Apple Inc. is an American corporation, one of the pioneers in the field of personal computers and modern multitasking operating systems with graphical user interfaces. With its innovative technology and aesthetic design, Apple has created an outstanding reputation, comparable to a cult, in the consumer electronics industry. The ethics of business communication occupies a rather important place in the system of global business. In the broadest sense of the term, it is a set of ethical principles and norms that should guide an organization and its employees in the industry. Nowadays, numerous companies create moral or corporate codes, thus defining the ethical principles of an organization, the employees’ rules of conduct, and the organization’s responsibility towards its personnel and clients. Apple correspondingly has moral norms and regulations, but the production scale and activities worldwide give rise to numerous ethical issues.
Firstly, there are concerns about the specifics of Apple’s product creation in China. Foxconn has had severe labor relations crises related to working conditions: low wages, long working hours, excessive workloads, massive use of precarious labor, and occupational safety (Alwagfi et al., 2020). The company does not put morale obligations first, and despite improvements in legislation and the creation of protocols to protect workers’ rights, the situation has not improved significantly. If China does not guarantee rights and a safe environment for workers, Apple should stick to the ethics of duty theory which ensures that any company working with Apple will adhere to the same safety standards. It is based on duty, not desire, meaning that the company may not want to make these security changes or comply with security requirements (Alwagfi et al., 2020). Still, it will know that it is obligated to comply with these standards and provisions.
Moreover, to curb the use of child labor at the Foxconn factory, Apple must use the ethical theory of the categorical imperative. According to the company’s moral principles, all management strongly condemns the exploitation of child labor and harsh working conditions (Alwagfi et al., 2020). This norm should be the basis for any company agreements with Chinese factories. At the same time, it should be noted that there is likewise the possibility of a reverse choice, which would involve the application of Chinese features. The institutionalism theory can explain or justify the reasons for involving children in labor relations, among which are the need for them to obtain valuable goods, to teach them how to manage money, or to help their families. It is always feasible to justify the behavior with the proper ethical standards, but Apple’s policy should still not betray its principles.
Moving Apple’s facilities back to the United States is challenging and economically disadvantageous due to the need to implement numerous changes to EPA standards. They include a tremendous amount of environmental measures that Chinese factories do not operate (Alwagfi et al., 2020). Using the theories of altruism and deontology, Apple can justify a manager changing the output of EPA reports because it is in the interest of the company and everyone who works there. Apple can correspondingly utilize virtue ethics in order not to comply with EPA standards since Apple will justify this decision not on consequences or rules but on the fact that it creates jobs and benefits the economy.
Nevertheless, as the market leader and the most efficient consumer electronics company in the world, Apple is responsible for holding its manufacturing partners honest and accountable. The company already has detailed and team-agreed tic norms, and changing them would not bring improvement. It implies that the primary recommendation for Apple would be to promote its standards when working with other organizations rather than ignoring its own rules.
Alwagfi, A. A., Aljawarneh, N. M., & Alomari, K. A. (2020). Work ethics and social responsibility: Actual and aspiration. Journal of Management Research, 12(1), 26-36.