"Don't Be Evil" and Beyond for High Tech Organizations: Ethical Statements and Mottos (and Responsibility)

In Civic Engagement and Social Change in Contemporary Society. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. pp. 200-237 (2018)
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Societal pressures on high tech organizations to define and disseminate their ethical stances are increasing as the influences of the technologies involved expand. Many Internet-based businesses have emerged in the past decades; growing numbers of them have developed some kind of moral declaration in the form of mottos or ethical statements. For example, the corporate motto “don’t be evil” (often linked with Google/ Alphabet) has generated considerable controversy about social and cultural impacts of search engines. After addressing the origins of these mottos and statements, this chapter projects the future of such ethical manifestations in the context of critically-important privacy, security, and economic concerns. The chapter analyzes potential influences of the ethical expressions on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The chapter analyzes issues of whether “large-grained” corporate mottos can indeed serve to supply social and ethical guidance for organizations as opposed to more complex, detailed codes of ethics or comparable attempts at moral clarification.
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