Topic 4 : When employees can’t control themselves


Most businesses and organizations have jumped on the social media bandwagon due to effective communication and ease of dispensing information to notify consumers, visitors, followers and prospective consumers of their developments via these mediums. By using social media platforms, they have been able to increase brand awareness and exposure due to the high traffic in users. However, companies fail to remember that their employees are the ones behind these social media accounts. These employees are the ones in charge of delivering information, feedback and suggestions to their consumers. Also,research have shown that the 5 main reasons for consumers following companies on social media are :

social networkmedia (source:

  • Promotion and Discounts
  • For latest Discounts
  • Customer Service
  • Entertaining Content
  • Ability to offer Feedback


Integrity Risk

Employees of the company are the ones responsible for all postings on the various social media. They represent the company to offer feedback, handle customer requests, complaints as well as share timely updates on the company’s promotions. Internal disagreements within the company can cause a disgruntled employee to act recklessly in an attempt to get back at the former. Including employees who can’t control their frustrations when dealing with customer complaints and behave in an unethical manner. Thus, the company faces an ethical challenge of integrity risk due to the thoughtless actions of an employee.

There have been several notable cases of social media meltdowns including HMV and Nestle. HMV is a British retailing company selling books, video games, music, technology and many more. A manager of HMV who was sacked along with 180 over employees had access to the company’s twitter account and she launched a barrage of tweets during the entire process. Poppy Rose’s reason for doing so was due to her outrage and grievance over the sudden firing of her and her colleagues that she felt there was no firm basis for. As a result, she inflicted damage on the company’s reputation as well as her own.


Another case of employee misbehavior on social media platform was under Nestle. Nestle had initially uploaded a statement for their supporters to refrain from using a modified logo of the company as their display picture or else their comments would be omitted. However, Nestle received violent reactions from several followers over the request, for which the employee behind the account retorted in a very distasteful and unprofessional manner. The issue received backlash from the public over how unpleasantly they handled the negative responses. Since then, Nestle had to endure the damage done to the company’s image.


Companies must take into consideration the severity of employees misusing corporate social media accounts. They should monitor employee postings done on the various social media platforms to ensure no mistakes are made. Access to these accounts have to be well controlled, every now and then the company should change their passwords to these platforms when an employee has been dismissed or has left voluntarily.


Susan Adams. (2013). Don’t Fire An Employee And Leave Them In Charge Of The Corporate Twitter Account. Available: Last accessed 9 Nov 2015.

RICK BROIDA. (2010). Nestle’s Facebook Page: How a Company Can Really Screw Up Social Media. Available: Last accessed 9 Nov 2015.
David Vinjamuri . (2011). Ethics and the Five Deadly Sins of Social Media. Available: Last accessed 9 Nov 2015. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] UK: Institute of Business Ethics, pp.1-4. Available at: [Accessed 9 Nov. 2015].

Douglas Karr. (2014). 2014 Statistics and Trends for Businesses on Social Media. Available: ocial-media/. Last accessed 9 Nov 2015.



  1. Chloe Tan · November 10, 2015

    Hi Stephanie! 🙂

    The hmv tweets are so interesting! Hahaha! My blog post about ethics had a general relation to businesses too but not in the sense of how you’ve approached the topic! I like how you’ve talked about the employees behind the businesses’ social media accounts. Till you mentioned it, I’ve never really thought of how it’s a employee answering queries and putting out updates or discount news on their social media. It always sounds so professionally executed you’d think they all sat in a meeting room to click on the ‘Tweet’ or ‘Post’ button together.
    In the cases you’ve provided, I guess it was unethical on the part of the employee but the employer has to take the full responsibility of the actions of what their workers have committed. I think it’s really important that companies instil in their staff ethical knowledge of what should and should not be posted on social media and how the backlash can potentially endanger the entire company and most importantly their job.

    Thanks for the interesting post!


    Liked by 1 person

    • stephanielimym · November 11, 2015

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post Chloe ! The HMV tweets were an eye opener to me as well, I couldn’t imagine employees using corporate social media platforms to rage about the company especially when the situation is ongoing !

