Impact of Social Media on Organizational CommunicationIntroduction
The growth of technology has significantly affected organizational behavior. The ever-changing technologies have forced organizational to makes various changes to synchronize their operations with the emerging technologies. Corporate leaders have been keen on embracing technologies that are relevant to the success of the organization. Technology has led to the increase in efficiency and helped to boost competitive advantage in the industry (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis 2014). Communication is one of the organizational behaviors that have been affected by the technology. The growth of the internet has come along with the new platforms of communication which helps people to connect and exchange instant messages. The social media platforms are increasingly integrated into the corporate world because of a large number of people using the internet (Leftheriotis and Giannakos 2014). The social media has created an opportunity for staffs, consumers, and other stakeholders to easily engage with the organization.
This paper critically examines how the social media has affected communication an organization.
Social Media and Organizational behavior
The social media has considerably affected the organizational behavior by influencing how information is affected and exchanged from one party to the other. According to Badea (2014), organizational communication involves the different channels and forms through which information is exchanged in an organization. Communication is an important aspect of an organization and it plays an indispensable role in the success of an organization (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis 2014). With the growth of new technological tools, organizations are focusing on embracing the new changes to enhance their competitive advantage and performance in the industry.
Communication is an organization takes different directions vertically (upward and downward) and horizontally. Downward communication involves the sharing of information from the management and executives to the staffs in the lower levels. This can be achieved through various channels such as policy manuals, regulations, and charts that guide the staff when conducting their duties. Upward type of communication is usually initiated by the staffs in the lower level that are complaining about a given problem or want to give issues to be addressed such as pay rise. Horizontal communication is the exchange of information, through different channels, by the staffs in the same level of the organization (Gibbs, Rozaidi and Eisenberg 2013).
Apart from within the organization, the social media has influenced how an organization communicates with its stakeholders. According to Bharati, Zhang, and Chaudhury (2015), social media has impacted how organizations pass information to the customers, shareholders, members of the public and other stakeholders. It has influenced the elimination of sophisticated process and complex formal structure that organizations have been using when communicating with its stakeholders.
Importance of organizational communication
Organization communication is an essential part of the operation of an organization. According to Gibbs, Rozaidi, and Eisenberg (2013), organizational communication is the means through which people in organization exchange information with other parties. As the employees interact with other employees as well as with the executives, it helps to shape the culture of the organization and the perception that people have about the organization. The method of communication, according to cite, goes beyond the simple exchange of information, to shape the behavior of the people interacting with the organization. The human interrelationship is shaped by the constituent information that they are exposed to within and outside the organization.
Traditional research on organizational communication examined how the communication differed from one organization to the other. However, in the society, today, the focus is on examining how technology has affected communication in an organization. Although adjusting to the new technologies has come with new cost on the communication process, they have also led to the increase in efficiency and easy access to information (Guo and Saxton 2014). Organizations are able to easily exchange information with staffs within the organization as well as with stakeholders outside the organization. This has helped to enhance the level of interaction, therefore, strengthening the relationship between the organization and different stakeholders. Organizations have continued to integrate the computer-mediated communication as a strategy of embracing different technologies into the communication process.
Managerialism is the reliance on professional management in conducting various activities of the organization such as planning and execution of the plans (Doran 2016). The management should be well experienced to conduct the various activities that will lead to high performance of the organization. The growth of technology has come with new dispensation because of the emergence of informal managers. Although managerialism is based on using professionals and well-experienced people in the managerial position, the emergence of social media has influenced organizations to embrace informal leadership (Doran 2016). Since social media is used by every member of the society, organizations are focusing on increasing their exposure in the digital world.
Jaros (2014) criticizes managerialism terming it as an ideology that only seeks to promote the power of one group in the society. Managerialism is perceived as making human to be tools of competition. Managerialism is based on given principles that people are required to adhere to in order to achieve given goals and objectives. In order to embrace managerialism, people are required to enroll and go through the learning process in schools of business. This, according to Jaros (2014), is propagating an ideology that prevents from embracing a new line of thinking but only using the same ideology that has been for years.
Another aspect of managerialism is the strong belief in control the operations of the organization. Managers aim at controlling every aspect of the organization to ensure that everything is running according to the set principles, strategies and, rules and regulations. Any form of resistance exhibited by other stakeholders such as staffs is strongly condemned and every method possible used to counter the resistance. For instance, in order to main their control, manager buys off the unions with higher wages and continue exercise their control in the organization. Managerialism avoids criticism because of the idea that the decision is well informed and thoughtful, which makes the managers fail to be corrected even when making a harmful decision.
Under the new digital technology, managerialism has not been able to ensure maximum control in the organization or avoid criticism. The social media platforms are relatively difficult to control, and therefore they are highly preferred by staffs and other stakeholders to raise their concerns about the organization. This means social media has made it easy to access and criticize the executives and the management. Additionally, with the ability to conceal identity, staffs able to raise any concern without risking a reprimand from the management.
Unlike the previous need for study in a business school for one to be an effective manager, the change in technology has led to the emergence of informal managers in the corporate sector. Event managers who have been through business schools are still forced to learn new stuff about the changing technology such as embracing social media in the organization (Leftheriotis and Giannakos 2014).
