Introduction to organisations. Throughout this report, corporate control

Introduction of the issue

Social
media is a phenomenon that has
transformed 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 creation
and exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The main uses of social
media 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 many
as having a positive impact on business due to being easily accessible
and 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 sure
that ideas are executed
relatively quickly (Vaast, 2010). This allows organisations to make themselves more
agile and are able to respond to
the 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 the
business (Gallaugher &
Ransbotham, 2010). It is for these reasons that it is imperative that businesses make
sure that the online presence is not negatively affected, however, resulting in
the loss of some of managements traditional control over what IT initiatives
and 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 what
organisational image employees project on social networking sites (Kane et al., 2009). Organisations, on their own accord,
may seek to encourage
certain uses of social media and
limit others, which justifies the need for governance. In this regard,
organisational policies constitute one of the main vehicles for social media governance
available to organisations. Throughout this report, corporate control
and the outlying reach of employers over employees’ social media presence will
be examined.

 

Theories from the literature

There are many different, sometimes contradictory theories
relating to the topic of social media governance by different corporations. The
first theory I will mention is a theory which is called the amplification
hypothesis, which states then when certainty is expressed, the attitude of the
person is fixed.

Another theory relating to corporate governance of employee
social media is conversion theory which means that the minority in a group can
have a disproportionately large impact upon influencing those in the majority
(). This is particularly important if businesses have a disgruntled employee
who vents their frustration on social media and this can then lead to other
employees shifting their viewpoints to matching those of the disgruntled
employee which can have a snowballing effect meaning that swathes of employees
can become demotivated relatively quickly.

A third theory relating to corporate governance of social
media is reciprocity norm which is defined by Ipfs as “the expectation that
people will respond favourably to each other by returning benefits for
benefits, and responding with either indifference or hostility to harms.” ().
This is particularly relevant to issue at hand as perceived organisational
support (POS) is one of two ways in which reciprocity norm is measured. POS is
the amount of which employees believe that the company that they work for
values the contributions that they themselves make towards the company and
cares about the employees’ general wellbeing.

Social influence is another theory which is incredibly
important to companies’ attitudes towards the governance of employees’ social
media. The theory of social influence states that we are strongly influenced by
external forces based upon the relationship of the person and the person/organisation
attempting to influence (). By an extension of logic this means that the employer
must have a close relationship with the employee as this means that the
employee will conform and comply to the culture of the organisation. This can
be used as a tool by the organisations which are able to influence the
attitudes of the employee, improving employee motivation ().

Another theory which is linked to the social media
governance in the workplace is called ultimate terms. The ultimate terms theory
means that certain words carry more persuasive power that other words. If used
correctly in a negative way it can mean a damage to the organisations
reputation and as such employers would want to take steps in order to prevent
the public perception of the company turning negative. A way that they can do
this is the limiting of certain posts by employees to social media. This theory
can also be employed by the organisation itself in an effort to convince people
of the quality of the company which strengthens the company’s reputation, this
is achieved through the use of “charismatic” terns ().

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid shows the scale of
needs required by individuals. The scale increases from basic needs on the
bottom, to psychological needs in the middle and self-fulfilment needs on the
top. The pyramid itself is not directly linked towards organisational control
of social media, however, employers can use it in order to tailor direct
messages towards their employees which, when used in tandem with the
reciprocity norm mentioned above can mean that employees believe that the
company that they work for values the contributions of the employee. This will
then mean that the employee is more motivated and a better worker.

Real
life examples

It is argued by SOMEONE that the link between organisations
and their participation and attitudes towards social media is incredibly
important as Ineffective social media policies can lead to negative publicity
and result in diminished company performance (). It can also lead to employees
having motivational issues. It is for these reasons that it is imperative that
organisations have effective social media policies. Organisational policies reveal and reflect the attitudes held by high
level decision makers of the companies (Bassellier, Reich, &
Benbazat, 2001;
Merand, 2006).

In the following section you will find a two
real world examples of social media policies to deepen the understanding we
have of the employers’ attitudes towards social media in the workplace
reflected in the policies that these organisations create and of organisational
governance associated with these policies.

Adidas

The first example of how companies respond to the
contemporary issue of the governance of social media in the workplace is
Adidas. Adidas is an incredibly large company with offices and employees
situated in many different locations and they manage their employees’ social
media ventures by taking an incredibly strict, yet transparent approach when it
comes 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 social
media in the workplace as it provides a clear outline or which behaviours are
expected and allowed (or not allowed) by the organisation and easily available
to each member of the company meaning if an employee is in violation of one of
the rules then it is not the company’s fault.

Organisational theory ties into Adidas’ response to
the management issue as employees’ will be affected by the reciprocity norm and
will influence the thinking of employees’ meaning that they will be both
encouraged and motivated, which will have a positive impact upon the organisation.

