Governing Stakeholders and Business Ethics
Case discussion questions
1) How does Google’s mission drive strategy at the company? Google’s mission ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally acceptable and useful’ has driven Google to create a search engine that on the basis of key words entered by the user will scan the Web for text, images, videos, new articles, books, and academic journals, among other things.
2) Is Google’s stance toward Internet search in China consistent with its mission? Google’s stance toward Internet search in China is inconsistent with its mission. According to its mission, the search engine would be an unstoppable tool for circumventing government censorship, democratising information, and allowing people in heavily censored societies to gain access to information that their governments were trying to suppress, including the largest country on earth, China. However, in accordance with Chinese regulations, Google had decided to engage in self-censorship, excluding results on such politically sensitive topics as democratic reform, Taiwanese independence, the banned Falun Gong movement, and references to the notorious Tiananmen Square massacre of democratic protestors that occurred in 1989.
3) 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? No I do not think that Google should have entered China and engaged in self-censorship, as this is inconsistent with its long-standing mantra “Don’t be evil”. However as Google’s managers argued, it was better to give Chinese users access to a limited amount of information, than none at all, or to serve the market from the United States and allow the government to continue proactively censoring its search results, which would result in a badly degraded service....