Topic 4- Ethical Violations in the Workplace

ethics

Before reading this post, I kindly ask that you briefly learn about employee social media use inside and outside of the workplace in the video below.

Over the years there have been many benefits that social media has brought to the corporate world. For many companies across the globe, social media has allowed new ways of connecting with potential and current customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. This, in turn offers companies the opportunity to efficiently speed up the pace of business, through effectively instituting messages that a company may want to convey and strengthen a company’s relationships with customers. However, unfortunately companies do face risks in its use of social media.

Social media when not well managed opens the door to many risks, for example conflicts of interest, breach of confidentiality and misuse of company resources. However, I feel as though the main risk that I consider to be significant is the misuse of work time. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that “time is money”. If you recall from the video above, the notable facts stated that, “40% of businesses in a recent survey reported having to discipline employees for misuse of social networking in the workplace” and further, that this usage has cost the American economy $650 billion annually. Could we then imagine what the global cost is? These figures have been on the rise since the year 2000 which in a sense is understandable due to little to no use of social media within companies 15 years ago.

Overall, companies must try to implement useful time management. With 3 out of 4 employees currently accessing social media once a day or more while at work, this phenomenon means that a certain level of monitoring and auditing is needed in organisations. Companies can of course filter their networks to completely prohibit the use of social media, however employees aren’t kids and a high professional level of trust should exist. The following steps could aid in tackling time management issues of social media use in the workplace:

  • Developing a workplace policy based on the company’s philosophy, mission statement and code of conduct i.e. allowing for social media usage, only if work-related or during lunch breaks.
  • Provide workplace ethics training to employees i.e. training employees to resist social media usage during work-time.
  • Designate an external referee in charge of handling employees’ informal concerns pertaining to workplace ethics i.e. receiving feedback from employees on their views of the policy- how different is their work performance?

References

Managing the Workplace Ethics of Social Media. 2015. Managing the Workplace Ethics of Social Media. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/managing-the-workplace-ethics-of-social-media/. [Accessed 20 March 2015].

How to Handle Ethical Issues in the Workplace | Chron.com. 2015. How to Handle Ethical Issues in the Workplace | Chron.com. [ONLINE] Available at:http://smallbusiness.chron.com/handle-ethical-issues-workplace-10157.html. [Accessed 20 March 2015].

Ethical Issues in Social Media | vrevzine. 2015. Ethical Issues in Social Media | vrevzine. [ONLINE] Available at:http://vrevzine.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/ethical-issues-in-social-media/. [Accessed 20 March 2015].

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7 comments

  1. Interesting article, Irinie. I really like your blog overall, perhaps because we talked about almost the same thing. Its good to see you highlighting both the benefits and downfall of the use of social media by cooperate organisations. I would call it the ‘pendulum of social media’ as sometimes the benefits outweigh the downfall and vice-versa. In your blog you seems to merely focus on the employee’s point of view but do you think they are the main catalyst in ethical violations in the workplace? The business sometimes can be blamed for. For example if the manager isn’t serious or perhaps even the top management do not have a specified direction for the company then it tends to affect everyone in the hierarchy. The preventional steps you highlighted were indeed good but do you actually think companies would do all that as they might find it costly, and perhaps unnecessary.

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    1. Employees essentially make a company; all organisations need them for their various departments, therefore making them the core of day-to-day tasks. Their performance impacts the company they work for so if time is wasted due to social media for non work related purposes, we call this an opportunity cost. All levels of hierarchy nonetheless must be mindful of these costs especially when an unserious manager is involved.

      Regarding the steps I highlighted, something that will benefit a company in the long run definitely isn’t unnecessary- I’m sure you’ve heard that short run costs yield long term benefits.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week. I agree that within a company there should be a level of trust and responsibility. However, though you mention the development of a workplace policy controlling the use of social media whilst at work, do you think this should extend outside of working hours or does this infringe on freedom of speech?

    It is difficult to find a balance between encouraging free speech whilst simultaneously protecting a company’s reputation. As a result, I believe that it is important to keep the dialog between employee and employer open. Employers should make it clear what they expect from their employees in regards to social media and the repercussions of any negative posts in relation to the company. They should also make it clear that they will, to some degree, be monitoring employees’ usage of social media. However, how strict and thorough should employers be whilst monitoring social media platforms? This article (1) discusses this and whether or not companies should be able to monitor their employees’ social media profiles at all. As I discuss in my blog this week, there is a fine line between monitoring and controlling free speech.

    (1) http://www.wsj.com/articles/should-companies-monitor-their-employees-social-media-1399648685

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    1. Hiya, the focal point of my post was the ethical issue of how social media distracts employees which in turn costs companies due to no proper time management. Though the workplace policy I mentioned is solely to tackle social media usage in the workplace, a policy could definitely be extended to influence what is said by employees on social media. Whether freedom of speech is concerned or not, a professional should ideally adhere to company policy to avoid breaches of confidentiality. It isn’t likely that someone would purposely risk their job unless it was thee intention to be malicious. In that case, employers should be as strict as they can protect their can to protect their company. One wrong/bias post could ruin a company’s reputation.

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