Module 2 Discussion: Should employees post company reviews online? Discussion I

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Jan 18, 2023

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Module 2 Discussion: Should employees post company reviews online?
Discussion Instructions:Please 1) read the case study below, and 2) write your discussion/reactions on the three questions after the case study; 3) please also provide your comments on at least two classmates’ reactions.
Discussion Rubric:The rubric for discussions can be viewed by clicking the three dots (top right) and selecting Show Rubric. Please read it carefully to understand the expectations for discussions.
Discussion Topic: Should employees post company reviews online? “Arrogant, condescending, mean-spirited, hateful … and those traits describe the nicest people at Netflix,” writes one anonymous employee. “Management is awful … good old boys club,” writes a Coca-Cola market development manager. And the reviews keep rolling in; Coca-Cola has 1,600 employee reviews, and some companies, like Google, have double that number on Glassdoor, one of the Internet sites that allows anyone to rate their employers.
Websites like Glassdoor are thriving; employees increasingly join the forums and seem to relish the chance to speak freely. The app Memo, which claimed 10,000 new members in about 3 months, allows users to post, comment, and share links. They will soon be able to upload photographs and documents, which will raise new security concerns for organizations.
Ryan Janssen, CEO of Memo’s parent company, Collectively, says apps like Memo, Yik Yak, and Whisper allow bosses access to candid feedback they cannot otherwise get. Janssen said, “The employee’s natural reaction [when managers ask for feedback directly] is to tell you what you want to hear.” There is certainly truth to this—studies indicate that employees “put on a happy face” for their bosses. When people know their posts aren’t anonymous, “People put on this weird, fake professional face,” he said.
Organizations are aware that people watch what they say when they can be identified, and many have used anonymous job attitude surveys for this reason. Still, evaluations from these surveys are often more glowing, and less detailed, than anonymous website feedback. Some organizations have therefore altered the frequency and scope of surveys to obtain more depth. Others have their own intranet platforms to solicit concerns and complaints.
Beyond the personally unethical aspect of posting scathing denouncements about people or organizations online—sharing details with the world that you would not share in person—issues of organizational ethics come into play. While companies like Visa, Boeing, and Hewlett-Packard have tried to discourage employees from anonymously venting on websites and apps, such mandates may violate the employees’ right of free speech. And how anonymous are anonymous posts? Posts on Glassdoor and other forums eliminate a person’s name, but can’t bosses sometimes determine which subordinate posted the comments? Managers everywhere need to decide how much management sleuthing is ethical and what consequences, if any, can be forced on subordinates for anonymous posts.
Grant Vodori, cofounder of a digital marketing agency in Chicago, has been successful in obtaining candid answers from his employees through polls taken several times each week. “It’s sometimes a little bit scary,” he said, asking himself, “Do I really want to know the answer to this?”
Questions to Discuss: Do you think employees have a right to say what they want to about their organizations online as opposed to in private?
How would you react if you learned one of your employees posted unflattering comments about you as a manager? Would your reaction be any different if the employee posted unflattering comments about you as a person?
Do you feel it is acceptable to post comments anonymously, or do you think people should include their names? Why or why not?

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