Is what you see what you get? Investigating the ...

5 downloads 81405 Views 1MB Size Report
Apr 20, 2017 - level undergraduate business students) self-reported ... Facebook account and click through your private messages, photos, wall posts and.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

ISSN: 0958-5192 (Print) 1466-4399 (Online) Journal homepage:

Is what you see what you get? Investigating the relationship between social media content and counterproductive work behaviors, alcohol consumption, and episodic heavy drinking J. Bret Becton, H. Jack Walker, Paul Schwager & J. Bruce Gilstrap To cite this article: J. Bret Becton, H. Jack Walker, Paul Schwager & J. Bruce Gilstrap (2017): Is what you see what you get? Investigating the relationship between social media content and counterproductive work behaviors, alcohol consumption, and episodic heavy drinking, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2017.1314977 To link to this article:

Published online: 20 Apr 2017.

Submit your article to this journal

Article views: 25

View related articles

View Crossmark data

Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Download by: [USM University of Southern Mississippi]

Date: 27 April 2017, At: 06:56

The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2017

Is what you see what you get? Investigating the relationship between social media content and counterproductive work behaviors, alcohol consumption, and episodic heavy drinking J. Bret Bectona, H. Jack Walkerb, Paul Schwagerc and J. Bruce Gilstrapd a Department of Management & International Business, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA; bDepartment of Management, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA; cDepartment of Management Information Systems, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA; dnQativ, Lubbock, TX, USA


Employers are increasingly using social networking website (SNW) content to screen applicants for employment despite the absence of much empirical support for this practice. The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of using SNW content to predict employee behavior. Specifically, we investigated the relationship between SNW content and counterproductive work behaviors (CWB), occurrence of workplace accidents, alcohol consumption, and episodic heavy drinking. Participants (N  =  146 MBA and upper level undergraduate business students) self-reported demographic information and information about workplace counterproductive behavior. Participants also provided access to their SNW profile, which the researchers subsequently accessed in order to assess potentially compromising content. Results indicate SNW profiles are not associated with CWB or involvement in workplace accidents, while SNW profiles containing alcohol and drug content are associated with alcohol consumption and episodic heavy drinking. Our study is among the first to examine the relationship between SNW profile information and CWBs of interest to HRM personnel and provides evidence that practitioners should exercise caution in drawing inferences about workplace behaviors based on SNW profile information.


Recruiting; selection; social networking websites; Facebook; counterproductive work behavior; alcohol; profanity

You apply for a great job and, to your delight, you are granted an interview. You are imminently qualified for the position and you want the job badly. The interview seems to be going great, but there is one last thing. The interviewer asks you to log into your Facebook account and click through your private messages, photos, wall posts and other items while the interviewer watches and takes notes. The interviewer says your cooperation is ‘voluntary’ but you feel strongly that you will not get the job unless you comply with the request. What should you do? CONTACT  J. Bret Becton 

[email protected]

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group



This story may seem outlandish, but it really isn’t. The above example is based on an applicant’s account of the Maryland Department of Correction’s one-time practice for screening correctional officers (Horn, 2012). Even if employers do not require applicants to provide them access to their private social networking website (SNW) account, survey results reveal that researching applicant social networking profiles during the screening process is commonplace among employers. For example, a 2013 Jobvite social recruiting survey found that 93% of responding recruiters are likely to search online SNW profiles of candidates and 42% have reconsidered a candidate based on content viewed in an SNW profile (Jobvite, 2013). Another study suggests that approximately 70% of employers use SNWs at some stage in the selection process (Preston, 2011). Other surveys report that between 35 and 63% of employers viewing SNW profiles eliminated an applicant from further consideration due to information found via social media (Davis, 2006; Grasz, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013). These practices are not limited to the United States either; similar results have been reported in Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom (Karl, Peluchette, & Schlaegel, 2010). Recent reports, then, suggest widespread use of SNW information in selection processes, and, if anything, the unsettled ethical and legal status of this practice (Zeidner, 2007) suggests that this practice is underreported. It is hard to blame employers for utilizing SNWs because they can contain voluminous amounts of information. SNWs, characterized by user-driven content, are a popular means of sharing information, building connections and interacting with other users (Levy, 2007; Smith & Kidder, 2010). While format and function vary according to the specific platform, SNWs provide users with a means of presenting themselves through an online profile, sharing a wide range of information (e.g. photos, interests, activities, experiences, relationship status, etc.), making connections (e.g. friends, followers, connections, contacts), and communicating with these connections through both private messages and public comments or status updates. SNWs have become a major part of the way people communicate and interact. In fact, SNWs have changed the way people communicate to the extent that many people eschew traditional forms of e-mail for social media (Nielsen, 2009). Despite the fact that more and more companies are using SNW information in their recruitment and selection processes, only a handful of empirical studies have examined the validity of such practices. Some extant research findings suggest that Facebook profiles are a valid predictor of self-reported personality, supervisor-reported job performance, and hirability (Kluemper & Rosen, 2008, 2009; Kluemper, Rosen, & Mossholder, 2012). Similarly, others-rated personality based on evaluation of Facebook profiles has demonstrated convergent validity with self-ratings of personality and explained significant incremental variance in job performance and hirability after controlling for cognitive ability and selfrated personality (Kluemper, Liguiri, Mossholder, Rosen, & Sauley, 2009). Other research, however, has uncovered evidence that recruiter ratings of Facebook



