Examining Social Media Usage in the Workplace and the Effects on Business

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Title: Examining Social Media Usage in the Workplace and the Effects on Business

Introduction

Statement of Problem

There are significant risks that result from employee social media usage in the workplace. According to a TeamLease World of Work Report, “an average of 2.35 hours is spent accessing social media at work every day and 13 per cent of the total productivity is lost owing to the social media indulgence alone”.  Employees abusing internet usage policies present serious legal risks to businesses. These risks include:

  • unauthorized disclosure of confidential information
  • infringement of party intellectual property rights
  • liability for discriminatory
  • bullying or defamatory comments posted by employees

Businesses that neglect to implement clear, comprehensive social media strategies are susceptible to successful claims of unfair dismissal in the event that an employee is dismissed for inappropriate use of social media. Additionally, businesses are at risk of being held liable for the inappropriate actions of their employees on social media. It is important for businesses to implement a social media policy that establishes clear standards of behavior and establishes consequences for any breach of the policy. Social media certainly has its uses in the workplace. Dealing with social media problems can often be achieved through implementing social media strategies that offer internal Social Media Networks that function as a communications tool, can be a way to control employees’ social media use within, as well as, outside the workplace.

Purpose of Study

The issue of social media usage in the workplace has become critical, and corporations have increasingly sought to minimize the losses in productivity which represent billions of dollars in lost revenue. .  According to a study of 1439 employees conducted by vault.com, an online analyst firm, 37% admitted to surfing constantly at work, 32% surfed a few times a day, and 21% surfed a few times a week.  Additionally, in a survey of 224 corporations by Websense, Inc., an electronic monitoring firm, 64% of the companies have disciplined, and more than 30% have terminated, employees for inappropriate use of the Internet. Specifically, accessing pornography (42%), online chatting (13%), gaming (12%), sports (8%), investing (7%), and shopping at work (7%) were the leading causes for disciplinary action or termination. The purpose of this study is to examine the use of social media in the workplace by exploring two concepts. The first concept relates to the perceived benefits and risks of using social media in the workplace. The second theme explores how employee Social Media usage could be used to benefit an organization. This study seeks to show that employee Social Media usage can be a beneficial tool for organizations when implemented as an internal social media platform that allows for more effective and efficient ways to communicate.

Hypothesis

What are the effects of employee social media usage on businesses and how can organizations use these behaviors to help to drive successful growth strategies? What do employees seek out of this daily engagement and how can companies harness that drive to their own advantage?

Literature Review

Business leaders today are determined to cultivate a highly engaged workforce that is focused on harnessing the brainpower of its staff. The purpose of this study is to examine the usage of Social Media in the workplace, its possible effects on business, and how employee Social Media usage could be used to the company’s benefit. This study seeks to show that employee Social Media usage can be a beneficial tool for businesses when implemented as an internal social media platform that allows for more effective and efficient ways to communicate.
The literature review highlights the frequency of the use of social media by employees in the workplace. The risks and challenges associated with the use of social media in the workplace are identified, providing business leadersstrategies to avoid these challenges. The study shows a clear need to understand the risks as well as the benefits of employee social media usage in the workplace. The literature revealed several possible approaches to the implementation of social media in the workplace. The research suggest that employee social media usage in the workplace should, and must be addressed. Furthermore, the researched showed that when social media is used as a “communication tool” as opposed to simply being viewed as a workplace distraction, it can even be beneficial.

