Masters Thesis

A content analysis study to determine: Should California State University, Bakersfield adopt a social media policy for employees?

The purpose of this study is to explore and analyze the issues and trends surrounding social media policies, drawing from current policies in place by other organizations and researching the academic writings of this issue to formulate the best approach in regards to a social media policy at CSU Bakersfield. The study was non-experimental and used a qualitative approach through content analysis. Critical issues identified during the research process include the lack of a social media policy in place currently at CSU Bakersfield, legal issues surrounding social media policies for employers, the ethics of employer-involvement in the personal social media accounts of their employees and the benefits of a restrictive policy or best-practice training. After researching the critical questions and the various approaches to this issue, the researcher concluded that a restrictive policy with adverse employment action would not be the best solution for CSU Bakersfield. Instead, it was proposed by the researcher that the university develop a set of social media guidelines through the office of public affairs and communications. The goal of these guidelines is to identify which department’s social media accounts are currently linked to the university, ensure those posting understand the mission and vision of the university and give oversight of the accounts to the department chair. Secondly, the guidelines will establish a disclaimer for employees to include on all non-university related personal accounts, separating their views and comments from the university. As a result, the guidelines will establish the basis of a best-practices training seminar that could be presented to faculty and staff during the annual University Day celebration prior to the start of the academic year.

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