Ethics & Social Responsibility: Google.com
Critical Thinking & Decision Making/PHL-320
July 12, 2016
Ethics & Social Responsibility: Google.com
This Week 5 paper will dive into the ethics and social responsibilities displayed at
Google.com. I will discuss a specific business decision made within the organization, identify
the potential ethical implications associated with this decision, determine effect the decision may
have on the decision making process, overall as well as identify how Google.com applies
corporate social responsibilities to its business plan and finally, I will evaluate the influence that
corporate social responsibility has on an organization while discussing the application of critical
thinking and its importance to social responsibility.
Racial Justice Grants – Black Lives Matter
In 2016, Google.com granted $5M to a racial justice program spearheaded by the
founder of the #blacklivesmatter movement (Dickey, 2016). This is only one of the $100M in
grants Google.org gives each year to deserving charities and organizations (Google: Special
Potential Ethical Implications
While this initiative was designed with the founder of #blacklivesmatter, Ms. Patrisse
Cullors, its mission and vision grew beyond the obvious first steps.
One may view this as a very closed minded charitable donation on the part of Google.org,
thinking that it focuses only on black lives and their impact on a white dominated tech market in
the Silicon Valley. You may wonder what about #translivesmatter or even all lives matter. Why
would Google.org make a donation to one specific racial market while overlooking other outlets?
As we dive deeper into the grant, it is designed (and divided financially) among
organizations helping to further education and programs designed for low income neighborhoods
and the people living in them (Dickey, 2016). This can be inclusive of all races but is designed
to help empower students who are at a disadvantage and give them the leg up they need to be
successful later in life as well as be competitive regardless of race or social standing.
This is a major risk for Google.org as they could have upset their investors and
shareholders with this landmark investment. Google.org likely viewed this as a bandwagon
investment opportunity to further future generations in their local market of San Francisco.
Effect on Overall Decision Making Process
Google.org gives great consideration before considering grant or in kind donations to
charities. Most of their work has been focused in international or third world markets and
focuses on furthering progress with technology.
It is certain that all potential implications were considered both socially and ethically
prior to agreeing to this investment as the parameters of gift giving dictate specific milestones to
be met in order to be considered.
Google.org likely saw this as an opportunity to further their reach within a sector of
society which was wholly underserved. Through their forward thinking investment
considerations they open themselves to new markets, new investors and a further expansion of
their mission and vision.
How Google.com Applies Corporate Social Responsibility to Business Plan
It is a fundamental belief of Google.com and Google.org that you can make money while
still doing good. Through their extensive charitable donations yearly, they invest in underserved
markets and individuals in order to bring them into the fold technologically or socially. In a
surprise charitable donation, they gave a surprise grant to partners battling the Flint, Michigan
water crisis (Google.org, 2016).
Following their business model, the grants were given to Flint partners who are utilizing
technology to not only solve the water issue but are working toward more long term solutions to
ensure that a catastrophe such as this never happens again (Google.org, 2016).
It is this forward thinking and assistance with the contingency planning of others that
makes Google a one of a kind investor with a unique mission.
Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility to Business
Google.com is widely influenced by the world markets outside of its immediate reach.
Understanding the plight of areas affected by famine or other disasters, Google.org aims to
provide things such as solar lights to places with no electricity, solar powered laptops for
children to further their education, a $1M grant provided to UNICEF to help battle the Zika virus
outbreak internationally and much more (Google Dot Org).
Their belief that everyone deserves a good education regardless of standing in life, and
that technology plays a key role in the educational process is one of the many driving factors
behind the Google.org giving process.
In addition to these firmly and widely held beliefs, Google also believes in investing in
teams that provide a lasting global impact on the world at large. This is a very large ethical and
moral step for Google as some of their investments may seem off color to potential investors but,
in reality, further the reach of their brand and the good they do on a global scale.
Application of Critical Thinking to Social Responsibility
When considering its investments in charitable donations, Google must consider all the
options before dispensing money. The executive staff at both Google corporate and the
Google.org offices come together to decide the best laid plans for the investments that are made
on behalf of the company. Within this decision making process, no doubt, are the considerations
of how investors and the public will view their decisions, the staff response to investments (as
they give over 200,000 hours of volunteering per year, collectively) (Google Dot Org), the social
and ethical implications of potential investments and the effect of those decisions on the financial
health of the company, overall.
You do not become the powerhouse Google has become without having solid critical
thinking skills on the part of the owners and managers as well as contingency plans for those
Google routinely operates a flat management style whereby they hold weekly staff
meetings (globally) to keep in the loop every employee on every aspect of the company, its
happenings, technological advances, etc. This adaptation to the flat management style is one of
the many reasons Google is often rated one of the best places in the world to work. Employees
feel appreciated and part of the fabric of the success of the company. This fosters true working
relationships and low turnover.
Critical thinking plays a role in everything Google does at every level of the company. It
has led to their years of success from a small start up to one of the great powerhouses in our
Google has come from humble beginnings to establish itself as a major powerhouse
company with a solid commitment to giving back. Starting with its roots in San Francisco and
expanding globally, they are always at the forefront of their social responsibilities through their
With over $100 million dollars given yearly to charities who utilize technology to not
only solve problems at hand but to ensure problems never repeat, Google is establishing itself as
a true problem solving company who cares about people, not just the ones who work for them.
While you may dive deeper into who is the best out there for their commitment to social
and ethical responsibilities, Google will always come up at the top as one of the companies (if
not the best) with the best CSR (corporate social responsibility practices) (Jacqueline Smith,
The belief that through your social and ethical responsibilities you solidify the brand you
are furthering through these charitable donations. By forming and holding a solid reputation to
the well being of people globally and acting on those beliefs through your gifts, you create a
brand awareness that has a charismatic effect, causing great trust across the company, the brand,
the investors and everyone else.
A great lesson can be learned from what Google does in terms of critical thinking as well
as its social and ethical responsibilities. More giving and less greed is good for everyone.
Dickey, M. R. (2016, 02 26). Google.org Awards $3 Million To Racial Justice Organizations In
SF Bay Area. Retrieved from Techcrunch.com:
Google Dot Org. (n.d.). Retrieved from Google.org: http://www.google.org/index.html
Google.org. (2016, 05). Today Google.org is Providing $250,000 to Partners in the Flint
Community. Retrieved from Google.org:
Google.org Launches New Racial Justice Initiative. (2016, 2 25). Retrieved from Youtube.com:
Google: Special Programs. (n.d.). Retrieved from Google.com: https://www.google.org/special-
Jacqueline Smith. (2013, 10 3). The Companies with the Best CSR Reputations. Retrieved from