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Nike: The Sweatshop Debate (Case Study)

1177 words - 5 pages

Nike: The Sweatshop Debate (Case Study)In today's business world, a company's ethical behavior is constantly under the microscope; and more specifically, the larger the company, the more intense the magnification. Unethical behavior and what some even characterize as evil behavior, has been witnessed as a practice of some global companies. Surprisingly, one of the most recognizable companies in the world was once at the forefront of scrutiny and judgment for its unethical practices. Established in 1972, Nike, one of the leading marketers of athletic shoes and apparel on the planet, has brought in billions of dollars in revenues and sold its products in some 140 countries (Hill, 2009). ...view middle of the document...

The company has to make sure to hold foreign factories to appropriate labor standards regarding these issues. Nike has contracted its manufacturing to countries such as Indonesia, China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan, taking advantage of low-cost labor, and as some of its opposition has claimed, building itself on the backs of the world's poor (p. 154). The company is accused of exploiting the world's poor, including children, to provide expensive apparel that will go to pamper consumers in the developed world. Some surprising legal issues presented in the case study by reporter Roberta Basin were alarming. She shared that a young woman named Lap, who worked at one of the Nike factories has put in much more overtime than the annual legal limit of 200 hours. In addition, if she is sick or had to take care of a sick relative, she would not be able to leave the factory until she would meet the quota of making enough shoes.Ethically, multiple countries throughout the world would disagree with the conduct and practices of Nike, not only with the alleged child labor, but with the existing working condition and wage issues. In Indonesia, for example, workers are paid $2.28 per day, which is double the income of over half of the working population (p. 157). Since literate and disciplined workers are desperate for jobs, and even to work an unbelievable amount of hours, Nike has taken advantage of the demand and allowed its factories to force workers like Lap, to become slaves to the product and to put Nike above their own health and their family. I believe that these issues are sort of basics of business ethical practices and are viewed as unethical by the majority of the world.In regard to the role that governments played in this global operation, it was said thatafter workers in South Korea and Taiwan gained new freedom to organize and experienced a rise in wages, Nike sought out other countries where low-cost labor could once again be found. The Indonesian and China government prohibits independent unions and controls the minimum wage to be set at rock bottom, but these are the countries where the majority of Nike shoes are now made. In 1997, Global Exchange, in conjunction with two Hong Kong human rights groups, found that a factory owned by a Korean subcontractor for Nike had workers as young as 13 earning as little as 10 cents and hour and working...

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