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This article reports on a U.K. workshop on social media research ethics held in May 2018. There were 10 expert speakers and an audience of researchers, research ethics committee members, and research institution representatives. Participants reviewed the current state of social media ethics, discussing well-rehearsed questions such as what needs consent in social media research, and how the public/private divide differs between virtual and real-life environments. The lack of answers to such questions was noted, along with the difficulties posed for ethical governance structures in general and the work of research ethics committees in particular. Discussions of these issues enabled the creation of two recommendations. The first is for research ethics committees and journal editors to add the category of ‘data subject research’ to the existing categories of ‘text research’ and ‘human subject research’. This would reflect the fact that social media research does not fall into either of the existing categories and so needs a category of its own. The second is that ethical issues should be considered at all stages of social media research, up to and including aftercare. This acknowledges that social media research throws up a large number of ethical issues throughout the process which, under current arrangements for ethical research governance, risks remaining unaddressed.
Gossip is a common phenomenon in the workplace, but yet relatively little is understood about its influence to employees. This study adopts social information theory and social cognitive theory to interpret the diverse literature on gossip, and to develop and test hypotheses concerning some of the antecedents of gossip, with an aim of developing knowledge of the relationship between gossip and employee behaviour in the workplace. The study analysed survey data in a two-stage process, from 362 employees across a range of industries in Taiwan. The findings revealed that jobrelated gossip predicted employee cynicism and mediated the relationship between psychological contract violation and cynicism, and that non-job-related gossip showed a similar but weaker effect to employee cynicism. The contribution made by this paper is of value to both the academic subject domain and managers in Human Resources. First, we have identified two constructs of gossip, job-related and non-job-related gossip not previously reported and a validated scale has been created. Second, we have confirmed that these different constructs of gossip impact differently on employee behaviour and therefore HR managers should be cautious about gossip in the workplace, as it can cause cynical behaviour amongst employees.
Keywords: abusive supervision; employee cynicism; gossip; human resource management; psychological contract
Writing a literature review yields many academic benefits. It is an appropriate route for management students to learn academic skills, such as how to search databases and to search off line, and to improve practical and theoretical knowledge. It enables theory development unimpeded by the practical obstacles of gaining access to people and organisations to collect data. It requires the development of expertise in research methods, numeracy, attention to detail, and in the analysis and interpretation of data. Despite these benefits, the pedagogic literature has little to say about the best means of teaching students how to research and write literature reviews. This paper develops a three-stage framework for teaching literature reviews which gives explicit guidance for teachers and simplifies the process for students. The framework comprises a means of learning how to carry out a systematically informed search for relevant literature, demonstrated through examples; an approach to learning how to read and deconstruct a text in a critically informed way, through using a template with a questioning approach; and a way explaining how to reconstruct the material, using a simple metaphor to demonstrate how this is done.
Engaging in reflection is a vital part of learning for university students and its practice should be embedded in course design. Feedback on written work can be used as a vehicle for reflection. Both the gift and receipt of feedback and the habit of reflection require practice and capturing this experiential learning can be achieved in a class environment. This paper outlines how reflection on written feedback may be used formatively by teachers in a university context. The paper reports on the use of a simple tool, a self-copying sheet, given to management undergraduates on the return of coursework, which engages students and captures their reflection on their feedback. The teaching model presented outlines an approach to reflective learning that recognises the need for students to engage with feedback in the classroom, to reflect on it and to feed forward to the next assessment, thus completing the learning cycle.
Purpose - The potential influence of consumer generated communication in the form of online discussion fora has been overlooked by marketers. The purpose of this paper to explore the content of discussion and the relationships between posters on social networks using the wine sector as the research basis. Design/methodology/approach - The paper examines the current usage of discussion fora by wine enthusiasts through a netnographic approach. A non-probability purposive sample of wine discussion fora in three countries is employed to determine the content and style of the contributions posted. Findings - The paper indicates that individuals within fora develop relationships with each other, the network itself and brands. Such relationships are predicated on trust between members, shared interests and experiences and relationships with the brands that they discuss. These relationships can develop into strong bonds and even evolve into offline activities. Research limitations/implications - The paper is an exploratory study with a sample limited to one product type and thus generalisation is difficult. Practical implications - The paper outlines the strength and types of relationships between social network members. It demonstrates how netnography can provide insights into consumer behaviour and relationships between consumers and products. Marketers should consider the content of discussion fora as a valuable resource for learning about contemporary consumer communication and appreciate the power of peer-to-peer online relationships. Originality/value - The paper uses a novel, but accepted, research method to discover useful insights into consumer perceptions and behaviour.
Purpose - Organisations now regard having a web site as mandatory but as more businesses create websites the real challenge lies in driving traffic to a specific web site. Little research attention has been paid to the issues for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of how to increase traffic to their web site. This paper addresses the issue of web site traffic generation for SMEs which have limited resources to determine how SMEs might make more effective use of search engine marketing (SEM) tools to increase web site traffic. Design/methodology/approach - An investigation of specific SEM tools, including press release distribution and directory submission, that are available to SMEs was conducted. This research paper follows a mixed methods approach incorporating Pearson's product moment correlation conducted on web site traffic and backlinks data as well as qualitative analysis of interview transcripts of three SME organisations and their use of search engine optimisation across different industries. Findings - The findings indicate that a combined use of both press release distribution and directory submission does increase traffic generation to a web site. A tentative model is proposed which requires further testing. Practical implications - This paper demonstrates the synergy that can be created from two easily accessible and low cost SEM tools for SMEs in order to improve web site traffic generation. Originality/value - The value of this research lies in the fact that the tools used in the creation of the model are within the means of small organisations and therefore highly relevant to SMEs.