Apple’s Current Position on Ethical and Social Responsibilities
Currently, Apple is striving to eliminate all unethical practices and develop a new standard framework for suppliers. For instance, the company introduced Supplier Responsibility Report that emphasizes the problem of the underage labor, along with audit falsification, and dangerous working conditions (Klein, 2011). Further, the company considers it essential to promote education for workers because it is believed to improve the overall performance of the company. As a result, in 2013, over 280,000 workers at 18 supplier sites took courses to expand their knowledge of the production process. Additionally, the company suppliers educated over 1.5 million workers in terms of their rights. The suppliers’ code implies helping suppliers to protect students and other workers at risk. The company makes efforts to eliminate excessive work hours to achieve the maximum compliance with the working standards. Furthermore, the company’s suppliers are responsible for materials sourcing, as well as for the refining the supply chain network for encouraging transparency (Apple Store Online, 2014). Hence, delivering educational resources for employees and promoting a challenging training environment can contribute to the enrichment of language, computer, and other skills. The analysis of these issues could be essential for understanding the professional and competence gaps.
According to Apple’s executives, 350 employees have been trained and educated on the production process safety issues deployed in factories since 2011 for the purpose of improving workplace conditions. Additionally, Apple has also introduced new limitations imposed on suppliers who violated occupational safety guidelines. As a result, they make everything possible to make the suppliers adhere to the Supplier Code of Conduct and correct these violations (Myers & Fellow, 2013). These suppliers should introduce their workers to personal protective and secure equipment. More importantly, suppliers should also deliver workers with proper safety guidelines to ensure relevant behavioral patterns. In this respect, the attention to these issues could significantly improve the quality of products and the level of performance and productivity at Apple’s facilities all over the world.
The Influence of Publication of Ethics and Social Responsibilities Violations Made by Apple’s Suppliers on Apple’s Reputation
Revealing of the violations and improper behavior of Apple’s suppliers has been followed by a range of accusations of suppliers on the part of Apple’s executives. In fact, the breaches of Apple’s suppliers have a negative outcome for the company’s reputation, leading to the decline in customer demands, as well as affecting the quality of the products. In order to restore its reputation, Apple has accused Chinese supplier Pegatron Group of the violation of international and Chinese labor laws, along with Apple’s supplier standards. In response to this problem, Apple has performed 15 audits at different Pegatron facilities, being a part of Supplier Responsibility reform (Campbell, 2013). Furthermore, the company has fought to address reports of illegal and unethical treatment of employees by its Chinese partners to eliminate these issues and take control of suppliers’ activities. To support the above-presented allegations, Enderler, and Niu (2012) prove that Chinese companies and suppliers lag behind in terms of adherence to the international ethical and legal standards of conducting business. It particularly concerns the Foxconn’s unacceptable working conditions and violations of Apple’s supplier responsibilities. However, as research has argued, the root of the problem lies in the lack of training and teaching programs in the majority of firms, which leads to the failure of introducing marketing ethics. In this respect, the authors assume, “the time appears to have come to more clearly perceive a new for marketing ethics in Change and to deepen its understanding” (Enderler & Niu, 2012). Therefore, this issue should be considered by other suppliers to meet cultural and ethical barriers and ensure a higher quality of organizational culture, which should be sustained regardless of cultural and ideological visions and missions of local suppliers.
Methods Used by Apple to Ensure that Suppliers Adhere to Wage and Benefits Standards
Apple has developed a comprehensive code of ethics that encourages transparency and equal management of workers to ensure their welfare and provide them with fair benefits and wages. There are different methods and approaches employed by the company, among which minimum pay and overtime hours. To be more exact, Apple’s code ensures that all employers should pay the minimum wage for the regular hours in accordance with the applied regulations and laws (Apple, 2014). An employer’s basic wage will also be established at minimum or above minimum level with regard to the worker’s classification. Second, overtime hours should be paid in case the limit of accepted working hours has been exceeded. The payment should be provided for overtime hours in accordance with the applied regulations and laws of the employment contract (Apple, 2014). As soon as these laws are followed, Apple’s managers can contribute to employees’ incentives and promote new opportunities for managing the accidents. Attention should also be paid to the analysis of the organizational environment, in which social and bonus packages should be ensured. Greater control of these responsibilities can also contribute to Apple’s reputation and improve the overall productivity of the company.
