Does Your Employer Have a Social Media Policy? New Research From JMU

Aug 9, 2019

Janna Parker is an assistant professor of marketing at James Madison University.
Credit James Madison University

More and more people are discovering the hard way that what you post on your Facebook or Twitter feed can come back to haunt you at your job.  WMRA’s Jason Barr reports on new research that shows the relationship between your employer and your social media account.

What’s new about recent research by Janna Parker, assistant professor of marketing at James Madison University is the insight into business management and the social media accounts of employees.

PARKER: We used four real-life scenarios about people who had been fired for their social media use.

From there, Parker and her team asked survey respondents how offensive they found the social media post, and if they felt the person’s firing was justified. 

PARKER: And we did find a direct relationship with how offensive an individual perceived a post to be.

In other words, the more offensive the social media post, the more likely people were to side with the company that fired the employee.  But …

PARKER:  that only 34% of the respondents said yes, they have a social media policy.  The rest answered either no or don’t know. 

PARKER: So where this is important for employers is you have a responsibility to make sure your employees are aware of your company’s social media policy; if you don’t have social media policies, to create these and make sure employees are actually trained on it.

Parker says having a company policy is also important because it can protect employees from online attacks.  Parker’s research is published in the Journal of Business Research.