Worlds Collide: Work, Life, and Social Media

7 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Sean Kumar

Sean Kumar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Elizabeth A. Powell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

While some cases may focus on using social media to advance the interests of a business or brand, this case is best positioned as a springboard for exploring social media as it may coexist with or be embedded in organizational life. The case depicts a challenge for a young direct report, a relatively inexperienced manager, and the manager's supervisor when the direct report reveals a passionate political opinion on Facebook and unwittingly links it to sensitive company information. The case discussion can (1) surface diverse student views on the uses of social media as they relate to work life; (2) encourage analysis of and decision-making in the context of a tricky multilevel managerial situation involving social media use, company nondisclosure policies, and communicating guidelines; and (3) consider how issues raised in the discussion may inform students' own choices as users of social media and as managers of people who use these channels. Larger managerial, organizational, and corporate communication issues that are complicated by employee social media use may arise in this class discussion, including: managing professional boundaries between levels of employees in an organization; the porous boundaries that exist between internal and external communication; and gray areas among private, personal, professional, political, and public speech.

Excerpt

UVA-BC-0267

Nov. 9, 2018

Worlds Collide: Work, Life, and Social Media

Jenny Peters, assistant director of the Schools Assistance Contract at Atek International (Atek), sat at her computer at 8:00 a.m. on a cold Monday morning in February 2017, trying to slow her racing pulse. The prior afternoon, she had checked her Facebook account and discovered one of her direct reports, Richard Harley, had posted some sensitive company information to Facebook over the weekend that his friends, including several people in the company, had seen. Harley had even tagged her in the posts so that they showed up on her Facebook News Feed. She felt awful but didn't know how to respond, or what the consequences would be for herself, Harley, or the company. Peters then logged into her work email and saw a note from her supervisor, Mike Dupree, who said that he had also seen Harley's Facebook posts, and would see her at 10:00 a.m. Monday morning in his office. Peters tried to remain calm, but she had no idea what to do next.

Atek International

Atek, a government contractor, was cofounded in 1967 by Cal Sullivan, a Korean War veteran, and four former federal government employees. Over time, government contracting became a very lucrative business. By 2017, Atek was publicly traded and boasted 6,000 employees working in over 45 cities around the world and a global headquarters in Northern Virginia. Atek took a broad-brush approach to government support, pursuing contracts in the areas of government, education, energy, health, security, public safety, and social programming. The company provided comprehensive support including program management, business process, data analytics, cybersecurity, strategic planning, marketing strategy, and public relations.

. . .

Keywords: social media, Facebook, communication, work policies, managing, mentoring, free speech, work-life balance

Suggested Citation

Kumar, Sean and Powell, Elizabeth A. and Goldberg, Rebecca, Worlds Collide: Work, Life, and Social Media. Darden Case No. UVA-BC-0267. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301929

Sean Kumar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Elizabeth A. Powell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-982-2730 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.edu/faculty/Powell.htm

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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