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Twitter Company Managing People and Organizations Essay

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Updated: Jun 4th, 2021

Abstract

This report considers some aspects of organizational behavior, including its general aspects as well as diversity, job satisfaction, and employees’ emotions. Twitter is a company that is used as an example of a business with developed attitude monitoring and engagement encouraging practices. The analysis shows that Twitter’s results on their path to increasing diversity are not as transparent as one may think. The company pays significant attention to increasing job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The recommendation for Twitter is to update its diversity standards and allow its employees to move up the career ladder. The future analysis of the company can also review its process of dealing with conflict situations.

Introduction

Organizational behavior (OB) can be viewed as a foundation of any business’ success and resilience. According to Newstrom and Davis (2007), it is also the “study and application of knowledge about how people as individuals or as groups act within organizations” (p. 5). Therefore, OB can be used as a tool which management teams understand or justify the mature of employees and according to which they make appropriate decisions to lead the organization. The goals of OB are to describe how people act under different conditions and understand why people behave in certain ways. Managers could become frustrated with their employees if they did not understand the reasons behind their workers’ actions.

Employers who have examined their company’s OB have the capacity to predict which employees might be dedicated and productive or which ones might be unproductive or prone to conflicts, thus allowing them to take preventive action. The final goal of OB is to control and develop human-based activities at work. Managers have a responsibility to achieve high-performance outcomes, and they are interested in being able to make an impact on employee behavior, productivity, skill development, and team effort (Newstrom & Davis, 2007). Higher ranks of employees need to be able to improve results through the actions they and their workers take, and OB is one of the ways to aid them in this pursuit.

OB is a generalized term that includes various aspects, such as employees’ job satisfaction, diversity, and company culture. Currently, many companies undergo changes to adhere to the ever-evolving business sphere. Nonetheless, some firms fail to represent their employees or deliver fair treatment to all their members. The issue of diversity remains especially high for technology developers that have a history of racial and gender discrepancy in their staff (Hervey, 2019). The company that will be reviewed in relation to its OB and diversity issues is Twitter. This research paper will consider the business’ attitudes, employees’ job satisfaction, representation of minorities, and overall emotional background of the members.

Background

Twitter is a company that provides a platform for social networking. It was founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in California in 2006 (“About Twitter,” 2019). Currently, Twitter can be considered one of the most popular social media sites and applications. However, the staff numbers remain relatively low, with approximately 3,300 people working for the company from different parts of the world (“About Twitter,” 2019).

The OB of Twitter is not as transparent as one would hope. While the platform sees millions of active users every day, the employees of Twitter do not share their everyday routine often, which leaves the analysis of the firm’s policies to available data and reports. For instance, it is known that in 2016 and 2017, Twitter faced some accusations due to its failure to diversify (Wagner & Molla, 2018). Moreover, newer descriptions of the company’s activities are not available, the latest reports on Twitter’s culture coming from 2012 (Kruse, 2012). These pieces of information may be used to create a picture of how Twitter attempts to build its OB.

Analysis

The Nature of Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior is a recent area of study that is developing into a unique field. It has progressed in the second half of the twentieth century. Its contemporary nature may be addressed as under a separate field of study. Significant research and analysis have been done in this sphere, but it is still not accepted as a separate discipline. There is no framework of basic concepts that may guide its evolution as a science.

As an outcome, it can be called a field of study rather than discipline. The aim of OB is to find solutions to organizations’ problems related to the aspect of human behavior. Thus, applied researches are concentrated in place of theoretical researches. Moreover, OB can be considered an art as well since its’ investigations require a creative outlook on the present and future of organizational success.

At Twitter, the overall atmosphere of employees seems to be positive. Modern companies that work with technology, especially social media, are focused on representing their workplace setting as fun, engaging, and creative, Twitter is not an exception – the business’s “About” page is not centered on facts or the history of the organization but on its place in the delivery of the latest news. Furthermore, it prides itself as a foundation for building communication between people as well as businesses.

According to Varyani (2016), “[OB] is based on the concept that need and motivation of the people should be given priority … if people are given proper environment … they are creative, independent and capable of achieving organizational objectives” (para. 5). However, one may see that any of Twitter’s main website pages do not focus on the company’s members, including their working conditions, salaries, and other information. Some of this data can be found on the business’ blog where it releases its efforts and achievements in improving the company’s culture.

Diversity in Organizations

Diversity as a concept is gaining more and more attention among employees and employers alike. It can be defined by the “ways in which people in an organization are different from and similar to one another” (Gonzales & Zamanian, 2015, p. 595).

The characteristics of a diverse staff can be very broad, but the primary differences are based on workers’ gender, race or ethnicity, and age. Some narrow classifications such as people’s religion, education, sexual orientation, culture, values, immigrant status, and others are also gaining recognition as the political and economic situations evolve. The field of diversity is interested in the “outcomes and management of individual differences in organizational settings” (Gonzales & Zamanian, 2015, p. 595). This aspect of OB is especially relevant in countries where the demographic makeup is not unified.

