Almost half of Kiwis say they are uncomfortable with "friending" their boss on a social networking site because it blurs the line between personal and professional relationships.
Sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn provide great networking tools that bring people closer, but they can also create discomfort and uncertainty in the workplace, a survey by Robert Half has found.
The recruitment company said 43 per cent of the 414 accounting and finance professionals they surveyed were uncomfortable with being connected to their boss on a social networking site, while bosses were equally reserved about the people they managed - 47 per cent said they were uncomfortable with the idea.
There was less concern from respondents to connecting with colleagues on a similar level with just under a third saying they were uncomfortable with the idea.
The survey also revealed more clarity was needed around creating and defining social media policies in the business environment, which are either unclear or non-existent in three quarters of New Zealand organisations.
Of those surveyed, 13 per cent said they were unclear about their workplace's policy, 44 per cent said there was no policy in place, and 18 per cent said their company did not allow access to social media sites, therefore no policy was required.
While one third (32 per cent) of New Zealanders believe social networking has negatively impacted on others' workplace relationships, just three per cent say social networking has had a direct negative impact on their own workplace relationships.
This compared to 13 per cent who said it has helped them to develop better working relationships.
Robert Half New Zealand general manager Megan Alexander said it was important people managed their online profile and were aware of the image they projected because "you never know who might be looking".
Job candidates in particular should be aware of any inappropriate content that may be visible on a personal social networking site like Facebook, given thirty four per cent of hiring managers admitted they checked potential candidates' Facebook profiles.
The figure is on par with Australia (where 36 per cent of hiring managers check candidates' profiles) but much lower than those in Hong Kong at 71 per cent and Singapore at 50 per cent.
"Know what's out there about you, take advantage of privacy settings, carefully consider what you contribute to online conversations and keep your profile current," Alexander said.