Apple Inc Challenges in the Global Business Environment
Having been founded in 1977, Apple Inc. has continued to offer a wide range of products ranging from mobile hardware to mobile software as well as other technological appliances to meet the ever growing demands of their existing and potential customers from all parts of the globe. Apple Inc. is popular among most software users, especially Smartphone and computer users, but what most people do not know is that Apple does not only deal with computer software and cell phones, but it also focuses on the distribution of electrical products in the global market. However, to remain at the top of the chart and to gain a better competitive position, Apple Inc. had to set aside a team of experts who focuses on increasing the value of their customers as well as coming up with innovations and inventions to ensure that they fully satisfy their needs and desires. It is worth noting that Apple Inc. is a multinational company that sells most of its products in the global market with over 301 stores and warehouses all over the world (Luxton, 2011). The company is always focused on keeping all their customers both local and international satisfied through assisting in making a unique and unmatched precedence in the minds of most customers concerning their products and services.
With the deteriorating ethical standards in most companies in the economic arena of most countries in the world today, there has been constant criticism and review of the Apple Inc.’s Supplier Code of Conduct in recent days. Apple Inc.’s Supplier Code of Conduct focuses on the most important aspect of the supplier-consumer relationship to make sure that there is enough professionalism in the way suppliers behave and conduct their businesses to guarantee the success of the company. Some of the important areas that have been covered in the Apple Inc.’s Supplier Code of Conduct include labor and human rights, health standards and safety as well as a friendly working environment to ensure that the suppliers feel appreciated and needed in the company. However, with the inclusion of ethics in the company’s code of conduct, the company raises the bar to keep the operations running smoothly as well as fully satisfying the needs of the customers while at the same time respecting their privacy and choices. In the last decade, there were complaints from some parts of the company with personnel complaining that the code of conduct does not give clear and enough information on how they are required to conduct themselves at the workplace. However, the company has improved and revised its code of conduct to include all the players in the market as well as giving clear direction and instruction all the stakeholders on how to behave and conduct themselves (Duhigg, 2012). Moreover, the company has moved swiftly to minimize if not eliminate, all the loopholes in the company’s code of conduct that were hampering its progress and competitive progress in case there is a scandal in one of their facilities. The new code of conduct is written in such a manner that there is no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding from all the players.
Given the fact that the company is multinational, it is likely to face competition from companies and organization from other parts of the globe bring the idea and concept of the international business environment into focus. International business environment widely focuses on the business environment in different countries that influences decision making and the way an enterprise conducts its business in the international arena. In most cases, business environment influences the way a business distributes its resources as well as their chain of distribution to ensure that their products get to their intended customers in good shape and at the right time. However, the global business environment can be a challenge for those organizations that find it difficult to maintain high levels of ethical standards as well as those that have weak codes of conduct that are easily broken by stakeholders. As a result, any company with the intention and vision to conduct its business I n the global platform needs to create a strong ethical background to win over the hearts of the international and local customers. The following sections of the assignment will focus on the code of ethics created and adopted by Apple Inc. as well as issues and challenges faced by the company concerning ethical behaviors of their employees.
The primary reason as to why the company introduced a strong code of ethical conduct is to make sure that all players in the market, particularly the suppliers have a common direction as well as standards to base their behaviors towards the company and the customers. To the surprise of many individuals, the company reviews its code of conduct from time to time to make sure that it maintains clearness, answerability as well as include new changes in the market considering that the technology market is changing day and night. Moreover, the review and changes to their code of conduct are necessary given that different countries have different laws regarding business and one point in time there might be changes in these laws that may require the suppliers to behave differently to what they are used (Reynolds, 2011). Apple Inc.’s code of ethics is part and parcel of the bigger and broader code of business conduct that stipulates how the company should conduct all its businesses to ensure there are integrity, transparency, and professionalism in all their activities and actions concerning business. With a strong code of ethics, the company has managed to emerge as one of the leading enterprises in the globe that deal with computer software and Smartphone despite facing stiff competition from other multinational companies such as Microsoft and Google. The company’s code of conduct states that:
“Apple is committed to the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility and ethical conduct. All Apple’s suppliers are required to provide safe working condition, treat workers with dignity and respect, act fairly and ethically and use environmentally responsible practices wherever they make products as well as when they perform services for Apple. The company requires all its suppliers to operate by the principles in this Apple supplier code of conduct and full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. This code of conduct goes beyond mere compliance with the law by drawing upon recognized international standards to advance social and environmental responsibility this code outlines the company’s expectation for supplier conduct concerning labor and human rights, health and safety, environmental protection, ethics and management practices. We must follow the law, act with integrity and honesty in all matters and be accountable for our actions.”
The old code of conduct did not pay much attention to human rights and did not give any clear direction to their suppliers regarding human rights. However, the new code of conduct addresses human rights where it states that there is no any single employee that should be subjected to unjust work conditions that endanger their health as well as safety. On realizing that human rights and labor laws are paramount for the success of the company, Apple Inc. requires all their suppliers to ensure their facilities are per the government regulations. Moreover, the company encourages their esteemed and potential customers to recycle their gadgets by introducing a recycling program in their stores for old Smartphone and iPods to create a clean environment as well as creating awareness of the importance of clean environment both for the business and for their customers. Despite rewarding all those customers who trade their old electronics for new ones, some of the customers find it easier to throw away their old electronic thus polluting the environment. Notably, the company swiftly changed to products with natural ingredients on the realization that they were using toxic supplies to manufacture some of their products. This is a clear indication that the company has the best interests of their customers at heart by caring for their health (Whelan, 2012). Nevertheless, to ensure that their suppliers do not go against their code of conduct as well as the opposing labor standards in various countries, all suppliers are required to sign their supplier code of conduct and regularly perform factory audits to comply with the code of conduct.
It is correct to say that the company has done its best in the fight and attempts to control all the problems related to ethical conducts of their suppliers. Notably, the company has put in place new systems in place to safeguard the welfare of its employees after the explosion of Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China where there were accusations that the factory was overworking its employees and to protect all the staffs from similar incidences in future. Besides, to empower their workers, the company organize regular training and workshops which are not only meant to sharpen their skills in performing their duties, but also to equip them 0with life skills that are necessary to lead a standard and intellectual life. The company has realized the importance of the labor force and is putting efforts to ensure they are happy and satisfied with what they get from the company (Luxton, 2011). On the other hand, all the facilities are required to file their audits with the company both financial and social audit that focuses on execution and implementation of the code of conduct on a regular basis to enhance the accountability of the company’s activities and actions.
From the above detailed discussion, it is correct to say that, the company has used its resources not only to benefit the local community and the surrounding but also to benefit the global community. The company is focusing and puts more emphasis on the implementation of its code of ethics to ensure that there is no a repeat of what happened in China. Ethical standards work hard in hand with the success and excellence of any entity. When the ethical principles are strong and observed by all stakeholders, there is a high likelihood that such a company will succeed both locally and globally.
Duhigg, C. &. (2012). In China, human costs are built into an iPad. . New York Times, , 25.
Luxton, D. D. (2011). mHealth for mental health: Integrating smartphone technology in behavioral healthcare. . Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42(6), , 505.
Reynolds, G. (2011). Ethics in information technology. Cengage learning.
Whelan, C. J. (2012). Privatizing Professionalism: Client Control of Lawyers’ Ethics. . Fordham Law Review.