The paper 'How Should Google Prioritize the Relative Obligation " is a good example of a business assignment. The stakeholders in Google’ s case include consumers, employees, the community, shareholders, and the Chinese government. Google finds itself in a precarious position of having to do its best in order to work in a bad system. The Chinese government has made things very difficult for internet service providers by censoring the information that they can give to consumers. Google has the responsibility of satisfying the needs of its consumers in China. It also has the responsibility to act within the territorial policies set out by the Chinese government.
The Chinese culture of media censorship is very alien to Google’ s entrepreneurial culture that is largely inspired by American capitalism. For this reason, the company’ s executives have had to make many compromises, the biggest of them all being a suspension of the revenue aspect of its operations, and instead shifting focus on the provision of information. This seems like a philanthropic measure which it is not; it is a risk management measure. Google's first responsibility is to its shareholders.
Shareholders expect that the services that the company offers to consumers will translate into bigger profits and, by extension, an increase in the amounts of dividends paid out. In China, things are a bit different. Google found it difficult to operate in China with the main aim being to make business. Censorship laws made it difficult for the company to do that. Worse still, the tradition of self-censorship made it difficult for a foreign company like Google to understand where the lines are in order to avoid crossing them.
Local internet companies know how to self-restrict and therefore have a competitive advantage, says Kujala (2002 p. 235). The main reason why Google did not start a mail service in China was that it did not like to create a situation that may get someone jailed. In this regard, the company was showing concern for its most valued asset: consumers as stakeholders. The trickiest thing was to make these stakeholders understand why the mail service was no longer available. On the issue of censored internet sites, Google displayed the website results whenever users searched for information relating to censored terms.
However, when one tried to visit the website homepage, an error message appeared on the computer screen. The company decided to be putting up a disclaimer that the information being accessed is unavailable because it has been censored by the Chinese government. This was a very good way of communicating information to stakeholders. The American government accused Google of bowing to censorship demands by the Chinese government. In this regard, Google executives have summoned in congressional hearings in the U. S.
Here was another tricky situation where the company was at pains to explain to a nagging stakeholder about the difficulties of doing business in a country with a bad internet business regulation system. On the one hand, the relative obligation was to do its best in order to reach out to the Chinese consumer who needs information. On the other hand, the company had a case to answer to the U. S congress whose laws it is subject to by virtue of being a registered company in the U. S. balancing these needs was a tricky issue that almost cost the company its reputation in the U. S.
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