The Risks of Use of Social Media in the Workplace

Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. (2015) highlights the risk of social media in an article that is based on an in-depth analysis of three multinational profit-making organizations
experiencing social media crises after 2010. Offering strategies for engagement, Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. (2015) stresses that authenticity of voice and, transparency were crucial for success, but denotes that engaging indiscriminately with emotional individuals could present serious risks. Three cases were analyzed and the results identified several approaches to social media crises, determining whether the level of effectiveness.  Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. (2015) found that dialogical approach is only effective if the users are affected by the crisis. The cases discussed showed that public sites such as Facebook and Twitter offers forums for angry online users to “share their points of views and vent their feelings”. Organizations are perceived as “disembodied entities”, and are more likely to become targets. Reputational risk is further increased because programming algorithms favor posts with a high activity regardless whether such activity is positive or negative (Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. 2015). Engaging as many stakeholders as possible is key, stating that neglecting to do so is likely to fuel anger.  Organizations create heightened risks to their reputation and, public relations if users confuse dialogue with persuasion (Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. 2015). Organizations must employ a coherent crisis communication strategy and avoid inappropriate or conventional methods, which could further ignite social media crises.

In conclusion, Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. (2015) finds that although social networking sites have been recognized as useful channels for relationship management, the key to success is fully understanding  the underlying principles of relationship-building and dialogue.
The risks of unsanctioned employee use of Social Media is the focus of an article written by  Lavender (2008). In it Lavenda cites a Forrester survey which discovered that 78% of IT organizations are concerned about these risks. Lavenda (2008) states  that “the social forces that are driving change in the consumer computing world are also impacting on the way business gets done”, and goes on to identify additional needs that are introduced by business. Lavenda list several of these needs as:

  • the need for staff to communicate in a practical and reliable way
  • the need to locate, access and share information quickly
  • the desire to more effectively leverage contacts and content
  • the need to improve employee satisfaction to retain the best employees
  • the need to improve productivity in order to remain competitive
  • the need to reduce expenses

Lavenda (2008) also discovered that employees that have had good experiences using Social Media in a home setting were looking for:

  • User-friendly, more interactive, intuitive and tools for using applications and information systems
  • Simpler communication with, and easier collaboration between employees, customers and business partners
  • A user experience that is customizable and can be personalized,  this information being based on the prediction of a Gartner study that by 2015 users will be customizing 90% of the tools used at work, and at home, for leisure, and entertainment

In the article Lavenda (2008) identifies some of the challenges facing managers who want to benefit from the usage of social networking. These challenges include:

  • Security
  • Control
  • Trust
  • Lack of integration with other tools used by employees

In conclusion, Lavenda (2008) identifies the following four common approaches to social networking usage in the workplace:

  • raise the drawbridges and prohibit their use
  • ignore the phenomenon
  • provide enterprise “look-a-like” equivalents of consumer services
  • permit (and even encourage) limited use of consumer tools, subject to corporate policies.

The findings show that the usage of Social Media in the workplace must be considered seriously by any organization, and the implementation of a Social Media policy is necessary to limit any possible damage.

The Influence of Social Networks on Employee Turnover

Moynihan & Pandey conducted a study in 2008 that examined the “influence of social networks and value congruence on turnover intention amongst employees in the public and not-for-profit sector”. Turnover intention was viewed in two distinctive ways; through organization fit, and social network theory.  Moynihan & Pandey argue that “employees exist in social networks inside and outside their organization, and these networks shape employee attitudes and behavior. “ The study they conducted sought to show that internal Social Media networks reduce employee turnover by making it less desirable to leave the organization. The social relationships that employees have with co-workers and the bonds, and loyalty that exists between them, relate to Social Network Theory and shows a correlation to employee turnover.  The study produced evidence supportive of the ideas of Mossholder, Settoon & Henagan (2005) who state that “relational ties people form from working together may be the ties that bind”.  The conclusions drawn to by the study conducted by Moynihan & Pandey (2008) are supportive of the role of internal Social Media networks in limiting or reducing turnover. The study showed little support for the idea that internal social media networks can affect an employee intentions to move to another employer.

Web 2.0

The risks associated with Web 2.0 technologist were identified in a 2008 study (Short 2008). Short states that regardless of the specific technology, what is most important is the management of possible risks and the manner in which it is implemented.  The study shows that there is risk that threaten both employee and the business. The risks identified are:

  • Security
  • Social risks that can exist with the increased interactivity
  • Divulging information including proprietary organizational information

Short (2008) concludes that the challenge with use of Web 2.0 technology is implementing it a way that mitigates the risks. If this challenge is not taken seriously these threats could outweigh any possible benefits that this technology may offer.

