A study says 60% of business executives believe they have a right to know how employees use online social networks. However, employees disagree, as more than half (53%) say their social networking pages are not an employer’s concern. The findings have come today (May 18) from the third annual Deloitte Ethics & Workplace survey. 

Younger workers are more reluctant, as 63% of 18-34 year old respondents stating employers have no business monitoring their online activity. And employees appear to have a clear understanding of the risks involved in using online social networks, as 74% of respondents believe they make it easier to damage a company’s reputation.

“With the explosive growth of online social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, rapidly blurring the lines between professional and private lives, these virtual communities have increased the potential of reputational risk for many organizations and their brands,” said Sharon Allen, chairman of the board, Deloitte LLP.

The study reveals that mere 17% of executives surveyed say they have programs in place to monitor and mitigate the possible reputational risks related to the use of social networks. Additionally, while less than a quarter have formal policies on the medium’s use among their people, nearly half (49%) of employees indicate defined guidelines will not change their behavior online.

Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey on behalf of Deloitte LLP among a national probability sample of 2,008 employed adults comprising 1,000 men and 1,008 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for these surveys was completed during the period April 9-13 and 16-19, 2009. 

Opinion Research also conducted an online survey of 500 business executives. The sample for the study came from a panel of executives across the United States, including company owners, directors, CEOs, controllers, EVPs, CIOs, VPs and board members. Invitations to participate in the study were sent beginning on April 10, 2009 and data collection continued through April 17, 2009.

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About Rakesh Raman

Have extensive editorial, content management, and integrated communications experience and have worked as a senior tech journalist, analyst, and columnist with different newspapers, magazines, and Web/online properties in India.

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