Futurism was an art and social movement that started in the 20th century in Italy. The movement emphasized on technology and focused on embracing technology on every form of art. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti formed the movement to examine the speed of technology and its changing on the lifestyle (Colli 2013). This period was marked with new forms of innovation including new types of airplane and vehicles and industrial cities. As a way of promoting its ideologies, the movement had sub-groups in other countries such as Russia, Belgium, and England.
In the modern world, futurism ideology has still continued to be propagated, in that organizations are looking for ways to boost and maintain their performance in the future. The use of social media, according to Deem (2001), is the future of corporation because of its impact on the organization. Social media has helped to increase the level of engagement between stakeholders in the organization. The social media has improved the vertical and horizontal communication by making it easy and prompt to exchange information. Organizations are also turning to social media because it is a motivation tool for both staffs and customers, as well as important for building and strengthening of relationships (Marez 2016).
The social media provides various platforms that are used by the organization in exchanging information between different parties in the organization. There is a wide range of social media platforms which include the Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Twitter. The web-based networks provide efficiency and ease in interaction through the sharing of information. They have completely changed how people interact and pass information as well as allowing the exchange of different forms of messages. Through the different social media platforms, people are able to share text messages, videos, picture and voices as they communicate with other parties. The social interaction created by the social media platforms have played a vital role in strengthening relationships between staffs other stakeholders (Wen, Geng and Ye 2016). With its ability to provide immediate and prompt messaging, the social media platforms continued to attract a wide range of research on its impact on communication in an organization.
According to the research by Bolton et al (2013), over the last decade, the social media has grown to become the most used form of computer-mediated communication in an organization. The continued use of social media in the general public has slipped into the organization making it incorporate in the organizational communication. Managers have also learned of the benefits of the social media and have continued to incorporate it in every level of their communication. According to the research by the Stavros et al (2014), corporations in the U.S use at least one social media platform in their communication.
Different social media platforms serve different purposes. For instance, Twitter is preferred because it enables people to share and exchange first and short messages. Facebook is preferred because it provided a comprehensive platform for sharing all kind of message and interaction with a wider crowd. YouTube, on the other hand, it is a video platform that allows easy sharing of video content and also allows people to comment on the video. Different social media platforms are also embraced in some regions more than others; for instance, WeChat is strongly embraced in China. This means organizations in China are more likely to embrace Wechat than other social media platforms because it is widely used (Wen, Geng and Ye 2016).
Use of social media in the workplace
The extensive use of social media in the public has influenced the integration of the social media in the corporate world. Organizations have continued to examine the impact of social media in the corporate work. The use of social media has increasingly been embraced in the workplace by the employees because it creates an informal atmosphere which is easy to interact in. The social media is inexpensive less restrictive and friendlier than the traditional channels of communication (Stavros et al. 2014). In this regard, the social media has led to an increase in the level of interaction between the staffs in different departments.
By embracing the social media, staffs have become more open in sharing their ideas and taking part in the decision making process. By enhancing communication and interaction in the organization, the social media has acted as a tool for motivating the employees. Social media boost the morale of the employees based on the fact they are able to express their ideas as well as participate in the decision making process.
Use of social media in consumer
Organizations have also turned to use the social media in communicating with the customers in the market. According to Stavros et al (2014), social media is highly preferred as a marketing tool because of it has become easily accessible by the many people across the world. The rapid exchange of information between an organization and the consumer has helped to enhance the customer experience as well as build a strong relationship and customer engagement. Organizations have also turned to the social media platforms to promote fast and prompt customer services. The social media marketing, according to Malthouse et al. (2013), is the use of social media platforms to promote the products in an organization. The social media market is highly preferred because it helps organizations to easily reach out to the potential customers in a given market. Increasingly, organizations have turned to establishing social media platforms for not only reaching new markets but also as a tool for promoting loyalty of the customers. Organizations establish social media forums through which the customers can interact as well as engage with the organization.
Implication of the social media in an organization
Although social media has formed an indispensable part of the corporate world, Charoensukmongkol (2014) argues that the organizations have not managed to effectively integrate the new technology. The interaction via social media has remained strong to be one way. Consumers actively engage with the organization, but only with minimal responses from the organizations. According to Charoensukmongkol (2014), organizations have relatively less control over the social media unlike the traditional forms of communication. Lack of effective control has impeded the plan of the organization to strongly embrace social media. Organizations are not sure of the response of the customers and other stakeholders and they cannot control their interaction with the media. However, according to the argument by Malthouse et al. (2013), organizations should engage in constant interaction with social media in order to achieve the intended positive consequences.
The social media has significantly impacted communication in the corporate world. Managers are increasingly embracing the social media because they have realized it impact in boosting the level of engagement between the organization and its stakeholders. The social media provides various platforms that are used by the organization in exchanging information between different parties in the organization. The social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, help in sending instant messages within outside the organization. The rapid exchange of information between an organization and the consumer has helped to enhance the customer experience as well as build a strong relationship and customer engagement. Organizations have also turned to the social media platforms to promote fast and prompt customer services. The management should be well experienced to conduct the various activities that will lead to high performance of the organization. Although organizations put more emphasis son managerialism, the growth of social media has triggered the emergence of informal leaders. The social media and the ever-changing technological based is the home of the
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