Responsible leadership expands the existing literature and leadership definitions by taking into account the manner leaders use their power and influence. Responsible leadership strategies point that the influencing power of leaders must be used positively and for improving others instead of contributing to value destructions of society, employees, organization and individual career. In this sense, a responsible leader will influence stakeholders which are both internal and external to the organization. Hence, research states that responsible leadership is distinct from other leadership perspectives like transformational, transactional and ethical. Since social media management has become a key issue in today’s business world, this policy memo will address the Facebook board to analyze issues facing the company and make recommendations. The policy memo will first analyze the key planning and innovations related issues faced by social media companies and identify potential responsible leadership strategies that can be incorporated into Facebook for innovative change and strategic management.
Social media privacy and management has become a key issue faced by most of the organizations as well as society. Though the emergence of Internet-based activities had opened possibilities for people and business organizations to communicate freely, the impact of social media mismanagement has been highly magnified in the market ( Pourkhani, Abdipour, Baher, & Moslehpour, 2019). With the growth seen in Facebook, it is apparent that people or consumers have become more vulnerable to commodification and surveillance since they upload personal information’s which can be easily accessed by others. Moreover, many people are unaware of their vulnerability and how their personal data can be used for reselling and information-aggregation processes (Haumann, 2015). This report, therefore, intends to bring into notice about ongoing issues related to planning social media management and managing innovation in information technology companies. Since ignoring social media management in Facebook potentially increase social intrusions, harassments, commodification and corporate surveillance, the leaders and management need to reclaim the ability to control social media privacy rights as well as provide the world with a platform which is safer and more monitored through responsible leadership strategies.
In the past few decades, social media sites have grown exponentially. The statistics provided by the Facebook (Appendix A) reveals that in between 2009 and 2015 the users of Facebook worldwide were not less than 1.4 billion per month and at least 802 million users logged into their Facebook account at least once per day. Such statistics are not surprising for Facebook as it is one of the most popular social media networking sites today and only second to Google in terms of global usage. This has made Facebook leaders consider being more responsible to protect its user’s data and security protocol ( Ryan, Chester, Reece, & Xenos, 2014). However, Ali, et al. (2018) argues that due to the emergence of social media and popularity seen in online communication, sensitive information about the society and its people remains available online. Although many information shared through online communication may not be sensitive but some of the publishers may use personal data as well as exploit user’s privacy. Furthermore, when the user data are at risks, they can be easily traced and connected for data mining purposes and extracting critical information. Hence, it is highly required that social media management must be planned according to new issues faced by consumers as well as companies must ensure innovation while developing its software’s that are risk-free and highly protected.
Data governance issues can be referred to leadership issue due to availability, security and integrity negligence shown in the organization. With the emergence of data governance, it has become important for the firm to consider data governance-related matter during the decision-making process or while planning business strategy. Although data governance uses in social media networking is still evolving, current data in the firm reveals that it acts as a big facilitator for leaders to control every aspect of the user’s data resources for marketing related functions ( Kim & Cho, 2018). It has been noted since the past few years that Facebook uses its user’s data in several ways and claims to be legal in many ways by mentioning it in data privacy policies. The data collected and used by the firm include users’ information about age, sex, date of birth, location, etc which can also be tracked easily to satisfy marketing and advertisements needs. The exploitation of user’s data has indeed made users vulnerable to community and needs to be managed ethically.
Trust is rather a complex word as well as an abstract note, much difficult to define yet is one of the key elements for success behind any organization. Trust and privacy together define psychological state including an intention to accept vulnerability with a belief that the firm will behave positively or will not exploit sentiments of the people. But then, the online environment creates several barriers to trust and privacy which includes website design, content and privacy matters. Privacy concerns may also include cookie collection and techniques like extreme surveillance. Hence, firms need to plan and manage the uses of data and data analysis concerning the avoidance of unethical practice like data mining (O'Brien & Torres, 2012). The incident where Zuckerberg was claimed to manipulate public data for the Presidential election is known to the world. The Cambridge Analytica Scandal is one of the examples which have put Facebook into several lawsuits and public criticisms because of showing irresponsibility towards company stakeholders and shareholders. Furthermore, Boldyreva (2018) claim that Cambridge Analytica not only operates in the United States but other nations also including Ukraine and Russia.
It can be assumed that websites and social media platforms face fluctuations and are easily editable as well as reproducible. Typically, a social media webpage can be easily manipulated by users by changing the documents systematically or through hacking. Consequently, the challenges for Facebook lies while dealing with new technologies each day particularly the malware sites and hackers. By analysing Facebook’s shifting boundaries in terms of partnerships and programmability, it can be said that the firm is challenged by constant shifts in platform design requirements, incremental configurations and dealing aggressive infrastructural positions. In this regard, Facebook transforms from a typical social media site to an integrated website design comprising every element like privacy from malware and external hackers requires innovative solutions (Helmond, Nieborg , & Vlist, 2019).
The scandals taking place in the firm at both local and at the global level have resulted in a need for a responsible leadership approach to consider responsible planning and innovation for Facebook. It can be said that social media management is not unique in an organization but pieces of evidence as global corporate bailouts, power of executives and blatant abuses where false accounts are practiced and data mining results in corporate fraud. From the above case analysis and planning and innovations challenges identified in Facebook, it can be said that the organization requires the firm leader to undertake critical steps like transformational change and adaptation of strategic planning to for sustainable development. It is been recognised that Facebook has realised various lawsuits and public criticisms over the past few years which requires the board to consider responsible leadership strategies to mitigate the issues as well as ensure that Facebook deals with planning and innovation responsibly.
