The Dragonfly Project: Team G: The Chinese Embassy to the United States

  • Reference: DPO-793-E

  • Number of pages: 1

  • Geographic Setting: China, Estados Unidos

  • Publication Date: Sep 22, 2022

  • Source: IESE (España)

  • Type of Document: Case

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In 2010, Google decided to suspend the version of its search engine that was operating in China, due to accusations of collusion with an authoritarian government, which censored searches based on ideological and political criteria. Eight years later, the American company - which had changed its name to Alphabet - began secret negotiations with the Chinese government, to return with a government-approved version known as the "Dragonfly Project." To avoid interference, the tech company hid this project even from its workers. But in 2018, after a leak revealed its existence, employees began to push for the project to be cancelled as being in contravention of human rights. This case requires participants to take one of three positions of various stakeholders involved, and prepare a persuasive public intervention.

Learning Objective

The case - which is in the form of a simulation - provides the necessary elements for a class discussion the non-market strategy that companies must have in relation to each of their stakeholders; the connection between corporate purpose and internal and external communication; and the impact that international problems can have on companies. The case also serves as an exercise in communication skills: how to choose appropriate arguments in the midst of controversy, and how to prepare public interventions in a multilateral context (the communicative version of a multilateral negotiation).

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