This research study involves a deconstructive approach to one of the most remarkable highlights of New Media\ Digital Media, which has been none other than the phenomenal growth of social networks, which have definitely become the most domineering and conclusive communication tools of the modern society. Business and industry have taken full advantage of this innovation to incorporate personal and community profile information sharing as an effective human resource management and recruitment practice. The corporate businesses use of potential employee information for recruitment campaigns and subsequent monitoring, as well as sharing of existing employee behaviour and character information. This has resulted in a whole host of sociology understanding or ethical/moral and legal issues within the topic of Business Management. The methodology of approach used within the research will consist of an ethnography study in a deconstructive manner to investigate the social behaviour adapted in various business environments through a constructivism (epistemology). This will essentially help to understand the sociological behavior of employees and employer engagement, when the implantation of social networks within business and HR, between their own experiences and ideas about the subject matter through legal and ethical entities on data protection and corporate law. The research studies main objective is to investigate a niche criteria through a sociological observation on the legal ramifications involved and how organizations are dealing with the matter of mixing business with pleasure, when social networking strategies are implemented. In addition to investigating the main motive of unraveling a riddle that is currently a domineering topic of discussion among the business and human resource world. The outcome of a sociological observation through the means of Ethnography will surface whether there exists any real evidence of increased business organizational productivity or is it just a mere misconception?
Introduction & Justification:
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This research study involves a deconstructive approach to one of the most remarkable highlights of New Media\ Digital Media, which has been none other than the phenomenal growth of digital social networks which have definitely become the most domineering and conclusive communication tools of the modern society. Business and industry have taken full advantage of this innovation to incorporate personal and community profiles information sharing as effective human resource management and recruitment practice. Corporate businesses use of potential employee information for recruitment campaigns and subsequent monitoring/ sharing of existing employee behaviour and character information. That has resulted in a whole host of sociology understanding or ethical/moral and legal issues within the topic of Business Management.
The massive growth of new media in the recent years and the popularity of digital social networks within business recruitment concept and strategies, there are bound to be corporate interests to radicalise human resource management and recruitment by incorporating social networks as business practice. Currently there is a lot of research available for a general business point of view. Not many researchers have involved the representation of understanding this movement from a sociological perspective.
There is not enough observational understanding about this corporate practice, when and how this practice was introduced within business management. What are the ratios and proportions of this human resource management practice and the factors attributable to the current financial crisis? What are the effects of this practice on businesses and employees within local business cultures, ethical/moral codes and legal frameworks? This research intends to introduce the sociological communication of the business society in employee and employer engagement within the business environment in terms of legal or business growth production. This research intends to bridge this information gap.
1. To what extent has the incorporation of social networks in corporate human resource management affected businesses and employees?
2. To what extent have business environments benefited from this practice in various economies under the current economic climate in the form of Business Growth and Productivity?
3. What is the main kind of concept and strategy imploded for using social networks as an E-Tool for corporate recruitment?
4. To what extent have various conflicts surfaced between employer and employee engagement on a social level within offices?
5. To what extent has the universal policies and privacies of one social network impacted upon business policies and terms in the form of culture, race religion and offices operating in different countries for the same organisation?
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6. What kind of ethical/moral and legal issues has arisen directly as a result of this new development within business recruitment practices?
RESEACH AIMS & OBJECTIVES
1. To research and investigate a resource management sample using digital social networks within everyday business environment.
2. To assess the effects of current economic climate on various economies regarding HR management practices within the sample.
3. To identify and analyse the ethical/moral issues generated by human resource management practices within the sample company.
4. To ascertain and understand the cultural/social among employee/employer regarding the use of digital social networks for human resource management within the sample.
5. To highlight the legal issues regarding the rules and regulations of digital social networks incorporated within human resource management and the local laws to that effect within the sample.
SIGNIFICANCE AND SCOPE OF STUDY
The findings of this study will bring about the awareness, information and understanding of personal/community information sharing and monitoring as conceived by HR management and recruitment practices and associated aspects of various social, cultural, ethical/moral and legal issues within the sample organisation. The knowledge attributed to this research will be very useful in formulating new rules and regulations regarding data protection, human rights, civil liberties and employment laws locally and globally. This knowledge will also be of imperative importance for future development of digital social networks policies, agreements/licensing and rules/regulations for their users.
