Facebook: The New Employer’s Nightmare essay
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Heneman, Herbert, and Timothy A. Judge. Staffing Organizations. 5th ed. Middleton, WI: Mendota House, and New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
Heneman and Judge discuss the protocols that are followed by an organizations’ human resource management in hiring employees for various positions, the duties of management, as well as the relevance of the command chain. This source is relevant to this research as it gives insight into the scrutiny of employees during the selection process and explains how they are expected to behave in an organization’s setting.
McHale, Robert. Navigating Social Media Legal Risks: Safeguarding Your Business. USA: Wiley and Sons Publishers, 2012. Print.
McHale gives advice to business investors and founders of corporations on how to limit risks associated with the social media. Concerning the ways of protecting their businesses, McHale suggests businesses to outline a policy that will balance employees’ needs with the organization’s reputation. This source is relevant to this research as it highlights areas where business management and employees conflict regarding the use of social media.
JGold. “More on Legal Troubles from Employer Misuse of Social Media Information.” Scherzer International, 2013. Web. 28 March 2009.
JGold looks at a number of legal cases that involve employers and employees issues concerning the social media use. The source provides grounds as to why company reputation is associated with employees’ behavior and why management is forced to keep a close surveillance on what employers post on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Schmidt, Frank L., and John E. Hunter. “The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 years of Research Findings.” Psychological Bulletin, 124 (1998): 262-274. Print.
Schmidt and Hunter explain that organizations are no longer exercising discretion with one another; while image counts, a chance to point fingers at one another is not considered a bad practice, but a psychological promotion. In this case, the authors warn that social media posts about an organization or its employees carry negative influence that competitors can use to trash an organization. This source provides a basis for the main argument of this research proving that employers should communicate with employees concerning the negative effects of posting comments about the company on social media platforms.
Schmitt, Neil, and Walter C. Borman. Personnel Selection in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995. Print.
Schmitt and Borman argue that behavior-based hiring goes past the papers that an employee submits to a job interviewer. Usually referees are employed to elaborate on personal behavior of an employee in order to avoid reputation-oriented liabilities. However, the authors suggest employers to indicate that background checks on an employee’s behavior are part of the selection criteria. In terms of this research, the source provides a foundation for limiting conflicts between employers and employees through transparency.
Facebook: The New Employer’s Nightmare
Employment is the final purpose of attending school or involving oneself in different training and development courses. Employment exists in two forms: self-employment and being employed by another person or organization. Recently, the issue of employment has been influenced by a number of modern factors related to freedom of speech, and availability of social media platforms that allow free communication. Individuals in search of employment can use different Internet platforms such as Facebook or Twitter for sending credentials or visiting remote interviews. Nevertheless, some people, who are ready to do everything to get a job or employment, have used the World Wide Web not fairly or transparently. Social media has come of age and is now available to everyone even children. Organizations around the globe post vacancies on such online social platforms as Facebook in order to garner a large turnout for interviews or attract qualified interviewees. However, while social media turns to be a platform for business development, personal interests, and private issues are still important. For the past few years, employers have relied on Facebook for hiring and making employment-related decisions. However, this approach has proven to be flawed due to high social stakes affecting the organization and stakeholders in general.
Facebook is a social platform that is accessed by more than 800,000,000 users from all over the world. Facebook ability to host such a large number of users is ensured by its simplistic usability in connections using photos, status updates, and full control of what an individual is posting. With control in the hands of the user, freedom of expression has been pushed to a higher level where anyone can be criticized, praised, or even investigated. The platform for the corporate world provides employees’ connection with their employers, employers’ connection with management, management connections with customers, and employees’ connection with the entire world. In this case, Facebook has given individuals the ability to control their data, alter personal information as they wish, censor news through security tools, and expose any part of their lives to the world through photos and other posts.
For employers, Facebook has turned out to be an effective tool for examining the potential of an employee, as well as a platform for the employee to criticize an employer. Work ethics are not defined by what employees can or cannot do at the work place. However, the code of conduct in and outside the workplace is the issue that differs regarding the organization’s reputation and image (JGold n.p.). For employees, using social media provides the freedom to express themselves in whichever way they feel fit according to what is in their minds. On the other hand, organizations have strict policies that undermine the use of social media to disburse any information deemed private by the organization. Employers considering hiring people for various positions have included Facebook information of the individual to be part of their assessment criteria. However, while this is a good strategy to scrutinize future employees, it lacks transparency due to employers’ insecurities and employees’ caution about their jobs. Usually, Facebook accounts for employees are hacked or viewed by employers to keep a tap on what they do, and content they post online. Personal information has been accessed by employers leading to employees’ insecurity or intimidation by the employer (JGold n.p). On the other hand, employees usually create decoy Facebook accounts; these reserved accounts are open for scrutiny while people use other hyper-social accounts with alias names. In this case, ethical considerations for privacy and transparency in hiring and managing employees are a problem; consequently, access of Facebook information access does not size to expectations.
The Selection Criteria
A question on ‘who an employer is’ can be complicated in case of big organizations that care about their reputations and image. In an organization, the founder of an organization capitalizes on a business idea by investing capital into it. The founder creates vacancies such as human resource management, pioneer employees and builds relations with suppliers. As the company grows, the founder may step down from executive management and allow an independent board to hire or elect a CEO. With various financial and fiscal duties to be performed, management for various departments is created. With time, the organization may require more financial input; their trade shares to increase capital for larger business venture. With the company owned partially by the founder, the investors, and managed by a totally different body, it is difficult to say who can be referred to as the employer. Regardless of how ridiculous the setting of the above question sounds to scholars, anybody whose capital is used in the operation of the organization is an employer while management is a group of qualified personnel that has to supervise and create surplus as part of its duties (Heneman, and Judge). As part of their duties, management personnel have to manage human capital in a manner that guarantees profitability and capitalization of reputable operations of the organization.
