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Background of Star Trek: The Science Fiction Television Series

Question:

Discuss about th Leadership in Star Trek for Vulcan Leader.

Leadership may be defined as the ability to guide an organization or a group of people. This may be considered a research area as well as a hands-on skill. There exist various viewpoints on the approaches taken to leadership. According to the environment of the academics in US, leadership maybe defined as the social influence process whereby the concerned person may support and help his fellow workers to accomplish a common job. These definitions change with the change in the approach towards the definition of the project.

The following report discusses the leadership style of Captain Spock, a character from the television series based on science fiction. The report focusses on the leadership style of the Vulcan leader, Spock as depicted in the sixteenth episode of the first season of the series titled “The Galileo Seven”. The report attempts an analysis of the effectiveness of the leadership style and behavior of Captain Spock as depicted in the given episode.

A media franchise of America brought into existence by Gene Roddenbury, Star Trek is based on science fiction (Gregory 2016; Greenberger, 2012). The story of the series narrates the adventures of the captain and crew of the fictional aircraft, USS Enterprise (NCC - 1701). The show is set in the twenty-third century in the 2260s in the Milky Way galaxy. The onboard crew of the spaceship include the captain of the ship, Captain James T. Kirk, the first officer Spock, who is also the science officer and the chief medical officer of the team, Leonard McCoy along with the other crew members. The spacecraft that has been in use in the television series is mentioned to be made by the interstellar Federal republic called United Federation of Planets. According to the storyline, the crew is entrusted with the duty of finding planets that may sustain lifeforms. The expedition is conducted in a relatively small part of the galaxy. The television series was first broadcasted on the 8th of September, 1966 on NBC in the United States.

The episode in discussion, “The Galileo Seven” is the sixteenth episode of the first season of the series. The episode was first aired in on the 5th of January in the year 1967 in the United States (StarTrek.com 2017; Rehak 2016). In this episode, the U.S.S. Enterprise passes by the Murasaki 312, enroute to Makus III. the Makus III is ridden by plague and needs medical supplies which are to be delivered by the starship. The crew of the starship are under the orders from the Starfleet to inquire upon galactic phenomena similar to the exhibited by the beehive-like group of stars. Thus, seven members of the crew and the first officer, Spock embark on a journey to take a closer look of the star-group.

Synopsis of the Episode – The Galileo Seven

The shuttle spacecraft is pulled out of their track and out of the range of sensors of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise. The crew manages a crash landing on a rocky area covered with fog on the Taurus II. The Taurus II is inhabited by huge, combative manlike creatures. The crew of the shuttlecraft along with the first officer had to face and defend themselves against the attacks of the humanoids while trying to mend the space shuttle and leave the hostile planet as soon as possible. Due to an ionization effect on the instruments of the space shuttle, the U.S.S. Enterprise fails in its attempts to find the Galileo.

Commissioner Ferris, the federation official who was in charge of the mission to supply emergency medical supplements to the planet Makus III, had objected to undertaking of the exploration mission to explore the galactic phenomena at the quasar like formation of stars under the leadership of Spock, the science officer of the spacecraft (Startrek.com 2017). The Galactic High Commissioner demands that the captain of the spaceship, Captain Kirk call off the search for the lost shuttlecraft and proceed on their journey towards the plague-ridden planet of Makus III. In the meantime, on the Taurus II, two of the crew are murdered by the humanoids who reside on the planet. A crew member places an irrational demand for Spock. Spock was demanded to halt the repairmen of the space shuttle and participate in the burial of the dead crew. The logical insight of Spock bars him from complying to the wishes of the lieutenant in the situation that they were facing at the current moment. The Galileo manages to orbit around the planet in an unsteady manner while the starship crew gets busy in preparing for the flight to the planet Makus III. Spock realizes that the shuttle would not be making it out of the gravitational range of the planet and thus in an attempt to escape the planet, the science officer ignites the fuel that was left in the shuttle. The crew of the space shuttle get teleported to the space ship after the crew onboard the U.S.S. Enterprise detect a flare like that of a meteor as the space shuttle gets destroyed in the atmosphere of the Taurus II. Spock sticks to the point that the decision that he took to attempt a try at saving themselves was a logical Vulcan approach to the problem.

Analysis of Spock's Leadership Style and Behavior

Officer Spock, is an extremely logic-oriented person. Throughout the entire series, in every random situation the personality of this person which is revealed shows appropriate application of logic and reasoning devoid of emotional attachments. Captain Kirk acknowledges the same fact when he says that he has known Spock to have judged every situation based on logic and logic alone (Hermalin 2014; Hurwitz and Hurwitz 2015). A true leader must not let the air of pride cloud into his head. Spock displayed this trait in the earlier part of the episode, where he mentions that he is a very logical person and neither does he enjoy the idea of commanding nor is he frightened by it. True to his character, in this situation as well, Spock demonstrated his sense of proper reasoning when he spoke of the details of the weapon used to kill Latimer instead of emotionally speaking about the death of his comrade (Nichols 2017; Zehetner and Steinkellner 2014). This was not very readily accepted by two of the other crew members present there and they criticized him for his heartless behavior. On the subject of heading back to the starship it was observed that 150 pounds of weight needed to be dismounted to achieve escape velocity. This needed the crucial decision of sacrificing the life of one crew member back on planet Taurus-II or leaving none behind but jeopardizing the success rate of their survival. At times a leader is forced to take strong decisions, no matter how cruel it may seem, for the benefit of the entire team (Hicks 2017). Officer Spock exhibited such nervous strength under the umbrella of logical indifference and rationally, when he casually decided that it is the most logical solution to ensure the safety of the entire crew. This shows that though Officer Spock is emotionally ignorant, he is a responsible leader (Reynolds 2015; Balzac 2014).