The methodology of approach used within the research will consist of an ethnography study in a deconstructive manner to investigate the social behaviour adapted in various business environments through a constructivism (epistemology). This will essentially help to understand the sociological behaviour of employees and employer engagement, when the implantation of social networks within business and HR between their own experiences and ideas about the subject matter through legal and ethical entities on data protection and corporate law. The research studies main objective is to investigate a niche criteria through a sociological observation on the legal ramifications involved and how organizations are dealing with the matter of mixing business with pleasure, when social networking strategies are implemented. The outcome of a sociological observation will surface whether there exists any real evidence of increased business organizational productivity or is it just a mere misconception?
Ethnography is a study which deals with the description of an individual human culture in large societies (nations). Ethnography word is a combination of Ethnos (people) and graphia (writing). The person who studies the human culture is known as Ethnographer (Mursic, 2008). He is a person, who lives among the people i.e. the subject of the study for some specific period of time, learns the local language of that area. It is basically describes about the behaviour of the people i.e. about the living ways of people, interaction what they believe, the things they do. So finally, it's a process where we can analyse the past behavioural changes and present behaviours of the human nature in large group.
Ethnography is basically associated with the real observations of the people of past and future. Academic discipline is the research about the behaviour of people that an ethnographer uses by mixing with them. They interviews different peoples, they gather the data, record the CD's, capture the images of the people (Lopes, A). Ethnography academic disciplines make a pattern in research and understand the issues faced by large amount of people. It is an understanding of the geographical nature, education that has been received currently and previously, linguistics, economic conditions of the people. This information that ethnographers receives is helpful for better understanding of the society.
Ethnography is a technique which collects the data i.e. video and in terms of notes can be helpful of various peoples to make their future strategy and to analyse the behaviour and the demand of people currently. So, whether it is for a companies, archaeologist, and scientist every person requires an ethnographer who mixes with people and studies them (Stringer, 1997). No doubt there are some limitations of ethnography as it takes a bit longer time than most of the research done and it doesn't have much breadth and it usually studies only one organization at a time. But still it can be very helpful for a long run as it gets into the real life of the people and analyses the behaviour accordingly.
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The reason for adapting an Ethnography methodology for this PhD study provides an obvious rational. Ethnography methodology is used with certain academic disciplines especially Social Sciences. Ethnographic research originates and is usually used in the academic discipline of social and cultural anthropology where an ethnographer is required to spend a significant amount of time in the field. "Where Ethnographers immerse themselves in the lives of the people they study and seek to place the phenomena studied in their social and cultural context" (Lewis, 1985: p. 380).
My research topic is a clear indication of requiring an Ethnographic research as it is investigating the social context of business organisations cultural anthropology. As the research require observing how employees and employers engage with social network during a business working environments to conduction a sociological observation.
After discovering early new revolutionary ground breaking work by Wynn (1979), Suchman (1987) and Zuboff (1988), ethnography has now become more widely used in the study of information systems in organizations, from the study of the development of information systems (Orlikowski, 1991) to the study of aspects of information technology management (Davies, 1991; Davies & Nielsen, 1992). Ethnography has also been discussed as a method whereby multiple perspectives can be incorporated in systems design (Holzblatt & Beyer, 1993) and as a general approach to the wide range of possible studies relating to the investigation of information systems (Pettigrew, 1985).
Ethnography is a research strategy that relies on the mere focus of conducting and investigating first hand field study, to able to describe and interpretation of the social world. The purpose of ethnography is to describe and explain the social world context in a chosen research subject inhabit, this focuses entirely on the way the research describes and explain the topic. Although not generally a very dominant research method in the business field, ethnography is very appropriate method of research when required to investigate the true insights about a particular context and better understanding and interpretation from the perspective of those involved (Saunders et al., 2007). Researchers that investigate topics related to management and organisations become ethnographers by working for a time in the business and the organisations they study and as a result, they become participant observers (Fisher, 2007). In participant observation the researcher attempts to participate fully in the lives and activities of subjects under study in order to understand the meaning and significances that people put upon the behaviour of them and others (Wisker, 2001).
