Facebook in the workplace

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Title Facebook in the workplace: findings of a content analysis of Canadian arbitration cases
Author(s) Gregory Goodfellow
Date 2012
Institution University of Prince Edward Island
Supervisor(s) Wendy Carroll
Degree earned Master of Business Administration
Place published Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Abstract Since the introduction of instant messaging programs in the mid-1990s, the use of social media tools has grown exponentially. As popular social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace become more prevalent, employers and employees alike, are faced with a new reality – dealing with an increasing online ‘cross-over’ between personal and work lives. Many users think their pages are personal and private to them, but are they? Because these sites are still relatively new and considered somewhat of an ‘uncharted territory’, employers and employees struggle to know their rights when employees use these sites, at home and on the job site, in ways that could harm employers or their organizations. The ever-growing question about an employer’s right to use social media to monitor and evaluate, and even discipline and dismiss employees was the driving force behind this research study. Facebook, the clear front-runner in today’s social media tools, has exceeded 845 million active users around the world, making it an ideal social media study subject. A content analysis of Canadian arbitration cases was selected as the most effective way to gather documented evidence of how Facebook-related human resources issues are being ruled upon for unionized employees. The study findings highlight that year- over-year, the number of these arbitration cases relating to social media use in the workplace is increasing. The findings also show that arbitrators, in large part, are deciding in favour of employers who discipline or dismiss, based on the content posted by their employees on Facebook.
Use/Reproduction In presenting this signature project report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, the author has agreed that the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, may make this signature project freely available for inspection and gives permission to add an electronic version of the signature project to the Digital Repository at the University of Prince Edward Island. Moreover the author further agrees that permission for extensive copying of this signature project report for scholarly purposes may be granted by the professor project work, or, in their absence, by the Dean of the School of Business. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this signature project report or parts thereof for financial gain written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to the author and to the University of Prince Edward Island in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in the a report.

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