Google’s stakeholders are diverse because of the company’s wide array of products. The company’s diversification includes its original products, such as Google Search, as well as recent products like Google Glass and Google Fiber Internet and cable television service. The firm’s stakeholders come from different groups impacted through these varied businesses. To maintain its leadership as an innovative technology firm, Google must address the interests of its stakeholders through suitable corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. The company’s current CSR efforts are comprehensive and satisfactory, based on international standards and expectations. Still, there is room to improve these CSR efforts to make Google a stronger contender in the international arena.
Google’s stakeholders influence the firm’s strategic direction. This influence is manifested in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and programs applied in the company.
Google’s Stakeholder Groups
Google has many stakeholders, but they can be grouped based on shared interests. Many of the company’s CSR programs are directed toward these stakeholder groups. Google considers the following as the most significant stakeholders:
- Advertisers and other customers
The list above is arranged to indicate the priority or importance of the stakeholders based on Google’s CSR efforts. These stakeholders affect the company by pushing for the satisfaction of their interests. Google considers users as the most significant in terms of their effect on the firm.
Users: Google’s Top-Priority Stakeholders
Users are individuals and organizations that use Google’s products. In general, these stakeholders do not necessarily pay the company. For example, users include people who use Google’s search engine and Chrome. This stakeholder group is interested in the usefulness of the company’s products. These stakeholders are important because their behaviors define the company’s popularity. Google’s popularity corresponds to the firm’s business value.
In Google’s business philosophy, users are the top priority in its CSR efforts. The company’s philosophy states: Focus on the user and all else will follow. Thus, users are the core stakeholders in Google’s business. Every product is developed with the users’ needs in mind. In this way, the firm’s CSR efforts effectively address the stakeholder group of users.
Employees are the second priority among Google’s stakeholders. Employees are interested in proper compensation and a rewarding experience in working for the company. For example, many workers want to work for Google because the company is perceived as one of the best firms to work for. This stakeholder group is important because they define the company’s capabilities, such as the capability to innovate rapidly.
Google’s CSR efforts address the interests of its employees as a major stakeholder group through competitive compensation and a fun workplace design. The company’s compensation strategy includes high salaries and various incentives and benefits, such as free meals and flexible workflows. Google’s facilities are also fun workplaces where workers can exercise, play games and enjoy sharing ideas with each other. Also, the company indirectly addresses the working conditions of suppliers’ employees through the Google Supplier Code of Conduct, which cover concerns on employment practices and occupational health and safety. Thus, Google’s CSR efforts effectively satisfy the interests of employees as stakeholders in the business.
Advertisers and Other Customers
Google’s success is based on the ability of the firm’s CSR efforts to satisfy the needs of advertisers and other customers as a stakeholder group. Advertisers are the main source of the company’s revenues. These stakeholders are interested in getting effective services, such as effective online advertising campaigns. Advertisers and other customers are an important stakeholder group because they directly determine Google’s financial performance.
Google’s CSR efforts address the interests of advertisers and customers based on the firm’s popularity. As noted, the prioritization of the stakeholder group of users makes the company popular. In turn, this popularity increases the firm’s market reach and effectiveness. Thus, advertisers and other customers benefit more from the firm’s services. Google’s holistic CSR efforts satisfy the interests of the stakeholder group of advertisers and other customers.
Since it went public in 2004, Google now considers investors as a major stakeholder group influencing CSR activities. Investors are interested in ensuring that Google grows its profits. Investors are important stakeholders because they determine the availability of capital that the company uses in its business.
Google’s CSR efforts generally focus on providing useful products. While these efforts satisfy stakeholders like users and advertisers or customers, they also satisfy Google’s investors. The usefulness of these products make them popular, widely used, and profitable. In addition, Google’s research and development strategies can be considered as part of the firm’s holistic approach to its corporate social responsibilities. These R&D strategies aim to provide useful products that are profitable.
Governments are a major stakeholder group. They affect Google through regulations. The company deals with many governments because its business is global. As stakeholders, governments are interested in ensuring Google’s regulatory compliance. These stakeholders are important because they can approve or prohibit Google’s business operations in their jurisdictions.
Google’s holistic CSR approach involves emphasis on following the law. The company’s business philosophy states: You can make money without doing evil. To follow this philosophy, the firm ensures that all of its business activities comply with regulatory requirements. Thus, Google’s CSR policies satisfy the interests of governments as stakeholders.
Communities are also stakeholders in Google’s business. Communities are interested in direct or indirect benefits that they get from the company. Theoretically, firms can benefit communities through charity programs, philanthropy, and related activities. Communities are important stakeholders because they can affect customers’ perception and response to Google’s products.
Google’s CSR efforts include charity programs through Google.org, which has already provided more than $100 million in grants and investments. Google.org aims to address climate change, global public health, and global poverty. In addition, to address the stakeholder group of communities, Google also includes international environmental standards and ethics in its Supplier Code of Conduct. These efforts also relate with the firm’s philosophy: You can make money without doing evil. Thus, the company’s CSR efforts have considerable effectiveness in satisfying the interests of the stakeholder group of communities.
Analysis of Google’s Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests & CSR
Google’s overall CSR performance is satisfactory. The company has programs and policies that address the interests of all stakeholder groups. The company’s philosophy, focus on the user and all else will follow, has led to useful and popular products that make the business profitable and beneficial to users, customers and investors. In addition, the firm’s philosophy, you can make money without doing evil, pushes Google to engage in CSR activities that benefit the stakeholder groups of employees and communities and satisfy regulatory requirements.
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