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How the company Woolworths is operating their social networking division?

Which social media platforms are considered by the company and for which purposes?

What is the effect of social network on the profitability of the company?

What are the consequences the company have faced with the social media in past?

Background of the Study

The social networking is a revolution in the business management fields. Through the social networking a company can earn more profits, they can generate more leads for the business along with the increase of the brand awareness among the target mass in a particular region or country(Ngai, Tao and Moon, 2015).

Woolworths limited is a major company in Australian supermarkets and it is a global player by operating many businesses in various countries. The company has the market experience of more than 90 years in the retailing industry of Australia and its subcontinents. The revenue generated by the various businesses of Woolworths Limited make them the second largest company in Australia.

The business communication through social networking is considered as the social media marketing and branding. For this research purpose, the Woolworths Limited, the biggest supermarket chains is considered and the research will be conducted for the purpose of understanding the social profile of the organization.

According to a study the social media platforms use to have a huge amount of database of millions of people who regularly uses the networking sites to maintain relationship with their peers and the relatives (Chin, Evans and Choo 2015). The people who uses the social media can easily be targeted and communicated for the business purposes. In various researches it is found that, there are so many people around the world who use to give a notable time of their everyday life for the social media communications.

A study states that, the present various social media sites use to have 95 to 100 million uploads of photos and videos from the users. The  data represents that, the features of ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’, ‘Share’ and ‘Comments’ has given a boost to the user’s activity levels and hence it can be used to engage people with the activities by the company pages (Constantinides 2014). The potentiality and the image of a company can easily be measured by the engagement of their followers in the social media sites. The popularity of a company can also be generated and increased with the help of the social media(Roberts and Candi 2014).

However, there are various cases found where the industrial rivals of a company has used the social media by implementing explicit images and thought about their rival company to ruin the image of the company among their customer base (Constantinides 2014). The effect of such incidents cannot be easily controlled by any company over the social media(Razmerita, Kirchner and Nabeth 2014). Now days, social media is too much powerful because of the freedom of speak anything about any object. This freedom is now ruining the freedom of the organizations in some ways.

The consequences of the misuse of the social media networks can also effect on the profitability of the organization and privacy factors can also be affected by such incidents (King, Racherla and Bush 2014).

The social media is useful for the business but in some cases it is found that, the social media ruins the reputation of the company, the competitors use the social media to misguide the customer base to a different direction(Ngai, Tao and Moon, 2015). The social media usage has various advantages and disadvantages and hence a research is required to be done to understand the realistic evaluation of the social media marketing for a company in Australia.

Rationale of the Study

The research is needed to be conducted to understand the profitability in using the social media for various business purposes along with the consequences of the use of the social media in business.

Literature Review

The social media research by Tao, Moon and Ngai conducted in the year 2015 states that, there are various companies who use the social media and networking to promote their business among a particular segment of mass along with making a new unique identity too (Ngai, Tao and Moon2015).

A research by Siamagka and the fellows has concluded through various articles state that, the social media is beneficial for the companies who use to do B2B business to maintain their reputation and relation with their clients (Siamagka et al. 2015). Along with that, the researchers has found various determinants of the use of social media which can actually help the organizations.

Another study by Trainor states that, the Customer relationship management also a part of the purpose of using social media networks to get success in satisfying the customer base along with resolving the problems (Trainor et al. 2014). Apart from that, the people working in the organization can also contribute in achieving the objectives set by the organization with the help of the social media.

However, there are various consequences in misuse of social networking due to industrial rivalry. The organizations who want to maintain their profile over the social networking need to keep a person dedicated to observe every single factors. Along with that, the person has to act according to the reactions of the target customers’ base who will be engaged with the company profile and posts(Kaur 2016).

Research Methodology

Research is the procedure of discovering few information camouflaged due to any reason. The process of concluding such unknown information is dispersed in various analytical observes. A research methodology incorporates anorganized process with definite methods of work for such research enactment (Panneerselvam 2014).

The research will focus on finding the analytical data about the company Woolworths Limited in Australia and its performances over the social media sites. The previous discussion on the background of the study and the literatures reviewed by the researcher states that there are various reasons to conduct this research. The company Woolworths Limited use to be a very big retail chain business in the urban areas of Australia. The company has many years of experience in the supermarkets business and the company has faced various up and down during its journey till today. The research methodology is guided by the theoretical concepts of research studies and the methodology is designed as per the research of the mentioned purpose.

Type of Investigation

There are mainly three types of research investigations as mentioned by the theories of empirical researches. The study states that, the investigation types are –


The exploratory research investigation is accepted when the investigator does not have any pure idea of the theme of the inquiry. This research can be directed with the help of methodical point of view.