profiles are not related to job performance ratings, again after controlling for cognitive ability and personality (Van Iddekinge, Lanivich, Roth, & Junco, 2016). Finally, Karl et al. (2010) examined how individual differences in personality are related to the likelihood that individuals post inappropriate information (e.g. substance abuse, sexual content) on Facebook. They found that individuals high in conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability were significantly less likely to report posting problematic content. Additionally, results indicated that U.S. respondents were more likely than German respondents to post certain types of inappropriate content on Facebook such as comments regarding sexual activities and sexual preferences, and self-photos drinking alcohol, while Germans were more likely to post comments about personal use of alcohol. While these studies have certainly advanced our understanding of SNW effects during recruitment and selection, additional research is needed. For example, existing research has largely focused only on the relationship between SNW content and personality characteristics. However, employers rarely have specific personality constructs in mind when searching applicants’ SNW profiles and are highly susceptible to committing the fundamental attribution error – the tendency to underestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the influence of internal factors when making judgments about the behavior of others (Brown & Vaughn, 2011). Rather than being concerned with assessing applicant personality, many employers view searching SNWs as a means of getting a snapshot of an applicant’s ‘character’ (Campbell, 2008) and ‘fit’ with the organization (Grasz, 2009). Furthermore, evidence suggests that employers are searching SNW profiles predominately for evidence of inappropriate, illegal, or unethical behavior such as provocative or inappropriate photos or information, content about applicants drinking or using drugs, bad mouthing previous employers, co-workers, or clients, discriminatory comments, leaking confidential information from previous employers, or lying about qualifications (Grasz, 2009). Such information is abundant on SNWs. Peluchette and Karl (2007) studied 200 Facebook profiles and found that 42% contained comments about alcohol, 53% had pictures involving alcohol consumption, 20% contained comments concerning sexual activity, 25% revealed seminude or sexually provocative photos, and 50% contained comments using profanity. Additionally, the authors examined wall comments and public messages and found 50% pertained to partying, 40% were negative comments about others, 25% involved derogatory comments about employers, 18% concerned sexual activities, and 10% contained racially insensitive language or comments. These findings may be problematic for job seekers as a recent survey by Jobvite (2013) indicated that recruiters react negatively to social media posts/tweets/pictures concerning doing illegal drugs (83%), sexually explicit behavior (71%), profanity (65%), and consumption of alcohol (47%) with 42% having reconsidered a candidate based on content viewed in an SNW profile. Additionally, Grasz (2009) reported that 35% of employers admitted to eliminating candidates from consideration based on this type of information found on SNWs,



