Nike’s Dispute with the University of Oregon
Nike Inc was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight as a partnership, under the name Blue Ribbon Sports. The goal at the time of inception was to distribute low cost, quality Japanese athletic shoes to American consumers. In 2000, Nike not only manufactures and distributes athletic shoes at marketable prices but over 40% of their sales are attributed to athletic apparel, sports equipment and subsidiary ventures. Nike maintains traditional and nontraditional distribution channels in more than 100 countries and utilizes over 20,000 retailers. Nike Inc, in the mid 1990’s was involved in numerous controversial issues which could have adversely damaged the brand name. The company was criticized for operating factories in poor working conditions in low cost countries such as China, Vietnam, Mexico and Indonesia. In response to the criticism the decision was undertaken by Philip Knight to withdraw his donations to the University of Oregon. This came about as a result of the University joining the Worker Rights Consortium as opposed to the Fair Labor Association which Knight supported. The following theories were drawn from the case study as it pertained to the workers’ rights: a view that the environmental schools of thought was particularly relevant to the case as it is seen as a reactive process to the stakeholders decision to support another rather than one of Nike’s founders. Like many US based shoe and apparel markers, Nike had located its manufacturing operations overseas; the theory of systemic approaches can also be connected to both the organization and the stakeholders, here the organization moves closer to the care of employees, worker conditions and labor practices. The theories examine concepts of organizational behavior, organizational thinking and conflict resolution all of which are key components to the case study. It can be deduced that Nike’s dispute of the University relates to...
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