Like many technology CEOs of the present era, Bezos was betting on its mission statement to inspire and elevate its employees with the feeling that they were transforming the world for the better. . The demonstrations, however, show that it has also instilled in them a sense of responsibility and even guilt. Bezos discovers what many technical managers have learned over the past year: a mission statement invokes loyalty only when employees are convinced that it is always respected; when they see that this is not the case, they will use it as a reason to foment dissent, to strike, to leave.

The ideals of Google were articulated famously in the 2000s with the shortcut "Do not be demonic" (these three words appear in the deposit Google IPO in 2004), but its declared mission, initially defined by the founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998, is far more concrete: "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." In 2014, Page considered revising this formulation of the company's goals. After all, Google was no longer just "organizing the information of the world"; she had expanded her business to autonomous cars and biotech experiments. But Page decided not to change, and this original mission statement came to haunt them.

"Google employees have been aggressive enough to ensure that the company lives up to its commitment not to be perverse," Liz Fong-Jones, Google's Cloud Platform Engineer, told Fast Company. 39, last year. In 2016, she was one of 2,800 technology workers from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies who signed a pledge not to work on software to support discriminatory policies such as banning the president. Donald Trump at the Muslim church. Last year, when Google announced the announcement of the creation of a censored search engine called Dragonfly aimed at China, Google again blamed the company for not having respected its values . How was a censored search engine, they asked, making the information "universally accessible"?

"Our mission is to serve everyone," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai at an event held in November. His explanation was a subtle but deep redefinition of Google's stated goals. According to him, the goal was not to do information "Universally accessible", but make Google itself universally available, even if the information it provides is censored. What Pichai was doing was not unusual. Enterprise mission statements are developed in Suite C and CEOs can – and often do – change the way they are interpreted. Perhaps predictably, however, Pichai's comments did not reassure his employees and protests against Dragonfly continued. Google was trying to understand what it meant to have a mission with real content that was not filled with "bizspeak and bromides" in 2007 Grouvy Today article describes the vast majority of statements. The more technical the mission, the more it can be used as a tool to organize employees against leadership.

In the beginning, Facebook defined its goals in the same way as Google. At a developer event in 2007, Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to "help users share more information," a phrase that echoed Google's goals of "making information" accessible to everyone". But if the language of Google has remained the same over the years, that of Facebook has evolved. to become more social and socially oriented. In 2009, Facebook's goal was to "make the world more open and connected," but by 2017 society had changed to empower people "to create a community and bring the world closer together."