My Research topic requires me to interview employees and employers as well as to shadow them during working environments in conducting the field research. As my topic requires a professional in look into the organisations adapting the social networking trend, it is obvious the only way to understand if social networks are increasing business sociability and productivity is to be able to run a sociological observation of how this technology is incorporated in a social context and cultural within a business organisation. This will supply the researcher with more insight on a personal scale, this way the results become more accurate with ethnographic methodology. For any researcher it is vital to adopt the role of ''participant as observer" which means that our identity as researchers would be clear to all concerned and the subjects will be aware of the fact that this is a field study (Saunders et al., 2007). This will enable any researcher to fully grasp the setting of the social world they are entering, in this case in a service QCs (Quality Care System), become part of the group and capture and investigate what people actually do, rather than interviewing them and what they say. Our objective is to fully involve and take part in order to see what people are doing, and why and this will enable the registration of experiences and behaviours at first hand in a detailed way, from the "inside" (Evered & Reis-Luis, 1981). In addition, adopting this role allows the data to be gathered more accurately rather than in a concealed matter where the person has a choice of what they say and feel about a subject. This benefits the researcher by determining from the members of the circle "what the problem really is". Taking the time and effort to listen to the people and our own sociological observations of the employees doing the job can lead to valuable insight as well as a deep understanding of the situation alongside their attitude towards QCs. It is the researchers own personal opinion that suggests that this methodology is able to provide the appropriate qualitative information and data in order to investigate QCs in an efficient way. Finally, the semi- structured interviews conducted during the collect data phase provide any research with further detailed information and will complement the data gathered by the observation. Members of QCs as well as management are interviewed in order to describe their experience as members; this provides any research study with the opportunity to examine their personal views about the concept and purpose of QCs. Furthermore, interviews provide a concise feedback in order to compare our understanding and analysis of the situation with the views of members, where the conclusion can be discussion relevantly due to the realistic data provided. This method of approach gives me as a researcher a concise validity of the chosen method of research. As it helps to achieve my research aims and objects through means of my research questions.
Ethnography in Social Networks:
Ethnography also helps sites like Facebook, Orkut, yahoo, Skype and other Social network sites that have be come intensely popular now a days. It has been found by various ethnographers that language is an issue in different states, where the English language has not been able to be understood. So, facebook , orkut websites who are using English as a mode of communication have now developed various compatibility language software for the social network. So different advertisements which adds revenue for these sites has now developed in different languages at different sites.
Ethnography has also focused on various cultures in foreign countries to gain a better understanding about the native people who are isolated from Western Civilization. The culture that has been adopted by western countries has also been studied with their advantages and disadvantages (Kuwayama, 2003). This helps the other countries to know about the behaviours of these people. The processes of social transformation can be observed and documented, and how the culture becomes embodied in individual participants in material terms, alongside the recording of their narratives (Paulson, 2010). It is more labour-intensive to set up and sustain an ethnographic study, but combining ethnography with narrative interviews produces deeper findings than a purely qualitative interview study.
The big brand 'Nokia, has used ethnographic techniques to reveal users' values, beliefs, and ideas. Nokia was one of the first mobile companies to concertedly hire ethnographers as part of its design process, In the mid to late nineties, Nokia changed the mobile industry forever by creating affordable, user friendly phones (Experientia, 2011). More than a decade later, the hardware mobile phone market is nearing saturation. An ethnographer that has been employed by Nokia has noticed that more and more people require mobile phone that must be user friendly and has a long battery life with reliability at its best. They has also collected the data that user requires language feature which helps to communicate with each other in their own language. So that employed that strategy and markets their products according to the same (Dina, 2010).
The Cross-Cultural differences in the usage pattern of all the social-networking has been observed by interviewing with so many participants by ethnographers of different countries like USA, France, Korea, Japan. The result evaluates the dimension of cultural differences of social network behaviour i.e goals, expressions, common interaction behaviour. So these differences epitomize the development path of interest in social networking and gradual integration of social networking into more general communication behaviour (Brettell, C. & Sargent, C.F, 1993). Different companies study qualitatively because social, cultural capital is transmitted over significant distances with technologies that unable to carry the full range of human expression that a participant observer likes to experience.
Whereas qualitative methods render rich description of human interaction, they can be unwieldy for studying complex formal and informal organizations that operate over great distances and through new media. Whereas social network analysis renders an overarching sketch of interaction, it will fail to capture detail on incommensurate yet meaningful relationships. So ethnography is required for the same (Howard, 2002).