and a 2009 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll reported that 89% of HR professionals indicated they would be less likely to hire a candidate whose SNW profile showed evidence of ‘unprofessional behavior’ (2009). Despite evidence that employers frequently use SNW information to eliminate job candidates, we know little about the validity and fairness of this practice (Brown & Vaughn, 2011; Roth, Bobko, Van Iddekinge, & Thatcher, 2016). Accordingly, there are concerns that much of the information gleaned from SNW is not relevant to work or performance, and the mixed findings to date only amplify these concerns (Kluemper & Rosen, 2009; Kluemper et al., 2012; Van Iddekinge et al., 2016). For these reasons, there are many ethical and legal concerns surrounding the practice of using social networking profile information to screen applicants (Bates, 2008; Slovensky & Ross, 2012; Van Iddekinge et al., 2016). Relatedly, information employers are prohibited from asking about in an interview such as race, religion, national origin, or marital status, is often readily available through individuals’ SNW profiles (Kowske & Southwell, 2006). The presence of this information creates much concern as to the potential for illegal employment discrimination. Thus, it is critical to determine if a practice which exposes organizations to considerable legal and ethical hazards is worth the risk. Considering the popularity of using social media during the selection process and the lack of any research demonstrating a relationship between social media content and work behaviors or job performance, this study fills a critical void in the literature by focusing on using such information to predict problematic employee behavior. Specifically, our objective is to examine the validity of using social media content to determine applicants’ propensity to engage in counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs), workplace accidents, and problematic drinking. As previously discussed, these behaviors are reportedly being explicitly or implicitly targeted by employers in SNW searches. In order to understand how social media information might be useful in predicting such behaviors, we integrate theories from the sociology (Buss, 1987; Snyder & Ickes, 1985; Swann, 1987) and criminology (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990) to examine the possibility that information on an individual’s SNW profile (e.g. photos, comments, etc.) are reflective of his or her preferences, attitudes, and values, and that this information is associated with important work behaviors. Understanding how SNW profile information affects recruiters’ employment decisions and determining the legitimacy of those decisions may allow organizations to make more effective, ethical, and legally sound employment decisions. Theoretical background According to interactionist theories of sociology (Buss, 1987; Snyder & Ickes, 1985; Swann, 1987), individuals select and create their social environments (which we suggest include SNW profiles) to match and support their dispositions, preferences, attitudes, and self-views. Individuals are not randomly exposed to all



possible situations, rather they seek and avoid situations selectively, purposely altering, influencing, changing, exploiting, and manipulating the environments they choose to inhabit (Buss, 1987). Three processes are hypothesized to produce person–environment correspondence: selection, evocation, and manipulation. Selection suggests that individuals choose certain environments and associate in them non-randomly; they enter some environments and avoid others. For example, social selections may involve decisions ranging from whether to attend a party to whether to date a certain person. These selections are a function of individual dispositions, propensities, and proclivities. Evocation suggests that individuals elicit or provoke responses from environments unintentionally. Manipulation suggests that individuals intentionally alter, create, modify, or exploit certain environments. The resulting environments that are constructed provide glimpses into a person’s values, attitudes, and lifestyles, and others use this information to form impressions of each other (Gosling, Ko, Mannarelli, & Morris, 2002). Inasmuch as social media has become a significant part of many individuals’ social environments, we argue that this supposition also extends to social media. In other words, individuals select and craft an SNW profile and environment that matches and reinforces their personality, preferences, attitudes, values, etc. Furthermore, if an individual’s SNW profile is a reflection of their attitudes, preferences, values, etc., then it follows that one could predict individual behavior. This prediction is consistent with the theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) which proposes that behavior is a function of attitudes and values. Several studies have supported this theoretical framework and found that attitudes and values are useful in predicting behaviors (Madden et al., 1992; Sheppard et al., 1988). These theoretical assertions suggest that employers have ample reason to search SNW profiles as they may find evidence of inappropriate, illegal, or unethical behavior (Grasz, 2009; Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology [SIOP], 2009). After all, knowing this information is likely to provide a better overall profile of the job applicant. However, an unanswered question is whether or not SNW profile information is predictive of behaviors that could influence employment decisions. Self-control theory (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990) was developed in the criminology literature, and we believe it suggests that SNW content can be used to predict future behavior. This perspective is grounded in the empirical findings that have consistently shown that individuals’ acts of crime are positively correlated with each other and across time. Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) used the terms versatility and stability of crime to explain this phenomenon. They theorized that the only explanation for versatility and stability of crime was an individual difference variable labeled ‘self-control’. Self-control as a construct is defined as ‘the tendency to avoid acts whose long-term costs exceed momentary advantages’ Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1994, p. 4). Self-control explains ones’ tendency to commit



