Ethical Issues in the Use of Social Media in the Workplace

Introduction

Technology influences interaction between people in the workplace. For instance, social media enables employees to exchange information via chartrooms. Although social media makes people more productive in the workplace, the paper confirms that it is often associated with various ethical issues that have to be addressed to maximize employee productivity. It also provides guidelines to deal with the discussed issues.

Ethical Issues in the Use of Social Media in the Workplace

Ethical guidelines define the acceptable codes of conduct in a given organization. For instance, Lewis asserts that it is unethical in many organizations for employees to spend working time in doing personal activities (89). Unfortunately, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter enable people to chat with friends not only via computers, but also through any internet-enabled mobile device such as Smartphones.

This situation makes the misuse of working time number one important issue that is associated with the use of social media in the workplace. Unfortunately, people now have normalized the use of social media whereby every worker seems free to access social sites any time while in the workplace (Cromity 23).

Misuse of organizational resources constitutes another unethical use of social media in workplaces. Technology enables organizations to improve their efficiency and speed during communication and execution of organizational activities such as selling. Indeed, internet connectivity has enabled modern organizations to not only send instant bulk messages in real time, but also provide a room for them to sell their products and services directly online (Cromity 24).

This observation suggests that the internet constitutes an important organizational resource whose use determines the effectiveness of an organization. Unfortunately, unethical use of social media in the workplace has the implication of making people misuse the available limited resource to realize individual interests such as communicating with friends and relatives.

Unethical use of social media creates conflict of interest between employees and the organization management. Employees need to use it only to achieve their company’s objectives. However, they collect and use corporate information inappropriately, for example, by distributing it to competitors. They disclose the company’s rights to the public through social media. This situation leads to the emergence of organization-employee conflicts.

Guidelines to Deal with the Issues

An organization needs to encourage the use of social media for activities that benefit it. Hence, companies need to evaluate their objective of using social media. Lewis confirms that people use social media to achieve personal objectives such as getting in touch with friends and relatives instead of accomplishing their company’s objectives and goals (90). Organizations should then specify their most preferred social media use behavior while discouraging any other use. Using social media to benefit the organization can help in building positive relationships with suppliers and customers.

Encouraging the use of social media to achieve company’s agenda boosts professional linkages. This move has the effect of increasing knowledge exchange among people who work in different organizations. Such exchange fosters innovation and creativity together with the provision of reliable organizational benchmarks (Cromity 28).

Where sharing of information happens between customers and employees, social media use to pursue company objectives facilities the learning of consumer needs. This strategy forms the basis for developing new product lines. Using social media this way ensures that organizational resources are utilized to achieve the set objectives. Dealing with unauthorized disclosure of corporate information through social media requires organizations to develop plans to regulate its use for corporate purposes.

Works Cited

Cromity, Jamal. “The Impact of Social Media in Review.” New Review of Information Networking 17.1(2012): 22-33. Print.

Lewis, Tanya. “Tweeting at Work: The Use of Social Media in Professional Communication.” Information Services and Use 34.1/2 (2014): 88-90. Print.