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'The kids are alert' : generation Y responses to employer use and monitoring of social networking sites

Hurrell, Scott A. and Scholarios, Dora and Richards, James (2017) 'The kids are alert' : generation Y responses to employer use and monitoring of social networking sites. New Technology, Work and Employment, 32 (1). 64–83. ISSN 0268-1072

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Abstract

Employer monitoring of employees’ and job applicants’ data on social networking sites (SNSs) is widespread and growing, but remains controversial due to issues surrounding legality, ethicality and validity. Examining this emergent source of tension in the employment relationship, this paper explores how Generation Y employees experienced and perceived employer use and monitoring of SNSs, and whether employer-related concerns influenced their on-line behaviour. A survey sample of 385 employed students revealed that respondents widely used SNSs, yet perceived employer use of SNSs in a negative way. Negativity took the form of procedural justice violations based on issues such as invasion of privacy. Nevertheless, many students displayed alertness through actively managing online profiles which, in turn, marginally yet significantly increased their perceptions of procedural justice. The study has ethical and practical implications for employer monitoring and use of SNSs, as well as contributing to our understanding of young people’s on-line behaviour.