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Elon Musk: An Ethical Leader

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Greg Issak

on 14 October 2015

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Transcript of Elon Musk: An Ethical Leader

Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. He was designing software programs by age 12.
DISC Style
Musk's style falls mostly in the Dominant style category:
Ethical Leadership
Moral development is split into three levels:
Principles of Ethical Leadership
Elon Musk: An Ethical Leader
Founded PayPal in 1999, before selling it in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
Founded SpaceX in 2002, and currently serves as chief executive officer and chief technology officer.
Founded Tesla Motors in 2003, and currently serves as chief executive officer and product architect.
Founded SolarCity in 2006, and currently serves as chairman (www.globalethix.com).
Has won many awards by magazines and organizations, including the 2014 Edison Award (www.edisonaward.com).
Received two Bachelor of Science degrees from Penn State: one in Physics and the other in Economics.
Acclaimed entrepreneur and engineer.
Considered to be a leader in Ethical Leadership because of his down-to-Earth lifestyle and his drive to benefit humanity.
Elon Musk demonstrating Tesla charging station
Leadership Style
Also exhibits some traits of the Influence and Compliance styles:
Elon Musk: The Mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity...
Characteristics: competitive, direct, innovative, result-oriented, self-starter, forward looking, etc.
Characteristics: convincing, inspiring, popular, creative problem solver, motivates others towards goals, analytical, maintains high standards, etc.
Authoritarian leadership, asserts control but also performs some himself and delegates others.
Clearly defines his expectations of others.
Confident and comfortable in his leadership position.
A motivational manager that maintains an optimistic atmosphere and provides contructive feedback.
Musk picks challenging projects and sets high, but realistic goals.
Musk is an innovative leader, expresses his new ideas and is considered a creative visionary.
Ethical leadership describes a system of rules/principles that guide leaders to make decisions that are about what is right or wrong in a situation (Northouse pg. 320).
A leader's choices are influenced by their ethics and their morality. Ethics is the leader's character; the values they hold based on society's desires. Morality is the leader's reasoning and intentions.
Theory in Action
I always wanted to be involved with something that could have a significant positive effect on the future of humanity (Musk 2010).
Elon Musk on launching Tesla Motors and SpaceX
Level 1:
Preconventional Morality
Level 2:
Conventional Morality
Level 3:
Postconventional Morality
Reasoning based on self-interest, avoiding punishment, and rewards.
Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment:
Following the rules to avoid harm.
Stage 2: Individualism and Exchange:
Doing a favor for one in return.
Reasoning based on society's views and expectations.
Stage 3: Interpersonal Accord and Conformity:
Being a good person because of expectations.
Stage 4: Maintaining the Social Order:
Following rules and supporting society's order.
Reasoning based on conscience and creating a just society.
Stage 5: Social Contract and Individual Rights:
Working with others for benefit of everyone.
Stage 6: Universal Principles:
Acting out of internalized principles of justice.
Respecting Others
Serving Others
Showing Justice
Manifesting Honesty
Building Community
(Northouse pg. 331-332)
(Northouse pg. 331-332)
(Northouse pg. 331-333)
Works Cited:
"Edison Achievement Award - Elon Musk." Www.edisonawards.com. Edison Awards, 2014. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.edisonawards.com/achievementawardwinners-em.php>.
Elon Musk on launching Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Digital image. Www.stanfordbusiness.tumblr.com. Stanford Business, 2013. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <https://i1.wp.com/41.media.tumblr.com/71d95ce2ec85b5d6aa5cda20068d8dde/tumblr_mu3wtmRc8V1rycv7eo1_1280.jpg>.
Knight, Shawn. Elon Musk demonstrating Tesla charging station. Digital image. Www.techspot.com. TechSpot, 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <http://www.techspot.com/images2/news/bigimage/2015/04/2015-04-20-image-2.jpg>.
Musk, Elon. "Elon Musk: CEO of SpaceX; CEO of Tesla Motors; Chairman of SolarCity." Interview by James Fallows. Www.theatlantic.com. The Atlantic, Nov. 2010. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/elon-musk/308270/>.
"21st Century Renaissance Man: Elon Musk." Www.globalethix.com. GlobalEthix Science & Technology, 4 July 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.globalethix.com/SciTech.html>.
Musk, Elon. "Elon Musk: The Mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity..." Interview by Chris Anderson. Www.ted.com. TED2013, Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2015. <https://www.ted.com/talks/elon_musk_the_mind_behind_tesla_spacex_solarcity#t-490643>.
Northouse, Peter G. "Chapter 13: Leadership Ethics." Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th ed. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2015. 329-62. Print.
People are not means to ends, they are ends in themselves (Northouse pg. 341-342).
The welfare of others is the highest priority (Northouse pg. 342).
Treat everyone equally, but distribute justice on an individual and personalized basis (Northouse pg. 344-345).
Honesty builds trust and forms a strong relationship between leaders and followers (Northouse pg. 346).
Take actions after careful consideration of the common good of the community (Northouse pg. 347).
"It can be said that the core concepts of Elon Musk’s innovations are convenience, efficiency and corporate social responsibility all of which benefit people, society, business, politics, and ultimately planet" (www.globalethix.com).
"...employees generally all speak about their time working under Musk as being incredibly hard work–so, in that way, it might be easy to say that Musk treats his followers equally. He sets the bar high, and he sets it high for
..." (Follow Up, 2015).
On the whole, Musk and his vision are more concerned with the greater good than individual gain.
He is a hard worker, and expects the same of his followers, but is not harsh and treats everyone equally.
"Follow Up: Elon Mosk & Ethical Leadership." Sites.psu.edu. Penn State, 29 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Oct. 2015. <http://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2015/04/29/follow-up-elon-mosk-analysis-part-2/>.
Works hard and expects his employees to do the same.
Exhibits traits of Postconventional Morality, and works with others for the benefit of everyone.
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