The Potential of Collaboration

Tapscott and Williams (2007) examined the collaborative potential of Web 2.0 technologies, with a specific focus on the wiki’s. The study sought to show why and how mass collaboration enhances profitability. “Wikinomics” is the term they use to describe potential for an economy that is based on mass collaboration. The “Wikinomics” model identifies four important principles:

  • Openness
  • Peering
  • Sharing
  • Acting globally

Tapscott and Williams (2007) concludes that companies that adopt these models can rewrite the rules of competition and drive important changes in their industries. The study finds that Wikinomics enable firms to harvest external knowledge, resources, and scale in a ways that were previously impossible.

Use of Social Media as a Form of CRM

Enache et al (2016) explores the creation of FRM which is a relational management system developed as a social CRM that gives companies the ability to interact with customers in a multichannel retailing environment and communicate with them in the way that they communicate with each other. FRM allows customers to create a fan page, where people who like a particular company’s brand will register as fans, creating a venue for communication, marketing, and networking (Enache et al 2016). The article finds that FRM can deliver a level of probability to an organization, while ensuring client partner expectation in revenue generation and customer expectation. The platform allows businesses to better target audiences and gives companies the ability to learn how best to cater to their needs. Enache (2016) also identifies the potential risk of developing favoritism within an audience of consumers, which could ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction and thus defeat the purpose of CRM.

An article written by Needle (2016) described how The Salesforce integration with Twitter Customer Feedback is designed to let companies incorporate feedback into the overall customer experience. Needle (2016) described how Salesforce used the Twitter to communicate not only internally to employees, but also to their customers. Other examples cited in the article included a sales agents ability to start a private conversation with a customer–even if that customer is not following the business on Twitter. The article concludes with a quote that states “This social revolution has created a new expectation for businesses to provide instant, always available customer service”.

The Use of Social Media in Enterprise

O’Leary (2016) examined KPMG’s efforts in knowledge management. The study details the transition in their knowledge management implementation and strategy from primarily a content focus to a more collaborative effort that includes the use of internal social media platforms. O’Leary states that “with enterprise social media, knowledge management becomes ‘‘social,’’ or at least recognizes the opportunities for gathering knowledge from others rather than simply from specific repositories”.  Overall, the study that was conducted by O’Leary found that KPMG implemented and internal social media platform because there was demand was coming from multiple different directions.  The employee retention was one factor that motivated KPMG. Furthermore, if there was not a platform provided, employees would use outside platforms.

Social Media as a Communication “Tool”

In an article written by Dystart (2017) about the restaurant operators needs to manage all the social media campaigns from a single dashboard. Dystarts cites a survey conducted the Market research firm Forrester. Forrester compiled a list of the best Social Media platforms which include:

  • Percolate
  • Sprinklr
  • Spredfast

Hootsuite surprisingly, only measured in the middle of the pack of the survey conducted by Nate Elliot of Forrester. Ultimately, Forrester researcher regarded Hootsuite as a strong contender, but found Percolate to be the better of the two. Percolate is able to offer users a more integrated Social Media into a multi-channel marketing plan.

Additionally, the researchers found Percolate is able to analyze feedback to Social Media comments faster than Hootsuite. Researchers also preferred Spredfast’s ability to incorporate third-party plug-ins.  According to Elliot, Forrester researchers found that Social Media networks make it easier for businesses to manage dozens of employees and accounts. No one tool does everything, but most of these platforms go a long way towards the goal of bringing together and managing all the elements of a highly effective, highly interactive social media presence.

