Business and Professional Ethics Marketing Essay

Pages: 6 (1897 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

Business and Professional Ethics/Marketing

Google in China

Censorship and ethics in an utilitarian view will argue that making a compromise regarding one's credo may represent an ethical action when the circumstances allow for no other development of the situation. I will use utilitarianism as an ethical theory in order to prove my thesis while taking a concrete case of business as an example.

The case study that I am about to bring into discussion refers to the decision that Google made to open a headquarters in China and have Google.cn function following Chinese rules which were quite different from the laws that this online research business usually respects. The facts were like this: once Google decided to enter China and establish a local business there by opening a search engine residing there, it accepted to obey the Chinese communist laws which imposed censorship of the researched results. Nevertheless, the company decided to maintain its uncensored English version as well, Google.com. In this way it allowed people the freedom to choose the best suitable search engine, while obeying the local laws and still continuing to do business. (Martin,3)

China is a totalitarian regime where numerous abuses occur, especially against people and actions manifesting for freedom. While censorship is one of the tactics used in order to maintain the regime, it is safe to say that it is not Google's business nor duty to change the political situation in the world.

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Initially Google implemented only its dot com version, but the Chinese authorities made sure it was functioning badly. The Google pages took an eternity to upload, which made users upset and drove them to use a Chinese research engine instead. Google bought part of this company's shares and was faced with a difficult decision. They would either abandon the Chinese market or continue to do business but accept the local regulations regarding censorship.(Martin,4)

Essay on Business and Professional Ethics Marketing Assignment

Google is one of the most successful companies in the world. Its worldwide success derives from its credo which is based on the will of satisfying the customer in the best possible manner, offering him with "real" information. The Google page rank is created through an extremely complex mechanism which implies a huge amount of indicators and other various data. (Martin,2)

While numerous businesses have tried to buy their was into the googled results, the company has always refused to do this. Sponsored links are to be found in a special section, and it is always obvious that somebody paid for them in order to be there. In addition Google developed techniques which allow it to avoid all the websites which use search engine optimizing techniques but are irrelevant to people's interest.(Martin,2)

Chinese authorities have a pretty rough policy regarding internet. Since the Internet represents a mean to support freedom and China is a totalitarian regime, one could only expect it to act out against it. The actions taken in this direction are astounding. There are about 30.000 Internet police agents, routers are set at the edge of domestic internet, people are constantly told about stories regarding people who acted against the regime, especially journalists and writers. The criteria for censorship is not very clearly stated and it changes on an often basis. (Martin,7)

Google's ethos is based on its credo that it should offer people the best online search engine. This means providing people with the most impartial information that they can find. Under these particular circumstances, the company had two alternatives. One was to create google.cn, which obeyed local censorship laws yet writing on each and every results page that the information had been filtered according to local laws.

The other one was not to provide Chinese people with any kind of service at all. Taking into consideration the company's credo, I believe that the decision was an ethical one. There are two reasons which help demonstrate my thesis. On the one hand, the smaller evil was chosen. On the other hand, everybody benefited from Google's actions. The company had the opportunity to operate on a new market and the Chinese customers had the opportunity to use a top quality online research engine.

Even if the search results were censored, it was still better to be able to use this particular service than have nothing at all. Just as the company officials declared, this was not a decision that they made with an open heart, but it was the only thing that they could do and it indeed represented a small step for Chinese people in using information from all over the world in an useful manner. The mission of the company was to organize information from all over the globe making it useful and accessible to people from all over the planet. (Martin,2) Accepting censorship was indeed a compromise, but was still an ethical action compared to not offering any kind of service in the Chinese territory.

The ethical theory that I use as a supportive argument is represented by utilitarianism. According to it, it is the utility of an action which determines its moral value. The moral dimension of an act is to be found in its consequences. Should people benefit from an action, then this action is to be considered a moral one. The benefit of the action refers to its capacity of making people happy. Happiness and sadness are the most important coordinates in the equation under these circumstances. (Mill, 15)

Analyzing the situation once again, it can be stated that Google's decision was a moral one since it provided people with a benefit that would contribute to their happiness. It is true that the best option would have been to provide the same time of service all the rest of the world benefits from, that is, one in which censorship is not allowed. Taking into consideration the Chinese laws and the fact that the only alternative was to offer no service at all, it is obvious that the smallest evil was chosen. And it is here that another perspective on utilitarianism can be brought into discussion, that is negative utilitarianism. According to this philosophical trend, one should choose the least harmful action or act in a manner that will prevent people from suffering. (Mill,20)

Judging the company's decision from this perspective allows once again for a positive evaluation of its actions. The greatest harm would have been to offer Chinese people absolutely no means of professional online research. Since Google created its Chinese version, though censored, it avoided this harm. Therefore, its choice was a moral one.

In addition, it must be mentioned that the company did everything in its power to offer the Chinese a service which was similar to the one offered in other countries. To make sure that the political authorities would not interfere with e-mail and blogs through censorship methods, Google kept the servers for Gmail and Blogspot outside the country. (Martin,6) in this manner they prevented the authorities to interfere with two important means of communication and self-expression, even if people still needed to register their information locally and thus be under a sort of supervision. It is obvious that the company performed everything in its power in order to respect its credo.

Furthermore, although censorship is against human rights generally speaking, it is just as true that a private business can not interfere with the decisions that people make regarding the organizing form of the society they live in. China is a totalitarian regime. It is not the duty of Google to change the laws nor the political systems in the world. Nor is it its right. The only thing that it can do is try to reach a compromise that will benefit all the included parties and this is what the company did.

There are however important objections that can be brought to the thesis according to which the action that Google undertook was a moral one. The first one resides right in the fact that the company made a compromise. If the credo of this organization is to provide its clients with well organized impartial information from all over the globe, then why should it allow for any differentiation in the treatment of their clients? It is true that the local laws impose a certain perspective on actions, but it is just as true that the company has the power to decide on what it must do.

It might be argued that accepting censorship in China is a form of discrimination and that the company fails to offer equal services for all its customers. This may be true to a certain limited extent. Google still maintained its dot com version in English which was not censored in any way. This meant that the company provided people with options. The Chinese could access both the search engines. It was their own choice if they wished to censor themselves or not. In addition, one could be reminded of the local political situation and also of the fact that Google could not force its policy against… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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