Corporate Social Responsibility: An Analysis of Google
The concept of social responsibility began in the 1950s, along with the study of its relationship with business (Archie 1999; Frank, Peter 2005). Although the discussion between social responsibility and commence appeared early, it is attached much or more attention today, especially when we come into an era where globalization has become an heated topic. In other words, the global furious competitive market environment has far-reaching influence on the theory of CSR (Scherer and Palazzo 2008). However, the clear definition of CRS lacks coherence due to various literature (Scherer and Palazzo, 2011). For instance, Chinese may consider a company having corporate conscience by producing healthy and quality guaranteed goods; Germans treat it as employment safety; and in South Africa business responsibility is expected to meet the demand of medical service or education (Knox, Simon 2007). Although aspects of social responsibility are multiple, public goods can play a leading role or be a definition in terms of the theory (Abagail, Donald and Patrick 2006; Timothy , Maitreesh 2007; Markus, Jay 2012). For multinational companies who have much power in many areas such as Google, earning over one billion unique visitors in 2011 (Google 2011) and US$50 billion in 2012 (Fiegerman, Seth 2013), was expected highly by the public in social responsibility, which means that people pay much more attention to Google events that contribute to public goods or bads. This essay will focus on the theory of CSR, referring to public bads Google bring over human rights such as copyright and privacy, and goods in the field of public health, involving medical care, environment and employment.
The Case against Google
As we all know, Google takes the phrase “Don’t Be Evil” as a code of conduct, which set itself to a higher moral standard (Swift, Mike 2012). And with this slogan, Google try to convince their customers of reliable information provided by the company (Entertainment Close - Up 2012). However, when arguing over issues such as copyright and privacy, the motto just seems to be a mask of Google to protect it against criticism from outsiders by holding their own moral code. In 2010, Google decided to pull out of China and Poulter (2010) insisted that hackers attacked human rights activists’ Gmail accounts was the reason why Google quit China and through this event Google won “Don’t Be Evil” reputation. However, there’s a questions left - why hackers attacked Google, but not other companies? It can be reasonably assumed that hackers attacked Google by breaking into human rights activists’ accounts because the company had lost its integrity in China owing to its irresponsibility in the event of copyright infringement. As early as 2005, Google was accused of infringing copyright by Authors Guild, a group composed of over 8,000 US authors (PR Newswire 2005; Jamie Wilson in Washington 2005) originating from Google’s arbitrarily scanning and copying books. Google denied with an excuse of “fair use”, which announced that they just showed part of books (Ganley 2006). Although ultimately Judge Chin rejected the appeal, approving the view of “fair use” in 2013 (Warren 2013), the mark of rights invasion cannot be erased and there is no doubt that Google acted as a role of mis-leader for not merely other companies but also itself via the behavior of shrinking responsibility. Then in 2009, Google, without any permission, copied books written by Chinese authors and was sued by the China Written Copyright Society (Vivian 2009). In the December of same year, Mian Mian, a Chinese writer, took Google to court again due to the copyright theft of her book (Chen Jia 2009). Another disturbing problem existing in Google is “privacy invasion”, which draw social concerns and doubts over Google’s social responsibility in protecting everyone far away from privacy problems. In 2011, Google was...
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