Introduction of the issueSocialmedia is a phenomenon that hastransformed the interaction and communication of individuals throughout the world (Edomswan et al.
, 2011). Social media websites are forms of electronic communication “that build upon … the technological foundations of the internet and allow the creationand exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The main uses of socialmedia by employees are: blogs,social networking sites, wikis and video-or content sharing sites. (Piskorki & McCall, 2010; Vaast, Davidson, & Mattson,forth coming).It is seen by manyas having a positive impact on business due to being easily accessibleand providing new ways of connecting with customers (Cisco, 2010; Dunn, 2010; Wilson, Guinan, Parise,& Weinberg, 2011). However, social media presents both challenges as well as opportunities for organisations. Employees are able to attempt new ideas and are able to make surethat ideas are executedrelatively quickly (Vaast, 2010).
This allows organisations to make themselves moreagile and are able to respond tothe demands of customers, who are also equipped with large platforms on social media and who’s opinion can gravitate large numbers of new customers towards thebusiness (Gallaugher , 2010). It is for these reasons that it is imperative that businesses makesure that the online presence is not negatively affected, however, resulting inthe loss of some of managements traditional control over what IT initiativesand applications are being implemented and used within the organisation itself(Kane, Fichman, Gallaugher,& Glaser, 2009; Safko & Brake, 2009; Stolley, 2009). Employee use of social media may have diverse impacts upon organisations,particularly relating to culture,innovation processes (McAfee,2006) as well as whatorganisational image employees project on social networking sites (Kane et al., 2009). Organisations, on their own accord,may seek to encouragecertain uses of social media andlimit others, which justifies the need for governance. In this regard,organisational policies constitute one of the main vehicles for social media governanceavailable to organisations. Throughout this report, corporate controland the outlying reach of employers over employees’ social media presence willbe examined. Theories from the literatureThere are many different, sometimes contradictory theoriesrelating to the topic of social media governance by different corporations.
Thefirst theory I will mention is a theory which is called the amplificationhypothesis, which states then when certainty is expressed, the attitude of theperson is fixed. Another theory relating to corporate governance of employeesocial media is conversion theory which means that the minority in a group canhave a disproportionately large impact upon influencing those in the majority(). This is particularly important if businesses have a disgruntled employeewho vents their frustration on social media and this can then lead to otheremployees shifting their viewpoints to matching those of the disgruntledemployee which can have a snowballing effect meaning that swathes of employeescan become demotivated relatively quickly.A third theory relating to corporate governance of socialmedia is reciprocity norm which is defined by Ipfs as “the expectation thatpeople will respond favourably to each other by returning benefits forbenefits, and responding with either indifference or hostility to harms.” ().This is particularly relevant to issue at hand as perceived organisationalsupport (POS) is one of two ways in which reciprocity norm is measured. POS isthe amount of which employees believe that the company that they work forvalues the contributions that they themselves make towards the company andcares about the employees’ general wellbeing.Social influence is another theory which is incrediblyimportant to companies’ attitudes towards the governance of employees’ socialmedia.
The theory of social influence states that we are strongly influenced byexternal forces based upon the relationship of the person and the person/organisationattempting to influence (). By an extension of logic this means that the employermust have a close relationship with the employee as this means that theemployee will conform and comply to the culture of the organisation. This canbe used as a tool by the organisations which are able to influence theattitudes of the employee, improving employee motivation ().
Another theory which is linked to the social mediagovernance in the workplace is called ultimate terms. The ultimate terms theorymeans that certain words carry more persuasive power that other words. If usedcorrectly in a negative way it can mean a damage to the organisationsreputation and as such employers would want to take steps in order to preventthe public perception of the company turning negative.
