Values, Attitudes, and
Diversity at Facebook
Apply the knowledge of management presented in this chapter to the following
case. The goal of this case analysis is to enable you to understand what
happened at Facebook by applying theory.
Read the case below and answer the questions that follow.
Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and creator of Facebook, is now its CEO. He
was born in 1984 to well-educated parents: His mom was a psychiatrist and
dad a dentist. He went to an exclusive preparatory school and was captain of
the fencing team. He liked the classics and writing. He also had passion and
skill for working with computers at a very young age.
Zuckerberg created his first messaging program using Atari BASIC around
age 12. His family used it to communicate, and his dad used it in his dental
office. He entered Harvard in 2002 and quickly became known as a skilled
software developer. Zuckerberg developed computer skills at Harvard working
on projects like CourseMatch, Facemash, and Harvard Connection. The
Harvard Connection experience resulted in the famous lawsuit between the
founders of Harvard Connection and Zuckerberg: Zuckerberg settled for
around $65 million. He started the core of Facebook from his dorm room and
left Harvard in 2004 to work full-time on Facebook.233
In 2018, there were more than 2.2 billion active Facebook users.234 The most
common demographic of users is age 25–34 (29.7%). The company’s
revenue grew from $7.8 billion in 2013 to over $40 billion in 2018. Facebook is
clearly the largest, and potentially most influential, social media site on the
Zuckerberg’s Personal Characteristics
Zuckerberg, or Zuck, as known to most of his acquaintances, is pale, medium
build, and about five feet eight. He stands erect and generally dresses in T-
shirts, jeans, and sneakers. “His affect can be distant and disorienting, a
strange mixture of shy and cocky,” according to a New Yorker writer. “When
he’s not interested in what someone is talking about, he’ll just look away and
say, ‘Yeah, yeah.’” He’s known to come across as flip and condescending, but
“face to face he is often charming,” says the writer.236
Zuckerberg does not prefer speaking to the press or participating in public
appearances. He is highly motivated and turned down offers to sell Facebook
for billions in the early 2000s because he wanted to keep running and growing
the company. Founding and growing the company demonstrates intelligence
and risk taking. It certainly took courage to drop out of Harvard to pursue a
He’s generous and believes in equality, world peace, and happiness. In 2013,
“he donated $100 million to the failing Newark Public School system in New
Jersey” and “signed the ‘Giving Pledge,’ promising to donate at least 50
percent of his wealth to charity over the course of his lifetime.”238
Zuckerberg is driven to achieve and has high expectations of others. He
stated, “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are
not moving fast enough.” He also cares about building something that
improves the lives of others. “And if you can make something that makes
people’s life better, then that’s something that’s really good,” he said.239
Facebook’s Mission, Values, and Culture
Zuckerberg did not start Facebook to make money. Rather, he was pursuing a
social mission “to make the world more open and connected.” In Facebook’s
IPO letter, Zuckerberg wrote, “Facebook aspires to build the services that give
people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our
core institutions and industries. . . . We don’t build services to make money;
we make money to build better services.”240
Facebook’s five core values include the following: focus on impact, move fast,
be bold, be open, and build social value.241 These values compose the core of
Facebook’s culture, which Zuckerberg refers to as the “Hacker Way.”
Zuckerberg described the hacker way as “an approach to building that
involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that
something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete... Hacker
culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best
idea and implementation should always win—not the person who is lobbying
for an idea or the person who manages the most people.”242
The company encourages this culture by conducting hackathons every few
months. People build and share prototypes at these sessions. At the end, the
best ideas are selected for further development.
Employees are happy with Facebook’s culture and work environment,
according to a survey conducted by jobs site Payscale. Ninety-six percent of
employees reported high satisfaction, and 44 percent had high stress. These
results are better than those from peer companies like Google, Apple,
Amazon, and Tesla.243
Facebook Lacks Diversity
Managing diversity is a hot topic among technology companies. This is an
outgrowth of the demographic composition of people working in this industry.
Rather than hide from this profile, companies have started to display
transparency by publishing their diversity profiles.
Facebook’s diversity report showed 68 percent male and 32 percent female.
Ethnicity data for its U.S. workforce revealed 55 percent white, 36 percent
Asian, 4 percent Hispanic, 3 percent two or more races, and 2 percent black.
This pattern is similar to those of Google and Apple. Google’s diversity report
showed 70 percent male and U.S. workforce diversity of 61 percent white, 30
percent Asian, 4 percent two or more races, 3 percent Hispanic, and 2 percent
black. Apple’s U.S. demographics found 30 percent female and 55 percent
white, 15 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic, 7 percent black, 2 percent two
or more races, 1 percent other, and 9 percent undeclared.244
Facebook executives acknowledge that the workforce is not overly diverse
and committed to improving its demographic profile. Maxine Williams, global
director of diversity, commented that “diversity is central to Facebook’s
mission of creating a more open and connected world: it’s good for our
products and for our business. Cognitive diversity, or diversity of thought,
matters because we are building a platform that currently serves 1.4 billion
people around the world. It’s vital for us to have a broad range of
perspectives, including people of different genders, races, ages, sexual
orientations, characteristics and points of view.”245
Facebook has initiated a number of programs aimed at improving its
demographic profile. They include the following:
1. Diverse slate approach. This pilot program ensures that every job opening
considers at least one candidate from an underrepresented group.
2. Facebook University. This program invites college freshmen with
exceptional talent from underrepresented groups to work on summer projects
with Facebook mentors.
3. Managing Bias training course. This course educates employees about
stereotypes and implicit biases.
4. Computer Science and Engineering Lean In Circles. This program partners
with LeanIn.org, LinkedIn, and The Anita Borg Institute to create a community
of support for women and some men as they pursue technology and
• How do hackathons promote more employee commitment to Facebook?
The article says that 96% of Facebook employees feel highly satisfied with Facebooks company culture and
work environment. I think by conducting the hackathons, Facebook is allowing employee's ideas be heard
which ultimately keeps their employees committed with Facebook. It is understandable, by having your voice
heard you will feel more satisified with your role at your job. Other than an employees ability to have their
idea presented and potentially selected for further development I see no further reasoning behind
hackathons promoting employee commitment.
• What other ways can individual differences, values, attitudes and diversity be leveraged at Facebook?
Beyond the four programs Facebook has initiated I believe that there are many courses of action that
Facebook can take to improve individual differences, values, attitudes, and diversity. I believee that Facebook
should look into paying attention to organizational culture, considering providing a diversity training
program, promote a diverse way of thinking, and maybe bring in a multilingual workforce. There are many
proven facets that companies have taken to promote these four attributes Facebook are looking at. The ones I
listed are just a few of many that can be quite easily implemented to improve in said four areas.
The hackathons that Facebook conducts promote their meritocracy culture, which according to the
justice theory, leads to increased employee satisfaction and commitment. They also use this to
empower employees to come up with their own ideas and innovations. Using the hackathon, Facebook
gives their employees the opportunity to use these ideas they have come up with to make a difference
in the company by demonstrating it during the competition.
Facebook could be using the different values, beliefs, and the diversity of their employees in a
way similar to the hackathon that may be able to decrease the high stress of employees. Using the
meritocracy of their ‘Hacker way’, they could go to employees directly to determine their specific needs
and what they think would be the best way to tackle problems. The problems that employees could
weigh in on could be about ways to decrease employee stress or how to increase employee diversity.
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