crime because those low in self-control prefer instant gratification without adequate consideration of long-term costs (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1994). We posit that self-control theory is apropos to SNW research as it relates to posting questionable or offensive material on social media and suggests that individuals post such material for an immediate reaction or to influence shortterm perceptions without consideration of long-term consequences. In fact, research in the organizational behavior literature has drawn from self-control theory to identify antecedents of one of our main study variables: CWBs. Marcus and Schuler (2004) examined self-control as a predictor of CWB, testing it against several alternative theories and found self-control to be not only the only dominant predictor among the 25 independent variables, but also virtually the only one that accounted for substantial portions of criterion variance above that of other variables. They go on to suggest that selecting a work-force comprised of sufficiently self-controlled individuals would be the most efficient method to avoid CWB. Furthermore, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) stated that self-control ‘captures the essence of any criminal or analogous conduct and thus is more proximate to the behavior than any other explanation offered in the literature’. Given that some behavior that is part of the CWB construct can be criminal in nature (e.g. theft, sabotage, destruction of property) while others are analogous to criminal behavior (e.g. abuse against other such as threats and nasty comments that could be deemed harassment), we believe that self-control theory is an appropriate theoretical framework to use. We also posit that low self-control is related to both problematic drinking behavior and workplace accidents. Problematic drinking behavior is characterized by one’s desire for short-term benefits without considering the consequences (i.e. increased absenteeism, health risks, interpersonal problems, increased accidents). Furthermore, Hirschi and Gottfredson (1994) suggested that similar behaviors including consuming unhealthy foods or narcotics are features of the general class of low self-control behaviors. Additionally, low self-control is posited to be positively associated with workplace accidents. Scholars have hypothesized that people who are impulsive sensation seekers are ‘more apt than their coworkers to engage in unsafe behaviors either because they underestimate the chances of accidents or because they are actually stimulated by risk’ (Christian, Bradley, Wallace, & Burke, 2009). Accordingly, we argue that the low self-control that manifests posting problematic or inappropriate SNW content will be related to CWB, problematic drinking behavior, and workplace accidents. We argue that inappropriate SNW content is a proxy for one’s lack of selfcontrol and such content will be positively correlated with subsequent behaviors that may influence organizations’ employment-related decisions. As predicted by interactionist theories of sociology (Buss, 1987), we posit that social media profiles represent a social environment created by the user that reflects the user’s attitudes, values, and beliefs and according to the theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980), the content in this social environment can be used to predict



behavior in other environments such as the workplace. That is, the tendency to exhibit low self-control outside of the workplace as depicted in inappropriate SNW content is likely to be positively correlated with the level of self-control related to workplace behaviors such as CWBs and workplace accidents as well as behaviors that may affect work performance such as problematic drinking. Social networking website content and important outcomes As previously mentioned, there is considerable evidence suggesting that the use of social media as part of the employee selection process is extensive (Smith, 2012) and increasing at a rapid pace. However, virtually no research has examined the validity of social media content for predicting work behaviors or job performance. We suggest that SNW content may be especially helpful in predicting CWBs, workplace accidents, and problematic drinking. Examining these outcomes is important for a variety of reasons. CWBs are a set of distinct actions that are intentional (i.e. not accidental or mandated) and harm or intend to harm organizations and/or organizational stakeholders, such as clients, coworkers, customers, and supervisors (Spector & Fox, 2005). According to Spector et al. (2006), there are five dimensions of CWB: production deviance (i.e. purposeful failure to perform tasks in the manner specified); abuse against others (i.e. hurtful behaviors that cause either physical or psychological harm – threats, nasty comments, ignoring the person, or undermining the person’s ability to work effectively); sabotage (i.e. defacing or destroying employer’s property); theft (i.e. stealing employer’s property); and withdrawal (i.e. absence, arriving late or leaving early, taking excessively long breaks). Understandably, organizations wish to avoid CWB and considerable resources are committed to predicting CWBs pre-hire (Ones, 2002). CWB is associated with a number of negative consequences such as decreased job satisfaction, lost productivity, high insurance and labor costs, high turnover rates, and increased stress, intentions to quit, and work pressure (Baron & Neuman, 1996; Budd, Arvey, & Lawless, 1996; Glomb, 2002; Penney & Spector, 2005; Vigoda, 2002). In total, employee theft and fraud, subsumed under CWB, cost U.S. retail businesses more than $50 billion annually (Vater, 2007). Additionally, it is estimated that 1.2 to 2 million incidents of workplace violence occur every year and costly negligent hiring lawsuits arising from workplace violence have been on the rise for some time (Vater, 2007). Predicting workplace accidents is also an important concern for organizations because they are a source of substantial direct and indirect costs (Neal & Griffin, 2006). For example, in 2013, there were 109.4 cases of non-fatal occupational injury and illness per 10,000 full-time U.S. workers resulting in 1.16 million days away from work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014a). Additionally, thousands of fatal workplace accidents occur every year in the U.S., including 4,405 work fatalities in 2013 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014b).



