Chapter 4 Case Study “Google In China”
What philosophical principle did Google’s managers adopt when deciding that the benefits of operating in China outweighed the cost? When deciding whether or not to operate in China, a utilitarian approach was clearly adopted. “Utilitarian approaches to ethics hold that the moral worth of actions or practices is determined by their consequences” (Hill, 2009, p. 144). In 2002, Google was unexpectedly blocked by the Chinese for two weeks. When it was finally restored, the site noticed that restrictions were placed, and consequently their services had been significantly degraded. Google realized how strategically valuable China was for the future of the company. Weighing out the pros and cons of operating there, it was finalized that it was an opportunity not to pass up. The straw man approach, cultural relativism, is obvious due to the changes Google had to make to expand to China. China prohibits politically sensitive sites in order for its citizens not to access information suppressed by their own government. Google clearly contradicts its own mantra, or slogan, “don’t be evil”. The central principle was to never compromise any search results, and is used as a guideline for the company’s decision- making process. It was a hard choice for Google’s central managers to make, but inevitably it was decided that the benefits of operating in China outweighed the costs. 2.
Do you think that Google should have entered China and engaged in self-censorship, given the company’s long standing mantra “Don’t be evil”? Is it better to engage in self-censorship than have the government censor for you? In order to keep up with the rest of the search engines, it was essential for Google to establish operations in China. As stated in the case study, “With 100 million users, and that number growing quickly, China promised to become the largest Internet market in the world and a major source of advertising revenue for Google” (Hill, 2009,...
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