Making the Connection

How Facebook is changing the supervisory relationship

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. –  Facebook’s impact on how we communicate as a culture has been nothing short of revolutionary.  Therefore, it is natural to assume that the social network has significantly influenced interactions between management and employees.  According to new research from Minneapolis marketing firm, Russell Herder, efforts by both parties to bring interpersonal dynamics into our increasingly connected digital age are often made uneasily and without guidance.


Using the firm’s social media research tools and analysis, Russell Herder, recently conducted an online survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. residents that found that age, gender and frequency of social networking usage significantly influence attitudes and behaviors regarding the decision to connect with one’s supervisor online.


Russell Herder’s research found that 21 percent of employees – especially those in younger age categories - are friends with their supervisor on Facebook. Differences also emerged between genders with respect to how a Facebook connection affects on the job performance.  The research found that men are more likely to believe being friends with management on Facebook enables them to do their job more effectively.


The study also found that Facebook users ages 18-34 are much less likely to believe that it is inappropriate to friend their supervisor on the social network compared to those 55 and over. Additionally, those who use Facebook the most frequently are more likely to be friends with their supervisor. Carol Russell, CEO of Russell Herder, says the research insights have implications for all employers.


“Social media platforms provide both unique and complicated opportunities in a professional environment,” said Russell.  “The research emphasizes the importance of having a written social media policy, defining appropriate boundaries, and applying standards universally to all employees.”


The study is a natural extension of the agency’s commitment to provide research-based, relevant strategies in an increasingly digital environment.  Located in Minneapolis, Russell Herder is a full-service agency with over 28 years of expertise in all aspects of communication, and an understanding that social media has moved beyond applications and tools, and includes policies, protocols and etiquette.


For the full list of observations and the study in its entirety, click here, or visit


About Russell Herder

Founded in 1984, Russell Herder provides integrated strategic solutions to regional and national clients.  With offices in Minneapolis and Brainerd, Russell Herder develops strategies that link creative, research, advertising, public relations and digital communications into powerful, results-driven platforms.  For more information, visit