Organizations may also be concerned with employee alcohol use because research shows that alcohol use is linked to a number of negative outcomes, most notably workplace absenteeism (Bacharach, Bamberger, & Biron, 2010; Beaumont & Hyman, 1987; Dash, 2000; McFarlin, Fals-Stewart, Major, & Justice, 2001; Spak, Hensing, & Allebeck, 1998; Upmark, Möller, & Romelsjö, 1999). In addition, alcohol use is related to costly health risks such as cancer, hypertension, liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, and injuries and violence (Corrao, Bagnardi, Zambon, & La Vecchia, 2004; Fillmore, Stockwell, Chikritzhs, Bostrom, & Kerr, 2007). The negative consequences are even more pronounced when employees engage in episodes of heavy drinking. Episodic heavy drinking, defined as the consumption of five or more drinks on a single occasion (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 2005), is an alcohol-related behavior that is most likely to generate pharmacological impairment (Bacharach et al., 2010). Because the pharmacological effects of episodic heavy drinking subsist for several hours after the drinking episode ends (Morrow, Leirer, Yesavage, & Tinklenberg, 1991), such behavior can have serious consequences for worker productivity and workplace behavior. Episodic heavy drinking and the associated impairment has been shown to be related to absenteeism (Bamberger & Biron, 2007; Rentsch & Steel, 2003), interpersonal workplace problems such as conflicts with supervisors and coworkers (Ames, Grube, & Moore, 2000; Lehman & Simpson, 1992; McFarlin et al., 2001; Moore, Grunberg, & Greenberg, 2000), and accidents or risk of job-related injuries (Frone, 2004, 2008). We hypothesize that inappropriate SNW content will be positively related to each of these important outcomes. As previously discussed, the lack of self-control that likely led individuals to participate in inappropriate activities outside of the workplace and post evidence of these activities to their SNW profile is likely to be positively related to the level of self-control exhibited in the workplace. Therefore, we predict that individuals whose SNW profiles exhibit inappropriate content are also likely to engage in CWBs, be involved in workplace accidents, and participate in problematic drinking. Based on this rationale, we offer the following four hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Inappropriate SNW content is positively related to CWBs. Hypothesis 2: Inappropriate SNW content is positively related to workplace accidents. Hypothesis 3: Inappropriate SNW content is positively related to alcohol use. Hypothesis  4:  Inappropriate SNW content is positively related to episodic heavy drinking.

Method Participants

We recruited research participants from MBA and upper level undergraduate business courses in a medium sized university in the southeastern United States. Course instructors informed participants that they had the opportunity to



participate in a research study in exchange for entry into a random drawing for several cash awards (i.e. gift cards). Each participant received an e-mail message containing a link to an internet-based survey. To be included in the study, participants had to meet two eligibility requirements: (1) they had to have an active Facebook account, and (2) they must be currently employed either full or parttime. After logging in, participants answered survey questions concerning CWBs, workplace accidents, alcohol consumption, and heavy episodic drinking. A total of 181 participants met the eligibility requirements and completed the survey. After completing the initial survey, eligible participants received a request to join a Facebook group devoted to the research study and granted the researchers unrestricted access to their Facebook profiles (e.g. photos, comments, wall/ timeline posts). A total of 146 participants responded to the request and granted unlimited access to their Facebook profile information. Participants included 96 (65.8%) Whites, 36 (24.7%) African Americans, 7 (4.8%) Hispanics, 3 (2.1%) Asians, 2 (1.4%) Pacific Islanders, and 2 (1.4%) who identified themselves as ‘other’. Ninety-four (64.4%) were female. Participant age ranged from 20 to 54 with an average age of 25.8. Facebook profiles of the participants were evaluated by the lead investigator. The process used in evaluation is described in the measures section. Measures Counterproductive work behaviors CWBs were measured using 33 items that addressed the five dimensions of CWB adapted from Spector et al. (2006). Subjects were asked to answer each item by indicating how often they engaged in certain behaviors during the past 12 months, and responses were measured on a seven-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 = Never to 7 = Daily. Sample items from each dimension include: Withdrawal – During the past 12 months, how often have you stayed home from work and said you were sick when you were not; Production deviance – During the past 12 months, how often have you purposely worked slowly when things needed to get done; Sabotage – During the past 12 months, how often have you purposely wasted your employer’s materials/supplies; Theft – During the past 12 months, how often have you stolen something belonging to your employer; and Abuse Against Others – Started an argument with someone at work. The Cronbach’s Alphas the dimensions were withdrawal (.72), production deviance (.80), sabotage (.56), theft (.87), abuse against others (.92) and overall CWB construct (.94). Workplace accidents Workplace accidents were measured using three items adapted from Hayes, Perander, Smecko, and Trask (1998). Subjects were asked how often they were involved in accidents at work during the last 12 months that were: (1) Reported to their supervisor or safety officer; (2) Unreported to their supervisor or safety officer; and (3) Near accidents (i.e. something that could have caused injury but



