback channels. Working on stress management by having all members in the organization, regardless of position, take a self-awareness course. Once everyone has now completed the course the company may head towards goal-setting, but ensure the goals are aligned with the company’s mission and values. The changes are small, we aren’t forcing people to change who they are, but reminding them of the reason they were drawn to the company in the first place.

The first challenge encountered would be the executive’s resistance to change. Management is frightful of change, but that’s to be expected when change is introduced, only a few find a need for it. In this case we identified the management style as one of the driving factors for change. We will see conflict amongst the different levels of management as some see their behavior as appropriate while others are receiving the brunt of this new harsh management style Zuckerberg has begun to implement. Soon after the number of resistors will fall and those opposing the change will be pressured instead of vice versa.

Getting the company back on the right track is important because once they have a clear sense of their goals and values, teams will become more efficient. Implementing a team intervention strategy is also a viable strategy as one of the purposes is to build cohesiveness and dependency among team members. This in turn brings individuals a sense of holding themselves mutually accountable. As stated previously, even the CEO of Facebook has trouble holding himself partly accountable and places the blame on one of his officers/fellow board member. Depending on the situation, the kind of team development needed varies. In this case the data leaks scandal is categorized as a problem situation. This situation is determined by their being an unprecedented situation, and has an impact outside of an individual’s influence.

In this kind of situation we see teams lose focus of their goal, the implementation of authoritative decision making, behavior becomes unacceptable, and the creativity in a group becomes lost. To begin a team must identify objectives, in this case that is increasing data security. They need to improve the communication to help improve the quality of ideas being produced to help fix the situation. This helps get rid of any group thinking and increase effectiveness and communication amongst team members and teams across the company.

The final recommendation for Facebook would be to implement both a team development interventions strategy while focusing on behavioral change simultaneously. Through team development at all levels, effectiveness will increase and teams can combat threats in a more efficient manner. By teaching individuals to hold themselves accountable, communication becomes better and there is less stress placed on other team members. Realigning with the company’s original values adds meaning to the work employees do. When Mark Zuckerberg himself starts to become more involved, develops a kinder management style, and shares accountability, those below him follow suit. A company follows its leader and their actions, that’s why it is important to have the CEO remember his goal and work together with his team.

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