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Research on social networking websites earns cum laude pass

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Research on the Impact of Social Networking Websites on Performance at the eThekwini Municipality has earned Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate, Mr Hassan Patel a Cum Laude pass.

The Manager: Open Systems in the Information Technology Department at the eThekwini Municipality who had been in the IT sector for 20 years said obtaining the MBA with distinction would help him make strides in his career and would motivate others on the value of education and research.

“It (Cum Laude) has helped to create a level of self-belief for me in what I can do. I always wanted to research and write and was always encouraged to do so by some of my peers but never really gave it a thought. To write this paper and to obtain this level of quality has created renewed energy to perhaps pursue this further,” said Mr Patel.

The research findings suggest that there are both benefits and negative consequences on the use of social media in the workplace.   Staff members in the lower levels of the organisation were of the view that using social media did not impact negatively on their work – a sentiment that was not shared by senior managers who believed it had an adverse influence on the work environment.

It was significant to note much time was consumed by the use of social media which had negative monetary consequences. The research further suggested that senior managers were avid users of social media and a large number of employees who owned smartphones actively used social media. These findings were due to the ease with which social media could be accessed via a smartphone and not necessarily by use of a desktop or laptop computer.

According to Mr Patel, social media could have negative consequences for interpersonal communication at the workplace where colleagues present in meetings constantly find the need to look at their smartphones to access social media sites.  “Even when having general conversations one will observe that the phone is always nearby and there is a consistent need to look for updates,” he said.

Mr Patel agrees that social media could be abused by staff members in the workplace with the view to promote negative grapevine activity. “With no clear policy to manage this (social media) it is open for abuse and does generate grapevine activity. This also leads to information leakage to the outside media which can create a perception to the public as to how the municipality is being managed,” he added.

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