A way that they can dothis is the limiting of certain posts by employees to social media. This theorycan also be employed by the organisation itself in an effort to convince peopleof the quality of the company which strengthens the company’s reputation, thisis achieved through the use of “charismatic” terns ().Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid shows the scale ofneeds required by individuals. The scale increases from basic needs on thebottom, to psychological needs in the middle and self-fulfilment needs on thetop. The pyramid itself is not directly linked towards organisational controlof social media, however, employers can use it in order to tailor directmessages towards their employees which, when used in tandem with thereciprocity norm mentioned above can mean that employees believe that thecompany that they work for values the contributions of the employee. This willthen mean that the employee is more motivated and a better worker.
Reallife examplesIt is argued by SOMEONE that the link between organisationsand their participation and attitudes towards social media is incrediblyimportant as Ineffective social media policies can lead to negative publicityand result in diminished company performance (). It can also lead to employeeshaving motivational issues. It is for these reasons that it is imperative thatorganisations have effective social media policies.
Organisational policies reveal and reflect the attitudes held by highlevel decision makers of the companies (Bassellier, Reich, , 2001;Merand, 2006).In the following section you will find a tworeal world examples of social media policies to deepen the understanding wehave of the employers’ attitudes towards social media in the workplacereflected in the policies that these organisations create and of organisationalgovernance associated with these policies. AdidasThe first example of how companies respond to thecontemporary issue of the governance of social media in the workplace isAdidas. Adidas is an incredibly large company with offices and employeessituated in many different locations and they manage their employees’ socialmedia ventures by taking an incredibly strict, yet transparent approach when itcomes to the company’s’ Social Media Guidelines. Below is an excerpt of Adidas’policy towards social media (): Employees are allowed to associate themselves with the company when posting but they must clearly brand their online posts as personal and purely their own. The company should not be held liable for any repercussions the employees’ content may generate. Content pertaining to sensitive company information (particularly those found within Adidas internal networks) should not be shared to the outside online community. Divulging information like the company’s design plans, internal operations and legal matters are prohibited.
Proper copyright and reference laws should be observed by employees when posting online.This is a very good way to respond to govern socialmedia in the workplace as it provides a clear outline or which behaviours areexpected and allowed (or not allowed) by the organisation and easily availableto each member of the company meaning if an employee is in violation of one ofthe rules then it is not the company’s fault.Organisational theory ties into Adidas’ response tothe management issue as employees’ will be affected by the reciprocity norm andwill influence the thinking of employees’ meaning that they will be bothencouraged and motivated, which will have a positive impact upon the organisation.CNNFor the second example I will look at CNNs response to theissue of the governance of social media in the workplace. In 2008, CNN fired aman named Cesare Pazienza for maintaining a personal blog (). The terminationof Pazienzas’ employment led CNN to receive some negative media attention fromother outlets and in an attempt to clarify the company’s position on thegoverning of social media, Barbara Levin, a spokeswoman for the news networkproclaimed that “CNN has a policy that says employees must first get permissionto write for a non-CNN outlet.” () CNN also sent an email to Pazienza outliningthe company’s policy on social media (). Some argued that the case highlightedan as-yet unsolved challenge created by the mash-up of traditional media withsocial media: how to maintain a corporate appearance of objectivity whileallowing individual corporate reporters unfettered expressions of subjectivity.
It can be perceived that the failure lies with the managerswithin the organisation because they were not transparent with the publicationof company policy. This negative publicity is linked to conversion theory whichI mentioned before, as this negative publicity would then affect the publicsperception of what it is like to work inside the organisation and in turn, the organisationitself.The complete lack of any publication of what CNN does ordoes not allow employees to write can also be linked back towards reciprocitynorm where people respond in a hostile manner towards harms which will meanthat other employees and even the consumer base would start to think negativelyabout the company.
