Foxconn Case Study Business Ethics

831 Words 4 Pages
Foxconn Technology Group, Taiwanese multinational electronics manufacturing company, earned US$136 Billion in Year 2016 (EBL News, 2017). However, behind this remarkable figure, employees were slaving away in factories. Foxconn’s workers are mandated to work a maximum of 60 hours weekly including overtime (Fair Labour Association, 2012). Yet some workers were reportedly working up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week (Forbes, 2016). Due to labour shortages and high employee turnover, the remaining staff are forced to work longer hours to meet production targets (Bloomberg, 2013).

In addition, there were reported instances of overtime being unpaid or short-changed. 14% of the workers were said not to be receiving fair compensation for overtime
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The general public used the ethical system of universalism in its judgment. Universalism states that all people should uphold certain values, such as honesty, that society needs to function (Bateman and Snell 169). Foxconn’s acts of short-changing workers’ hard-earned overtime remuneration and lying to the public about keeping within legal overtime regulations constituted dishonesty.

In addition, specific acts undertaken by Foxconn had breached the Caux Principles. In recent years, Foxconn was said to utilise tactics such as allowing only workers who can recruit another worker to be eligible for overtime. (Wall Street Journal, 2016). This violated the ethical idea of human dignity which concerns the value of each person as an end, not a means to the fulfilment of others’ purposes (Bateman and Snell 169). It is unacceptable that Foxconn made use of employees’ dire financial state and desperation to qualify for overtime as a method to help Foxconn recruit new employees and save recruitment
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Kyosei means living and working together for the common good, allowing cooperation and mutual prosperity to coexist with heathy and fair competition (Bateman and Snell 169). It is evident that Foxconn is prospering at the expense of its workers’ well-being and health.

n the past years, Foxconn has been predominantly using compliance-based ethics programmes to resolve the issue of excessive overtime. Examples include internal audit teams, compulsory off-days and policies to comply with overtime legal standards. However, such programmes do not create a moral commitment to the ethical conduct. Hence, when it came to peak periods such as Apple’s new product launch, talks about ethical conducts were nullified.

In a different approach, Foxconn could consider introducing integrity-based ethics programmes. An in-house campaign to educate and change the culture of overtime could be launched. Management and workers themselves require a change in attitude. Management should not expect of workers to work excessive overtime for the company. Workers need to be less obsessed and stop thinking overtime as a golden opportunity to earn more

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