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Management - Social Media Use - Watson & Lopiano's - Report Writing Assessment Answer

February 20, 2018
Author : Ashley Simons

Solution Code: 1AGFI

Question: Management

This assignment falls under Management which was successfully solved by the assignment writing experts at My Assignment Services AU under assignment help service

Management Assignment

Assignment Task

Read the Harvard Business Review article, "Should We Fire Him For That Post?".

Imagine that you are an ethics officer within the company. You have been asked by Susannah Winslow (the general manager) to help her resolve the issue described in the case study. Specifically, she is faced with the problem ofan employee who has been making disparaging remarks about the company on social media.

Write a report to Susannah that outlines the business issue, and your recommendation for resolving it.

Your report should:

  • Provide a summary of the business issue and the context in which it occurs.
  • Outline at least two approaches for resolving the ethical issue (e.g.,ignore the issue, discipline them, or even fire them).
  • Evaluate the ethical implications of each approach, with reference to the academic literature. For example, you could discuss the likely impacts on the company, its shareholders, other employees, and its customers.
  • Make a recommendation as to the most appropriate solution. Provide a justification as to why this approach should be preferred.

case study link

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Social Media UseExecutive Summary

The advancement in technology has shaped different aspects of life such as how we communicate, interact or market business. However, the success of each role is based on the individual ability and skills to effective use technology tools such as social media which incorporates different sites for interaction such as Facebook and Twitter. The case of Downcity motors is a demonstration of social media uses in a business setting; however negative; hence affecting the business operation of the company. The employee in context also demonstrates the lack of appropriate ethical understanding or skills to use social media and make appropriate decisions. Social media use among the employees or within organizations has significant positive impact on the achievement of organizational objectives such as marketing or seeking customer feedback. However, an organization in context demonstrates a lack of expertise to establish appropriate policies or guidelines that define the use of social media in their due to the associated adverse effects such as reputational damage. In the case of Downcity Motors the negative impact of social media is evident; however, organizations can apply different recommended approaches to reduce the adverse effects such as training programs or raising awareness campaigns, proper screening of employees during hiring and creation of the policies. In this paper a background description of the use of social media among the employees will be evaluated, a description of the case scenario and an evaluation of the approaches that would have been utilized in the case as well as the alternatives and finally recommendations on the case.

Background: Use of Social Median Among Employees

In an era that technologies impacts every realm of a human's life, it has become increasingly important for organizations to establish their rules to shape employee performance and overall customer satisfaction. Collaborative technologies are critical in the workplace since they enhance the effectiveness and encourage teamwork as well as building relationship. However, when organizations fail to establish appropriate policies to the application of the technologies, they can often influence adverse effects. According to research, the impact of social media in the workplace is increasing and may represent the use of Smartphone's, PC's and laptops to keep in touch or interact with different people (Olivas-Lujan & Bondarouk, 2013). The impact of social media on the employee's performance, organizational image, and communication or how colleagues relate to one another is increasingly becoming an area of concern creating the need for organizations to establish appropriate policies to control social media use in the workplace (Olivas-Lujan & Bondarouk, 2013).

Many questions often exist on the effectiveness and the ethical grounds of using social media in the workplace such as Facebook due to the idea of the appropriate use of the tools to disseminate information. Social media policies in most organizational settings are based on ensuring employees face disciplinary action in the event of violating the policies. The majority of the policies are also meant to protect the reputation of the organization based on the fact that social media connects many people who actively communicate through multiple social sites and devices. The use of social media among organizational employees sometimes vary based on the organization's policies or appropriate training provided to the employees in regards to confidentiality and port-termination restrictions. The misuse of social media also influences legal actions an aspect that strives at providing comfort to the global business as well as enhancing the standards and harmonizing approaches used to engage the employees (Bradley & McDonald, 2011).

The issue of ethics in social media use by employees often arises due to the need to protect the business and its operations from negative publicity which can result due to the posting or comments made on social media despite not necessarily directed to the organization. Hence, a majority of the organizations establish policies that refrain the workers from posting contents that would jeopardize the reputation of their organizations. Additionally, they implement different disciplinary methods to enhance compliance with the ethical requirements and the policies set. According to research, social media may develop both positive and adverse impact to an organization based on the users and the kind of content shared (Olivas-Lujan & Bondarouk, 2013). Enhancing the ethics and integrity of an organization demands the use of quality and mature content that reflects the business image in contrast to the individual posts done on personal social media accounts.

8026Research by Bradley & McDonald (2011), identifies different problems or risk factors that employers may face due to unethical employee use of social media sites which may include loss of workforce productivity, a breach in the confidentiality, reputational damage to the organization such as when the information shared contain defamatory material. In this regard, Organizations are expected to establish contractual provisions to govern the use of social media as well as a constant update of the social media policy and ban its use in severe situations. The factors enhance the organization's ability to address ethical issues arising from social media use by the employees as well as improving business performance through maintaining a positive reputation.

Case Study Scenario

Watson & Lopiano's (2016) article present a case study of social media use 8026in organization and impact of negative information shared online to the overall reputation of the organization. The case study also evaluates the decision to fire an employee responsible for a Facebook post that had a significant negative impact on the team. According to the case, Kenton, the company's most successful sales person had made negative comments on Facebook regarding Mercedes launch suggesting that he was glad it wasn't about BMW. Based on the fact that the company's dealership included both BMW and Mercedes, there was a need to keep the confidentiality of the stakeholders as well as refrain from posting information that would affect the overall performance of the organization (Watson & Lopiano's, 2016).