Responsible leadership strategies require that leaders must serve stakeholders needs along with considering the legitimate interests of others. A leader must guide and anticipate every genuine care, desirable future needs and concern others to give service providing a meaning. Since Facebook management reveals innovation-related challenge, the guidance strategy of responsible leadership will raise a concern towards organizational members needs besides motivating them to pursue common objectives. Responsible leadership theory understands that stakeholders can be assumed as followers who are positioned in both the internal and external environment of the organization. Guidance strategy of responsible leadership includes various organizational practices like creating strategy and higher purpose vision, creation of standardised procedures, ensuring continuous development and innovation along with sharing power and communication with employees. Additionally, with effective guidance, leadership will allow generation of favourable attitude towards organizational and individual outcomes like corporate citizenship behaviour, commitment and work engagement that ultimately creates an atmosphere of innovation and strategic planning in the workplace (Szczepanska-Woszcyna, Dacko-Pikieweiz, & Lis, 2015).
In stakeholder’s society, the key function of every responsible leadership is to create and establish a trustworthy environment with every stakeholder of the company. However, globalization and changing business demands have made Facebook leaders confronted with heterogeneous stakeholders who pressurise to create a more user-friendly platform that has consequently made Facebook exposed to threats and innovation challenges. In this regard, the leadership style of Facebook needs to build social and innovative skills to cope with demands made by various stakeholders and hence, rational intelligence can be suggested for Facebook. On the other side, leaders with high emotional stability require to show empathy also which will allow leaders to understand others emotions from stakeholders’ perspectives. This strategy can prove beneficial for Facebook as empathy will allow Facebook leaders to predict what concerns stakeholders the most and how their privacy and trust-related issues can be managed effectively. Leaders who use empathy while making organizational and business strategy consider meeting stakeholders demands before considering financial outcomes. Hence, the literature suggests showing empathic behaviours to behave and engage responsibly ( Shi & Ye, 2016).
Responsible leadership not only considers developing strategy and planning for the organizations but also lead to vital change through innovation abilities. Responsible leadership is a process through which social change can be implemented, promoted, distributed and expressed by organizational leaders to diverse populations and communities. In this regards, stakeholders’ approach with a collective group can unify Facebook’s goal, vision and future planning according to the industry needs. For social change to occur, it is necessary that leaders motivate others with actions, words and behaviour and must anticipate different ways through which innovative change can be implemented in the firm (Slimane, 2015). Pless & Maak (2011) asserts that the stakeholder approach of leadership is the most convincing approach taken by organizations where leaders focus on responsibility towards different stakeholders like customers, employees, shareholders, environment and society as a whole. It can be argued that cultivating and developing ethically sound relationship between different stakeholders is the key responsibility of stakeholders’ leadership. With stakeholders approach, Facebook will become more responsible in analysing conflicting situations as well as make an approach towards innovation that are ethically sound ( Marques, Reis, & Gomes, 2018).
Authenticity is one of the responsible leadership strategies which respects self-regulation and self-awareness components. Authentic leadership approach can be defined from the proponents of oldest and traditional leadership fields which contributes to evolving till date. According to Pless & Maak (2011) early researches emphasised more on inauthentic leadership which comprises lack of authenticity among leaders. However, current research focuses more on optimistic outcomes and role of authentic leaders in showing responsibility towards their firms. Provided Facebook company faces data governance and planning issues, with authentic leadership strategy, the company can instil a spirit of a positive organizational culture where key tasks are managed to serve every organizational stakeholder. Contextual factors like climate, culture, uncertainty and inclusion are also considered by authentic leaders. Authentic leadership strategy opposes unethical behaviour and negative climate strongly in the workplace and hence proves a great approach particularly when organizations need a change or have caused to be in news due to unethical planning. Although authenticity in responsible leadership strategy have been constantly related to ethical reasoning and moral decision making, few criticisms can also be associated like authentic leaders are highly depended on their life’s story to relate it with authenticity. However, with ethical qualities, moral leadership and value creation approach, Facebook will be able to deal with ongoing issues effectively as well as ensure similar issues does not arise in the future (Covelli & Mason, 2017).
Figure: Number of active users between 2009 and 2015 (Haumann, 2015)
Ali, S., Islam, N., Rauf, A., Din, I. U., Guizani, M., & Rodrigues, J. J. (2018). Privacy and Security Issues in Online Social Networks. Future Internet, 10, 1-12.
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Marques, T., Reis, N., & Gomes, J. F. (2018). Responsible Leadership Research: A Bibliometric Review. Brazilian Administrative Review, 15(1), 1-25.
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Pourkhani, A., Abdipour, K., Baher, B., & Moslehpour, M. (2019). The impact of social media in business growth and performance: A scientometrics analysis. International Journal of Data and Network Science, 3, 223-244.
Ryan, T., Chester, A., Reece, J., & Xenos, S. (2014). The Uses and Abuses of Facebook: A Review of Facebook Addiction. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 3(3), 133-148.
Shi, Y., & Ye, M. (2016). Responsible Leadership: Review and Prospects. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 6, 877-884.
Slimane, M. (2015). Relationship between innovation and leadership. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 181, 218-227.
Szczepanska-Woszcyna, K., Dacko-Pikieweiz, Z., & Lis, M. (2015). Responsible leadership: a real need or transient curiosity. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 213, 546-551.
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