Moorcroft 2008 studied the public relations profession and determined that organizations need to put a lot of thought into the use of social media. Moorcroft states that “communicators need to get a better grip on the advantages and disadvantages of social media and develop a plan that makes sense for their organizations”. In the article he identifies blogs and podcasts as a good way to engage stakeholders, but also points out that the approaches could create risks that are “regulatory, disclosure and legal related”. In conclusion Moorcroft (2008) finds that “social media is about giving, sharing and exchanging in a timely and thoughtful manner and not about taking, dictating and self-promoting in a reckless fashion”.

Employees’ Readiness for Social Media

Sinickas (2008) discussed Employee readiness for Social Media and states that many organizations that have introduced social media platforms in the workplace have been disappointed with the level of usage among employees. The reason for this reluctance is explained as being related to having realistic expectations for the use of these tools. Sinickas (2008) determined that organizations considering introducing these new tools should ask themselves the following questions:

  • how familiar are the employees with the new tools being introduced
  • how often do the employees use the new tools in their daily lives
  • how likely are the employees to use a new tool that has yet to be launched in the organization
  • The reasons why employees do not currently use the new tools, which may include lack of awareness of the tools, issues in the use of the tools themselves.

Employee reluctance to use these Social Media tools as part of their work was identified by Sinickas (2008) as being for the following reasons:

  • Employees have more discretionary time at home than at they do at work
  • Employees are pressured by supervisors to be more productive
  • Leadership shows a lack of candor or openness in the blogs
  • Blogs are not updated and comments go unresponded by senior management
  • Communication within the organization places no value on humor and controversy.

In conclusion, Sinickas states that doing research, and asking the right questions before you implement these new tools will maximize the success of this approach.

Implementation of Social Media

Keisler (2008) discussed some of the advantages and lessons learned from the implementation of social media tools. Keisler (2008) studies how an information provider in Australia embraced social media tools. Keisler found that “water-cooler” talk was a thing of the past, as those conversations were brought to the forefront, and shared publicly, throughout the office, enabling more people to take part in the chat. Keisler includes in social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, snapfish, flickr, podcasts, wikis, any groups and virtual worlds or communities. The study shows that different environments require different tools, and have different potentials in a work environment. Keisler states that “all avenues share common traits: they’re editable and participative, they allow audiences to add content and they connect people” (Keisler 2008). There were many lessons that were learned from the use of social media. Keisler identifies these as:

  • Discover what the employees are already doing with social media and harness that
  • Always be honest about the intentions of the use of social media as the participants are real people with real interest and real insights
  • Be prepared to listen and engage with using the social media
  • Be prepared to learn from mistakes in the use of social media Social media is part of the overall communication mix for the organization
  • Social media is part of the overall communication mix for the organization
  • Lead the way in the use of social media Be confident to embrace social media
  • Be confident to embrace social media

Trends Emerging From Literature Review

A number of key concepts that were discovered through the Literature Review and speak to the risks related to Social Media usage in the workplace. These concepts include:

  • The benefits of social media use
  • The risks that exist in the use of social media in the workplace
  • The different approaches that can be taken by management
  • The use of social media as a tool for communications

The Benefits of Social Media Usage in the Workplace

The benefits that are associated with social media usage in the workplace was a key concept emerging from the Literature Review that was conducted. These benefits are presented in Table 1.

Table 1:  Benefits of Using Social Media in the Workplace

Increasing the engagement of staff
Enhancing the effectiveness of communication
Enhancing the timeliness of communication.
Increasing the number of people involved in information communication
Enhancing employee retention (where the social networks are within an organization)
The ease of use due to interactivity, user friendliness, and employees being familiar with the use of the tools in the personal lives.

Moorcroft (2008) determined that the use of social media in the workplace increased staff engagement, and enhanced effectiveness. Bielski (2009), and Lavenda (2008) highlights the timeliness of communication as being one of the more common benefits. Keisler (2008) mentions the increasing number of people engaging in informal “watercooler” chat, which was very similar to the concept of increased sharing that was discussed in Tapscott and Williams (2007).  Increases in employee retention was identified as a benefit of the usage of social media in the workplace by both Lavenda (2008) and Moynihan & Pandey (2008), with this study bolstering previous findings of Mossholder (2005). Mossholder et al found little evidence that social networking between organizations increased the risk of increased employee turnover. Increased productivity as a result of the implementation of social media tools was identified as a benefit by Lavenda (2008). Both Sinickas (2008) and Lavenda (2008) point to employee familiarity of social media tools in their personal lives as a driver of workplace social media usage, making it imperative that interactivity, user friendliness, and ease of use of the tools be of the utmost importance.