To justify my reason for choosing such a methodology strategy, various literature is required to help provide a suggestive rational in validating my research. Ethnography relates to a sociological observation of a culture and its context to gather results. Clifton Geertz's has provided many contributions to anthropology. When looking into investigating Geertz's ideas and theories in Anthropology, the main idea of focus requires investigating his theories and concepts of the web of relations and symbolism. Geertz also took the idea of theory within this field of web relations to develop his own new ideas to develop them further. Geertz was trying to merely resolve when undertaking the ideas of symbolism was in fact the deconstruction of the complexity of meanings within cultures. Clifford Geertz was a firm believer that people should not to just take Anthropology as just factual science but too also perceive it as an interpretive science. Geertz was in fact completely illusive to the idea of there being such thing as social facts, so therefore his understanding Anthropology was away of in fact interpreting people, by the means of investigating symbolism. He work involved gaining a concise understanding the meaning of what culture was all about, upon discovering the ultimate meaning of cultural he could then share it with the rest of the world. When looking at any of Geertz various contributions, it is vital we discuss his idea of 'thick description' when investigating any of his detailed work. I will try to explain how his study of 'thick description' interprets the underlying system of meanings of individuals and the local meanings of the person. It is also vital for me to examine important comparisons between Geertz and other anthropologists, such as Emile Durkheim and Gilbert Ryle. The greatest reason of Geertz contributes to Anthropology within my literature review are in fact his ideas and contributions to ethnographic research methods. Geertz's ideas and beliefs have significantly contributed greatly to the study of Social Anthropology in the modern world today.
Geertz ideas and theories of Anthropology imply a means of interpretation. The process of interpretation relies solely on analysing layers of meaning, in particular his study of interpretive anthropology focuses directly to 'thick description' that is a core part of interpretive science. He understood the progress of recording human activity on a micro scale in regards to polysomic behaviour, details and data. These research methods are ones that cannot be enticed into other scientific methodologies during the examining process upon collecting data, the results would result in in regularity. Geertz severally stressed that was crucially vital for people to understand anthropology on a micro level, which lead him into becoming interested in symbolism meanings as part of this interpretive anthropology, how symbolism can motivate by understanding the individuals of societies.
The enlargement of human discourse is an aim to which a semiotic concept of culture is particularly well adapted. "Culture is a context; something within which social events, behaviours and processes can be intelligibly - thickly - described" (Geertz, 1975 p.14).
'Thick description' was a term that Geertz expanded upon from an earlier philosopher for further development. There is differences in Ryles and Geertz' understanding of the procedure. In this discussion many readers of Geertz work would be familiar with, "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory if Culture (1973a)", we can clearly see how Geertz claims to understand the variety of different beliefs about the word culture, he himself believes in the concept of culture that is semiotic. The term 'semiotic' refers to the idea of understanding culture through the solid encryption of decoding signs and symbols.
"Believing with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of "it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning. It is explication I am after, construing social expressions on their surface enigmatical" (Geertz, 1973: p.5).
As Geertz strongly believed the concept of culture was in fact semiotic, my personal perception lead me to believe he maintained that symbolism brought meaning and order to people's lives. Geertz contrasts and criticises other discipline sciences such as history, philosophy and psychology to be able to correctly assess and decode the meanings behind art, institutions, values and beliefs as well as other symbols. For any ethnographer it is highly important to interpret these signs and symbols on the sole means of 'thick description' otherwise evidently possible meanings will not be visible. In addition we can logically understand Geertz's idea behind culture more within this certain concept. As he believed that ethnographers can utilise the understanding of thick description for these symbols, then different cultures will have an increased understanding of each other.
This information and understanding is clearly vital as one of the other main criteria's of my research methodology is to investigate how social networks are adapted when an organisation has too offices in separate parts of the world. What happens to social communication in the form of social networking between different countries when the symbols are in the form of religion, cultural trends and communication language how do these cultures combine for increased business productivity and growth?
