According to my post to response the question made by my professor
How has Google’s rhetoric regarding ethics, human rights, and business changed over time?
For many years, Google has operated on open and free access to information policy, which has made the company a reputable name and a stronghold base among internet users. However, as Baker and Tang argue in “Google’s Dilemma in China,” globalizations have increasing impacted the business models of many businesses. With every market, there exists a culture that most corporation tends to adhere in order to be suitable in such an environment. This was the same case with Google when it tried to enter the business world of China. Every stakeholder a particularly the governments tend to dictate the manner in which business will employ their values, cultures, and standards in a given population within a country and thus the concepts of ethics tend to be affected as multiple cultures have different perceptions of ethics. Therefore, the following discussion showcased how Google overtime changed its stance on business, human rights, and ethics.
First, the concept of cultures dictates how the concept of ethics is understood within a given population. In this case, China is an authoritarian regime where information is censored, and anything that tarnishes the government’s reputation is banned. Therefore, most social media platforms are censored and monitored all the time. According to Xu & Albert (2017), the Chinese government has held total control and the crackdown on media to prevent the insurrection of its authority, and more so, international media and business are supposed to abide by the ethics related to the Chinese internet industry. Baker and Tang note that Google had received a lot of success in 2010 and claimed 70% of total internet searches. Behind the success of Google are comprehensive ethical standards the company has longed to upheld. However, Google goals in offering timely information were challenged when the citizen of China was experiencing low responses on it platform Google.com. This prompted the company to develop a localized search engine called Google.cn (May, 2013). In the quest to meet consumers’ needs, Google’s stances on human rights, ethics, and business operation were tested since a local version of Google would require to be censored based on the Chinese rules and regulations. Therefore, this discussion can note that the need to dominate the international market and create competition for the local platform Weibo made goggle alter its stance on ethics and human right.
Secondly, it is evident through the blog that Google made on the business model it was changing into by entering the Chinese market that Google was willing to compromise its long-standing reputation on freedom of speech because of government policy and operation of its business in China in terms of market share. For example, Baker and Tang argue that Eliot Schrage, the Vice President of Google in 2006, defended the company’s decisions noting that the uncensored platform had made the company generate a lot of market share loss. The data, according to him, showcased that the competitor Baidu has improved by 2.5 % to 46%, whereas Google had dropped its market share to 30%, and the trend was continuously repeating itself (May, 2013). Google prioritizes economic needs over ethics, human rights, and its business culture in China in order to allow censoring of information so that the company can access more than 400 million people’s market that was available. Nevertheless, the company had the option to shun the Chinese market bus stayed because of three major reasons offered by its vice-chairperson. One is that the company wanted to attend to the needs and preferences of the local consumers in China. Second, the need to establishes Google.cn was in line with the company’s policies of expanding access to information to all people, and this thus included China. Lastly, being a global brand, Google needed to integrate local conditions in order to sustain its business. However, this agreement between the company and the Chinese authority on the operationalization of Google in China went beyond its culture. It overlooked the human rights the company has so long strived to uphold. Freedom of information is universal, and restricting it based on the government’s way meant that Google was promoting impunity of the government in disallowing its citizens from seeing information about issues such as The Tiananmen Square protests.
Lastly, Google’s stand on ethics and human rights changed because the authority started using its concepts to spy on other people. This discussion can consider as a changing point for Google because having agreed with the authority to limit certain information to the public didn’t meet that Google was willing to allow its platform to be used as a surveillance tool as this would have further affected the very reason the company was entering the Chinese market. With increased surveillance and attacks of a human rights activist in China through its Gmail, Google in 2010 gave an ultimatum that it would exit the Chinese market if the government continued to censor information to the public. In March 2010, users in China were able to access uncensored information through Google.com.hk (May, 2013). Therefore, based on this, Google was able to hold onto its business culture of providing free access to information and, more so, adhering to ethics that revolve around information technology. This was contributed by the government’s interference with Google’s operations by infringing its content to spy on others making Google have a turnabout on the way it perceived human rights and ethics in China. Besides, the increased criticism from Human right watch and other stakeholders challenged Google rhetoric’s and practices and further accelerated the creation of Google.com.hk. Nevertheless, it clear from the extracts that any decisions that Google made was tied between adhering to local regulations and rules and its cultures of upholding free information, human rights, and ethics in its business
In conclusion, it’s clear that, over time, goggle rhetoric and practices changed because of various factors. First, this discussion has s established that, first, the company was focusing on adhering to local norms, rules, and regulations and thus working together with authority to prohibit information that society regarded as immoral. Secondly, an economic perspective was behind the change in its rhetoric since, as a company, Google has the mandate to minimize losses while maximizing profits. Lastly, the company had social and ethical responsibility where its goods aren’t supposed to inflict damage to the population; the act of government using Google’s content to cause harm to others went against this social and ethical virtue. Thus, it needed to re-access its rhetoric. Nevertheless, the company faced a dilemma based on the three levels they seek to fulfill.
May, S. (2013). Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices Case studies in organizational communication: Ethical perspectives and practices. Teller Road, Thousand Oaks California 0 United States Sage Publications, Inc.
Xu, B., & Albert, E. (2017, February 17). Media Censorship in China. Council on Foreign Relations; Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/media-censorship-china
Question made by my professor :
What recommendations would you offer to Google moving forward with respect to ethical operations?
You should read (pages 292-293) of Case Study 21: Google’s Dilemma in China (pp. 285-293 in Case Studies in Organizational Communication).
For more information on Google Rhetoric Regarding Ethics read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics
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