CNN

For the second example I will look at CNNs response to the
issue of the governance of social media in the workplace. In 2008, CNN fired a
man named Cesare Pazienza for maintaining a personal blog (). The termination
of Pazienzas’ employment led CNN to receive some negative media attention from
other outlets and in an attempt to clarify the company’s position on the
governing of social media, Barbara Levin, a spokeswoman for the news network
proclaimed that “CNN has a policy that says employees must first get permission
to write for a non-CNN outlet.” () CNN also sent an email to Pazienza outlining
the company’s policy on social media (). Some argued that the case highlighted
an as-yet unsolved challenge created by the mash-up of traditional media with
social media: how to maintain a corporate appearance of objectivity while
allowing individual corporate reporters unfettered expressions of subjectivity.

It can be perceived that the failure lies with the managers
within the organisation because they were not transparent with the publication
of company policy. This negative publicity is linked to conversion theory which
I mentioned before, as this negative publicity would then affect the publics
perception of what it is like to work inside the organisation and in turn, the organisation
itself.

The complete lack of any publication of what CNN does or
does not allow employees to write can also be linked back towards reciprocity
norm where people respond in a hostile manner towards harms which will mean
that other employees and even the consumer base would start to think negatively
about the company.

Contrasting
the two examples

By picking a positive and a negative application of social
media governance carried out by the two organisations it is possible to compare
the examples previously stated and to compare them against each other and
analyse the different ways the companies have failed or succeeded and if there
is any way that both of these companies behave with relation to social media
governance.

 

A notable trend between both Adidas and CNN had to do with both
of these organisations’ growing recognition of social media and professionalisation
of their response to them. For example, the policies enacted as mentioned earlier
often provided statements explicitly defining their scope and detailing the
activities and tools the policy covered, however in CNNs case it was detailed
far too late and only upon receiving negative publicity

 

Examples
of responses to the issue

Overall, Adidas’ response to the issue of social media
governance in the workplace is outstanding. On their specific website, they
show the policy in it’s entirety (), which leaves the employees in no doubt at
all how they should act. The policy is also entirely reasonable without being
too 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 at
all and only released them when prompted by an ex-employee whose employment was
terminated because of violations of a rule which he was not aware of. As a
result of poor management of this issue negative press was created by other
news networks, damaging the company’s reputation, which is critically important
for a news organisation, as they rely on members of the public trusting the
source of the organisation in question.

After analysing the two, it is evident that Adidas sets out
a fantastic example of how management should deal with corporate governance of
employees’ social media. Unfortunately, CNNs response to the same management
issue damaged the reputation through the leaked email they sent to the employee
after they had been fired and by not making the employees of the news network
aware of the standards and guidelines (). Upon reflection, the manager of CNN
should have reemployed the worker who was fired and made the standards and
guidelines for social media posts available to all employees through
publication of the rules onto the internet.

Reflection

For the personal reflective statement, I will be using
Gibbs’ model of reflection as the structural framework for the analysis of my
teamworking. 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 completing
the task and finally a statement if the situation were to arise again, what
would be done (Gibbs, 1988).

Task 1 during the managing people at work seminars included
a presentation which we had to deliver on a management issue relating to conflict
management/resolution on an organisation of our own choices. Our group chose to
perform the presentation upon strikes performed by McDonalds’ workers in two restaurants
caused by a pay dispute. The issue links back to various theories I have
outlined in this report, specifically Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as the employees’
bottom level of the pyramid (basic needs) was not satisfied. Then after
outlining the management issue, we then explained the issue, making sure to draw
upon relevant evidence and literature. We justified how it was a contemporary
management issue for both managers and organisations and how managers dealt
with the situation. During this task I felt that in the group, the members mostly
worked well together and the final presentation was coherent and informative. Whilst
in the process of researching social media governance in the workplace, I was
shocked to find out how some managers and corporate higher-ups of successful
companies, such as CNN have little to no transparency on the organisational
policies of social media governance within their company. I was also
disappointed to find out that many companies do not make their policies easily
accessible for lower-level employees to view. Before conducting my research, I
was expecting to find far more examples of companies being to draconian with
their attitudes towards social media posts, however during my research, I found
it to be to the contrary and that many companies are realising the importance
of online presence and as such in an effort to stimulate online discussion
about their organisations are loosening the amount of governance placed upon
the employees.

The second task during the managing people at work seminars
we were tasked with preparing and presenting our research into a manager’s
response to an issue, we picked Warren Buffets response to the issue of
Berkshire Hathaway being synonymous with himself and the difficulty of picking
a suitable candidate for his replacement. The purpose of this task was to build
upon the knowledge and experience gained from the first task. In this task, whilst
researching different aspects of Buffets’ responses to the issue two of the
group members’ research overlapped and this caused conflict to occur within the
group. If I were to repeat this same task I would make sure that each of the areas
of responsibility of the group members are clearly defined as a preventative
method against this type of conflict ensuing.

Overall, throughout the research and writing of this report
and conducting seminar tasks 1 and 2, I have found many approaches which has
greatly helped me as this now means that if I encounter any similar situations
as to the ones that I have researched I will able to solve the problems in a more
effective way. I have also analysed which way of dealing with the issue of
social media governance in the workplace is the more effective method.