The Risks of Social Media Usage in the Workplace

The literature review revealed that there are many risks and challenges associated with the use of social media in the workplace. These challenges are presented in Table 2.

Table 2: Risks and Challenges Associated with Using Social Media in the Workplace

Implementation is the key issue
Security, control and trust are significant issues
The divulging of confidential information to the wrong people is a potential issue
The inappropriate use of social media tools may put the organization at legal risk
The organization being unaware of the use of social media tools within the organization
The use of social media tools may not fit the organizational culture
The perceived time wasting of employees using social media within the organization

The key to successful social media implementation in the workplace is how it is implemented finds Short (2008). Lavenda (2008) highlights the risks to security, control and trust. Moorcroft (2008) and Sinickas (2008) focuses on the risk of divulging confidential information to people in social networks outside of the organization. Lavenda (2008) identifies this as being connected to potential legal risks. There is also a risk of an organization not gaining the benefits from the use of social media tools. Short (2008) states that if unsanctioned use of social media in the workplace is shut down, it can result in the employee secretly continuing unsanctioned use. Sinickas (2008) identified a further challenge to social media usage is the idea that humor is not a communication that is valued in traditional organizational culture and, the use of social media tools could be disruptive. Sinickas also warned that the use of social media in the workplace could result in time wasting.

Adoption of Social Media in the Workplace

The Lavenda (2008)  identified the following approaches to the adoption of social media: the of raising the drawbridge, ignoring, providing lookalikes, and permitting and encouraging are all on the surface valid responses to the possible adoption of the social media in an organization. These approaches range from being more risk averse to others that are more risk seeking. Ignoring social media usage that is currently going on in an organization can be detrimental and could potentially squander the benefits that could be gained from harnessing its usage. Being aware of the existence of social media tools, as opposed to ignoring its risks and benefits is viewed by Sinickas (2008) as being an important first step. Keisler (2008) determined that knowing how employees currently utilize social media tools as being an approach to the adoption of social media in the workplace and also identified the need for organizations to learn from past mistakes before abandoning the approach. The idea of “raising the drawbridge” and ignoring social media were not effective approaches according to Lavenda (2008) and should only be considered “with full knowledge of the facts”. Keisler (2008) states that further examination of employee habits may lead to a decision to “raise the drawbridge”, as opposed to suffering the risks identified previously may be greater than the potential benefits.  The use of lookalike tools may benefit some organizations and address some of the risks involved in the adoption of social media tools. Lavenda (2008) and Sinickas (2008) identifies  the costs of the development, compared to  alternative tools in some instances being freely available and, also the employees familiarity with these widely available alternatives as the main issues with this approach. The integration of social media tools with other tools in the organization can be aided by the approach of using lookalike tools (Lavenda 2008).  Bielski (2009) identified the use of Twitter as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  tool, finding that the adoption of Social Media Tools  are best when introduced as an enhancement to CRM and used as communication “tools” and not the “Goal”.  Though Bielski (2009) pointed to  the use of Twitter as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, his case was more of  a new “tool” to enhance existing processes,  with an determination being that social media tools are “tools” and not the goal, where the conclusion of Keisler (2008) identified  that good communication approaches are still important and that the use of social media tools is just another avenue to have the conversation, an idea that is also consistent with this concept that the use of social media tools is not the goal. Enache et al (2016) finds that there is a risk of showing favoritism to some customers when using social media as a FRM tool.  The need of a better understanding of social media tools was the conclusion of Moorcroft (2008) while Sinickas (2008) concluded similarly that having realistic expectations and knowing what social media can do to help enhance the organization was the most important.