It should be noted that the issue of low diversity is not limited to the number of people hired. The investigation is also concerned with the quality of the environment, its readiness to accommodate people from different backgrounds. Diversity is also the process of “recognizing, understanding and accepting individual differences irrespective of their race, gender, age, class, ethnicity, physical ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and so on” (Dike, 2013, p. 5).

Both primary (age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity) and secondary (income, religion, education) characteristics of people are important to address and acknowledge. Some of these qualities cannot be noticed without engaging with the people, and companies should work to recognize the different sides of their employees to provide them with a comfortable working environment.

The world’s movement towards globalization further complicates the issue of diversity. It has “triggered more interaction amongst people from different cultures and backgrounds that before,” thus urging companies to update their policies (Dike, 2013, p. 5). Nonetheless, businesses should not perceive the concept of diversity as a threat to their success – in many cases, globalization is a solution to a company’s problems. In the case of Twitter, diversity is a positive force that helps the platform expand and capture new international markets. Cultural differences are vital in the creation of services in organizations that aim to serve people from all around the globe, and Twitter’s increased diversity would benefit its goals.

At the present moment, Twitter is working to redistribute its positions to people with different backgrounds. For example, the company stated that it is centered on two primary areas – increasing the number of women and Black and Latinx people in the workforce (Twitter, Inc., 2019). In the latest report, the firm demonstrated that its staff is changing continuously, adding people from different countries to its roster. However, some publications have challenged the validity of the presented numbers and demonstrated that the share of non-white workers did not grow significantly and possibly even decreased in the latest year.

According to Wagner and Molla (2018), in comparison to 2017, in 2018, more people working at Twitter decided not to disclose their ethnicity. In turn, the company attributed this group of people to minorities, thus increasing the overall count of non-white employees. This action may be seen as alarming when analyzing the firm’s efforts to improve its diversity. Accounting for the fact that Twitter was pressured into reconsidering its practices in 2017, this news is especially concerning (Wagner & Molla, 2018). It is vital to recognize that Twitter still has diversity-related issues.

Attitudes and Job Satisfaction

Another aspect of OB is job satisfaction which can be investigated from different perspectives as well. It often depends on workers’ and managers’ attitudes towards each other and personal duties. Attitudes reveal people’s feelings about a certain subject, they act as “evaluative statements—either favorable or unfavorable—about objects, people, or events” (Robbins & Judge, 2014, p. 35). Therefore, a simple statement such as, “I like my job,” can be interpreted as an attitude.

The discussed concept depends on three dimensions – cognitive, affective, and behavioral. The first one, cognitive, deals with the way employees evaluate activities and changes in the workplace. Workers may grow unsatisfied with the fact that they do not receive regular promotions or that their manager is acting unfairly for particular reasons. At this stage, their attitude is based on their way of thinking about the environment around them.

The next step is effective in which people express a certain feeling toward the situation. If a person simply states that they dislike their coworker or supervisor, their attitude is effective. Finally, if workers are acting to change their job or talking to others about their problems, they are engaging in a behavioral attitude. As presented in Figure 1 three discussed dimensions of attitude are closely related since one may derive from or depend on another.

Cognition, affect, and behavior in work-related attitude
Figure 1. Cognition, affect, and behavior in work-related attitude (Robbins & Judge, 2014, p. 36).

At work, the behavioral component of attitudes is the most significant because it shows the ways in which people choose to act and collaborate with other employees. If the organizational culture is not transparent, and all workers think that their supervisors are keeping information from them, their attitude may lead to a lack of teamwork or low efficiency. Here, the research is focused on three concepts, “job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment” (Robbins & Judge, 2014, p. 36).

All of these aspects depend on the employees’ attitude and are based on how each business treats its members. Job satisfaction is a set of positive feelings linked to one’s work, including pay, working hours, environment, team, and other factors. Job involvement is the interest that a person may have in duties and responsibilities. Finally, organizational commitment is a positive feeling towards the company and its structure as well as a desire to work with this business.

In the case of Twitter, the company takes many actions to keep its employees engaged and committed. Although the information available to the public is not recent, it is possible to assume that such practices remain in use for years since the company’s staff and the number of offices continues to expand. According to Kruse (2012), Twitter uses four primary ways to motivate employees. The first one is CEO-led management sessions during which the current CEO interacts with the company’s managers and utilizes personal stories, practices, and role-playing to build strong relationships and create an informal company culture.

This practice may positively affect the leadership experiences of Twitter managers and make the position more rewarding than it would be otherwise. It is possible that these meetings also contribute to organizational commitment since they create a framework of open communication and easy-to-reach upper management.

The second discussed practice is a job satisfaction survey that Twitter employees complete two times each year. Kruse (2012) states that other companies conduct such data collection much rarer, while Twitter provides its workers with a short and concise questionnaire that does not take up a significant portion of their day. This survey has some open-ended questions that allow workers to share their thoughts and introduce new ideas for improvement.

