Thesis: Social Media

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[. . .] In these contexts, direct communication between disputants that explicitly addresses the issues at stake in the conflict can be perceived as very rude, making the conflict worse and delaying resolution. Rather, it can make sense to involve religious, tribal or community leaders, communicate difficult truths indirectly through a third party, and make suggestions through stories (Augsberger, 1992).

Intercultural conflicts are often the most difficult to resolve because the expectations of the disputants can be very different, and there is much occasion for misunderstanding. This is where the global and multicultural nature of social media is seen as a common ground for arbitration and conflict resolution. The use of social media or social networks for resolving conflicts has yet to be empirically researched and evaluated from this context however. The proposed research will be the first empirically derived study of how to use social networks for resolving conflicts online through these virtual platforms including Facebook.

1.8 Statement of the Research Problem

As user's perception of the trustworthiness and veracity of social networks as a collaborative platform increase, so will their reliance on them for conflict resolution. The research problem is one of measuring how effective social network platforms can be in their current technological state for conflict arbitration. The research problem also needs to take into account what features and functionality can be added to social networks to increase their value for conflict mediation and resolution. The attitudes of social networking users as to how they would use Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networking platforms also needs to be researched as well. In short, the real problem is how to modify and enhance social networks including Facebook either through features added by the company or the development community to make this platform suitable for conflict resolution. The added perspective of users' trust in and willingness to use these platforms for conflict mediation also must be addressed. None of these areas of research have been completed to date, making this research the first if its kind to address these issues.

1.9 Research Goals and Objectives

The following section defines the goal and objectives of the study. This study is proposed to evaluate how Facebook features and functionality can be enhanced to further support conflict mediation. The study also seeks to capture the perceptions of users as to the trustworthiness of social media in general and Facebook specifically in the area of conflict mediation.

1.10 Goal of the study

To determine how effective social media is in general and Facebook specifically is as a conflict mediation platform.

1.11 Objectives of the study

a. To measure how effective Facebook is for resolving conflicts and arbitrating disputes.

b. To define the highest priority feature and platform enhancements to Facebook to ensure greater levels of conflict resolution and arbitration.

c. To measure the attitudes of Facebook users as it relates to their relative levels of trust in this social networking platform when used for conflict mediation and resolution.

1.12 Research questions

The following are the research questions for the proposed research:

a. Is the current Facebook platform, now with the inclusion of Groups, which was launched on October 6, 2010 suitable for conflict arbitration and resolution?

b. If so, what types of conflict arbitration and resolution is the existing Facebook platform best used for? (Built-in process, organizational process, organization policies, conflicts arising from differences in job characteristics, divergent personal views, or ambiguity in roles).

c. What is the current level of trust users have in Facebook as a collaboration platform?

d. Do users trust Facebook in its current configuration as a conflict arbitration and resolution platform? What features need to be added to Facebook to make the platform more adept at conflict resolution?

1.13 Study Assumption(s)

The following are the assumptions of the study:

a. The entire universe of the study are Facebook users who have been at least one year on this social networking platform.

b. All users in the sampling frame will have experienced conflict online or offline and attempted to resolve it either through virtual or traditional means.

c. Facebook Groups will need to be used for segmenting out users and developing effective survey strategies on this social networking platform.

d. The majority of users will have a moderate level of trust in Facebook and will have resolved conflict through it or through other traditional means including telephone and in-person discussions.

1.14 Hypotheses

Null Hypothesis: Facebook, in its current form, is not effective as a collaboration platform for mediating and resolving conflicts in both distance-based and in-person relationships.

Alternative Hypothesis: Facebook is effective as a collaboration platform for mediating and resolving conflicts in both distance-based and in-person relationships.

1.15 Significance and Justification of the Study

To date, no study has attempted to assess the value of Facebook or social networks as a platform for enabling conflict mitigation and resolution. No studies have been completed to date on the attitudes of users to Facebook as a collaborative platform in organizations as well. There are many studies however that indicate online collaborative platforms can be very effective at mitigating and resolving conflicts within virtual teams (Bosch-Sijtsema, 2007).

1.16 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study encompasses social networks in general and Facebook specifically as a conflict arbitration and resolution platform. In addition, this study intends to factor in attitudes and relative level of trust users have in Facebook today and in the future with recommended enhancements as a conflict arbitration and resolution platform.

1.17 Limitations of the study

First, this study will multinational in scope and is designed to capture the opinions of randomly selected groups of Facebook users in various parts of the world. Second, this study will not capture how users today are relying on both online and offline processes and strategies for conflict mitigation and resolution. Third, the study does not capture how Facebook users mature in trust of the platform over time, and what factors cause users to either gain or lose trust in Facebook as a conflict mitigation platform. Fourth, there is no measure of attrition and social networking fatigue and the resulting churn of users on this platform as a result of their expectations not being met or the misuse of Facebook for unethical and illegal activity including fraud. All of these factors are significant to the long-term adoption of Facebook as a conflict arbitration and resolution platform, yet are not specifically measured in this study.

1.18 Organisation of the study

The study will be organized into five chapters. An introduction of the entire study is captured in Chapter one. Chapter two will present a review of the relevant literature. Chapter three will outline a background of the study area and the methods of data collection while an analysis and interpretation of data and results will be covered in Chapter four. The fifth chapter will be devoted to the summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations.

1.19 Conclusion of Introductory session

Studies of the effectiveness of web-based collaboration platforms for virtual team management abound (Topi, 2004) (Grantham and Nichols, 1995). The use of web-based collaboration platforms for managing projects of a global scale has also been proven through case studies and empirically derived research (Paul, Samarah, Seetharaman and Mykytyn Jr., 2005). There is also research to suggest that using web-based platforms for managing interpersonal communication and roles-based projects is effective (Maruping and Agarwal, 2004). All of these studies have as their basis, respondents who are participants in social networks and organizations as well. Yet, in all, there is a significant gap in the research completed to date on using social networking in general and Facebook specifically for conflict resolution.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Introduction

The phenomenon of dispute resolution has been revolutionized due to the evolution of information culture to a much broader region which in core essence refers to globalization. Due to this expansion, there is the possibility in contemporary business environment for disagreements to rise amid those members who are linked by any means of internet medium. ODR-Online Dispute Resolution has been instigated through the transition of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methodology which incorporates compromising or customized arbitration, jury procedures, and conciliation (Goodman, 2003; Lodder and Zeleznikow, 2010).

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) facilitates in transferring the prevailing methodologies of ADR from a tangible state to an intangible state in the form of electronic data (Bellucci, et al. 2004; Andrade et al., 2010). Hence, the members have a much more feasible path which they can opt instead of lawsuits, which makes the procedure of pacification exceedingly simpler and effective, ultimately resulting in reduced expenditure outlay and effective time allocation (Klaming et al., 2008). Disagreement pacification through online procedures endeavors to depict ODR as a reliable substitute for prevailing over ADR and lawsuits concerned to this discipline. It can boost the jurisdiction of prevailing ADR methodology by enabling the involved members… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Social Media.  (2011, March 16).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/social-media-potential/2453762

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"Social Media."  Essaytown.com.  March 16, 2011.  Accessed June 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/social-media-potential/2453762.