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How social media has influenced corporate governance

Is social media an opportunity or a risk for businesses today?

Over the last decade, governance has drastically changed with the rise of social media – making governance a lot more transparent.  These days, social media is not only influencing companies externally in terms of what is being said and hear, but it is also influencing companies internally.

“I know a lot of companies where not only through internal communication, but through social media, the leadership team is able to communicate goals for their governance structure to employees,” explained Michael Conn, MBA student at London Business School in a recent Management Today interview.

It’s no secret that social media is both an opportunity and a risk. According to Kitty Owen, a consultant at Headland Consultancy, the risk is that you are exposed on many different levels. The surface area of social media is vast and is how you communicate to your market, to your consumers, to your stakeholders and to the general public. So, it is critical to have an understanding of who you are talking to and where you are saying it. Additionally, social media presents a huge opportunity to get quality messages across to talk to the right people and engage in interesting conversations.

“Managed well, social media is a huge opportunity, but there is also an enormous amount of risk that shouldn’t be forgotten,” Owen added.

According to Conn, Google is a good example of strong governance in an organization today. Internally, the company is communicating to all of their employees. And, globally, their employees are very engaged. Since all of the employees are very passionate about technology, they not only relate to their leadership team, but they relate to the company as well.

Conn suggested that social media can help as much with internal communication as it can with external, allowing leaders to communicate their goals directly to employees, rather than allowing them to filter down through the ranks of management.

For Pat Cleverly, director of Research, Strategy and Policy, Tomorrow’s People, it’s actually about achieving a compliance balance. “It’s a really complicated job and it’s not going to get any less complicated,” she said. “The world is more and more complex every single day.”

For more news on corporate governance, check out these articles:

GM shakes up corporate culture in wake of ignition switch issues

10 crucial first steps for the chief compliance officer

The long-term impact of Kahn v. M&F Worldwide decision remains unclear

The challenges of managing information risk in the digital era

Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Freelance Journalist for InsideCounsel, where she covers intellectual property, legal technology, patent litigation, cybersecurity, innovation, and more. She earned a B.A....

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