      Personally, I used to think that these social media platforms were controlled by automated messaging systems or by the CEOs themselves. All the messages do seem like they had been perfectly curated and structured before being published. But now we know employees are mostly the ones behind these platforms.

      Companies must pay extra attention to the employees accessing these social media platforms which they have amassed a great deal of followers. Any mistakes or unkind remarks made would reflect very badly on the company. Like you mentioned, companies should warn the employees on the severity of their misdemeanor on corporate social media accounts and maybe implement a system to reinforce punishment for undesired behaviour.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Topic 4’s Reflective Summary | Chloe
  3. amandakeee · November 10, 2015

    Good evening Stephanie,

    Thank you for providing us which such insightful examples! Doesn’t it scare you how emotions can just take over us any moment? One moment we may be calm and the next, we are using our social media accounts as a venting tool.

    Like I mentioned in my comment to Yi Shin, it is no surprise that companies take our behaviours online and offline very seriously. Ultimately, they are choosing the people who will eventually be representing the brand and the company. The image we portray will not only harm us but drag the goodwill of the company with us. I see it as every employee is an ambassador of the company. Can you imagine a teacher posting pictures of her partying and drinking her night away? I wouldn’t want my kid learning from her. It not only destroys her reputation but also the school that she is teaching at, people will question why they hired her in the first place.

    I like your suggestion about companies changing their password to their social media accounts regularly. May I add that they should also consider including more people to control their social media platforms? With a larger group of people in control and working as a team, they are able to monitor the behaviour of one another and remind each other the severity of misusing company’s social media platforms.
    Is that a good idea? Let me know! (-:


    Liked by 1 person

    • stephanielimym · November 11, 2015

      Good Morning Amanda !

      Definitely! Emotions play a major role in us behaving a certain way. Especially when our emotions overwhelm us, we tend to neglect the need for rationality and behave in a manner to relief ourselves of these emotions.

      Employees are assets to the company, but they must also know their position in the company. The responsibility of them managing social media platforms means that the company trust them to communicate professionally with consumers. Employees have to keep in mind that these social media platforms are a part of their work, not their personal accounts. Behaving like Poppy Rose of HMV would only bring more damage their reputation alongside the company’s. Future companies will be deterred from hiring such a person knowing that they would be threat the company. In the end both parties suffer debilitating damages.

      Your suggestion of having a bigger group of employees to access social media accounts should be considered. They allow for better discussion on what should be published while ensuring that no mistakes would be made even if there was a unhappy employee within the group. This decreases the risk of any employees misusing corporate social media platforms like you mentioned.



  4. Jierun · November 10, 2015

    Hi Stephanie! 😄 It was enjoyable reading your post. You reminded me that I often neglected the fact that company’s social media accounts are actually managed by many employees…

    I totally agree with you that companies should monitor employee postings regularly. Apart from this perhaps clear policies and rules could be given to employees regarding managing such accounts? Employees should take note that when managing social media accounts of the company, they should be aware that they are representing the company. And for those who are leaving the company, maybe a contract should be signed regarding use of company’s private and confidential information? Like you said, well controlled is indeed very important. Companies should take precautions steps to prevent damage of any sort.

    Thank you for sharing! Hope to see more good reads soon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • stephanielimym · November 11, 2015

      Hello Jierun !

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      I definitely agree with your suggestion on implementing clear policies and rules given to employees that are responsible for managing these accounts. I thought of establishing a reinforcement system to reward positive social media ethics reflected by satisfied consumer feedbacks as well as punishments such as pay cuts or working additional days unpaid to reinforce or act as a deterrent for employees who might demonstrate unruly behaviour using corporate social media accounts.

      Furthermore, employees who are leaving or have left the company should sign a non-disclosure agreement regardless of whether they are on good terms or bad terms with the company. As a company, you never know exactly if an employee is a friend or a foe, thus these precautions are necessary.

      I hope to write more interesting blogposts for you to read as well !

      Liked by 1 person

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