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Nike Case Study II

Nike case study continued. Nike has various stakeholders that influence business decisions, such as how its factories are run and if they are considered sweatshops. How do these objectives conflict and how must the social and ethical issues be considered in their many stakeholder relationships?

Nike Case Study 

Ethical And Social Issues With Nike

In the Nike case the major ethical and social issues that were discussed were mainly about the poor labor practices that Nike is involved with. From sweatshops, to child labor, to worker’s abuse Nike has received wide spread criticisms from across the board. After the statements of Kathy Lee Gifford about Michael Jordan and Nike, the sweatshop movement against Nike had begun (Carrol and Buchholtz, 2006, p. 671) and Nike since then would be spending much effort and press work to recoup its name and to remedy the accusations it would so rigorously receive soon after. Though it seems as if time and time again Nike proves its accusers wrong or attempts to correct its own mistakes when the public brings these mistakes to the attention of Nike, it never seems to be enough for the “whistle blowers” and the “finger pointers”. Non-the-less the chapter of Nike and the social responsibility microscope it was viewed under had begun in 1996 (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2006, p. 673) and would be paying for to this day.

Sweatshops have been a source from low expense workers, and major ridicule for quite some time now. So what makes Nike so special? As the corporate responsibility manager, Harsh Saini, said, it is a “very big sexy brand name” (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2006, p. 674) and therefore it is easier to catch the public’s eye. Michael Jordan being one of the biggest, if not the biggest, super stars of the time was being sponsored by this “very big sexy brand name.” So it is difficult to imagine many people turning a corner in the major cities that they lived in or after watching an hour of television and not to see the Nike Swoosh, or an Air Jordan commercial, or even any of the other hundreds of products, people, or organizations that Nike sponsored. If Nike could afford the greatest national sports hero of the time it must be a good wholesome company right? Nike of course was not quiet when accused of dealing with or having sweatshops  under its constituent by stating that “the entry-level income of an Indonesian factory is five times that of a farmer…an assistant line supervisor in a Chinese subcontracted factory earns more than a surgeon with twenty years of experience” (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2006, p. 672). According to such statements it would seem that Nike is doing a very good job by providing such wages to its workers. These statements are often refuted as Hightower (1997) noted that the average Vietnamese worker earns a dollar and sixty cents per day when the average cost of food is two dollars and ten cents. But to stick to the ethical and social issues that Nike was faced with, it soon got much heat from a newly formed organization as an offspring of UNITE called The United Students Against Sweatshops or the USAS. Students are a major clientele for Nike, since Nike endorses many schools. This would spell more trouble for Nike. According to Carroll and Buchholtz (2006) USAS as “The Students of the Nike Awareness Campaign protested against Nike due to the alleged sweatshop abuses” (p. 673). Due to many uprisings, consumer backlash, and human rights issues the Fair Labor Association or the FLA was formed. The FLA is, “a non-profit organization dedicated to ending sweatshop conditions in factories worldwide and building innovative and sustainable solutions” (www.fairlabor.org). Of course given Nike’s slandered reputation and needing to improve its status amongst the people Nike jumped in joining the organization right away.

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