Google. org brings a new approach to corporate philanthropy, one that provides freedom and flexibility while also introducing new issues to work out. As a “for-profit charity”, Google. org has an opportunity to create a charitable organization that is self-reliant and not constantly scrambling to raise funds through donations. The biggest problem with this strategy is that they face the same set of rules and objectives as a regular business would face; mainly, taxation and the desire for profitability.Google’s motto “don’t be evil” may suggest that this company really is about charity and not profit, but with shareholders involved it will be difficult to ignore the possibility of this being a “business-first” organization. Dr. Brilliant faces a difficult challenge in making Google. org truly about the “charity” aspect in spite of the for-profit status of the company. The main cause of this issue is the potential conflict of interest that arises between the goals of the company and the satisfaction of the shareholders. Google. org is a philanthropy project, but it is also for-profit.
The goals of Google. org as outlined in your mission statement conflict with one of the fundamental goals of a business – and that is to make profits. This may result in a compromise of Google. org’s core values if a scenario arises where they would have to choose the “lesser of two evils”, as was the case of Google’s expansion into China. It is clear that shareholders favoured the decision due to China’s large population, which provided more users (and thus, more money) for Google. If this is the case, then shareholders of Google. rg may apply pressure, which will force the company to make more compromises. Some of the projects taken on by Google. org will be attractive to shareholders, such as the research and development of more efficient batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Most shareholders would be content with this decision because plug-in hybrids are generally accepted as the future of transportation, and any present costs will be recouped later on. However, there will be cases where Google. org pursues other goals which may not have as bright a future as hybrid vehicles.

If shareholders begin dropping support for Google. org’s projects, the company will struggle to achieve its goals. Google. org is a balancing act, and Dr. Brilliant will have to fulfill the goals of this project while pleasing the shareholders. One possible solution to this problem would be to make Google. org a non-profit organization. As a NPO, Google. org would eliminate the conflict of interests from shareholders, but they would lose the flexibility they had to lobby government and to form partnerships with venture capitalists.

This method is not an ideal solution because it would reduce the power of the organization to achieve its fundamental goals. Another suggestion would be to run Google. org much like Google Inc is run; with shared decision-making. If Brin and Page meet with Dr. Brilliant regularly to deal with the issues faced by the organization, it will provide balance and consistency to the decisions made by the group. However, this goes against the whole reasons for hiring Dr. Brilliant. He is experienced and capable of handling this job, and Brin and Page should not stretch themselves too thin.

Another method would be to maintain majority shareholder control in your board of directors, ensuring that shareholders cannot overturn the decisions made by Google. org. I’m sure this is already the case, but this alone is not sufficient to solve your issue. Even with the majority of shares, if this company is run as a dictatorship you will have difficulty attracting shareholders at all. This problem is too complex to resolve by any one of the above suggestions.

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My recommendation is for Brin and Page to micro-manage Dr. Brilliant for a brief period, as this will be a difficult task for him to carry out with little or no guidance. Working primarily as guides, Brin and Page should employ a coaching mindset in order to prepare Dr. Brilliant for the challenges he will face. This should ensure that Google. org’s values are passed on to Dr. Brilliant and that he can keep these values in focus, and this should trickle down to the various employees whom Brilliant has hired. Next, Google. org needs to satisfy and attract shareholders, without compromising the goals of the organization.

It is therefore important for Brilliant to balance the low-risk and high-risk investments so that Google. org has steady investment and can continue to grow. I suggest a soft goal of breaking even each quarter. By breaking even, you avoid incurred costs from income taxes, and you will still be able to attract shareholders without compromising the values of the organization. Thank you for consulting me in this case. I expect this report will assist you in correcting the issues facing Google. org. If you require any further advice, feel free to contact me and I will provide any clarification necessary.


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