This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Find out more here


To discuss how you and your organisation can get more involved with The Work Foundation, please contact us.

Call 020 7976 3575 or email

Letting the Barbarians through the Gates?: Harnessing the power of social media

Letting the Barbarians through the Gates?: Harnessing the power of social media

Thursday, 29 September 2011
17:30 - 19:30
The Work Foundation, 21 Palmer Street, London, SW1H 0AD


  • Professor Mike Chiasson, Professor of Information Systems, Lancaster University Management School
  • Christopher Hinitt, Accenture
  • David White, Director, Tarras Group. New Zealand
  • Dr Benjamin Reid, Senior researcher, The Work Foundation's Centre for Workforce Effectiveness

    The Context

    Social media use by employees is currently the UK’s fastest-growing area of HR disciplinary procedures. This suggests many organisations see social media use by employees as a threat to productivity and engagement. And yet, at the same time, leading organisations in both the public and private sectors are gaining major advantages through strategies which harness social media use as a crucial link to customers and service users – and as a driver of innovation.

    In a context where many experienced social media users must ‘power down’ – that is, are forced to shift to using less sophisticated technology when they come into the workplace each day – best practice organisations are building on their increasingly-sophisticated social media strategies for connecting with customers to better connect their customers with their employees directly.
    At their best, it seems organisations with more enlightened social media strategies are developing what Work Foundation research has always shown to be beneficial for organisations: employee empowerment, autonomy, team-working and voice. Social media is changing the market, and the workplace, in complex ways – organisations need a handle on these changes in order to make best use of employees’ potential for innovation.

    About the event

    The Work Foundation hosted an event exploring how organisations are harnessing the power of social media to boost innovation and customer service. A short provocation paper was launched at the event, which provided evidence of trends and innovation related to employee social media use, and of organisations’ responses to those changes. This session will also helped shape a major new piece of research work into this area by The Work Foundation and Lancaster University. It provided insight for HR and others in managerial roles into important changes in workplace practices surrounding social media technologies.

    Back to forthcoming events