What Is Going On With Elon Musk?

Elon Musk has to step down from being Tesla Inc. chairman and pay a $20 million penalty to settle fraud charges as reported by Bloomberg 30 Sept 2018. It seems that he is joining the other conglomerate multi-billionaires league who manipulate the system for financial gains. It might be a quick win for monetary benefits obtained from stock price fluctuation compared with $40 Million fine.

There is always a dilemma in business ethics with it comes to giant corporations. Let me mentioned few. Mark Zuckerberg was disciplined for hacking into the university server to upload users profile for his “Facebook.” I spent almost one year to develop a mobile social platform which won’t’ be accepted by investors unless 40 thousand users transactions.  Cambridge Analytica case added a concern about Facebook privacy act where users’ profile could change presidential election results. Steve Jobs did not tell his friend Steve Wozniak the truth about “breakthrout Atari Video Game” actual award amount of $5000 they got leaving Wozniak with $ 350. He thought that he got  50%. The sweatshops supplying Nike and Kathie Lee Gifford came to the world’s attention when the factory collapsed causing death to 700 workers because of poor suppliers working conditions. The dark side of chocolate when exploitation and slavetrading of African children to harvest chocolate is still happening. The Volkswagen emissions scandal. The Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff, the former NASDAQ Chairman and founder of the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Enron and Arther Anderson Auditors who cooked it up. Wallmart exploitation case of immigrates.  I can name many big names as I go.

Some might debate that these corporations bring development to economies and people. Engaging in mutually beneficial transactions is better than not transacting at all even if it results in slave trading, immoral working condition, fraud, and/or bribery. “The Exploitation Paradox” Explains how governments turn a blind eye, and people fight for it. Think about it. Which is better: to let a child works for long hours a day, or to starve the whole family?  My answer to that is: I am not quite sure that people need such a growth dipped in a dirty swamp by adopting the Machiavelli approach “ the End Justifies the Mean.”

I admire Elon Musk for many reasons. For articulating his interests in helping people, investing form his pocket in projects he believes in rather than taking debts, for not being interested in publishing patents, and for all the futuristic projects he is introducing. But now, after hearing the news, It is a shift in my logic, philosophy, and understanding of how ethical business should be. It is a total irony because I have secured a research grant to investigate his assumed unique leadership style.

To be objective, I must meet him to inquire about his motives or wait to hear from him addressing the public about it. I need to know the justification.  As a matter of fact, I do not have any option. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I might even go far to state that the conspiracy theory is behind what is going on. He might have touched on some industries which belong to the big people!. Otherwise, I will be no longer interested in pursuing my research since my faith in those public figures is declining. I hope he is not just another guy.



  1. Pranav_s


    It can be agreed to a certain extent that bigger firms and its leaders incorporate unethical methods to
    reach the desired market position they are looking for. However, over time legal authorities are able to analyze and identify these unethical speculations made by corporate leaders and bring forth polices restricting the same. Thus, in comparison to the past Elon Musk is pushing forth creative business ideas that are a game changer in the market. And the following seems to be attempts made to fuel the company’s success at the fastest way possible.

  2. Fatima Al-Hadhrami


    I believe that Elton Musk has a transformational leadership style. He has a clear vision and dedication that he passed down to his employees and made them share his belief of changing the future. Musk works in an innovative type of industry which requires having such mindset. The transformational leadership style of Musk has allowed him to have motivated and creative employees who are willing to spend hours trying and experimenting to achieve the end goal. He has the tolerance required to promote creativity which has created an environment where it is allowed to make mistakes.His strong belief in his own vision kept him going and made him refuse any obstacle that comes in his way, which in my opinion might be the reason behind any attempted fraud.

  3. Mohamad T.


    Well, I believe it is his persona that is benefiting him; since, his board members at Tesla are unwilling to let him go despite the inconvenience he has caused. He has such a strong influence on his team and people over the world that Tesla and Elon’s future is inevitably intertwined. That right there is some evidence of his powerful leadership skills although being Machiavelli or narcissistic.

  4. Obaid Khalifa


    In my opinion, Elon musk has a transformational leadership style. He has defined goals for his institution and defined ways to achieve it. His style is effective since he was able to maintain a sustainable growth for the company. Tranformational leadership style has lead to success in this advanced-tech industry.

  5. Amira Bawuro


    I belief that Elon Musk have a well defined features of a transformational leadership, this is simply because he has an inspiring shared vision and belief of changing the world, thats transforming it.Also, a good leader should have the word of motivation and encouragement in terms of working really hard in other to achieve your goal and take lessons about challenges of life.

  6. at

    I do believe that this article has been written with a lot of subjectivity. There has been many speculations in regards to Elon Musk. But the final say from him has not yet been released. Regardless, when it comes to unethical practices by any of the so called “leaders”, people should not be very subjective. My personal opinion that most of the big names mentioned in the article although they have committed hideous and unethical practices. I do have to say that in one way or another they have taught me a lot through my journey. From leadership styles to thinking big. For whatever wrongs done by them a law system is in place and justice will take it course. But to me judging them for fraud, bribery or manipulation is something I leave to the courts. From their mistakes we learn, we aspire to be better and we change our paradigm.

  7. Tahani Muhsin


    Although Elon Musk was following the transformational leadership theory. He had a vision which he focused on and manipulated his employees to believe in it, execute and achieve the goal. Thus, this might have led him to this situation. As mentioned in the article, we do have a good number of great leaders who are unethical, but at the end of the day they do carry good leadership skills which motivate you, encourage you and help you grow in your career. We as the followers just need to know which traits to follow and learn and which not to.

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