Discuss about the Business Ethics for Taiwanese Group.
Foxconn technology group is a Taiwanese group , that has its plant in Shenzhen, China. Foxconn is one of the world’s most famous manufacturing companies that produces the products of Mac Mini, iPad, iPhone, Dell, Hp Motherboards, Wii, Xbox 360, etc. Foxconn is a huge company that has employed of about 300,000 people in its Shezhen factory. This company exports its products to other countries, such as Asia, United States Of America , Europe and other countries (May 2014).
In the year 2010, an epidemic wave of suicides had swept away china, where Foxconn Manufacturing company had come into limelight due to the increase in the amount of suicides happening within the company. The workers were engaged in producing apple iPad, Sony Ericsson phones, and other electronic items. They have been supplying the producers with the must have gadgets of the current generation, whereas, these people have been facing trouble in the work conditions of the country (Guo et al. 2012). With adverse working situations of long work hours, forced labour, low wages and ill treatment, pressurized many workers to commit suicide.
Effect on The Stakeholders
As stated by Freivalds and Niebel (2013), there are three principles of CSR, namely, sustainability, accountability and transparency. In the case of Foxconn suicides, the principle that is violated in this context is that of accountability. Accountability states that there must be a positive effect laid to the stakeholders of the company. Accountability deals with the appropriate measures that must be taken in order to provide the company with the best proposal of fulfilling the ethical framework of the stakeholders of the company (Idowu, Capaldi and Zu 2013). In the case of Foxconn suicides, accountability issue is overlooked. The main issue was that the workers of the company were suffering from severe work conditions that were affecting their ethical structure at work. This aspect violated the human dignity by making them work under severe conditions.
- On 25th may, 2010, according to a news post, nine employees had killed themselves at Foxconn, which had made people to work under severe conditions which makes the apple iPad, and Sony Ericsson phones (May 2014). This case has turned the attention of the whole nation towards the working conditions of the company.
- A report in southern weekly newspaper of Guangzhou, china, states that , an intern had represented before them a grim picture of the working conditions of the people. It had been reported that the workers have to stand for eight hours in assembly lines without a break and without talking (Xu and Li 2013). Workers , who share their rooms with other 9 workers, often did not know each other’s names as they were under strict surveillance.
- The basic pay of the company to its worker, was 900 RMB per month. This was not enough to lead a healthy life.
- Strange quotations like “achieve goals or the sun will no longer shine”, and “growth thy name is suffering” is one of the most stressful quotes that has been used by the Foxconn’s CEO.
There was an epidemic wave of suicides in the country in the year 2010. Altogether 11 suicide attempts had been noticed, of which only two of them had survived. Whole world’s attention had been drawn towards the incident, which took place there that had created an adverse impact on the manufacturing company.
Where Did it Happen
The incident took place in Foxconn factory, in Shenzen province, china.
Who were Involved
In Foxconn company, two stakeholders are most important, their employees and the two main parties that are involved in the group. Foxconn has been aligned to various companies, of which, one of the major company is Apple Inc. With the sudden involvement of such complicated issues within the workplace of the company, many companies that are aligned to Foxconn are also affected.
When did it Happen
This event took place from 2009-2010, which affected the stakeholders related to the company.
Why did it Happen
The work atmosphere in the company, led to many mistreatments to the employees. There has been too much pressure in the work culture of the company. This creates a psychological effect on the workers, thereby creating an adverse effect on their life style. Long working hours and job’s burden has created many misfits in within the work place that has led to suicidal attempts by many workers.
It seems that the organization’s behaviour has been affected by people’s negative thoughts towards the company. This focuses on how the company fails at managing the organization. In order to attain maximum profits from the sales of the company, Foxconn has overlooked the stress that is prevailing in the workplace of the manufacturing company.
Occupational demand: workers of the factory are working on unpleasant working conditions. They were supposed to stand on assembly lines for eight hours. They do not communicate with each other, and hence, in some situations, they do not know the names of their co -workers. The junior workers face verbal abuse of senior officials, and they are forced to work at sever conditions. They are not allowed to do anything else except work.
Overload task: the workers of the Foxconn Company were always overloaded with work. They were supposed to do work more than what is possible for them to do. They were supposed to work for longer hours and work for 6 days a week, with a margin of 100 hours overtime per month. Many people were feeling suffocated in the work atmosphere (Lucas, Kang and Li 2013).
Responsibility on others and rule juggling : there are various cultural and economic factors that prevail in the company. China has been going through one of the most rapid process of urbanization. There ate adjustment difficulties within the country that has led to a high suicide rate in the country. The youth of the country often faces little scope of help from their parents , as they do not understand the world into which their child is entering.
Lack of social support : in the dormitories of the Foxconn company, there are many youths who were facing problems in sustaining the environment of the work conditions. Hence, these people found it easy to commit suicide to overcome their problems rather than helping each other to get away with the issues.
Suicide is a complex issue that has been prevailing among the youths of the country, specially were working under the adverse conditions of the Foxconn company. These people were under serious conditions, which had affected their mental and physical health conditions. In order to overcome the conditions, the steps undertaken by the company is as follows–
- Short term actions had been taken by the organization in order to overcome the suicidal attacks happening within the surroundings. Managing psychological side of the employees and considering the economical situation of the workers is one of the earliest step that must be undertaken by the company to overcome such issues (GRI 2015).
- The company has provided the people working in their organization with social support and efforts to maximise their satisfaction of working in friendly circumstances.
- There is a raise in the salary of the people, which has given them ample opportunities to sustain their standard of living of the people. This helped to form the trust of the workers towards the people. This gave the people the time to socialize, adjust with their work, create a friendly atmosphere in the work place and create work satisfaction among the workers.
- By changing the work style of Foxconn company, the performance of the workers would be improved that would help in promoting the brand performance and bringing sustainability at work. An atmosphere of people’s management culture must be created among the workers.
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GRI, G.R.I., 2015. Equator Principles. Americas, 1, p.1.
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Idowu, S.O., Capaldi, N. and Zu, L., 2013. Encyclopedia of corporate social responsibility. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Lucas, K., Kang, D. and Li, Z., 2013. Workplace dignity in a total institution: Examining the experiences of Foxconn’s migrant workforce. Journal of business ethics, 114(1), pp.91-106.
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