Social Media’s Impact on Business Ethics
The discussion of ethical problems associated with social media in the workplace is a relatively new occurrence. Approximately ten years ago technology entered a new phase evolving from the internet and email to an entirely different era (Ramos-Hernadez, 2007). Suddenly people who normally worked a 9 to 5 shift leaving work to transition into their personal lives. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Flicker to name a few changed all of that (Ramos-Hernadez, 2007). People who ordinarily kept a strict barrier between the two worlds were putting all sorts of their personal information out in the open for all to see. The data for all to see ...view middle of the document...
The study was prompted by the sudden increase for the need of companies to establish polices focusing on addressing social networking issues in the workplace. The results of the surveys revealed some surprising results. The study discovered a trend by separating responses of the active and non-active social networkers. This distinction between employees revealed a higher likelihood for employees who actively use social networking to have a more liberal acceptance for actions that might be considered unethical (Lauby, 2012). The findings were not meant to condemn the character of social networkers, but merely show a willingness to make unethical decisions in regards to the gray areas of corporate ethical policy (Lauby, 2012). The results of the survey are illustrated in the following table.
The study further associated the likelihood of social network users observing ethical misconduct. This heightened awareness of their surroundings prompted a significantly higher frequency of reporting items of misconduct (Lauby, 2012). This increased frequency in making a report also subjected the whistle blowers to a higher incidence of retaliatory acts from fellow employees and management (Lauby, 2012).
Ethical vs. Unethical
It is human nature is to be curious about what others are doing, but is it ethically acceptable to use personal information mined from social media to advance your own career or agenda. In my own opinion the verdict is still out on this topic. Society is still fumbling around trying to figure out what not to do if anything with the available information we have available to us. Whether the information is used for good or bad the question still remains is it ethical to use it just because it’s there. Last year I received notice of invitation to attend a higher than usual level meeting. This was a create opportunity for me to meet some extremely influential leaders within my company. I made the usual preparations like revisiting past correspondence and refreshing knowledge of current company projects to include financial data. Then it struck me why not use social media to my advantage. Within a matter of minutes I had nearly all of the meeting attendees’ personal information. The information included their favorite sports teams, hobbies, political affiliations, religious beliefs, music preferences and relationship status. I knew where they went on vacation last and even their favorite foods. While gathering the information I did have a feeling of perhaps I might be invading his or her privacy, but in the end my interaction with my peers was greatly enhanced. The moments of uncomfortable pauses in dinner conversation were non-existent. The insight enabled me to constantly guide the conversation to a point the other person would be comfortable with. In the end two of my superiors even sent me a friend request, so they could show me pictures of our seemingly likewise hobbies and interest. Did I feel a...