Contrastingthe two examplesBy picking a positive and a negative application of socialmedia governance carried out by the two organisations it is possible to comparethe examples previously stated and to compare them against each other andanalyse the different ways the companies have failed or succeeded and if thereis any way that both of these companies behave with relation to social mediagovernance. A notable trend between both Adidas and CNN had to do with bothof these organisations’ growing recognition of social media and professionalisationof their response to them. For example, the policies enacted as mentioned earlieroften provided statements explicitly defining their scope and detailing theactivities and tools the policy covered, however in CNNs case it was detailedfar too late and only upon receiving negative publicity Examplesof responses to the issueOverall, Adidas’ response to the issue of social mediagovernance in the workplace is outstanding. On their specific website, theyshow the policy in it’s entirety (), which leaves the employees in no doubt atall how they should act. The policy is also entirely reasonable without beingtoo restrictive upon the employees’ speech.By contrast, CNN handled this contemporary issue poorly.The managers of the company had not made the rules of the company well known atall and only released them when prompted by an ex-employee whose employment wasterminated because of violations of a rule which he was not aware of. As aresult of poor management of this issue negative press was created by othernews networks, damaging the company’s reputation, which is critically importantfor a news organisation, as they rely on members of the public trusting thesource of the organisation in question.
After analysing the two, it is evident that Adidas sets outa fantastic example of how management should deal with corporate governance ofemployees’ social media. Unfortunately, CNNs response to the same managementissue damaged the reputation through the leaked email they sent to the employeeafter they had been fired and by not making the employees of the news networkaware of the standards and guidelines (). Upon reflection, the manager of CNNshould have reemployed the worker who was fired and made the standards andguidelines for social media posts available to all employees throughpublication of the rules onto the internet.ReflectionFor the personal reflective statement, I will be usingGibbs’ model of reflection as the structural framework for the analysis of myteamworking. Gibbs’ reflective model constitutes first outlining a description,then stating and discussing our own personal feelings, an evaluation of the experience,an analysis of the situation, a conclusion of alternative methods of completingthe task and finally a statement if the situation were to arise again, whatwould be done (Gibbs, 1988). Task 1 during the managing people at work seminars includeda presentation which we had to deliver on a management issue relating to conflictmanagement/resolution on an organisation of our own choices.
Our group chose toperform the presentation upon strikes performed by McDonalds’ workers in two restaurantscaused by a pay dispute. The issue links back to various theories I haveoutlined in this report, specifically Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as the employees’bottom level of the pyramid (basic needs) was not satisfied. Then afteroutlining the management issue, we then explained the issue, making sure to drawupon relevant evidence and literature.
We justified how it was a contemporarymanagement issue for both managers and organisations and how managers dealtwith the situation. During this task I felt that in the group, the members mostlyworked well together and the final presentation was coherent and informative. Whilstin the process of researching social media governance in the workplace, I wasshocked to find out how some managers and corporate higher-ups of successfulcompanies, such as CNN have little to no transparency on the organisationalpolicies of social media governance within their company. I was alsodisappointed to find out that many companies do not make their policies easilyaccessible for lower-level employees to view. Before conducting my research, Iwas expecting to find far more examples of companies being to draconian withtheir attitudes towards social media posts, however during my research, I foundit to be to the contrary and that many companies are realising the importanceof online presence and as such in an effort to stimulate online discussionabout their organisations are loosening the amount of governance placed uponthe employees.The second task during the managing people at work seminarswe were tasked with preparing and presenting our research into a manager’sresponse to an issue, we picked Warren Buffets response to the issue ofBerkshire Hathaway being synonymous with himself and the difficulty of pickinga suitable candidate for his replacement. The purpose of this task was to buildupon the knowledge and experience gained from the first task. In this task, whilstresearching different aspects of Buffets’ responses to the issue two of thegroup members’ research overlapped and this caused conflict to occur within thegroup.
If I were to repeat this same task I would make sure that each of the areasof responsibility of the group members are clearly defined as a preventativemethod against this type of conflict ensuing.Overall, throughout the research and writing of this reportand conducting seminar tasks 1 and 2, I have found many approaches which hasgreatly helped me as this now means that if I encounter any similar situationsas to the ones that I have researched I will able to solve the problems in a moreeffective way. I have also analysed which way of dealing with the issue ofsocial media governance in the workplace is the more effective method.