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Mgt 520 - the Impact of Social Media on Organizations

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Kristen Moschella

MGT 520, Strategic Human Resources Management

Professor Gail Whelan

April 29th, 2017

Table of Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………..3

Background………………………………………………………………………………..4

Federal and State Laws……………………………………………………………………5

The Impact of Social Media on Companies and Employees (HR Issues)………………...8

Social Media (Internet Use) Policy Development………………………………………..10

Ethics……………………………………………………………………………………..12

Corporate Social Responsibility………………………………………………………….13

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………..14

Managerial Abilities……………………………………………………………………...15

References………………………………………………………………………………..17

Appendix A………………………………………………………………………………19


Introduction

Social Media has permeated all of our lives in both personal and professional realms. This technology in the workplace is a new concern for both employees and employers from a Human Resource manager’s perspective in understanding and managing the rights and responsibilities of both of them fairly. The laws that are currently in place to protect people and their work environments are being challenged and showing the need for change. One example of the impact is how people as employees are possibly affecting their organization by their use of social media in this very politically minded climate. Currently, I am employed by a small, yet diverse, non-profit organization called Human Understanding and Growth Services (HUGS). Of the six full- time employees, five fall into protected classes for ethnicity, age, religion, and sexual orientation. Because of the diverse vocal political views I saw posted on some of their Facebook accounts, I began to question, how an employee’s social media affected funding decisions when those organizations solicited for funding. What are the current laws, rights, and responsibilities of both the employee and the organization? The paper will discuss research of both Federal Laws and State Laws pertaining to social media and why creating them are necessary.

Highlighted are the issues on a broader scale and the presentation of the current federal and state laws. This information will help to illustrate what the rights are of both the organization and employees and how to oversee them through a Human Resource Manager’s perspective. Included is a discussion of how social media affects companies and how the fluidity of it influences decisions in handling social media issues by using Strategic Human Resources. It is important to understand the current laws and understand how they need amending to protect all the people involved. There are also many ethics involved when an employee uses social media at work and conversely how companies use social media to influence corporate social responsibility. In the end, presented are the risks and rewards of the use of social media in the workplace.  With this research, an outline of a basic policy on social media that can be implemented and used specifically for my non-profit organization is created.

Background

Twenty-five years ago we were a society of people who predominately only used and had access to technology at work. Now the average middle schooler has a fully functional computer that is more sophisticated than the rockets that went into space sent by NASA. Twenty-five years is a relatively short amount of time to have had so much technological advancement in our society. This is where the problem lies. The laws and ethics are consistently being outpaced and challenged by technological growth. Laws are enacted to protect the people due to a risk that has presented itself. Sometimes a problem cannot be addressed legally before another one is presented. It is no wonder that with all of this change the policy and lawmakers are having a hard time keeping up. Human resources managers must keep up to date on these changes in both federal and state laws and be able to understand the impact that they have on their individual organization. They must also consider the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. From there they must help write an organizational policy that safeguards their employees as well as their organization and document it when implemented.

To obtain the information in this paper I used the Callahan Library’s online databases. I accessed the Library site through sjcny.edu, chose “databases” tab, and choose the Callahan Library list of databases. I selected all of the databases to be included in my search on EBSCO, making sure that the search mode was Boolean/Phrase, the results were full text, and the scholarly (peer reviewed) journals tab were all selected before I began my search. I then went back up and tried some and phrases like social media, and human resource best practices, New York State law and social media use and social media policy to get some relevant results. When I found an article that contained information that was useful to me, I clicked on the tab to the left that led to similar articles. I also checked on the list of references at the bottom of a few of the articles to see if I could find any additional relevant sources this way, but I did not. I had a problem accessing the full text for two of the articles, so I had the Callahan Librarian take me through the steps of requesting this information.  In total, I assessed twelve articles for relevance by printing them out and reading them through. I ended up using nine of them plus the textbook for the sources of information in this paper.

Federal and State Laws

Organizations use social media in many ways. They can use it to help create a brand for themselves, get company or product information out, recruit, vet, and inform their employees. Over the past few year, there have been increasing concerns about how technology is changing the work place and the new issues and concerns that have arisen. Organizations need to focus on the ethical treatment of employees and attend to legal liabilities affecting their organizations. (Schultz, M.D., 2015 p42) Some of the concerns are “receiving unwanted, suggestive, or otherwise inappropriate emails which have created a whole additional chapter in sexual harassment policies.” (Kurec, A. 2008, pE2) This type of sexual harassment is a hostile working environment where there is a perceived or actual, offensive or threatening work environment. (Mello, J.A. 2015, p310)

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