1. Gather the facts DO IT HERE YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT HOW THE SITUATION OCCUR (WHATS HAPPENING IN THE CASE) ANY HISTORICAL FACTS AND TALK ABOUT FOXCONN.. ETC
A. What companies were involved?
2. Define the Ethical Issues
B. How to handle the Ethical issues
C. What happens to the employees if we move or modernize the business?
3. Identify the Affected Parties (Stakeholders).
D. What affects would there be on the employees.
a. Some have committed suicide for just bad conditions. What about loss of employment?
b. How would it affect the area, owners, families, and business?
4. Identify the Consequences
E. Again the employees, business etc.
F. Short term and Long term effects
c. City, providence, businesses, people
5. Identify the Obligations
G. Obligations to the public, employees, business.
e. Getting the product to the public in a timely manner.
6. Consider Your Character and Integrity DO IT YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOURSELF AS A PERSON OF INTEGRITY. ASK YOURSELF WHAT A PERSON OF INTEGRITY WOULD DO IN THIS SITUATION. IN ATTEMPTING TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION YOU MAY FIND IT USEFULL TO IDENTIFY THE RELEVANT MORAL COMMUNITY AND CONSIDER WHAT THAT COMUNITY WOULD ADVISE, BEGIN BY IDENTIFYING THE RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL O SOCIETAL COMMUNITY. THEN DETERMINE HOW COMUNITY MEMBERS WOULD EVALUATE DECISIONS OR ACTIONS YOU ARE CONSIDERING. REMEBER THE DISCLOSURE RULE. IT ASKED WETHER U WOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE IF YOUR ACTIVITIES WHERE DISCLOSED IN DELIGHT OF DAY IN A PUBLIC FORUM LIKE THE NEW YORK TIMES.
H. How does this affect you, (me). What effect does it have on the company?
7. Think Creatively about Potential Actions.
I. What can we do to make things better?
f. Living conditions, eating, wages, working conditions?
8. Check your gut. DO IT THE EMPHASIS IN THIS STEPS HAS BEEN ON USING A HIGHLY RATIONAL FACT-GATTERING AND EVALUATION PROCES ONCE YOU THAT U ARFE FACED WITH AN ETHICAL DILEMMA. BUT DONT FORGET YOUR GUT. WE ARE ALL HARDWIRED TO BE EMPATHETIC AND TO DESIRE FAIRNESS EMPATHY IS AN IMPORTANT EMOTION THAT CAN SIGNAL AWARENESS THAT SOMEONE MIGHT BE HARM. AND INTUTION IS GAINING CREDIBILITY AS A SOURCE FOR GOOD BUSINESS DECISION MAKING. WE CANT ALWAYS SAY EXACTLY WHY WE ARE UNCOMFORTABLE IN A SITUATION. BUT YEARS OF SOCIALIZATION HAVE LIKELY MADE SENSITIVE TO SITUATION WERE SOMETHING DOESNT FEEL QUITE RIGTH. SO IF GUT IS SENDING UP RED FLAGS, GIVE THE SITUATION MORE THOUGH. IN FACT, THIS MAY BE YOUR ONLY CLUE THAT U ARE FACING AND ETHICAL DILEMMA TO BEGIN WITH. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR GUT, BUT DONT LET IT MAKE YOUR DESICION FOR U. ONCE YOUR RECOGNIZE THAT U ARE FACING AN ETHICAL DILEMMA, USE THE RATIONAL DESICION MAKING TOOLS DEVELOPED HERE TO HELP GUIDE YOUR DESICION MAKING.
J. Do you think you did everything possible to make things right?
Appleâ€™s new leader faces ethical dilemmas at Foxconn
As Tim Cook picks up the leadership of Apple from Steve Jobs, he faces a significant ethical dilemma in Wuhan in a supplierâ€™s company where workers threaten suicide in protest over their working conditions
[THIS DEVELOPING STORY IS BEING UPDATED REGULARLY. ADDITIONS ARE AT THE END OF THE ORIGINAL POST BY PAUL HINKS]
by Paul Hinks
Articles recently reported that Tim Cook (Appleâ€™s new CEO) earned $378m in 2011 He inherited a global technology juggernaut, renowned for its creativity and innovation; a business with $90 billion in cash reserves (The Guardian). Yet there are serious problems at one of its key suppliers, Foxconn, where a recent mass suicide threat posed an ethical dilemma facing Apple and its new leader.
The Telegraph reported [11th Jan 2012]:
Around 150 Chinese workers at Foxconn, the worldâ€™s largest electronics manufacturer, threatened to commit suicide by leaping from their factory roof in protest at their working conditions. The workers were eventually coaxed down after two days on top of their three-floor plant in Wuhan by Foxconn managers and local Chinese Communist party officials.
Not all measures should be financial
A lot of organisations highlight in their annual reports the progress theyâ€™ve made against various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) metrics. Very commendable, but itâ€™s important to dig deeper beyond the glossy brochures and corporate fanfare. Increasingly social-economic factors come in to play, creating a conflict of priorities opposite financial metrics.