Chapter 3

Methodology

The researcher is conducting a quantitative research method which emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.

Design of Survey
In this research, I will study the use of Social Media among business leaders, Human Resource professionals, and Directors and Managers of a variety of different industries. There were two methods for distributing the questionnaires to be completed by the participants of the study:

  1.              Researcher will visit the workplace of the participants and give the questionnaire on printed paper.
  2.              Researcher will send an email containing the questionnaire
    in an online form to participants not located on site.

The questionnaires will be given to employers as well as employees working in various leadership positions in the private business sector. My research will include a survey conducted through individual questionnaires. The survey was divided into four different sections. Section one and two relate to the patterns of social media usage. Section one as respondents to indicate their gender, age, and their level of familiarity with an array of social media tools such as: Blogs Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Bebo, Wikis and SnapChat. When respondents expressed familiarity with these tools they were able to continue on through the rest of the survey. The next section questions how frequently the respondents used each of the social media tools listed and inquiries about other social media tools that they used. Section three and four are related to the benefits and risks of the use of social media in the workplace. The third section asks respondents to review Table 3 and determine how strongly they believed that benefits that are shown were arising from the use of social media in the workplace. The final section of the survey asked respondents to look at Table 4 and indicate how strongly they believed that the risks shown were associated with the use of social media in the workplace. A five point Likert scale was used from strongly agree to strongly disagree and included an option of “unsure”. There was also a letter accompanying the survey that clarified what the survey was about that described social media as ‘‘a group of Internet-based applications that ideologically and technologically built on the foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content’’ (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Popular Social Media Websites were listed such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, Blogspot, Wikipedia, Digg and many more as examples.

Table 3: Benefits that Respondents Were asked to Rate Level of Agreement With

Increasing the engagement of staff
Enhancing the effectiveness of communication
Enhancing the timeliness of communication
Increasing the number of people involved in information communication Increase employee retention

Table 4: Social Media Usage Risks Rated by Respondents

Breaches of security
Loss of control
Reducing trust
Divulging confidential information outside of the organization
The Company being unaware of the usage
Incompatibility with the organizational culture
Wasting employee time

Results

The qualitative research methodology included a survey that was conducted. An email containing a link to the Survey Monkey based survey was emailed to a list of 130 Human Resource professionals, Directors and managers were randomly selected based on their LinkedIn profiles. Also, printed questionnaires were handed out to colleagues of the researchers, who had to either wait for the subjects to complete them, or left them with the questionnaires to be retrieved at a later time. The survey was open for one month: from mid-June to mid July 2017. The survey generated an overall response rate of 20.3% with 79 professionals responding. Table 5 shows the demographic breakdown of the respondents.

Table 5: Breakdown of Respondents by Age and Gender

Gender
Age Female Male Total
Under 30 33 36 69
30-39 4 2 6
40-49 2 2 4
Total 39 40 79

This illustrates that the vast majority of respondents were under the age of 30 (69/79) =87.3%) with an almost equal spread of female and male respondents. Across all of the respondents there was a very high familiarity with the social media tools.

Table 6 shows 94.9% of all respondents (75/79) indicating that they were familiar with the social media tools presented to them. This number was even greater in the under 30 group where the respondents (95.7%) indicated familiarity with the tools. Table 7 shows familiarity across the genders and indicates a very high level of familiarity with the social media tools presented across both male and female respondents.

Table 6: Breakdown by age and Familiarity with Social Media

Familiarity
Age Yes No Total
Under 30 66 3 69
30-39 6 6
40-49 3 1 4
Total 75 4 79

Table 7: Gender and Familiarity with Social Media Tools

Familiarity
Age Yes No Total
Female 38 1 39
Male 37 3 40
Total 75 4 79

Challenges and Benefits of Social Media Usage in the Workplace

The perceived benefits of social media usage is detailed in Table 8. 60.6% of the respondents agree or strongly agree with the majority of the benefits listed in the table. The last benefit listed did not produce a high level of agreement, with 57.6% responding as being unsure or Neither Disagree or Agree.

