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Business Under Threat, Technology Under Attack, Ethics Under Fire: The Experience of Google in China

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  • Justin Tan

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  • Anna Tan

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    Abstract

    Although not frequently regarded as controversial, digital communications industries continue to be sites of CSR conflicts, particularly internationally. Investigating CSR issues in the digital communications industry is pertinent because in addition to being one of the fastest growing industries, it has created a host of new CSR issues that require further attention. This case study examines an incident in early 2010, when Google Inc. China and the Chinese government reached an impasse that produced a large-scale, transnational conflict that reached a head ostensibly over state-mandated censorship, ultimately prompting Google to withdraw from the mainland Chinese market and redirect its activities to Hong Kong. We track Google’s experience in China, both to explore its strategies and to consider the implications for corporate social responsibility. We situate Google’s drastic decision to withdraw entirely from mainland China in the complex multiplicity of ethical, cultural, and political conflicts that affect this particular case. On a broader level, the incident raises the question of how multinational corporations (MNCs) can achieve corporate growth while negotiating the highly sensitive sociopolitical and institutional environments of foreign nations. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-012-1494-0
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 469-479

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:4:p:469-479

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

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    Keywords: Google; China; Corporate social responsibility; Business ethic; Internet search engine; Privacy; Copyright;

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Michael Maloni & Michael Brown, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the Supply Chain: An Application in the Food Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 35-52, September.
    2. Justin Tan & Irene Chow, 2009. "Isolating Cultural and National Influence on Value and Ethics: A Test of Competing Hypotheses," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 197-210, April.
    3. Ans Kolk & Rob van Tulder, 2002. "Child Labor and Multinational Conduct: A Comparison of International Business andStakeholder Codes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 291-301, March.
    4. François Maon & Adam Lindgreen & Valérie Swaen, 2009. "Designing and Implementing Corporate Social Responsibility: An Integrative Framework Grounded in Theory and Practice," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 71-89, April.
    5. Justin Tan, 2009. "Institutional Structure and Firm Social Performance in Transitional Economies: Evidence of Multinational Corporations in China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 171-189, March.
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