- April 30, 2020
Google Ethics Dilemma
Worldwide,companies have roles to play to ensure their success in meeting theirshareholders’ objectives and the mission. However, as organizationswork towards achieving their goals, there must be principles thatbring together both the shareholders and the clients (Carroll,& Buchholtz, 2014).This, therefore, has resulted to different cultures that guideorganizations’ code of conduct. Google is not an exception and hasits ethics and values that govern its operations towards achievingits mission in the internet business. However, it faces some ethicaldilemma in regards to its operating principles and privacy concernsof its consumers. For instance, Google believes that "democracyon the web works," "you can make money without doing evil"as well as "the need for information crosses all the borders."These principles, however, tend to conflict with consumers` privacyissues although the company may be benefitting from informationsharing. Google offers a variety of products such as the searchengine as well as productivity tools and consumer electronics, andthis has led to its wide growth, and thus most of its profit isobtained from the advertisement slots it offers to other serviceproviders. Notably, privacy concerns have arisen from the ads thatallow information sharing of Google Internet users to third parties.Exchange of the information does violate not only an individual’sright to privacy, but also a threat to the government in ensuring itscountry safety from activities such as cybercrime in its operationsas well as its citizens. Therefore, the ethical dilemma on privacycut across various stakeholders. For instance, personal values,institutional values as well as both societal and legitimatelydetermined values
Theconflict resolution mechanism should ensure that it integrates acomprehensive solution, which ensures that all the stakeholders`issues are addressed(Carroll, & Buchholtz, 2014).For example, to address the Google privacy issue, there is need toconsider the different stakeholders involved. For instance, in thiscase, the key stakeholders are Google Company, its users, and thefederal government. The role of government is to ensure it protectsits citizens, for example, through guaranteeing their safety bymaking sure that their privacy is respected. However, it is the roleof the government to promote a conducive and secure businessenvironment for the organizations to ensure companies maximize theirprofit. Consequently, the organization needs to respect theirconsumers as well obey government policies that regulate the code ofpractice. For instance, for Google to maximize its profit they offerfree internet to enhance sharing of information among differentconsumers as well as third parties that maximize Google profitthrough the advertisements. Nevertheless, sharing of users personalinformation has been viewed as a breach of the individual’s rightto privacy, thus a conflict of interest among the Google code ofconduct that states that "the need for information crossesborders." It`s the users who want their information to beprivate, and the federal government that is supposed to protect boththe investors and the consumers.
Still,various approaches could be employed to solve the dilemma, forexample, the full incorporation of "do not track" policiesto ensure personal information are not shared or cannot be trackedbut it limits Google`s ability to create more revenue. Additionally,a government can enact internet use of legislation to providepolicies to enhance censorship. Though this is against the Googlemantra of "Don`t be evil" but based on Adam smith`s virtueethics, there is a need to weigh moral values to social norms(Bagha, & Laczniak, 2015).However, for Google to implement its culture, therefore, it could bebetter to make money without doing evil. Notably, this can be donethrough the diffusion of information across borders without itscensorship, thus, allowing regulation by the government to protectindividuals’ rights to privacy. Milton Friedman, on the other hand,advocates for Google to ensure its profit margin is improved byworking based on the culture, it promoted "democracy on theweb," by sharing users` information. Mainly, this is bound toincrease the bidding price of the organization, hence increase itsprofit(Bagha, & Laczniak, 2015).Milton Friedman theory remarkably explains how Google can handleprivacy issues as some users accepted the sharing of information ifat all Google could provide free services to them. Notably, if Googlecould use the utilitarian approach to resolving the dilemma, then itcould allow more third party organizations to benefit and thus moreprofit for the organization, and this would promote its principlethat advocates for diffusion of more information. However, it couldbe a logic to employ virtue ethics to promote enhanced moral justiceby aligning its guiding principles to those of the governmentlegislation as well as the users opinion, regardless of theimplications they have for Google business. For instance, virtueethics would enhance users’ protection as well as governmentregulations while to some extent profit margin by Google will bereduced. For example, the inability of Google to penetrate the Chinamarket is as a result of China`s firewall that restricts informationsharing.
AsGoogle`s chief executive officer, then the best course of actionwould be utilitarianism. Given that the dilemma is about policies andas per regulations, the company has implemented federal governmentrequirements. For instance, enhancing the `do not track` systems thatallow users to decide whether their information should be tracked ornot. Also, to address privacy as an ethical dilemma involvesevaluating the consequences of particular actions and theirimplications to the recipients and thus weighing of tradeoffs, thisdoes not only promote justice but also supports the right side ofdemocracy. By implementing utilitarianism, Google would end up savingthe amount of money and resources spent to lobby activists to promotetheir operating culture. Consequently, it will save the amount usedto pay the Federal Trade Commission as fines from breaching privacylegislations. Moreover, using utilitarianism would allow the users toevaluate and decide on whether to choose between the tenets for theirconcealment or Google`s free services. Notably, this allows fornegotiation between the consequences and the benefits of a particulardecision, thus promoting a win- win situation between theorganization and its clients. However, it might be difficult toconvince the shareholders whose mission is to make more profits andgrow their company. But, it can be achieved through a quasi-panel ofdiscussion. Conspicuously, the decision to adopt utilitarian isdriven and guided by the moral principles of the company (Google)that recognizes on the focus for users to enhance success whilepromoting democracy on the web. Furthermore, the role of business isto meet its shareholders’ objectives and goals of making a profitat minimum cost. Thus, my decision reflecting my ability to be guidedby both moral virtues as well as business ethics that acknowledgesprofessionalism as well as the democratic nature of society as awhole.However,guided by business ethics as the chief executive officer my roleshould or is to strengthen the culture of my organization to ensureits development and growth. Notably, this can, therefore, be achievedthrough various processes. For instance, ensuring that the employeeslearn that their objectives should be aligned to those of theorganization. Additionally, to enhance ethical dilemma management,the employees should always be reminded to protect and work towardsthe development of the organizations. Also, they should respect theorganization’s missions and objectives as well as the code ofconduct that govern the organization. On the other hand, as employeesare loyal to the organization, we should be fearless and work forwhat works better for our company, however, guided by humanconscience to uphold integrity that promotes interpersonal equity.
Bagha,J., & Laczniak, E. R. (2015). Seeking the Real Adam Smith andMilton Friedman. Philosophyof Management, 14(3),179-191.
Carroll,A. B., & Buchholtz, A. K. (2014). Businessand society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management.Nelson Education.