Introduction uses of social media and limit others,

Introduction of the issue

Social media is defined as “the collective
of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input,
interaction, content-sharing and collaboration” (Oxford dictionaries, 2018). It is seen by many as having a positive impact on business due to
being easily accessible and providing new ways of connecting businesses with customers
(Cisco et al, 2011). However, social media presents business with both challenges
and opportunities. An opportunity is that 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 platforms on
social media and who’s opinion can gravitate large numbers of new customers
towards, or away from, the business (Gallaugher & Ransbotham, 2010). It is
for these reasons that it is highly important that businesses make sure that
the online presence is not negatively affected. (Kane et al, 2009).

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The employees’ use of social media may leave large
impacts upon the organisations aswell as the customers’, particularly relating
to what organisational image employees project onto social networking sites
(Kane et al., 2009). Successful organisations, may seek to encourage certain uses
of social media and limit others, this is carried out by employee governance.


Organisational governance is “a system of law
and sound approaches by which corporations are directed and controlled focusing
on the internal and external corporate structures with the intention of
monitoring the actions of management and directors and thereby, mitigating
agency risks which may stem from the misdeeds of corporate officers” (Sifuna,
2012). This is why organisational policies constitute the main way that social
media governance is carried out by organisations. Throughout this report,
corporate control and the underlying 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 (Joshua J Clarkson
et al, 2018).

Another theory relating to corporate
governance of employee social media is the conversion theory of minority
influence which means that the minority in a group can have a
disproportionately large impact upon influencing those in the majority (Moscovici,
1976). 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 Whatley 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.” (Whatley et al, 1999). 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 (Walker, 2018). By extension, 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 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 more “charismatic” terms (Weaver, 1953).

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943) 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

Real life examples

It is argued by Cretti 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 (Cretti, 2014). 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 two
real world examples of companies social media policies in order to deepen the
understanding that we have of the employers’ attitudes towards social media in
the workplace which is reflected in the policies that these organisations
create and of organisational governance associated with these policies.


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
located in many different locations and they manage their employees’ social
media by taking an incredibly strict, yet transparent approach (Gameplan-acom, 2018).

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.


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 (Sewell
Chan, 2008). 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.” (Pazienza,
2008). CNN also sent an email to Pazienza outlining the company’s policy on
social media (Pazienza, 2008). 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 public’s 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.


Similarities between both Adidas and CNN occur 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


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 its entirety (Gameplan-acom, 2018), 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.


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.

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