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Apple Inc Challenges in the Global Business Environment

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.

References

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.

 

Social Performance of Apple Inc

Question

Social Performance of Organizations
Tags: BUS475, Social Performance
Prepare and present a video that is a maximum of five to seven (5-7) minutes OR write a four to six (4-6) page paper in which you:

Specify the nature, structure, and types of products or services of Apple, and identify two (2) key factors in the organization’s external environment that can affect its success. Provide explanation to support the rationale.
Suggest five (5) ways in which the primary stakeholders can influence the organization’s financial performance. Provide support for the response.
Specify one (1) controversial corporate social responsibility concern associated with Apple.

Sample paper

Social Performance of Apple Inc

Question one

Nature of Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. an American company that specializes in the production of high technologically integrated products. It specializes in the manufacture of computers, and computer-associated products peddled to outmatch competitor’s products while availing quality and better software services to its customers at the same time. Apple Company in mainly is focused on the production of computers and its associated products. It faces competition from other electronic firms producing similar products such as Dell and Samsung (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012). In essence, for every product on Apple’s roster, it is arguably inevitable to find a non-apple substitute.

Apple Company faces limited competition from Dell and Microsoft as it specializes in manufacturing user-friendly computers resulting in its competitive advantage hence increased market share. A monopolistic competition firm initiates its unique price on a particular market segment or niche peddled by the notion that products’ differentiation meets specific consumer’s taste and preferences (Sutherland, 2012). The price determination is thus pegged at firms:

  1. Objective
  2. Cost function
  3. Government regulations
  4. Demand for products.
  5. Types of Products

The range of items and services the company gives to consumers in various market segments such as iPhones products, iPods, iPads, MacAir, MacBook, Apple laptops and desktops, Apple TVs, guarantee services and proper packaging are all attributable to the combined efforts of the Company’s workforce.

The Apple Company uses a Unique Selling Proposition, ‘we provide a lifestyle with our products.’ The Company instead offer the USP with its products including iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus that speak for themselves thereby providing unique features that could not be met by Samsung and LG Companies during the time of market introduction (Elliot, 2012). Apple Inc, therefore, uses its user experience (UX) as the USP with the beautiful and simple to use products to sell.

Question B

Factors outside the company that directly or indirectly impact the company’s ability to function is what is referred to as the external environment of the organization.  Mentioned below are two of the key factors considered most influential specifically regarding Apple’s success:

  1. a) Customers

Customers are inclusive of the external elements that can be influenced via different channels such as marketing of products and strategic use of corporate information (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012). Consequently, the relationship between the company and its consumers should be embedded on finding ways to influence them to purchase the product.

To improve on sales, the key variable is to improve on marketing. As a result, market research is a tool used in assessing the effectiveness of marketing messages to improve on what is short on expectations for future marketing programs.

  1. b) Economy

The economy is considered a very significant variable regarding elements of any organization’s external environment. The company must implement strategies on how to monitor the economy and mechanisms of reacting to it rather than finding ways to manipulate it. Factors influenced by the economy include:

  • Marketing products
  • Kind of target markets
  • Money spent on business growth

Question two    

The success of the Apple Company is anchored on its ability satisfy the stakeholders as well as corporate social responsibilities. The stakeholders always impose demands which in turn translate to the corporate social responsibilities that subsequently influence the performance of the organization (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012). In the case of Apple, stakeholders virtually dictate the business through the perception of customers alongside sales revenues. Taking into account the continued high value of the Apple’s brand, the organization efficiently accounts for its stakeholder in its policies as well as strategies.

The company addresses the environmental concerns of its stakeholders via a policy on sustainable material sourcing. The organization has a robust and holistic approach used to address the stakeholders’ interests significant to its business. Different Apple’s stakeholders group compel it to improve and the organization, in turn, affects these stakeholders through the satisfaction of their interests.

Apple’s stakeholders have a range of concerns that encompass the quality of the products as well as function, employment practices, business sustainability, and financial performances. Such interests, therefore, highlights the need for the organization’s holistic approach in corporate social responsibilities efforts already being used by the firm in its aims to satisfy key stakeholders groups (Elliot, 2012).

The mechanisms through which primary stakeholders influence Apple’s organizational financial performance is manifested through customers, employees, shareholders, top management and suppliers.

The customers impact the environmental organization strategy via the price, and by demanding particular quality as well as by recycling. The firm gives priority to the clients in devising the corporate social responsibility policies and strategies. The customer has their primary interest of having effective as well as efficient products which are reasonably priced. The firm has environmental programs for recycling as well as responsible sourcing thereby addressing the demands for business sustainability by the customers.

The suppliers will influence as well as affect the environmental strategy by the source of energy Apple has as well as by adding the practical ideas as well as improvement of processes. The employees of suppliers, as well as distributors, are significant in the supply chain since they are indirect stakeholders in the business and dictate the organization’s social responsibilities.

The top management also influences the organizational performance by long as well as short-term goals and by their budget for the green investments (Elliot, 2012). The perception of managers as well as their opinions has an impact on the degree to which Apple will implement its environmental practices.

The employees also significantly influence the organizational performance through their substantial participation by coming up with new solutions as well as improvements in the waste and energy reduction in the process of production. The primary interest of employees are proper compensation as well as career development, and hence they determine the human resource capabilities of the firm innovate as well as develop successful practices.  Apple addresses their concern through compensation packages competitive in the Silicon Valley (Avetisyan & Ferrary, 2013).

The investors are the major stakeholders as well as determinants of the Apple’s corporate social responsibility programs in its businesses. The investors’ primary interest is in the ROI maximizations. Apple addresses the concerns of investors via excellent financial performance since it is currently one of the most profitable firm globally.

Question B

Controversial Corporate social responsibility associated with Apple Inc

Corporate Social Responsibility movement is a representation of a growing awareness that depicts that the actions taken by a company have unintended consequences to the external environment. It is the principal responsibility of the business to address them.

Apple upholds one of its ethical value that dictates that each worker in its supply chain is entitled to safe and ethical working conditions (Avetisyan & Ferrary, 2013). Subsequently, that is one of the slogans behind its ideologies and it is something that the Company cannot compromise. The responsibility, however, is not only embedded in the management team but also of Apple’s employees. In 2012, Apple faced scrutiny regarding supply chain practices; the Company, however, countered this by joining the Fair Labour Association. The company also strengthened some of its policies and management institutions. Perfection in the products has been hiked, and the same is being manifested in the supply chain. Some of the key lessons the company derived from the crisis include making more emphasis on designing supplier responsibility programs (Backer, 2013). Another crucial lesson is transparency in all institutions of work. The company has ensured that transparency has been added to its annual reports and in the code of conducts.

References

Aguinis, H., & Glavas, A. (2012). What we know and don’t know about corporate social responsibility a review and research agenda. Journal of Management38(4), 932-968.

Avetisyan, E., & Ferrary, M. (2013). Dynamics of Stakeholders’ Implications in the Institutionalization of the CSR Field in France and in the United States. Journal of Business Ethics115(1), 115-133.

Backer, L. C. (2013). Transnational Corporations’ Outward Expression of Inward Self-Constitution: The Enforcement of Human Rights by Apple, Inc. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies20(2), 805-879.

Elliot, Jay, (2012). Leading Apple with Steve Jobs: Management Lessons from a Controversial Genius. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. Internet resource.

Sutherland, A. (2012). The story of Apple. New York: Rosen Central.