Just Do It: Moral Principles in the Corporate World
by kashamaar on February 9, 2017 - 10:09pm
In the field of commerce, there are many ethical conflicts that take place in the corporate world. A widely controversial moral dilemma that tends to astonish many people about the sneaker industry is the working conditions in factories of large corporations like Nike. With the outsourcing of components such as manufacturing in remote factories from foreign countries, their idea of conduct was frowned upon by many consumers due to the horrendous working conditions in said factories. With an extremely low wage rate, it was no doubt a corrupt sweatshop business. However, Nike somehow managed to pull of one of the greatest image turnarounds in history. With the rejection of cultural relativism and the encouragement of utilitarianism as well as some of Kant’s principles of ethical rationalism, Nike successfully made things right to keep everyone happy.
As some cultural relativists would argue, the sweatshops represent a cultural norm where this sort of abuse is habitual and therefore tolerated. This, however, is a statement of complete absurdity as the process of the creation of these products has a major impact on consumers. The majority of these buyers did not approve of this sort of corruption, which was unfair to them as they were forced to boycott them for the good of their conscience. This brings in a question of utilitarianism. Nike had to adjust their factories’ working conditions for the greater good of society. This will to do good was bound to have a tremendous effect on consumers as well as the distressed employees over at the sweatshops.
In 1991, Nike’s first step of action in response to the complaints was to release a factory code of conduct to ensure that operations would run under their fair and revised conditions. Between 2002 and 2004, they performed 600 factory audits, including revisits to problematic factories. Following that, in 2005, they became known as the first official company to release a statement of all the factories that they contract with as well as a 108 page detailed report of the working conditions and the wages in the factories, recognizing the predominant issues. Ever since then, Nike has continued to follow through with their audits, committing to their corporate social responsibility reports.
To conclude, a moral conundrum in the corporate world will always be tough to settle with nothing but heavy solutions. In this case, becoming the first company to share the names of factories, updated working conditions and wage rates with the entire world, Nike proved that without the revelation of that information, there shouldn’t be any production at all. Using utilitarianism and ethical rationalism, Nike effectively resolved the moral dilemma they faced, satisfying all of their consumers’ demands.
Nisen, Max. "How Nike Solved Its Sweatshop Problem." Business Insider. Business
Insider, 09 May 2013. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.