Literature Review


The descriptive research study is accompanied with the help of establishedrelated theory and notion. The investigation study with the help of pertinent theory and notions a descriptive study can be directed.


The research hypothesis for this research will be –

H0: The use of social media has no effect on the profitability of Woolworths Limited.

H1: The use of social media has effect on the profitability of Woolworths Limited.

The research designs are considered as the inquiry types which consists of various method designs to correlate with a particular topic(Lincoin & Denzin 2011). The theory of research design defines that, the quantitative, qualitative and mixed or hybrid are three suggested methodologies need to consider for various research purposes. The mentioned designs are also called as the Strategies of inquiry by the researchers Lincoin and Denzin.

Quantitative design

The quantitative research design consists of mainly two research methodologies such as Survey Approaches and Experimental approaches(Creswell 2013). The quantitative research approaches lies in conducting various surveys data collection and analysis of the information along with various experiments with scientific guidelines to get the scientific information and analytical base of an object in a research.

Survey Approaches

The survey research approaches are considered as the cheap and effective approaches in various human research along with realistic samples and the analysis of the information collection. The approach consists of various numerical information relating with the attitudes and various attributes of the chosen sample.

Experimental approach

The experimental approaches mainly focuses on the schedule constricting of the various process steps according to the expected area of knowledge generation by the researcher.

Qualitative Design

The qualitative research methods are constructed on the basis of various subjects like Humanities, Sociology and Anthropology(Creswell 2013). Apart from that, the research methods consists of Ethnography, Grounded theory, Narrative designs along with various phenomenological research designs.

Narrative design

The narrative approaches consists of chronology regarding various human factors along with the various attributes which implies the knowledge of the researcher and influences the skills to derive the expected outcomes from a particular research (Marshall and Rossman 2014)..


This design is based on the studies of sociology and anthropology which also measures the language differences, behavioral aspects and the cultural diversification. The factors of ethnography is implied to construct such research design of qualitative data generation (Creswell 2013).

Phenomenological design

The phenomenological design is regarded with the studies of philosophy and the psychology elements which generally describes the experience, emotional statements and the frequent actions on a particular incident (Thines 2015). The theories of psychology in more useful in most of the cases of research since it helps more to understand the thought process of a person along with the characteristics of the person.

Grounded Theory

The theory is founded on the abstract studies of sociology and it also revolves around the viewpoints and its differences among the interviewees (Smith 2015).

Hybrid Theory

The mixed or Hybrid theory is a combinations of various research structure of the qualitative and the quantitative designs. The hybrid theory is used in those research cases where the required data can not only lie in the category of the qualitative or may be the quantitative. The hybrid theory states that, the use of the combination can give more realistic information regarding an object rather a single one (Marshall and Rossman 2014).

  • Explanatory sequential mixed methods;
  • Exploratory sequential mixed methods;
  • Embedded mixed methods
  • Transformative mixed methods
  • Convergent parallel mixed methods
  • Multiphase mixed methods

Research Methodology

For this research the required research design is the Hybrid Research design where few data will be qualitatively analysis and the other will be with quantitative (Marshall and Rossman 2014). The hybrid design can only be helpful to collect the data as required with the previously mentioned research questions.

Data collection Method

There are two types of data generally required for various research works. The two types are primary and the secondary data. The consecutive measures of data gathering communally depends on several methods of selected data types, but, some of the research projects need moderately lesser impediment due to secondary data (Hair and Lukas 2014).

The primary data are the raw data which are collected through the process of interviews, surveys, polling and some of other processes. The primary data use to be the data solely collected by the researcher along with various methods.

The secondary data are those data which can be assessed by the government websites, private organizations, journals written for the other researcher purposes, articles and news printed and published which are related to the research object and article reviews.

For this research purpose, the secondary data need to be collected about the company Woolworths and its social presence.

The primary data use to be collected through various interviews and surveys personally by the researcher. The secondary data need to be collected from the other research data, journals, articles, press releases.

For the research, the researcher will collect the data from the company websites, the social networking sites, the media plans published in the press releases by the company, the news articles published  for the social presence of the company along with the news reports conveying the social networking issues faced by the Woolworths Limited in past years.

There are two types of data analysis techniques namely Quantitative and Qualitative.

For this particular research, both the qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques will be required.

The qualitative data analysis can be done in two levels such as the basic level and the higher level. The content investigation involves coding and sorting of data.

For the quantitative analysis, there are various software which can be useful in the research purpose. The software are Computer Aided Textual Markup and Analysis, Gate and QDA Miner Lite.

