Organizational Social Networking Usage and Policy Restrictions

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2012


Companies and staff ought to perceive the importance of social networking but also perceive the importance of limiting its amount and scope. With this back drop in mind, this paper sheds light on why social networking policies are critical, and what and why networking on social sites is being executed in companies and to expound upon organizational social networking policies. An analysis of 241 SHRM chapter members in Texas demonstrated that 85% of their organizations engage Facebook and just over 40% use LinkedIn and Twitter. Even though the vast majority deploy at least one social networking site, surprisingly only about 50% have policies regarding such activity. In regard to those companies which possess policies, 1/3 do not allow employees to use social media. The vast divide between companies that have revealed they use social media, and the lack of policies implemented in this area reveals that there exists a possible need to develop and implement policies to protect employee privacy and allow organizations the safe and beneficial use of social networks that align with laws and court cases.

Data Results

In terms of social media utilization in organizations (according to a survey of two hundred and forty one Society for Human Resource Management attendees) survey results indicate that approximately 85 percent engage in Facebook, and approximately 40 percent engage with LinkedIn and Twitter. With regard to the organizations which currently have social media policies, approximately one third altogether prohibit social networking. There seems to be a gap in the social media landscape between the use of social media and having policies which are addressed to facilitate social media usage. This gap may be communicating to present HR professionals that the adoption and implementation of intentional, hand-crafted policies may be necessary for both the employee as well as the organization. Results also indicate a decrease in performance at organizations due to focus shifting from work to other-than work specific focus via social media platforms. Almost 60 percent surveyed indicated that there was no social media policy at their respective organizations, further confirming the gap between social media use and policies aimed at facilitating the proper utilization of social media.

Thanks to Steve Silva, Graduate Assistant, Boise State University, for writing this original abstract/summary of the paper.

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