Table of Contents
Table of Contents 2
Executive Summary 2
Negative Allegations 3
Solution to Child Labor in the Company 4
References List 5
Ethical dilemmas crop up for supervisors, managers and other staff conducting business in especially in developing countries. The launching team is affected by various ethical issues when conducting their daily activities. Most ethical dilemmas come from labor laws and cultural differences in business organizations. Other ethical dilemmas arise from fiscal or accounting situations as well as wage costs. Child labor is an ethical dilemma which has affected many businesses. Supervisors, managers, marketing staff and other stake holders have to work together to come to with a solution considering all sides of this ethical issue. It is challenging to most business when it comes to making a decision on whether to employ adults, pay them higher and lose some profits, or employ children, pay them less and increase profits. In evry business organization, failure to deal with ethical dilemmas around child labor can cause consumer bans, decreased customer loyalty, and negative press.
From the recent reports, our company is facing child labor allegations. This is not the first time; neither will it be the last that a multinational company is being accused of such actions. Child labor is defined as the inclusion of children to the workforce of a company; it is illegalized, because it deprives the employed children of their childhood. Children are supposed to go to school, play with fellow kids and develop physically, mentally and socially. A factory environment is not suitable for providing such needs; a child is exposed to strenuous conditions and is treated equally with mature grown-ups. Although the treatment is equal across all ages, the pay is not so equal. Due to their diminutive nature, kids are underpaid and cannot conjure a strike for their own rights.
Despite all this negativity, companies, especially those in Asia, Africa and South America, are still adamant in employing them. Companies with myopic vision of increasing their turnover by minimizing their costs, especially labor costs, are heavily involved in this inhumane practice. The vice has its roots in the industrial revolution, the children as young as four years old were exposed to life-threatening conditions. These early industries were adding their labor with little cost in the long run.
The allegations against our company are serious and might have devastating effects if not silenced. The NGOs involved in this witch hunt are hell-bent in seeing our downfall from our position as a global leader of fashion. The question now is “How do we mitigate the effects of such negative attention? How do we turn this situation around?” Tackling the NGO head on in front of the media seems like a good strategy, but it is short-lived. The NGO has gained public sympathy; no parent out there would ever entertain the thought of their child bearing harsh conditions for the benefit of a company. To the public, our image is that of a monster wielding a whip to a child in order to fasten the production of our textile industries. Such an image is difficult to erase but not impossible to change with the right approach.
The case of Nike during the late 1990s mirrors our dilemma. In 1996, the company experienced a boycott that revolutionized the efforts against child labor, humanitarians from the US and Canada. The boycott was sparked off by the photo of a young boy in Life magazine standing in front of pieces of soccer balls. Nike’s has subcontracted the company known as Saga in Pakistan for the production of balls in the region. The region is a major producer of hand stitched footballs for the multinational company. The humanitarians theorized that Nike entered the Pakistan market with the full knowledge of the government’s lack of political will and lenience to such issues. Therefore, it is seen to have taken advantage of these factors in order to maximize its profits. Nike enjoys a good public image as a result of its advertizing efforts across the world. Its public image is filled with people such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods and several sporting organizations that also have links to the company. These people, or brands, as they are known, wear the products produced by the company therefore advertizing it. Also Nike is involved in charitable activities all around the world, and this improves their relations with public.
Solution to Child Labor in the Company
In the age of technology and precisely social media, the company should utilize this platform in order to change the public perception of our company. The youth, who are our majority customers, access social sites like Twitter and Facebook almost hourly. If we can control the information read by the youth about our company, then we can change their perception about us amidst the allegations.
The use of public figures such as celebrities to market our clothing line might also help us in the long run. The two strategies when used simultaneously might improve our public ratings. Young people idolize celebrities, and they will go to great costs in order to mimic their fashion sense. The more popular the celebrity, the better when they advertize the clothes on their social profiles the better.
Anderson, E. (2010). Social media marketing game theory and the emergence of collaboration. Heidelberg, Springer.
Hobbs, S, Lavalette, M & Mackechnie, J. (1999). Child labor: a world history companion. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.], ABC-CLIO.
Jeurissen, R, & Rijst, MWVD. (2007). Ethics in business. Assen, The Netherlands, Van Gorcum.