Ethical Ethics: Foxconn In China

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The spate of employee suicides in recent years at Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn in China has sparked an international uproar over the working conditions of Chinese workers and has drawn heavy criticism by people all over the world to the unethical behaviour of Foxconn. Apple, who is the largest client of Foxconn, has also been thrust into limelight after being accused of ignoring the issue and being indifferent to the workers in its supply chain.

The main ethical issue from the Foxconn case would be whether it is ethical for Mr. Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn, to increase the profits of Foxconn (so that share price is maximised), at the expense of the personal well being of its employees. Although
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With established standards, Foxconn will continuously try to attain the standards by engaging in behaviour such as reducing excessive work hours. This can be a quick and easy fix to the issue at hand, however it may not be able to address the root cause of the problem. Foxconn might be merely be ethical for the sake of attaining global standards but without anyone “watching” it, its behaviour will go back to being unethical. This is one of the danger signs as…show more content…
This can inculcate an ethical attitude in Foxconn’s employees and help employees make “right” decisions when they are in an ethical dilemma. Having an ethics code addresses the root cause of the problem, however research has shown that an ethics code is only effective when it is used as part of a comprehensive corporate ethics program (Mhonderwa, 2012). This can be costly to implement for Foxconn as it has more than one million employees.

Lastly, the customers of Foxconn should enforce a compliance-based ethics program on Foxconn. The message must be made clear to Foxconn that if it engages in unethical behaviour, the customers will find alternative manufacturers. This will force Foxconn to be ethical and stop the abuse of its workers. While this makes Foxconn ethical only for the sake of ensuring profits, it is at least a long term fix to the problem and keeps it from being unethical due to pressure from external parties.

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