Choose a recent news/media article that has been published within the last 3 months that concerns a business ethics issue/s and answer the following questions using an essay style format:
Background of the Issue: Google's Attempt to Enter the Chinese Market
This essay will discuss the moral and ethical issues in the current business context which create problems among the employees regarding their dependability on the organizations. This easy is completely based on the news published in the New York Times under the name Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China. The authors of this particular report are Kate Conger and Daisuke Wakabayashi who have pointed out the unethical business decisions and actions of the global company Google (Conger and Wakabayashi 2018). This issue is mainly associated with the transparency issue in this international organization. The authors of this report have identified this issue from the letter of the employees to the CEO of the company where they have asked for the organization for becoming more transparent to the employees regarding their operations. The employees need to know I which particular projects they are working and how these projects will affect their career. This essay will analyze this article in detail, how this type of issue can be judged and whether this can be supported or not. this essay will be concluded with the discussion of this unethical issue in the context of moral philosophy and ethical decision-making processes.
This article is connected to one previous action initiated by Google while operating in China. The main problems were the government of the country started to censor the activities of the company which seemed to be unethical for Google. As mentioned by Conger and Wakabayashi (2018) there were regulations based on which the company had to introduce their services to the customers and these regulations had imposed censorship on opening certain sites by the Chinese clients. This is the reason why this company lead the biggest internet market of the world in 2010. At that point of time, the company gained huge support from the employees due to following its code of ethics. The position of the company has changed completely in these eight years. Now the company has initiated to enter the market of China as it has been identified as a scope for the companies like Google with a huge customer base. This news was kept secrete from the employees which has created issues and insecurity among the employees who are pointing out to the inconsistency in the company and its ethical decisions.
The issue of censorship of the countries that once affected the business of Google, has molded the strategies and responsibilities of the company. After leaving the country, Google gained respect from the other companies and their employees as well as the customers for not being curbed by the autocratic rule of the Chinese government rather chose the way to leave the market. To the authors of the article Conger and Wakabayashi (2018), the company has completely changed its strategy and trying to enter the largest internet market of China for increasing their business. The company has initiated to build a special search engine which will follow the censorship of the Chinese government. This will filter the search results and eliminate the sites banned by the government of China. This action of Google has effectively shaken up the expectation of the employees which they have reflected in the letter. Unethical issues happened in the global company like Nestle when it was employing forced labor in the branches of Thailand which hampered its reputation greatly (Hrw.org 2018).
Employee Dissatisfaction and Insecurity with Project Dragon Fly
The main problem of the employee of Google is associated with the project Dragon fly about which the company does not want to open up to public. This is the reason why it has imposed various regulations about leaking any information about this particular project. To the employees, this project will be able to restrict information from the citizens of China which is completely against the human rights laws in which Google will have a prominent part to serve. The employees who are employed in this particular project, do not possess proper information about the project itself hence they are urging the company to increase transparency about this project (Conger and Wakabayashi 2018). Usually the employees of the company get fair chance to question the operation of the company and participate in the decision-making process about the process and product innovation and launching but in this case, they are not having proper answers even after they are questioning the validity of this project.
As mentioned in the article by Conger and Wakabayashi (2018) in the weekly meetings of the employees, this ethical question gained importance but the CEO completely denied the existence of this type of project aiming to enter the market of China. However, to the authors, the company has clearly taken some initiative to enter the market of China which it once left based on ethical consideration. According to this new article, the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai had clearly stated one thing that there were some reasons for which the company left the largest market but with the progress of time it has become necessary for the company to re-entre this market without thinking about the ethical questions (Conger and Wakabayashi 2018). As the competition in the global market has increased in these eight long years, the company must exploit the market of China also. The main reason of leaving the Chinese market was the continuous censorship of the government on the operation of the company and secondly, the company found the presence of some Chinese hackers in the market who started to get the Gmail count of the clients and affecting the corporate structure of the company.
