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Leadership Analysis of the Film 'The Social Network'

Info: 1290 words (5 pages) Essay
Published: 12th May 2021 in Leadership

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The movie “The Social Network” shows what it is like to take the leadership on modern day society. Money can make a huge impact on every decision, so it is important to have business with someone whom you can trust. Leadership in the movie demonstrates how Mark Zuckerberg invents Facebook and how Eduardo invests in a company.

Vision and Motivation

The movie starts with Zuckerberg sitting with his girlfriend on a date. There he insults his girlfriend and broke up with her. With the anger on his mind he goes back to the hostel and hacks Harvard network to obtain the images of all women in the campus (Dykal, 2017). He then recruits his friends to create “Facemash” a website to compare faces of all attractive women in Harvard campus. It becomes huge hit and crashes the network in few hours (Dykal, 2017). This is how the leader gets vision to make Facebook.

Leader Ethics

There are multiple leaders in the movie. The first one is Zuckerberg who was authoritarian leader. He took little input from other and made decision for the company. The second one was Sean Parker. He was charismatic leader. He had following characteristics: People person, exhibits expert power, influence other with enthusiasm and personability (Moore, 2014).

Leadership Effectiveness

Talking about leadership effectiveness, there is a question if Mark Zuckerberg in the was good leader was not. He was focused on developing Facebook and made changes time to time but on the other hand he made some decisions which costed him a lot of money. The most devastating decision was to take Eduardo’s name from the company. While on the other hand Sean was keen on his goals. He convinced mark and joined Facebook. He also gave idea to remove ‘The’ from ‘The Facebook’ by which Mark was very impressed.

After watching movie, I found 3 theories which can be applied on Mark and his colleagues.

  1. Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory: According to Herzberg there are two factors which can motivate leader to the success.
  1. Motivator Factors: In the movie all the employees working for mark were young and they used to have fun in meantime which motivated them to work harder and faster.
  2. Hygiene Factors: Now talking about the hygiene factors, Mark was friend of all the employees and the salary of employees was also high because of the success of Facebook in less time.
  1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Now applying Maslow’s theory to the movie will have following things:
  1. Physiological: Mark was Harvard students and was wealthy. He had one office in New York and other in California.
  2. Safety: Mark was 70% owner of Facebook which included financial security. He was healthy even after spending most of the time in making Facebook.
  3. Love/Belonging: This was one of the factors which Mark did not have. His girlfriend ditched him at the start of the movie. Also, his friend Eduardo left him after he removed his name from the company.
  4. Esteem: Mark Zuckerberg was very low at self esteem because of break up, twin brothers and Eduardo.
  5. Self actualization: Mark had desire to take Facebook at top of everything. That is why he was working on improving Facebook most of the time.
  1. McClelland’s Need Theory: According to McClelland there are 3 factors which are affecting leaders for motivation. The three factors are: Power, Achievement and Affiliation.
  1. Power: In the movie Sean wanted to control Mark and influenced him to fire Eduardo from Facebook.
  2. Affiliation: Sean always wanted to be in a group with Mark. That’s why he impressed him and later joined Facebook.
  3. Achievement: As an achievement Sean joined Facebook and started working with mark. On the other hand, Mark Achieved recognition all over the world with the success of Facebook.

As per Contingency Leadership theory Mark was task-oriented leader focussing on development of Facebook and its global expansion (Odisho, 2013). Moreover, he centralized his efforts on tracking performance, companies’ achievement and members of his company on regular basis. He maintained high relationship with the employees. However, he clearly had issues with the co-founder and his friend Eduardo Saverin which latter escalated to a lawsuit followed by a settlement and early exit of the co-founder from Facebook (Odisho, 2013). In contrast, Mark was attracted towards Sean and become his partner before firing Eduardo.

According to Situational theory it was very clear that Mark was focused on directing and supporting strategies. Evaluating the maturity of the followers determined directivity towards vision and mission (Odisho, 2013). Facebook employees were capable programmers as they went through strict recruitment process. Hence, the leadership behaviour matched the follower’s behaviour (Odisho, 2013).

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Personal Leadership Development: This movie taught me several leadership lessons which I can apply in my real life to look forward in life. I have learnt how the excitement level can lead the person towards success as Mark had extreme level of excitement which made him the founder of “Facebook”. The second leadership skill which I would like to share for this movie is how teamwork can be helpful for the successful completion of projects, working in a team means sharing different ideas, mind development by discussing things with people from different backgrounds which not only enhances one’s knowledge but also gives good experience.

The third lesson which I have learnt from this movie is sometimes  greed of success, fame and money can destroy your relations as this movie shows Cameron and Tyler who are twin brothers gave idea to make social site namely “ Facebook” but Mark applied that idea and made “ Facebook” after that when Cameron and Tyler came to know about that they filed a case in court against Mark that how he could use their idea without their permission  which directly indicates that how their relation broken.

I also learnt as a leader we need to take time to understand people their desires, motives and dreams and then we share things with them.

 Having good end with this movie assignment I would like to share my experience that I really enjoyed this movie not once but many times and every time I learnt something new which makes me feel happy and passionate to do something in life as a leader. (Mark, 2011)


  • Dykal, N. (2017, 10 24). “The Social Network”: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown. Retrieved on February 24, 2020 from  https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/the-social-network-scene-by-scene-breakdown-d5717b2220aa
  • Mark, C. (2011). Leadership Lessons From The Social Network: Teamwork.
  • Moore, K. (2014, 12 9). Leadership in Film: The Social Network. Retrieved on February 24, 2020 https://prezi.com/7bor0wxjvths/leadership-in-film-the-social-network/
  • Odisho, S. (2013, 7 20). Mark Zuckerberg Leadership Profile. Retrieved on February 24, 2020 from CASTAX - Cross Accountancy Services: https://www.castax.com.au/mark-zuckerberg
  • Rudin.S ( Producer), & Fincher. D ( Director) (2011) The Social Network (Motion Picture) United States, Columbia pictures



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