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by | Sep 21, 2022 | Accounting | 0 comments

 

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Read the Point – Counter Point on Page 384 of Chapter Eleven in your textbook. Take a position and then debate your position on the Discussion Board. Provide references to the textbook, consult outside sources, and reply to a minimum of 2 of your classmates.
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We Should Use Employees’ Social Media Presence
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Point
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Everyone uses social media. Well, almost everyone: A Pew Research Center study found that the highest percentage of adults who use social-networking sites was in Israel, at 53 percent, followed by 50 percent in the United States, 43 percent in Russia and Great Britain, and 42 percent in Spain.
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Business is social, and using employees’ social contacts to increase business has always been a facet of marketing. Organizations that don’t follow their employees’ social media presence are missing an opportunity to expand their business and strengthen their workforce. For example, the Honda employee who once told 30 friends that Honda is best can now tell 300 Facebook friends and 500 Twitter followers about the latest model. Employees’ savvy about social media can have a substantial positive effect on the bottom line.
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Monitoring employees’ social media presence can also strengthen the workforce by identifying the best talent. Managers can look for potential online celebrities—frequent bloggers and Twitter users with many followers—to approach for co-branding partnerships. Scrutiny can also help employers spot problems. For example, consider the employee who is fired one day and turns violent. A manager who had been monitoring the employee’s social media posts may be able to detect warning signs. A human resources department monitoring employees’ social media activity may be able to identify a substance abuse problem and provide help for the employee through the company’s intervention policies.
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A job candidate’s social media presence provides one more input to hiring and retention decisions that many organizations already take advantage of. In reality, there is no difference between the employee and the person—they are one and the same, on or off working hours.
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Employers that monitor social media can also identify employees who use their platforms to send out bad press or who leak proprietary information. For this reason, managers may someday be required to monitor employees’ social media postings and to act on infringements of company policies. Many do so already.
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Managers should therefore develop enforceable social media policies and create a corporate infrastructure to research and monitor social media activity regularly. The potential increase in business and limit on liability is ample return for dedicating staff and work hours to building a successful social media program.
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Counterpoint
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There is little to be gained and much to be lost when organizations follow candidates’ and employees’ presence on social media. Managers may be able to learn more about individuals through their online activity, and organizations may be able to catch some good press from employee postings, but the risk of liability for this intrusion on privacy is inescapable. Managers are ill-equipped to monitor, interpret, and act on employees’ social media postings, and few have any experience with relating the medium to business use.
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Managers may also easily misinterpret the information they find. Few companies have training programs for the proper use of social media; only 40 percent have social media policies of any kind. Those that do are skating on thin ice because monitoring policies can conflict with privacy regulations.
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An employee’s online image doesn’t reveal much that is relevant to the job, certainly not enough to warrant the time and money that a business would spend on monitoring. Most users view social media as a private, recreational venue, and their membership on Facebook and other sites should be regarded with the same respect as would membership in a club. In this light, monitoring employees’ social media accounts is an unethical violation of their right to privacy.
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Equal employment opportunity laws require companies to hire without respect to race, age, religion, national origin, or disability. But managers who check into candidates’ social media postings often find out more than the candidate wanted to share, and then there is no way to keep that information from affecting the hiring decision. Searching through social media can therefore expose a company to a costly discrimination claim.
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Using employees’ personal social media presence as a marketing tool through company-supportive postings is unethical from many standpoints. First, it is unethical to expect employees to expand the company’s client base through their personal contacts. Second, it is unreasonable to expect them to endorse the company after working hours. And the practice of asking employees for their social media passwords is an obvious intrusion into their personal lives.
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In sum, people have a right to a professional and a private image. Unless the employee is offering to “friend” the company in a social media partnership, there is no question that employers should stay out of their personal business.
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Sources: Based on S. F. Gale, “Policies Must Score a Mutual Like,” Workforce Management 91, no. 8 (2012): 18-9; R. Huggins and S. Ward, “Countries with the Highest Percentage of Adults Who Use Social Networking Sites,” USA Today, February 8, 2012, 1A; A. L. Kavanaugh et al., “Social Media Use by Government: From the Routine to the Critical,” Government Information Quarterly (October 2012): 480–91; and S. Johnson, “Those Facebook Posts Could Cost You a Job,” San Jose Mercury News, January 16, 2012, www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19754451.

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