The paper "How Social Is Your Network" is a great example of a case study on human resources. It is a clear fact that the utility of social network sites has increased in the recent past. This industry has recorded enormous growth, a fact which is evidenced by figures from January 2009 pointed to the fact that Facebook had slightly more than 175 million active users worldwide (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010, p. 49). At the beginning of 2012, Facebook had 900 million users and was projected to hit the 1 billion mark of active users by the beginning of 2013.
This depicts the enormous size of Facebook as a company and this number is projected to grow, with the overall global increase in internet use. This is coupled with its increasing penetration into other segments of the population, for instance, those commonly referred to as generation X (aged between 35-44 years) who have increasingly embraced this social network. On the other hand, Facebook has experienced increased utility in the HRM functions of different corporate bodies. This has raised privacy, legislative and ethical issues among different individuals and collectives, with some citing either positive or negative implications of its utility.
This issue remains contentious which forms the foundation of this essay. Against this background, this paper will explore the issue of privacy related to the use of Facebook in HRM functions in regard to the need for a balance between the rights of the employees and organizational consequences. In addition, it will critically analyze whether it is alright for employers to use these sites to glean information about their employees.
Lastly, it will assess how a progressive employer can turn the use of social networking sites into a win-win situation rather than an employer versus employee or win-lose situation. Privacy issues related to the use of Facebook in HRM functionsIn a generic sense, the basic definition of privacy to be adopted in this paper is derived from the work Privacy and Freedom (1967) by Alan Westin (cited in Simmons, 2011, p. 3). The author defines privacy as ‘ the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to establish and determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others.
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