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Ethical Dilemma Tell-All Websites “Arrogant, condescending, mean-spirited, hateful … and those traits describe the nicest people atNetflix,” writesone anonymous employee. “Management is awful … good old boys club,” writesa Coca-Cola market development manager. And the reviews keep rolling in; Coca-Cola has1,600 employee reviews and some companies, like Google, have double that number onGlassdoor, one of the Internet sites that allows anyone to rate their employers. Websites likeGlassdoor are thriving; employees increasingly join the forums and seem to relish the chance tospeak freely. The app Memo, which claimed 10,000 new members in about 3 months, allowsusers to post, comment, and share links. They will soon be able to upload photographs anddocuments, which will raise new security concerns for organizations. Ryan Janssen, CEO ofMemo’s parent company, Collectively, says apps like Memo, Yik Yak, and Whisper allow bossesaccess to candid feedback they cannot otherwise get. Janssen said, “The employee’s naturalreaction [when managers ask for feedback directly] is to tell you what you want to hear.” Thereis certainly truth to this—studies indicate that employees “put on a happy face” for their bosses.When people know their posts aren’t anonymous, “People put on this weird, fake professionalface,” he said. Organizations are aware that people watch what they say when they can beidentified, and many have used anonymous job attitude surveys for this reason. Still, evaluationsfrom these surveys are often more glowing, and less detailed, than anonymous website feedback.Some organizations have therefore altered the frequency and scope of surveys to obtain moredepth. Others have their own intranet platforms to solicit concerns and complaints. Beyond thepersonally unethical aspect of posting scathing denouncements about people or organizations online—sharing details with the world that you would not share in person—issues oforganizational ethics come into play. While companies like Visa, Boeing,and Hewlett-Packard have tried to discourage employees from anonymously venting on websitesand apps, such mandates may violate the employees’ right of free speech. And how anonymousare anonymous posts? Posts on Glassdoor and other forums eliminate a person’s name, but can’tbosses sometimes determine which subordinate posted the comments? Managers everywhereneed to decide how much management sleuthing is ethical, and what consequences, if any, canbe forced on subordinates for anonymous posts. Grant Vodori, co-founder of a digital marketingagency in Chicago, has been successful in obtaining candid answers from his employees throughpolls taken several times each week. “It’s sometimes a little bit scary,” he said, asking himself,“Do I really want to know the answer to this?”Questions3-11. Do you think employees have a right to say what they want to about their organizationsonline, as opposed to in private?3-12. How would you react if you learned one of your employees posted unflattering commentsabout you as a manager? Would your reaction be any different if the employee postedunflattering comments about you as a person?3-13. Do you feel it is acceptable to post comments anonymously, or do you think people shouldinclude their names? Why or why not

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