With the chain of command outlined in all organizations, human resource management is in charge of all human activities and concerns association with employees. In this case, organizational policies that aim at defending the organization’s reputation call for an intrusive human resource management approach. However, while the policies concerning the organization’s reputation may hold some grounds relevant to discretion, Facebook use and personal lives stand out as another level of considerable variables. Personal life posted on Facebook, and human resource decisions reflecting that area of an employee have resulted in a number of lawsuits and caused damages to both the organization and employees. The selection criteria for many organizations involve review of resumes, as well as approving authenticity of the information stated in them. Another area of scrutiny is the actual performance at the ground level other than the indicated former performance appraisals of an employee. The email addresses they provide in their resumes and Curriculum Vitae are used to incriminate them certain actions and deny them the chance to fill in an available job vacancy. Ethically, the information access on Facebook by an employer should be implemented in the terms and conditions of the job, as well as an outline of what damages are caused by what specifics (Schmitt, and Borman).
Company Image and Reputation
Organizations around the globe, whether privately held, publicly traded, profit, or non-profit, rely on their appeal to customers, shareholders, and sponsors regarding their internal behavior and the behavior of those working with them or managing them. Isolating the organization’s business goals and objectives from employees’ interests leaves room for exploring what Facebook to an organization and its reputation means. All organizations that have implemented e-business solutions find the social media platform useful and advantageous in that they can connect with their customers in real time, address customer queries, and offer assistance in a stable and time saving manner. The social media provides an interface, using which organizations can place advertisements aiming at beating the competition. They make customers understand how different or how unique the organization’s products and services are as compared to the same offers of a different organization. Advertisements have nothing to do with what an organization is offering until fair competition is redefined by companies such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics. In case of an employee of an organization such as Apple Inc. posting any content on the Facebook account (a photo or a status update in a timeline) that endorses Samsung devices, the policy defending the organization’s reputation can be used to lay off that individual. In addition, if Samsung gets endorsement from an Apple employee, it can use it against Apple to lure its market share into buying its products (Schmidt, and Hunter).
The image of Apple Inc. or Samsung Electronics can partially be appraised by the products they offer in the market. However, the behavior of individual employees of either organization can be used by one of the organizations for crushing one another. With regard to fair competition, the organizations mentioned above do not have a business history with each other that can influence discretion. In this case, organizations are justified to implement a policy that defines and points out what type of employee behavior is acceptable. Regardless of whether an employee posts criticisms about an organization’s management, misconduct within the organization, or images of drinking and misbehaving on Facebook, a number of organizations already dissuade their employees from public misconduct. Media and technology have advanced in a manner that an employee is not even required to update a comment on Facebook or go on a shopping spree with a camera. The fact that everyone else can do that on their own scares organizations to the point that Facebook-based hiring and human capital management are considered crucial. An organization’s executive is likely to be stalked by paparazzi for investigating his life and personal contacts. This means that misbehavior, mismanagement of time and resources, or interactions with ill-mannered personage can be posted on Facebook accounts of their competing organizations’ social media handles. With scrutiny from camera operators and other people willing to expose the ill behaviors of organization’s employees and executives, Facebook information should be used by an organization to protect its reputation against unfair competition and onlookers.
Company Policy vs. Freedom of Expression
Whistle blowers are protected by the law; therefore, they are an asset to the government and other corporate-ethical-behavior activists/agencies. However, whistle blowing has legal entanglements that an organization and the whistle blower have to understand clearly. For example, company policies clearly state that an employee is not allowed to disclose any private information about the organization, its management and management styles, plans, legal and moral considerations against other organizations, company secrets in terms of product manufacturing, and other activities categorized as internal. On the other hand, negligence by management on employee issues is a problem that hinders smooth and professional relations between an employer and an employee. Organizational policies as drafted by management bodies also give employees the possibility to exercise their freedom of expression in raising concern on all matters affecting them. However, despite the fact that management negligence on employee concerns continues to exist at the workplace, the provision of the policies recommend internal handling of such employee issues. It leaves the employee with no choice but to blow the whistle on the management of the company or areas that the organizational structure does not fit in well with the interests of the employee (McHale).
The company policy is applied only if a channel of transparency is in place, and employees are able to communicate with the management with intimidation. Instances at the workplace show that employees are unable to raise concerns relating to management issues involving powerful individuals or a group of top personnel that can negatively affect the future of an employee. While Facebook and the behavior of employees on it may not appeal to the management of an organization, behavior of an employee at work is dictated by the organization policy. Nevertheless, it may not go outside the organization. On the other hand, sexual affairs happening between the organization management and employees may be termed as sexual harassment if intimidation is noted. On the other hand, sexual affairs happening outside the organization and not affecting the employee’s work are classified as social affairs that have nothing to do with work.
On the other hand, Facebook statuses criticizing or exposing some mismanagement issues within a company are justified as a whistle blowers’ attempt to make a point. On the other hand, the disbursement of information that can be used against an organization by another organization is deemed damaging. It may lead to imprisonment or fining of the individual posting it. Misbehavior outside the organization’s premises may be considered a reason for firing an employee given the fact that reputation and image of a company depends on the conduct of an employee.
“Are you on Facebook?” Usually people are asked this question by their friends or people they just met in order to connect virtually. Currently, employers are interested in what an employee is doing on Facebook; they wish to make sure they read from the same business page. However, the decision of an employer to reach an employee on Facebook while they spend the entire day at work together is socially intrusive to an employee as it increases transparency. Organizations have a corporate obligation to defend their reputations and images to the public and competitors; this is the purpose of employing Facebook as an effective tool for employee scrutiny.