T​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​his Case Assignment for this module looks at an update of

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T​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​his Case Assignment for this module looks at an update of Nike and the ongoing issue of sweatshops. The case is found in:
Byars, S., & Stanberry, K. (2018). Impact of culture and time on business ethics, chapter 5. Business Ethics. Rice University, OpenStax. Retrieved from https://cnx.org/content/col25722/1.3 p. 138. CC BY 4.0 license
Overseas Manufacturing
How can the purchase of a pair of sneakers be seen as an ethical act? Throughout the 1990s, the U.S. shoe and sportswear manufacturer Nike was widely criticized for subcontracting with factories in China and Southeast Asia that were little more than sweatshops with deplorable working conditions. After responding to the criticisms and demanding that its suppliers improve their workplaces, the company began to redeem itself in the eyes of many and has become a model of business ethics and sustainability. However, questions remain about the relationship between business and government.
For instance, should a company advocate for labor rights, a minimum wage, and unionization in developing countries where it has operations? What responsibility does it have for the welfare of a contractor’s workers in a culture with differing customs? What right does any Western company have to insist that its foreign contractors observe in their factories the protocols required in the West? What, for example, is sacred about an eight-hour workday? When Nike demands that foreign manufacturers observe Western laws and customs about the workplace, arguably this is capitalist imperialism. Not only that, but Western firms will be charged more for concessions regarding factory conditions. Perhaps this is as it should be, but Western consumers must then be prepared to pay more for material goods than in the past.
Some argue that demanding that companies accept these responsibilities imposes cultural standards on another culture through economic pressure. Others insist there should be universal standards of humane employee treatment, and that they must be met regardless of where they come from or who imposes them. But should the market dictate such standards, or should the government?
The rise of artificial intelligence and robotics will complicate this challenge because, in time, they may make offshoring the manufacture and distribution of goods unnecessary. It may be cheaper and more efficient to bring these operations back to developed countries and use robotic systems instead. What would that mean for local cultures and their economies? In Nike’s case, automation is already a concern, particularly as competition from its German rival, Adidas, heats up again.
For the Case 2 assignment review:
TeamSweat. (2011, July 28). Nike sweatshops: Behind the swoosh [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1097&v=M5uYCWVfuPQ.
And,
Bain, M. (2017). Nike is facing a new wave of anti-sweatshop protests. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1042298/nike-is-facing-a-new-wave-of-anti-sweatshop-protests/
Mintz, S. (May 2012). Social responsibilities of a U.S. company doing business abroad. Retrieved from https://www.ethicssage.com/2012/05/social-responsibilities-of-a-us-company-doing-business-abroad.html
St. Clair, J. (September 2018). Nike’s bad air. Retrieved from https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/10/105150/
Case Assignment
Address the following in a 3- to 4-page academic essay that demonstrates your critical-thinking skills. It should be written for an audience of employers who are looking to expand their business overseas where labor costs are less than in the U.S. As an ethics expert, you have been asked to address the following:
Should a company advocate for labor rights, a minimum wage, and unionization in developing countries where it has operations?
What right does a Western company have to insist that its foreign contractors observe in their factories the protocols required in the West?
What ethical responsibilities do individual consumers have when dealing with companies that rely on overseas labor?
Should businesses adopt universal workplace standards about working conditions and employee protections? Why or why not?
This assignment should include third-person voice. Write a well-integrated paper with a strong introduction and conclus​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​ion, and use a few section headings (e.g., do not simply follow a Q & A format).
Bring in your Module background information. Whether or not you bring in sources outside of this Module is up to you. For all sources used, provide in-text citations and a references list.
General References Useful for Preparing Graduate-Level Papers:
For a list of general reference sources related to locating library sources, using APA formatting, applying critical-thinking skills, and so forth, see General References Useful for Preparing Graduate-Level Assignments. It is not required that you read these sources page-by-page, but rather use them as guides.
Assignment Expectations
Your submission will be evaluated using the following criteria from the Case grading rubric, located in the Case dropbox:
Assignment-driven criteria: Covers all key elements of the assignment in a substantive way.
Critical thinking: Conceptualizes the problem. Multiple information sources, expert opinion, and assumptions are analyzed, synthesized, and critically evaluated. Logically consistent conclusions are presented with appropriate rationale.
Business writing: Mastery in written communications and a skilled, knowledgeable, and error-free presentation to an appropriately specialized audience.
Effective use of information: Locates relevant and quality sources of information, using strong and compelling content to support ideas, convey understanding of the topic, and shape the whole work.
Citing sources: Mastery using in-text citations of sources, proper format for quotations, and correct format of full-source information in the reference list using APA style (bibliography).
Timeliness: Assignment submitted on time or collaborated with professor for an approved extension on due date.
Let’s begin this module by reading chapter 5 of the Byars and Stanberry book:
Byars, S., & Stanberry, K. (2018). Business Ethics. Rice University, OpenStax. Retrieved from https://d3bxy9euw4e147.cloudfront.net/oscms-prodcms/media/documents/BusinessEthics-OP.pdf. pp. 131-154. CC BY 4.0 license
As you will see, there is indeed a relationship between business ethics, culture, and time. Of course, ethical practices and beliefs are influenced by geography and religion. The reading leads us to ask: Are the values central to business ethics universal?
According to the authors, most organizations hold three different kinds of beliefs about themselves: (1) purpose of the business, (2) the organization’s mission, and (3) culture, religion, and ethics-driven beliefs.
For example, watch the following video about Merck and Co.’s fight to control river blindness in Africa.
World Bank. (2014, June 30). Treating River Blindness and other neglected tropical diseases [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/6WDETcrqNFA.
See the following article if you want to learn more about Merck’s successful donation program of the drug Mectizan to fight river blindness. This is a result of key players from across the world coming together to put ethical beliefs in motion. Merck describes their commitment: “as much as needed, for as long as needed.”
Merck. (2019). Over 30 years: The Mectizan donation program. Retrieved from
https://www.merck.com/about/featured-stories/mectizan.html
The Case Assignment for this module looks at Nike and the ongoing issue of sweatshops. For that assignment, review:
TeamSweat. (2011, July 28). Nike sweatshops: Behind the swoosh [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1097&v=M5uYCWVfuPQ.
Bain, M. (2017). Nike is facing a new wave of anti-sweatshop protests. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1042298/nike-is-facing-a-new-wave-of-anti-sweatshop-protests/
Mintz, S. (May 2012). Social responsibilities of a U.S. company doing business abroad. Retrieved from https://www.ethicssage.com/2012/05/social-responsibilities-of-a-us-company-doing-business-abroad.html
St. Clair, J. (September 2018). Nike’s bad air. Retrieved from https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/10/105150/.
Reference source for SLP 2:
World Health Organization. (2018). WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking 2000-2025 (2nd Ed.), pp. 11-18. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/272694/978924​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​1514170-eng.pdf?ua=1.

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