Woolworths have embraced the social media with open arms and this has benefited the organization in more than one way. They have a dedicated website called WOW People Portal for letting their employees get involved and interact freely within the organization. This website contains news, information and support related to the operations and working in Woolworths. This is even accessible to the employees of Woolworths at the convenience of their homes. It allows the employees to get an access to the information, latest happenings and news related to the processes of the system. The freedom also comes with a few rules and guidelines that are laid down by the Information Security department of Woolworths and have to be followed and abided by at all times (Wilson, 2016). They aim at making the entire social media engagement for the employees to be a safe, enjoyable and fair one. The employees who wish to gain access to the data and information on the portal need to follow the given guidelines as per the organizational policy. The first rule states that any employee of Woolworths can use the portal provided they have an active Google+ account which is provided to them by the Woolworths Limited. They take the privacy issues very seriously and treat the information as personal and ensure that no personal information is disclosed. No confidentiality is compromised during information sharing and the employees are required to follow the same while sharing information on the portal. The employees on the other hand, are made to understand that the social media portals and platforms that they are using are in the public domain and thus no sensitive information must be shared over time. The employees are expected to abide by the code of conduct at all times and is irrespective of the person the employees are communicating with (Barwick, 2010). They must make the common assumption that anything shared over the social media websites and portals is done with the intent of making it public. The information shared is going to remain there permanently even if they try removing it from their end. The employees are expected to treat everyone with respect and not to offend anyone on the portals. They are also advised to stay out of controversial topics that might seem insulting or hurtful to other people. The employees are required to not comment or remark on behalf of the organization unless they have the authority to do so and they are also asked to state their employment status and job title when making comments to avoid any confusion. The last and most important instruction for the employees is to give full attention to their job and not to overlook their job responsibilities in the process of using social media and engaging with others at these platforms. They request the employees to minimize their personal phone calls, messaging, internet usage and use of personal devices. The employees are expected to perform their job in the best way they can with or without social media distractions. The people must not post the content that does not belong to them or is violating a copyright, patent or trademark regulation. The organization Woolworths can use any content posted on their website and they need not pay the person for them (Retail World, 2016).

Type of Investigation

Woolworths created their Twitter account on October 2010 before that the organization had a limited interaction that was directly with the customers. The retail giant took these steps to reach out to the younger generations and interact with them on a platform that was specifically for the youth and they were the majority participants there. Additionally, they have a social media guideline for their employees and staff members. The social media platforms were used indirectly and informally by the organization before this, but only on October 2010 did they create the official account for Woolworths. They have an open social media policy for their employees in the workplace where they allow the employees to use the websites during their working hours, however, they have set a few rules for the usage that they have communicated across the management and the workforce. The organization used the social media initially to attract young and fresh talent into the Woolworths organization. Additionally, it was intended to communicate with the customers and inform them of the special weekly offers or occasional discounts, and also about the location of their new stores and opening of the new organization's outlets.

With the added transparency and accessibility, there is a risk of data leaks and information security of the organization may become questionable. They have therefore made IT policies that any new members of the organization are acquainted with and this has been made a part of the orientation and induction process of the organization. The internal communication has also taken a turn for the better and has embraced the technological advancements as informed by their employees (Limited, 2016). The video messages about the IT security and information safekeeping are sent to the stores on a regular basis. They have a new message put up by the Woolworths head office, which is located in the New South Wales, Australia. Peter Cooper, who is the information security manager at Woolworths says he loves to add a personal touch to every IT Security communication happening in the organization and therefore he personally looks over the communication regarding the IT security happening in the organization. Cooper and his team personally ensure that the messages are clearly and unambiguously communicated and delivered to every employee who is a part of Woolworths. They also pick out the stories from the media that are related to the organizational information security and the ones that can in some way be related to the organizational processes and functions. He then adds them to the security messages and passes it on to the members of the organization to reinforce the messages. Their social media policy calls strictly against personal attacking, trolling, abusing, name calling and bullying via social media platforms or otherwise. They have a zero-tolerance policy against these and immediate disciplinary action is taken against any employee found to be indulging in the same as per the organizational policy (Woolworths Limited, 2017)s.

Woolworths currently have more than 400 stores operating in the Australian mainland. They have a diverse product availability and an even more diverse workforce. It is an organization that has promoted and embraced the use of social media for the organization by its employees. Although the practice has at times backfired and attracted bad publicity for the organization, most of the times it has helped the organization in gaining customers, their trust and revenues for the organization.