In this case, Kenton failed to uphold the social media policies that demand ethical practices among the employees as well as refrain from posting information that would risk the reputation or sales of the organization. In his post, Kenton appeared to favor Mercedes rather than BMW and deeming the latter as ineffective; hence, increasing the risk of poor sales and reputational damage. The post also implied that the company requires keeping a tighter focus on one brand; hence, the comment was likely to affect the luxury market or customers for the dealership products (Watson & Lopiano's, 2016).

Alternative Solutions

The employee's post reflected negatively on the company, its customers, and partners creating issues of integrating and trust towards the employee-Kenton due to his decision-making capabilities. A critical issue that the corporation faced includes making a decision to fire the employee due to the post while at the same time keeping him since he was the best sales person in the company; hence, a valuable employee. Additionally, the company had not updated the employee manual to cover social media; hence, lacked proper ground through which they could fire the employee. In this case, three aspects are evident which includes the expression of individual opinion as a right enshrined in the constitution, in this regard, the employee had the privilege of posting anything he deemed good. However, describing the problem regarding the expression of opinion suggests that the company would ignore the case rather than take actions. Alternatively, the company would use the idea to demonstrates the employees in the ability to uphold the organizational values as well as risking the business success.

The second critical issue in the case that requires alternative solution includes the idea that letting the employee go free might influence the occurrence of a similar situation in the organization. Hence, the organizational leaders had the option of punishing the employee or creating awareness campaigns on the need to consider ethical issues as well as social media policies before posting information online to secure the future and reputation of both the company and its stakeholders. According to the article, being lenient to the employee increases the risks of similar behaviors which might be detrimental to the continued positive performance of the company. Hence, the best alternative involves ensuring the employee is responsible for his actions as well as providing an example to other employees irrespective of the employee's value to the organization (Watson & Lopiano's, 2016).

Additionally, the organization had the option of executing a disciplinary action based on the damaged reputation of the company in the public forum. The option also increased the chances of avoiding the occurrence of such a case in the business. Among the disciplinary alternatives included suspending the employee or firing him; however, the company is limited due to the lack of clear social media policies that outlines the employee's expectations and actions that can be taken in the event the social media policies fail to take precedence in individual actions. The reputation of the company is at stake in this case, and there is a need to avoid a repetition of the same from other employees making the disciplinary action as the best alternative to addressing the issue. However, the case raises questions about the company's capability to control social media use by the employees as it lacks updated social media policies but rather depends on the employee ethics to define the actions taken. In this regard, the organization is partly responsible for actions such inappropriate use of social media which deems it impossible for the company to fire the employee but only take a disciplinary action.

Hence, firing the employee is not an option in the case but rather a wake-up call for the company to update the employee handbook on respecting the company image or reputation a well as social media use in the future. According to research by Landers & Schmidt (2016), organizations without proper policies on social media have higher risk levels since some of the posts may contain defamatory material to the organization and customers. This demonstrates that the company failed in its obligation of establishing social media policies to protect its image and that of stakeholders. As earlier established, collaborative technologies are critical in the workplace due to their ability to enhance teamwork and build relationships. However, there must exist proper approaches that define how they can be implemented to ensure there is no distraction for the employees or posting of potentially harmful information online. The presence of social media policies provides the employees have a set standard for social media use to negative impact on the organization (Olivas-Lujan & Bondarouk, 2013).

In the article case, limiting social media use is not an option but rather an alternative to expanding the sales or marketing opportunities for the company. Social media use fits any organization and can be applied in a variety of aspects; however, the drawbacks may course severe adverse effects despite the industry in context; however, some industries are more vulnerable primarily those that depend on the method to promote or market its products as evident in the case. However, the case demonstrates that the company has to make more efforts towards improving social media through different recommendations that can assist in shaping the employee's behaviors (Landers & Schmidt, 2016).

Recommendation and Conclusion

The company in context can address the problem by first creating an apology message to the customers to solve the current problem of reputation damage to the customers. Creating such a message suggests that the company is responsible and understands the impact of the social media posts on the customers buying behaviors and trust on the enterprise. Hence, the message will help in addressing the negative market perception. Secondly, the company can engage the employee and seek views on the reasons for the posted message to evaluate the underlying reasons. For this step, it will be easier for the company to implement a decision of the employee. Additionally, the company can further address the situation by raising awareness on the positive impact of making ethical use of social media. Training or advocacy empowers the employees as well as increasing their understanding on how social media can affect the company negatively; hence, likely to shape their social media use and also shows that the company is sensitive to such situations. The next recommendation to address the situation includes giving a disciplinary action to the employee who in this case can include suspending the employee based on the fact that the company lacks appropriate social media policies within its regulations (Landers & Schmidt, 2016).

The action relies on demonstrating the seriousness of actions deemed inappropriate or unethical and likely to affect the image of the company. Finally, the organization can establish the necessary social media policies and include them in the employee guidebook to ensure they have an appropriate basis for addressing unethical social media use. Conclusively, social media has been established as a critical tool that can promote business performance; however, it can also influence its failure primarily when it's not appropriately used. The presence of social media policies shapes how the employees behave in the workplace while using the tools, what they share and consideration to the reputation of the organization. The case also demonstrates the need to train employees, properly screen them and keep updating policies as technology changes.

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