Table 8: Benefits of Social Media Usage at Work

Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree or

Agree

Disagree Strongly

Disagree

Unsure
Increase the engagement of

staff

8 34 10 8 2 4
Increase the effectiveness of

communication

9 32 8 11 1 5
Increase the timeliness of

communication

12 30 10 9 1 4
Increase the number of people involved in the communication

of information

14 36 4 6 1 5
Increase employee retention 9 11 26 9 3 12

Respondents familiar with the social media tools presented ranked the perceived risks and challenges associated with the use of these tools. Table 9 details the level of agreement of these respondents. There were two risks and challenges that produced results totaling less than 30 of the 66 respondents. 45% of the respondents agree or strongly agree with the reducing of trust, and the use of the tools not being compatible with the organizational culture. All of the other risks and challenges presented had at least 60% agreeing or strongly agreeing. More than 50 of the 66 (75%) of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that social media usage in the workplace presented risks and challenges of breaches of security and the divulging of confidential information outside of the organization.

Table 9: Risks and Challenges of Social Media Usage in the Workplace

Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree or Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree Unsure
Divulging of confidential information outside the organization 18 33 4 3 0 8
Breaches of Security 16 35 4 3 0 8
The organization itself being unaware of their use 10 30 10 5 0 11
Wasting employee time 26 20 5 7 1 7
Loss of control 11 30 11 7 0 7
Reducing trust 7 21 18 10 1 9
Use of the tools being incompatible with the culture of the organization 9 18 21 7 0 11

Frequency of Use of Social Media Tools

Table 10 breaks down the usage frequency of any social media tools by gender across

all respondents who have some familiarity with the tools. The frequency of usage was determined by how often the respondents used their most preferred social media tool. It shows little difference in how frequently social media tools are used across the genders. The results for respondents under the age of 30 show that 48 of the 66 (72.7%) respondents under the age

Of 30 who had familiarity with social media tools used at least one on a daily basis,

With 58 of the 66 (87.9%) using social media tools on at least a weekly basis.

Table 10: Social Media Usage Frequency by Gender

Gender Daily Weekly Monthly Never Total
Female 26 6 6 1 39
Male 24 5 5 2 36
Total 50 11 11 3 75

Table 11: Any Social Media Tool Usage Frequency by the under 30 Age Group

Gender Daily Weekly Monthly Never Total
Female 24 6 2 1 33
Male 24 4 3 2 33
Total 48 10 5 3 66

Social Media usage frequency breakdown of the particular social media tools that are used by those respondents under the age of 30 is shown in Table 12. It shows notable variation in how frequently some of the different tools are used by these respondents.

Table 12: Social Media Usage Frequency

Any Blogs Twitter Facebook Tumblr LinkedIn BeBo Wikis Snapchat
Daily 48 8 1 47 0 0 0 6 1
Weekly 10 3 4 11 1 0 2 14 2
Monthly 5 10 6 4 7 1 7 11 3
Never 3 45 55 4 58 65 57 35 60
Total 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66

Table 13 shows that Facebook is the most frequently used tool for the majority of the respondents in this group, who use each social media tool on a daily basis. The table also shows that five of the eight tools covered by the questions in the survey being used by one or zero people in this group (Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Bebo). The number of respondents in this group who use each social media tool on at least a weekly basis is detailed in Table 15 and also shows that Facebook is the most widely used across this group (in excess of 80%).  Wikis are used by just over one third of these respondents on at least a weekly basis. As with the use of social media tools on a daily basis Twitter, SnapChat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Bebo have very low level of usage (all under 10%) within this group of respondents.

