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In 2007 Sharon Allen, Deloitte LLP’s chairman of the board, commissioned the first annual Ethics & Workplace Survey. The inaugural study looked at the relationship between career-life fit and ...
In 2007 Sharon Allen, Deloitte LLP’s chairman of the board, commissioned the first annual Ethics & Workplace Survey. The inaugural study looked at the relationship between career-life fit and ethical behavior at work. In 2008, the research focused on how leadership transparency translates into a more productive and ethical workforce. This year, the study addresses the reputational risk associated with the increased use of social networking.
The phenomenal growth of online social networks is altering the way people communicate, share ideas, and disseminate information. This enhanced world of connectivity is also rapidly blurring the lines between professional and private lives. And while the openness of these new communications tools creates great opportunities, they can cause ethical dilemmas for individuals and present many challenges for businesses that can leave brands exposed and vulnerable.
The 2009 survey shows that there is great reputational risk associated with social networking as 74 percent of those surveyed believe it is easy to damage a brand’s reputation via sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
As this medium is evolving, there are different opinions about use and access. For example, 60 percent of business executives say they have the “right to know” how employees portray themselves and their organizations online, while 53 percent of the employees contend that “social networking pages are none of an employer’s business.”
So what should business leaders do? One option is to establish policies and protocols. However, nearly half of the respondents say that such guidelines will not change how they behave in cyberspace. Therefore, organizations should emphasize culture, values, and ethics in order to mitigate reputational risk in these online communities.
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