did not). Responses were measured on a seven-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 = Never to 7 = Daily. Alcohol consumption Alcohol consumption was measured using two items from Blum, Roman, and Martin (1993). Subjects were asked to indicate (1) the number of days during the past month they consumed an alcoholic beverage such as beer, wine, or liquor (i.e. frequency of alcohol consumption) and (2) on those occasions when they did drink alcoholic beverages in the last month, what was the average number of drinks they consumed each time (i.e. average quantity of consumption). Response options for each question ranged from 0 to 30. Episodic heavy drinking Frequency of episodic heavy drinking was measured using the metric from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2005). Episodic heavy drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks on a single occasion and captures alcohol-related behavior most likely to generate pharmacological impairment (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 2005). Accordingly, subjects were asked to indicate on how many days during the past month they consumed five or more drinks. Response options ranged from 0 to 30. Facebook content Because it is unclear how employers use information gleaned from applicants’ Facebook profiles, the researchers took a simplistic approach to evaluating Facebook content. While it is likely that employers view certain types of content as more or less problematic, this ‘weighting’ would vary from job to job and employer to employer and no information exists on how this information is used. As a result, we determined the best approach was to simply sum the instances of problematic photos, comments, or behaviors that employers responding to recent surveys (cf., Grasz, 2009; Jobvite, 2013) indicated they looked for when searching applicants’ Facebook profiles. The following information was gathered for each participant: (1) inappropriate content – number of wall/timeline posts or comments on photos containing profanity or offensive language as defined in the coding scheme used in Kaye and Sapolsky’s (2009) study on offensive language in television, number of wall/timeline posts or comments involving the use of racial/ethnic slurs, number of photos containing at least one of the following characteristics – nudity, sexually suggestive poses, offensive language, simulated sexual behavior, or offensive gestures; and (2) alcohol and drug content – number of wall/timeline posts or comments revolving around the consumption of alcohol, number of photos featuring alcohol, number of wall/timeline posts or comments revolving around the use of illegal drugs, number of photos featuring drugs or drug paraphernalia.



In our sample, there were 540 instances of inappropriate photos or comments and 2637 instances of alcohol or drug content on participants’ Facebook profiles within a 30-day window. Approximately 49% of the participants had at least one inappropriate photo or comment, 58% had at least one alcohol or drug photo or comment, and 68% had at least one inappropriate photo/comment and/or alcohol or drug content. Control variables Because both age and sex likely affect use of social media and the type of information shared via social media, these variables were included as control variables. Participants’ age was entered in number of years while sex was coded as males = 0 and females = 1.

Results Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among study variables appear in Table 1. Means for many of the dependent variables are relatively low such as those for CWB, alcohol consumption, and episodic heavy drinking. We believe this is because CWBs are relatively rare anyway and self-reports suppress their actual occurrence. Similarly, self-reporting could also account for low reported alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking. Study hypotheses were tested using hierarchical regression analysis. Demographic variables were entered in the first step, and in the second step, we entered inappropriate content and alcohol and drug content. Results of the hierarchical regression analysis are reported in Tables 2 and 3. Hypothesis 1 predicted that inappropriate SNW content is positively related to CWB. As shown in Table 2, neither inappropriate content nor alcohol and drug content were associated with any of the five dimensions of CWB or the composite construct. Accordingly, hypothesis 1 was not supported. Hypothesis 2 predicted that inappropriate SNW content is positively related to workplace accidents. As can be seen in Table 3, neither inappropriate content nor alcohol and drug content were associated with workplace accidents. Thus, hypothesis 2 was not supported. Hypothesis 3 predicted that inappropriate SNW content is positively related to alcohol consumption. As can be seen in Table 4, the inclusion of inappropriate content and alcohol and drug content accounted for unique variance (ΔR2 = .11, p