"Culture is public because meaning isâ€¦ The generalized attack on privacy theories of meaning is, since early Husserl and late Wittgenstein, so much a part of modern thought that it need not be developed once more here. What is necessary is to see to it that the news of it reaches anthropology; and in particular that it is made clear that to say that culture consists of socially established structures of meaning in terms of which people do such things as signal conspiracies and join them or perceive insults and answer them, is no more to say that it is a psychological phenomenon, a characteristic of someone's mind, personality, cognitive structure, or whatever than to say that Tantrism, genetics, the progressive form of the verb, the classification of wines, the Common Law, or the notion of 'a conditional curse'â€¦ is." (1973:12-13)
After investigating Geertz concept of analysing 'thick description' within culture, I still strongly believe it is important to get to the focal point of his interesting theory. Geertz himself says that culture "denotes a historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life" (Geertz, 1973: p89). Geertz evidently had dissimilarities to his ancestors in the concept of culture; they were interested in focusing on society solely and variety of religious trends. Geertz firmly believed the focal area of study for any true anthropologist was nothing other than straight culture and only then can the true study of religion best advanced.
Geertz only managed to successfully adapt and extend the idea of culture, from studying pervious works of Emile Durkheim. Durkheim's idea about the whole concept of society was that '"at the bottom, the concept of totality and society and that of divinity are very probably only different aspects of the same notion" (1965:490).
This notion of society, that Durkheim incorporated, as the all-grasping certainty was later advanced and embraced by Geertz, in which after analysing he considers it none other than to be a wider understanding of culture. Geertz makes a contrast between culture and the idea of the social system by describing, "the former as an ordered system of meaning and of symbols, in terms of which social interaction takes place; and latter as the pattern of social interaction itself" (Geertz, 1973: p144). Geertz has been more world renowned in accordance to Durkheim. The reason being none other than Durkheim lacking in producing a differentiation between the two theories, Geertz shows a much more concise visible understanding of the concept of culture where as Durkheim's reasoning is somewhat non-existent or present in the concept of culture at all.
Another sociologist that we can compare to interested Geertz is Max Weber. Weber has discussed many articulations of culture in all their diversities; further more I strongly believe that he deprived Geertz more thorough account of culture. Weber's identification of culture relied on his theory of economics. Weber believed that economics was elementary, and culture was just an imitative. Geertz, on the other hand, accepts "culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning" (Geertz, 1973: p.5). Geertz also suggests another approach to employ his idea of culture, that happens to be much more artificial and a very imitating method. Geertz maintains on the essentials of culture for the understanding of human life. He made a clear statement that culture is perceived as a "set of control mechanismsâ€¦. Most desperately dependent upon for the governing and ordering of behaviour" (Geertz, 1973: p44)
Geertz understanding of culture in context was that the anthropologists read over the shoulders of the natives. From studying culture there were many characteristics determined in Ethnography. Generally discovering that it was explanatory of stability of social discussion, it is also microscopic. However microscopic did not mean that ethnography was of miniscule importance, it is referring to as a method of approaching matters in small matters. However, Geertz also criticizes the microscopic approach to ethnography by offering an alternative solution that became essential when it came to making a realistic criticism. His idea of a resolution was in fact the careful consideration that "social actions are comments on more than themselves; that where an interpretation comes from does not determine where it can be impelled to go. Small facts speak to large issues for example winks to epistemology, because they are made to" (Geertz, 1973)
I have clearly summarised my literature by showing a detailed discussion of Geertz's theories and concepts of Ethnography as an Anthropology by comparing various sociologists theorises and ideas of culture in order to compare and see how Geertz's theory differs or is more reliable source of literature to prove my understanding of the methodology I have adapted in my research study.
Ethnography is useful to understand the lived culture in the society. Taking Television as concerned, it sees that audience is becoming fragmented, dispersed, no longer addressable as a mass, seems to live alone, no longer comprehensible as social entity. So more focused research is required in that area like ethnology that can enable the researchers to see these fragmented and individualized participants in their environment to understand how cultural identity will be formed (Stephens, 2007). So television is also a good medium of social networking like some people watches the television for the entertainment purposes or some people watches the television for knowledge purposes. In other words, to fully understand audience interpretation of the media and their consumption of it, the researcher must see it as it happens in the ever changing contexts of which it occurs, and ethnography allows one to do this. This helps the broadcasters to create television channels according to the need of the people.
Overall I have clearly explained the logical explanation for conducting an ethnographic approach to collect my data in the field as I am investigating the use of social network in every day office life in the business world. By interviewing or surveying employees and employers they may be reluctant to what information they provide. To resolve discussions the of productivity and social business growth among the Human Resource world today, a true insight of these research questions can only be answered by a thorough sociological observation within an Ethnography research methodology.