The company has now initiated to enter the market of China to capture the largest consumer base. The company is not completely unaware of the business in these eight long years in China. It has launched file manager apps and translation apps in the Chinese market for which they have employed more than 700 employees (Conger and Wakabayashi 2018). In this recent business context, all the internet dependent companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google are trying to the conflict with the government of China and entering the market of the country with largest population. However, another issue is compelling the company that most of the Chinese people of younger generation do not get access to the world outside thus remaining outside of these company’s target. These companies are becoming non-essential for the internet users of China giving scope to the local entrepreneurs to garb the national market. This is the reason why Google has started to establish a research Centre in China which will actually forces on the artificial intelligence. To Meyers (2014) the main problem is the understanding of the Chinese government as thy think that the America companies will be capturing their markets and exploit data from their market to use in other projects which is another reason why the company has started to end this miscommunication and focused on the reduction of homegrown internet behemoths of the country.
Virtue Ethics as a Solution to the Problem
Among the seven moral philosophies, in case of Google, the virtue ethics will be the best fitted moral philosophy. It is a part of the normative ethics which is associated with the organizations and individuals associated with virtues and moralities (Crane and Matten 2016). This emphasizes the moral duties and consequences of the actions. According to Pearson (2017) the virtue ethics also supports the fact that the process of helping people in need would be charitable or benevolent. Under this particular ethical consideration, the persons need to be better persons to support the others. Virtue ethics discusses the morals of the individuals, enthusiasm and characters are needed to be analyzed (Schmidt 2016). The people if want their environment to work properly need to work for good cooperatively. This will give a positive impact on the environment and culture where they live and work.
The employees of Google are asking for more transparency from the CEO of the company so that they can know their duties and perform them well. The company on the contrary has been hiding information from their employees but expecting loyalty from them. As pointed out by Pearson (2017), it is intentionally observed and unethical work to both their customers as well as their employees. The company’s association with the project Dragon fly has created dissatisfaction in the minds of the employees regarding their job. This is also creating the feeling that they becoming a part of really immoral or unprincipled to support the censored search engine for Google. In this regard the virtue ethics have been applied inductively to this problem as well as draw general conclusion from the specific observation (Kolk 2016). This mandates the company to share all the available information about the project to understand the importance of this particular project. The path of ethics will be the best way to make the employee realize the essentiality for the company to enter the largest market of China so that they can help the company to overcome any issues regarding the project.
Therefore, it can be concluded that this new article has identified a very important issue of unethical behavior of Google in operating in the market of China. To this article, the employees of the company are feeling insecure about their application of their efforts to create a project for entering the Chinese market by abiding all the conditions of the government. Initially the company had left the country due to restrictions of the government inn the free operation of the company inn the market but now with the changing business situation, Google is convinced to enter the market again. Now the ethical question lies in the fact that the employees do not have any idea about how and why they are being attached with the project as they do not have information. This problem has been analyzed under the lens of virtue ethics which can be used to solve the problem effectively
Conger, K. and Wakabayashi, D. 2018. Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/technology/google-employees-protest-search-censored-china.html [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].
Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.
Hill, A., 2017. Just business: Christian ethics for the marketplace. InterVarsity Press.
Hrw.org 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/01/23/hidden-chains/rights-abuses-and-forced-labor-thailands-fishing-industry [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].
Kolk, A., 2016. The social responsibility of international business: From ethics and the environment to CSR and sustainable development. Journal of World Business, 51(1), pp.23-34.
Meyers, D.T., 2014. Subjection and subjectivity: Psychoanalytic feminism and moral philosophy. Routledge.
Pearson, R., 2017. Business ethics as communication ethics: Public relations practice and the idea of dialogue. In Public relations theory (pp. 111-131). Routledge.
Schmidt, J., 2016. Melancholy and the care of the soul: Religion, moral philosophy and madness in early modern England. Routledge.
Trevino, L.K. and Nelson, K.A., 2016. Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. John Wiley & Sons.
Wallace, M. and Sheldon, N., 2015. Business research ethics: Participant observer perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(2), pp.267-277.
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