Table 13: Daily Social Media Usage Under 30

Daily Percentage
Facebook 47 71.2%
Blogs 8 12.1%
Wikis 6 9.1%
Twitter 1 1.5%
SnapChat 1 1.5%
Tumblr 0 0.0%
LinkedIn 0 0.0%
Bebo 0 0.0%

Table 14: Weekly Social Media Tools Usage by Under 30s

Daily Weekly At Least Weekly Percentage
Facebook 47 11 58 87.9%
Wikis 8 14 22 33.3%
Blogs 6 3 9 13.6%
Twitter 1 4 5 7.6%
SnapChat 1 2 3 4.5%
Bebo 0 2 2 3.0%
Tumblr 0 1 1 1.5%
LinkedIn 0 0 0 0.0%

Analysis of the Benefits, Risks and Challenges from Using Social Media Tools in the Work

Place

The survey results determined that when evaluating the benefits of using Social Media tools in the workplace there was a high level of agreement with many of the benefits that were identified in the literature review. Increasing employee retention was one area that showed only an overall agreement level of less than 33% (see Table 8). These results could be due to this particular area requiring further research to support the work that has already been produced by Lavenda & Pandey (2008) and Mossholder et al (2005).

The responses pertaining to the risks and challenges that may arise from the usage of social media in the workplace are presented in Table 9. The data in Table 15 has combined the responses for the three groups of risks and combined the data for (a) the neither agree nor disagree and unsure responses and (b) the disagree and strongly disagree responses. The results show that the respondents have a considerably higher level of agreement with the risks and challenges in Group A than in Group B, and also have a considerably higher level of agreement with the risks and challenges in Group B than in Group C.

Table 15: Risks and Challenges Associated with Using Social Media in the Workplace-II

Group Risks and Challenges Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree or Disagree or Unsure Disagree or Strongly Disagree Total
A Divulging of confidential information

outside the organization

and breaches of security

34 68 24 6 132
B The organization itself being

unaware of their use, wasting

employee time and loss of control

47 80 51 20 198
C Reducing trust and use of the

tools being incompatible with

the culture of the organization

16 39 59 18 132
Total 97 187 134 44 462

Table 16 categorizes the threats posed to organizations where social media usage is prevalent.  The respondents to the survey are indicating that the external threats are the most significant, followed by the internal process threats, with the internal cultural threats being seen as being the least significant group.

Table 16: Risk Categories

Nature of Threat Risks Identified in Literature Summary
External Threats
  • Divulging of confidential information outside the organization
  • Breaches of security
High level of agreement

(77.3%) and very low level of

disagreement (4.5%)

Internal Process

Threats

  • The organization itself being unaware of their use
  • Wasting employee time
  • Loss of control
Slightly lower level of agreement (64.1%), but growing

level of neither agreeing nor

being unsure (25.8%)

Internal Cultural

Threats

  • Reducing trust
  • Use of the tools being incompatible
  • with the culture of the organization
Lowest level of agreement

(41.7%) and highest level of

neither agreeing nor being unsure (44.7%)

 

 

Conclusions

The survey conclusions that were drawn are that when it comes to evaluating the perceived benefits of social media usage in the workplace, the issues where respondents did not have a high level agreement with the literature were:

  • The use of social media tools reducing trust within an organization
  • The use of social media tools not being compatible with the organizational culture
  • The use of social media tools enhancing employee retention

Amongst the group of professionals that were surveyed there appears to be common use of social media. They seemed to understand many of the issues surrounding social media usage in the workplace. Facebook was identified as the most frequently used social media tool,

with Twitter, SnapChat,Tumblr, LinkedIn and Bebo being used very infrequently by this group, suggesting that these would not be good social media tools to use in marketing campaigns aimed at this group. Across all of the social media tools surveyed, Wikis were the only tool where there appeared to be a significant difference in the frequency of their use between female and male respondents. One interesting finding that emerged from looking at the frequency of usage of the social media tools is that what constitutes frequent use on one social media platform may be different to what constitutes frequent use of another social media platform. This aspect of this topic could be the basis for further research. Other areas identified for further study are the appropriateness of the use of social media in CRM, in particular the choice of social media tool.

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