Foxconn Case

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Solutions for Communication Problems
in the Foxconn Suicides

Prepared for:
Gou Taiming, President
Foxconn

Prepared by:
Prakash Krishnamurthy

Table of Contents

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………….3

Company Background…………………………………………………………………………3

Identifying the Problem - Facts of the Case………………………………………………….4

Analysis of the Communication Problem…………………………………………………….6

Recommended Solution………………………………………………………………………..8

Appendix……………………………………………………………………………………….11

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………12

Introduction to Paper
In 2010, Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer in the world, had been under serious scrutiny for a series of suicides occurring at the Shenzhen location. Although the underlining reasons for the suicides are quite complicated, and related to a number of factors such as society, management, and operational issues, based on our analysis, we believe many of the communication tactics that have been used by the company, could be improved. This paper provides a basic overview of the company, a description of the series of suicides leading to media scrutiny, an analysis of the communication problem, an example of the solution and recommended steps for implementation. Company Background

Gou Taiming founded Hon Hai Precision Industry Company Ltd, the anchor company of Foxconn Technology Group in 1974. Mr. Taiming’s vision was to provide the lowest "total cost" solution to increase the affordability of electronics products everywhere . Foxconn is the largest contract manufacturer of electronic components for such companies as Apple, Dell, HP and many others. Many companies outsource manufacturing to Foxconn for its cost efficiency, high quality standards and confidentiality. Foxconn is headquartered in Taiwan, with its largest manufacturing plant located in mainland China in Longhua, Shenzhen. The Shenzhen location, which opened in 1988, employs close to 420,000 workers. The site is often referred to as Foxconn City, as it offers a walled campus, factories, dormitories, downtown complex, restaurants and other amenities. Some employees live outside of the campus, but most live in the employee dormitories. The workers often live in dormitories of eight to ten people per room . Foxconn has been under media scrutiny for some time due to the employee suicides that were committed in their factories. As a result, Foxconn has been criticized for poor working conditions, very low wages and very long hours. Wages reported range from $132 and $300 a month, and working hours often go beyond 12 hours a day .

The Problem: Foxconn’s Responses to the Suicides
In 2009 and 2010, the company has been under serious scrutiny for a series of suicides occurring at the Shenzhen location. A total of 12 workers committed suicide in 2010, causing media involvement as well as investigations from nonprofit organizations such as the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM). The series of suicides began after one worker, Sun Danyung, 25, jumped from his 12th floor apartment in 2009, after losing an iPhone prototype . As a result of the death, Foxconn released two statements to the media. The first statement from Foxconn said its security chief (who allegedly searched and beat Mr. Danyung to try to find the lost iphone prototype, before Mr. Danyung committed suicide) has been suspended and turned over to the police . The second statement came from Foxconn executive Li Jinming, who said in a statement that Sun's death showed that the company needed to do a better job helping its employees with psychological pressures. "Sun Danyong graduated from a good school. He joined the company in 2008. He had an extremely bright future. The group and I feel deep pain and regret when a young person dies like this. ” After Sun Danyung, 12 additional suicides occurred at the Shenzhen plant. Foxconn failed to provide official...
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