Social media platforms have a bad reputation of blowing things out of proportion and this is what happened in the handful of incidents where the posts from Woolworths generated a lot of hate and negative comments. Just like two sides of a coin, social media platforms have both advantages and disadvantages that contribute to the operations and working of the organization (Ventureneer, 2013). The organization when making comments or posting status on the social media platforms must ensure that they make them in lines of corporate culture, reserved and keeping in line with the principle of social media marketing. The Woolworths website is an interactive and engaging platform for the employees to participate in discussions and communicate with each other. The organization has although able to attract employees, customers and potential employees through these, their website needs a few improvements that the organization can work upon. Firstly, they must use these platforms to engage the people, they must encourage the customers to give feedback on their store experience and employee behavior. They can also utilize these platforms to make amends and apologize for the problems and inconvenience faced by them. These must not be used as a reactive and defensive tool and must be used to proactively encourage people to share the feedback. They can also use these to maintain healthy public relations as well. They can offer better services and more convenience to their customers through these (Labs, 2014). These platforms also increase the reach of the business organizations and social media outreach positively impacts the business of the organization. The online store operations are not just as a store for online sale and purchase, but a place to innovate the customer experience, experiment with the customer service practices and resolve the public grievances and complaints. The social media usage provides competitive and up to date information about the customer preferences (Stelzner, 2015). The information provided here, however, cannot be evaluated for its credibility and therefore must be judged before taking any action. The adoption of these has made the reporting and report maintenance quicker and more efficient. They encourage the employees to perform better with the recognition that has a wider reach and resultantly wider impact. Thus, we can safely conclude that the social media platforms and their usage has impacted the profits of the Woolworths organization positively (Ontario Government, 2013).

Although, there are a lot of findings that still remain unearthed, our study has highlighted some important facts about the impact of social media platforms on the revenue generated by the Woolworths organization of Australia. Having acknowledged these limitations, we nevertheless validate the analysis and its findings of the research (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). The first limitation that we acknowledge for the research is that this study was carried out for educational purposes only and therefore we only had a limited time to analyze and study the impact. The information was mostly obtained from secondary data sources that are credible, but there might be some percentage error that might have crept in (Neti, 2011). The research was also conducted with limited means and therefore there might be some factors that might impact the final analysis that might have possibly been overlooked. There is a scope of further research on this topic with a wider variety of data sources and more time to carry out the research. This research was an attempt at studying the impact of social media on the profits of Woolworths organization, the data we could obtain for this was subjective to scrutiny as the data were mostly qualitative and the opinions of the respondents and the participants may vary according to their preferences and experience with the technologies (Oracle, 2012). There are no set parameters for the study and therefore the researcher has utilized the freedom to conduct the research by designing their own parameters. These may have missed some important factors that could have impacted the results of the study. A few assumptions were also made in order to predict the trends for the use and these may have impacted the final analysis and inferences drawn (Bhanot, 2014).

Research Design and Approaches


The research had used the statement ‘The use of social media has no effect on the profitability of Woolworths limited’ as the null hypothesis for conducting this study. Woolworths organization has a dedicated website called WOW People Portal for letting their employees get involved and interact freely within the organization. This website contains news, information and support related to the operations and working in Woolworths. This is even accessible to the employees of Woolworths at the convenience of their homes. It allows the employees to get an access to the information, latest happenings and news related to the processes of the system. The organization has laid down certain rules for the usage of the portal and the various other platforms for social media interactions. We had to study and analyze if the use of social media and this organizational website had any impact on the working and the overall profitability of Woolworths limited or not. We carried out a qualitative research for which we obtained data through various social media platforms, an organizational website, published and unpublished sources and the direct questioning from the employees of Woolworths Limited. According to the study and the answers obtained from them, we can conclude that there is a positive correlation between the use of social media at Woolworths Limited and their profitability. We also concluded that the use of social media in fact boosts the engagement and motivation levels in the organization and therefore it must be promoted and utilized to further improve the profitability of the organization. The null hypothesis is therefore rejected and a relation is established between the use of social media and the profits earned by the organization. It has enabled the organization to perform more efficiently and encourage greater engagement and satisfaction levels for both the employees of the organization and their customers. This also includes a few recommendations using which the organization can make the working and usage of these platforms even more profitable and effective for the organization.

For the success of a research the time horizon is very important and it will also defines the structural aspects of the research.

Gantt chart










Finalizing the research topic

Collecting data from the  secondary sources

Designing layout of the research

 Literature review study

Research plan formation

Selection of research methodologies

Data collection from the secondary resources

Analysis of data

Interpretation of  the collected data

Concluding the research Study

Designing a draft

Submitting the Final Research Work

(Source: Created by the author)


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