Topics: Ethics, Human rights, Utilitarianism Pages: 13 (3722 words) Published: May 15, 2013

Assignment 2

Case Study of Foxconn

Ning JIA 23944021
Wei SHI 23776234
Simin LIU 23624337
Jieru HE 21216819

1.0 Introduction3
2.0 Explanation6
3.0 Analysis and Evaluation8
3.1 Utilitarian View8
3.1.1 Absolute Utility8
3.1.2 Marginal Utility8
3.2 Kantian Views10
3.2.1 Utilitarian View RevisitedError! Bookmark not defined. 3.2.2 Means not Ends10
3.2.2 Respecting one’s dignity11
3.3 Rights Ethics13
3.3.1 Total Institution causes loss of control and dignity13 3.3.2 Lack of Meaningful relationships reduces Dignity13 4.0 Recommendations15
5.0 Conclusions16

1.0 Introduction

Globalisation has meant the integration of Developed world’s knowledge with Developing world production capabilities. Maitland (2005) has identified the transferability of capital investments (Developed world) and the immobility and abundance of labour (Developing world) has placed a huge disadvantaged for the Developing world in turns of competitiveness. Hence, the interplay of high unemployment levels and limited capital investment has caused the phenomenon of sweatshops. Although no set definitions of sweatshops exist, they are effectively the consequence of developing nations suppressing wages and sacrificing working conditions to compete to attract foreign investments (Arnold & Hartman, 2003). Notable characteristics are extreme exploitation (wages and work hours), poor working conditions, military-like discipline and intimidation of employees (Radin & Calkin, 2006).

These characteristics have often been associated with Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer (40% of world’s electronic items) for brands such as Apple, Dell, HP and IBM (Wagstaff, 2012). However, the focus of our report is on the fourteen committed suicides, four failed suicides, and eligibly twenty additional attempts during eight months in 2010 (SACOM, 2010). This report will attempt to analyse the unethical practices that lead to these horrendous outcomes. This report will use Utilitarian, Kantian and Rights ethical theories to analyse wages, working conditions, management style and development/training in Foxconn. Recommendations will made in light of this research.

1 Background

Alternating ethical views can be applied to sweatshops to recognize different facets and levels of unethical practices. Firstly, utilitarian theory focuses on the outcomes and argues it is ethically acceptable if an action can produce more good than harm. Secondly, virtue ethics focuses on the innate qualities of the decision maker or manager (Beauchamp, Bowie, & Arnold, 2009). Thirdly, Deontology ethics focuses on the motivation of the action for ethical judgement. However, Radin and Calkin (2006) suggested these theories lack the robustness to make strong moral arguments against sweatshops.

However, Arnold and Bowie (2005) argues that Kantian’s second categorical imperative to never treat others as a means but always as an ends portrays strong foundations for employee actions. Also, human rights ethics is an extension of Kantian views from the perspective of the employee, in that employees have rights to freedom and subsistence (Arnold and Bowie, 2005). These two ethical theories will be the focus of our report.

Dignity is explored heavily in Kantian and human rights ethics. Kim and Cohen (2010) identified in Asian cultures dignity is primary defined by what people thinks of you, given that Foxconn is an Eastern company, an examination of dignity is strongly encouraged. Furthermore, Lucas, Kang and Li (2012) identified that Foxconn employees suffered from mortifications of their self-worth and self-value (loss of dignity) as a result of working under a total constitution system.

there has been growing consensus that stakeholder theory can be...
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