It is unclear to what extent this input is considered, so the level of employee participation remains obscure. Furthermore, the company keeps a monthly employee dashboard that accounts for any changes in the pool, including attrition levels and the impact of learning programs. The initiative involving regular surveys is a measure that can be beneficial to keeping employees satisfied. One should note that open-ended questions are an interesting approach to democratizing the working space and providing employees with the ability to participate.

Third, Twitter simplifies its requirements for employees and condenses them into five main characteristics. They are “Communication, Development, Direction, Change and Collaboration” (Kruse, 2012, para. 6). Each of these core skills is vital for Twitter, and the company makes sure to pay attention to improving each of them in its workers. As a result, the staff is often engaged in seminars and exchange programs that challenge them and provide them with new competencies and experiences. The commitment to such a simple structure is transparent enough to provide workers and managers with an easy system of OB.

Finally, similar to the satisfaction survey, Twitter gives its employees an opportunity to provide feedback. This is accomplished through learning labs and performance reviews during which workers are encouraged to share whatever they feel is pertinent to what is happening in the company (Kruse, 2012). The ability for the staff to voice their concerns is vital for a business to maintain a connection with individual employees and the working force as a whole.

Managers are often afraid of open and fearless feedback which may contribute to them limiting employees’ outreach (Robbins & Judge, 2014). Twitter appears to be moving in the opposite direction, giving its staff the tools to improve the company’s systems. It also provides employees with an opportunity to express their feelings – both positive and negative – towards the business, relieving stress and reducing the impact of negative events.

Findings, Suggestions, and Recommendations

According to the analysis presented above, one may see that Twitter’s OB has its strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, the company employs a robust system of monitoring people’s job satisfaction levels. On the other hand, its diversity efforts are less satisfactory than desired. It is clear that the firm pays significant attention to its worker’s organizational commitment. Moreover, while it may seem that Twitter’s efforts about increasing diversity are not effective, the business continues to work on various programs for its improvement. Recently, two of the Twitter executives commented on the organization’s latest efforts and stated that diversity is not a problem that is limited to HR management (Hervey, 2019).

They admitted that diversity encouragement is not only a tool to prevent or lower discrimination in the job market. It can also be used for innovation because people from different backgrounds are able to offer unique experiences. The abundance of various cultures is beneficial for companies who depend on continuous innovation (Gelfand, Aycan, Erez, & Leung, 2017). Indeed, a team with diverse members can exchange knowledge that would otherwise remain unseen by people with similar abilities.

One of the recommendations that can be given to Twitter deal with changing its approach to diversity. While its executives already comment on the restructuring of this process to target innovation, one may also suggest the company stray away from accepting diversity-valuing behavior without acknowledging a power imbalance that often follows ineffective diversity-encouraging initiatives.

As Hekman, Johnson, Foo, and Yang (2017) find, diversity-valuing behavior can contribute to minorities (including women and people of color) having lower performance ratings. This problem persists in organizations that limit minorities’ presence in upper and middle management. If Twitter is committed to creating a diverse community of workers, its structure has to consider the imbalance of executive and managerial influence and change its recruitment policies.

Conclusions and Future Work

Organizational behavior is a vital tool in addressing companies’ interaction with employees. It is concerned with a variety of issues, and its analysis allows one to see how workers, managers, and businesses act towards each other. In the case of Twitter, one may see a company that is trying to implement changes but is still struggling to overcome the problems that are common in the field of technology and development.

The business pays significant attention to increasing its workers’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, it fails to develop policies that would adequately enhance the level of diversity in the different ranks of the staff. The main recommendation for Twitter is to continue working on diversification, introducing standards that protect minorities and allow them to explore their capabilities in higher positions. For future work, one may consider conflict management in the company and consider Twitter’s power structures.

References

About Twitter. (2019). Web.

Dike, P. (2013). . Web.

Gelfand, M. J., Aycan, Z., Erez, M., & Leung, K. (2017). Cross-cultural industrial organizational psychology and organizational behavior: A hundred-year journey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 514-529.

Gonzales, J. A., & Zamanian, A. (2015). Diversity in organizations. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 6, pp. 595-600). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Hekman, D. R., Johnson, S. K., Foo, M. D., & Yang, W. (2017). Does diversity-valuing behavior result in diminished performance ratings for non-white and female leaders? Academy of Management Journal, 60(2), 771-797.

Hervey, J. C. (2019). . Forbes. Web.

Kruse, K. (2012). . Forbes. Web.

Newstrom, J. W., & Davis, K. (2007). Organizational behavior: Human behavior at work (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2014). Essentials of organizational behavior (13th ed.). New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

Twitter, Inc. (2019). . Web.

Varyani, D. (2016). . Web.

Wagner, K., & Molla, R. (2018). . Recode. Web.

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