Social Media in Organizational Psychology

According to the American Psychological Association (2016), Industrial and Organizational psychology studies human behavior in relation to the work place. This branch of psychology seeks to understand and gain information from individual and group behaviors in order to make organizations more efficient and solve problems. One important concept in the realm of organizational psychology is analyzing development in the work place. Organizational psychology studies trend changes in the work place, and aids companies with successful adaptations to these developmental changes. Many of these modern day developments have to do with the ever-expanding technology at our fingertips.

Social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like are finding new and innovative ways to reach consumers, convey information and open up a new field of marketing expertise. In 2012, 73% of Fortune 500 companies were on Twitter, and 80% of executives promoted social media as a way to increase sales (Holmes, 2013). In the field of organizational psychology, understanding these developmental trends surrounding social media holds the key to expanding company communication and profit across the technological field. Social media participation for organizations is said to offer many great advantages: “better insight into customer behavior, improved office productivity with internal networks and, of course, significant, measurable ROI [return on investment]” (Holmes, 2013). Understanding this information provides many open doors for organizations to expand into the technological field seeking new opportunities.

Organization participation in social media can impact companies in several ways. Firstly, social media is opening doors for communication. Many companies are now utilizing social media technology as a productively tool in order to create company-wide communication and collaboration, thus replacing email. HR departments are using social media such as Career Finder, Facebook and Linkdin to screen employees for employment, thus replacing the traditional paper resumes. Social media gives organizations more accurate marketing pathways and access to “real-time” consumer activity monitoring (Holmes, 2013).

It is important to understand the strengths that social media and technology provides so that companies can adapt to the changing times and expand business. However, these strengths do not come without challenges. The challenges associated with the use of social media include problems with posted content online by employers/employees, ethical breeches of internet privacy for consumers, training employees on internet policies, training marketing on new technological advances, it is a time intensive business that requires constant monitoring, lacks feedback control, and can be a difficult integration from small and local businesses (Abrons, 2014). These social media challenges really show the importance of organizational psychology and the need for developmental analysis in the work place.


Abrons, R. (2014). The Disadvantages of Using Social Networks as Marketing Tools. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from

APA. (2016). Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from

Holmes, R. (2012, December 6). 5 Ways Social Media Will Change The Way You Work in 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from



  1. You make an excellent point that when used correctly, constructively, and with some restraint social media can be very lucrative for business small or large. Organizations are capable to outreach for perspective customers that may otherwise be unaware of a scope of service, or even increase company presence as active participants in community relations including special projects, employment opportunities, or collaborative efforts.

    As social media increases exposure options (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, only to name a few) companies need to ensure those professionally representing the organization are legally permitted to do so. Inadvertent disclosure of potential contract specifics, trade secrets, salary information, even employee lists should not be released without consideration to potential negative consequences. Employees engaging in liberal unfiltered and often unconscious discussion online may not even realize they are breaking a standard of conduct or code of ethics until it is reported and or becomes a problem.

    In addition to breached data employees often are expected to maintain professional images, even on social medial. There is a fine line between self expression and freedom of speech when you tie your personal accounts to your employer and behave below expected corporate standards. Ultimately such activity can and has cost employees their jobs or professional sanction in some cases.

    The internet has changed forever the process of business and socialization, it will be interesting being apart of both worlds how progressively things continue to evolve and how norms and standards are adapted to marry both.

  2. As you say, it’s important for any company with an internet footprint to be aware of the dangers that come along with the glitz and glamour of social media. Particularly, the content that is posted by employees can pose a serious PR problem to any company with a well known footprint, and there is little that can be done to control it.
    There are a few ways to help mitigate the likelihood of such unpleasant instances occurring. The first such way is to hire employees who tend to use their social media responsibly. While this is more difficult in practice than in theory, there are ways around the challenges. Worthy of note here is that it is much easier for a business in a small town to hire individuals at a company who are low-risk for internet embarrassment, if only because everyone in a small town knows everyone. In larger cities, this can be difficult, but scanning during a meeting to discuss social media activity, and gauging the applicant’s consequent reaction, can go a long way towards knowing someone’s social media proclivities without having to look at their Twitter feed or Facebook posts if such an action is, for example, currently illegal. Establishing stiff penalties for such behavior is equally effective in curbing it.
    The funny thing is, it can take many forms that don’t immediately spring to mind. Not all internet risk involves a raunchy frat party and substances of dubious legality plain for all the world wide web to see. Recently, I had an issue where one of my employees had begun posting pictures on Instagram that she’d taken at our place of business, with the company logo clearly visible in the images. That would have been alright, until she started putting captions on the pictures that had clear ties to her religious proclivities. That, while in a small town, could easily be seen by community members who did not belong to her faith, and in all likelihood, in the short time they were live on Facebook, probably damaged my store’s customer base by associating the branch with that religion. It was a difficult situation to be in.
    That being the case, in most scenarios, the benefits outweigh the risks for an online, social media presence. It’s working for Bernie Sanders at the moment, as his primary weapon in the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton. Without the support of social media site Reddit, he would likely not have nearly as many supporters as he currently enjoys. It’s worked for others, too.

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