A leader must always keep faith in his abilities. He must keep his cool and calm even when the situation around him intensifies or his team members start doubting him (Hermalin 2014). Officer Spock exhibits such dedication and calmness when he sees that the fuel tank of his ship had been depleted. In all the adversities, he never lost his composure and had hope as well as his calm rational mind at work to calculate a way out of the difficult situation his team was in. This shows the composure of Spock as a leader.

Traits of Spock as a Leader

Although it might seem difficult, sometimes following through the seemingly irrational decision of the team mates is also a duty of the leader to keep their trust in themselves unaltered. As is seen in the case of Gaetano’s death, although a proper burial was unnecessary and risky for the crew, but upon being insisted forcefully by his team, Spock decided in favor of the burial. This shows Spock knows when to let go of his personal decisions as a team leader and allow the wishes of his teammates as well.

On rare occasions the most crucial decision a leader might have to take is to sacrifice his/her own self for the benefit or rather survival of his team. This requires an immense sense of dedication and responsibility to the team to put their survival even before one’s own life, and Spock exhibited such dedication, when he was injured by one of the locals of planet Taurus-II, and ordered his team to leave him behind so that they may survive.

His radical act of suddenly engaging the jet thrusters in hope of sending a distress signal, can also be judged as an act of heroism on part of the leader, when he successfully safe-zoned his team out of danger (Franco 2016). An overall judgement of the character of Spock reveals that leaders like him may not be too friendly to work with, but are uncompromising on the efficiency-front. They are dedicated, work-oriented, self-less and responsible leaders, valued and respected by the entire team (Halmburger, Baumert and Schmitt 2016; Duncan 2013). This is proven by the fact that the team members chose to rescue Spock and not leave him alone in-spite of his discreet orders to do so when he was injured.

Conclusion

In lieu of the above discussion, it may be said that Spock is a very rational and logical person. He tries to work based on only logic which his team members may find heart less at times Spock steps up boldly into every situation and helps his team reach new places and achieve what they had thought of accomplishing. Thus considering all aspects of the character, it may be said that Spock is a leader capable of guiding his team in the best possible manner.

References

Balzac, S.R., 2014. Leadership, Power, and Emotional Intelligence. In Organizational Psychology for Managers (pp. 63-82). Springer New York.

Duncan, C., 2013. Unite the Tribes: Leadership Skills for Technology Managers. Apress.

Franco, Z.E., 2016. Heroism in Times of Crisis. Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership, p.185.

Greenberger, R., 2012. Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History. Voyageur Press (MN).

Gregory, C., 2016. Star Trek: Parallel Narratives. Springer.

Halmburger, A., Baumert, A. and Schmitt, M., 2016. Determinants of Moral Courage. Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership.

Hermalin, B.E., 2014. At the helm, Kirk or Spock? The pros and cons of charismatic leadership. Browser Download This Paper.

Hermalin, B.E., 2014. At the Helm, Kirk or Spock? Why Even Wholly Rational Actors May Favor and Respond to Charismatic Leaders. Working paper, UC Berkeley.

Hicks, E.A., 2017. Designing Effective Teams for Technical Services: The Role of Leadership, Followership, and Group Emotional Intelligence.

Houllou, J.R.Z., 2016. A multidão nos seriados Star Trek e Heroes: dissensos do imperialismo ao império. Doutorado Ciência da Linguagem Florianópolis-Tubarão.

Hurwitz, M. and Hurwitz, S., 2015. Leadership is half the story: A fresh look at followership, leadership, and collaboration. University of Toronto Press.

Nichols, K., 2017. Case Study# 4: Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry. Public Voices, 13(2), pp.143-161.

Rehak, B., 2016. Transmedia space battles: reference materials and miniatures wargames in 1970s Star Trek fandom. Science Fiction Film & Television, 9(3), pp.325-345.

Reynolds, S., 2015. Leadership 101. Defense Acquisition University Fort Belvoir United States.

Startrek.com (2017). Ferris, Galactic High Commissioner. [online] StarTrek.com. Available at: https://www.startrek.com/database_article/ferris [Accessed 15 Oct. 2017].

StarTrek.com (2017). Galileo Seven, The. [online] StarTrek.com. Available at: https://www.startrek.com/database_article/galileo-seven-the [Accessed 15 Oct. 2017].

Zehetner, K. and Steinkellner, P., 2014. Servant Leadership in Finance-Contradiction or Symbiosis?. International Journal of Arts & Sciences, 7(2), p.361.

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