Customer’s Reaction to the Increase in Selling Prices to Provide Better Wages and Benefits for Suppliers’ Workers.
It has been acknowledged that the enormous financial resources should be employed to address evident gaps in the treatment and compensation of Apple’s workers. Compensating employees in terms of overtime working hours should be a justified decision. However, it should be noted that compensating factory workers will significantly impact the product price due to the availability of excess cash. According to Shapiro (2013), “some of Apple’s cash reserve could be used to fundamentally improve the working conditions of hundreds of thousands of workers, and to make up for past treatment”. At the same time, Apple is in search for alternatives and takes advantage of the purchasing power of the clients. The company strives to obtain the services at the lowest price possible, sustaining the largest share of the profit while yielding the lowest share to the workers In general, Apple’s strategic model does not differ from its rivals (Sethi, 2012). At the same time, being the industrial leader, the company is able to establish standards and enhance the general principles. In fact, the increase in selling prices for the customers will not affect the sales revenues because many customers are loyal to the brand.
Apple’s Current Marketing Strategy
Throughout the history of creation and development of Apple, there are three major marketing points which stand at the core of Apple’s strategy. In particular, the company relies on such principles as empathy, focus, and impute. To begin with, empathy focuses on the awareness of customer’s needs. Focus is premised on eliminating unnecessary goals and paying attention to the prioritized tasks and opportunities. Finally, impute implies bringing and encouraging the best quality and the most useful function for the software products. All these dimensions are essential for sustaining a competitive advantage over other computer companies. There are many other elements of Apple’s strategic philosophy (Moorman, 2012). It is evident that individual-centered approach is the key to successful business activities and operations, and, therefore, the company’s managers make everything possible to make their employees be concentrated on meeting clients’ needs. Moreover, Steve Jobs possessed efficient and genuine insights into the way individuals plan to interact with advanced technology. Therefore, the former leader of the company relied more on clients’ experience. In addition, customer discovery could be achieved through product differentiation to keep them focused on the brand and acknowledge new solutions and innovative decisions. Apart from customer orientation, Apple should still work on improving social corporate responsibility framework across its subsidiaries all over the world to ensure the highest level of working conditions and provide a transparent environment for shaping organizational culture. In other words, considering all the stakeholders of the company is the key to successful management and development of efficient strategic approaches in the future. Due to the globalization process, the problem of cultural diversity and the question of international standards are on the rise. In this respect, Apple’s executives should strive to reduce the number of lawsuits against the company regarding the poor quality of working conditions.
Actions for Apple to Improve its Competitive Advantage on the Global Market
It is evident that Apple is distinguished by the impeccable quality of products and rich expertise in hardware and software services. The vertical integration has led to the increase of Apple’s producers in innovative promotion and technology advancement. More importantly, the company focuses on the integrated ecosystem ever known in the history of computer development. The software and gadgets produced by Apple are created to perfectly suit its other accessories and deal with different functions and applications. The emergence of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft enhances the company’s competitive edge thus propelling the company to develop a greater ratio of functions and opportunities for users. Each of these applications has their strengths to attract the customers’ attention, and Apple realizes this fact. As a result, fruitful cooperation and coordination are also among the key strategic approaches of Apple to keep afloat in the global market.
Although the company’s competitive edge is impressive, there is still space for rethinking and reinforcing the strategy. Specific attention is required for value adding, which shapes the core of any strategy. At this point, Apple’s public relations department should work on constant redevelopment of new values to be able to keep clients focused on the products. Before introducing a new product, the company should explore the needs and preferences of a modern customer with reliance on social and political environments. Hence, emphasizing on the organizational culture contributes to the ability of the intellectual assets to work in the team and create a competitive advantage. As such, Apple could be considered as one of the ventures where a competitive advantage is premised on a high-quality and innovative software. Currently, the main ideology of Apple is confined to the adherence of the ideas postulated by respected and authorized individuals. In this context, the company is able to increase its competitiveness via constant improvement of the company’s reputation and retaining customer loyalty to the brand.
It should be stressed that Apple’s supply chain marketing activities are also beyond competition because of the well-organized system that is composed of sourcing, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and return. Currently, the company operates in the United States, China, Asian countries, and Europe. Its assembly is carried out in China. Certainly, some of the clients are discouraged by the fact, but years of experience and satisfied clients prove that the manufacturing is presented at the highest level. Therefore, other aspects as distribution also play a significant role in sustaining a competitive environment.