Apple is indeed well placed to influence the working conditions at Foxconn. Despite assurances from Apple on its website that it is committed to the highest standards of social responsibility across its worldwide supply chain, the evidence presented highlights that Foxconn employees are seriously aggrieved with their working conditions. In an online article published on Thursday 26 Jan 2012 Reuters noted Appleâ€™s apparent silence on the Foxconn situation â€“ referencing on-going investigations carried out by the New York Times, the Reuters article is an example of growing interest and awareness of the problems at Foxconn.
Difficult working conditions
The Foxconn situation has not developed overnight. The Guardian reported recently [16th Jan 2012] the problems had been developing since at least 2010:
In 2010, a total of 18 of their colleagues in the Shenzhen campus of the Taiwan-owned company did attempt suicide; 14 died. Some employees and labour organisations blamed a combination of factors for the workersâ€™ deaths: low wages, long working hours â€“ sometimes up to 16 hours a day â€“ and inhuman treatment. A number of Apple products have been cited as â€˜game changersâ€™ â€“ products that have helped to change how we use technology to live our lives â€“ in stark contrast, it seems that the workforce at Foxconn that help to create these Apples products survive, and sadly tolerate a rather mundane existence. Loyal Apple consumers crave for their Apple products. However, it appears there is a darker, more un-savoury side to how Apple products make it to our shelves.
Leaders canâ€™t ignore ethics
On Tuesday [Jan 24th 2012], Apple announced its financial results for its first fiscal quarter: the figures were impressive and beat analystsâ€™ expectations. Bloomberg (& others) immediately focused on the financial merits of Appleâ€™s results â€“ increasing revenue forecasts & speculating on dividend payments â€“ a few websites noted the share price increments of various Apple suppliers, including Foxconn.
This is all very good news if youâ€™re an Apple shareholder â€“ however will the fortunes of Apple mean anything to the workers in Wuhan?
I borrow a comment from Dilemmas of Leadership [1st edition, p196]: â€œFor some leaders, matters of ethics arise as unwelcome intrusion in the pursuit of economic successâ€.
Appleâ€™s financial strength isnâ€™t in doubt; however Appleâ€™s position on ethical topics such as the welfare of workers at its suppliers is clearly attracting increased interest. Continued negative media coverage of working conditions at its suppliers may begin to influence and alter customer perceptions of the Apple brand; perhaps ultimately impacting Appleâ€™s cherished economic success?
The need for more than ethical tokenism
The Telegraph highlighted [27 Jan 2012] that Apple have been working on number of initiatives:
In response to outside pressure, Apple this year published a list of its 156 suppliers, representing almost all its supply chain, for the first time. It also joined the Fair Labor Association, becoming the first technology company to do so. Apple has also worked with Chinese labour rights advocates, environmental groups, and has agreed to allow outside monitors into its suppliersâ€™ factories.
Hopefully, Mr Cook and Apple will ensure their corrective actions are interpreted as more than just ethical tokenism; the challenges presented at Foxconn provide an opportunity for Apple to lead by example beyond the technology forum where it enjoys such enviable success.
Update [LWD editors]
More than 10 people were injured in a fight that broke out among workers at a Foxconn plant in north Chinaâ€™s Shanxi Province, police said Monda [September 2012]
Foxconn, the worldâ€™s largest maker of computer components, faced criticism on harsh working conditions two years ago after a string of suicides committed by several Chinese factory employees. The company currently has about 1 million employees on the Chinese mainland.
The relationship between Foxconn and Apple flourishes. China Daily announced [May 2012]
Foxconn Technology Group will invest $210 million to build an Apple production line in October in east Chinaâ€™s Jiangsu province, local authorities announced Monday to be located in Huaiâ€™an city. Foxconn Technology Group, a top maker of products for Apple, announced [April 2012] that it will build a high-tech manufacturing base in Hainan, Chinaâ€™s southernmost island.
Working conditions have improved at plants owned by Foxconn, a Taiwan-based electronics giant and Apple Incâ€™s biggest supplier, according to a report released on Tuesday. The Fair Labor Association, a United States-based nonprofit organization, said that Foxconn, a Taiwan-based electronics giant and Apple Incâ€™s biggest supplier, has completed the actions it agreed to take to improve working conditions at its two plants in Shenzhen and one plant in Chengdu, which make Appleâ€™s popular iPhone and iPad products.
Sunday 7th October 2012
There is growing interest internationally in the Foxconn situation. China Daily commented as follows:
A major supplier for tech giant Apple on Saturday denied reports that thousands of workers making components for the iPhone 5 went on strike at the companyâ€™s plant in Zhengzhou, Henan province.
The strike was said to have started at 1 pm Friday [5th October 2012] and continued to 11 pm, involving workers mainly from assembly lines and quality-control inspectors.
â€œFoxconn raised overly-strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills. This led to workers turning out products that did not meet standards, and ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers,â€ China Labor Watch said in a statement.
October 12th 2012
A new story is developing which suggests harsh treatment of an employeeafter a near-fatal accident.
October 18th 2012 Latest allegation in Western media is of Foxconn using underage students to work in one of their factories.
November 26th 2012
Foxconn has begun its scheme to replace workers with robots which have been called Foxbotts. Scheme was announced in 2011
March 8th 2013
Major report claims Foxconn factories are â€˜Labour campsâ€™
April 2nd 2013
May 21st 2013
Apple leaders including Tim Cook defend the Corporationâ€™s tax arrangements to a Senate Sub-Committee.