Nike Ethics Nike Incorporated is the number one leading sportswear and equipment provider in the world. They manufacture anything from casual clothes to sports equipment, shoes to socks, and basketballs to golf balls. As a result of its massive success, Nike employs nearly 30,000 people worldwide while manufacturing in 700 shops around the globe and has 45 offices outside the United States. Its extensive reach into the global market has Nike producing more exclusive products than any other manufacturer in the world. Nike’s headquarters is located in the metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon.
Nike was first known as Blue Ribbon Sports, founded by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in 1962. It officially became Nike, Inc. in 1978 while taking its name after the Greek goddess of victory. Mark Parker is the current CEO and Phil Knight still continues to hold a position at the top of the organization, as the company Chairman. Nike has always been a company that’s been questioned ethically. People have heard about the stories of the sweatshops in Southeast Asia exploiting adolescent employees for unreasonably small amounts of money.
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This had blemished Nike’s reputation several years ago, but since then, it has strived to become a truly respectable company. Located on Nike’s website you can find Phil Knight’s credo about ethics. It is as follows: “At NIKE, we are on the offense, always. We play hard, we play to win, but we play by the rules of the game. This Code of Ethics is vitally important. It contains the rules of the game for NIKE, the rules we live by and what we stand for. Please read it. And if you’ve read it before, read it again. Then take some time to think about what it says and make a commitment to play by it.
Defining the NIKE playing field ensures no matter how dynamic and challenging NIKE may be, our actions and decisions fit with our shared values. Thanks for your commitment. ” This kind of emphasis on ethics is not only meant to illustrate the value of Nike to consumers, but it is also meant to influence its suppliers. Nike is claiming that it will not conduct any sort of business with unethical suppliers. The first item on Nike’s ethical policy list is the treatment of its employees. This is an important issue because it shows all members who work at Nike that they are the most important assets to the ompany. Without the employees, there would be no customers, and granted the relationship works both ways. It is easier to work in an environment that boasts the employee’s interest before everyone else. As with most companies, Nike is an equal opportunity employer. They do not discriminate against anyone based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and so forth. This policy applies to every aspect at Nike, which includes recruitment, hiring, training, advancement, and termination.
Nike preaches a zero tolerance policy when it comes to harassment in the workplace. They claim that any report of harassment will be investigated in a timely manner and any violation will result in immediate corrective action. Nike further emphasized that they would like all employees to report any sort of harassment in its code of ethics. “At NIKE we encourage employees to do the right thing. This includes reporting all violations of law or company policies, including incidents of harassment or discrimination. NIKE will take appropriate steps to investigate all such reports and will take appropriate action.
Retaliation against any employee for the good faith reporting of a suspected violation of law or policy or for participating in any investigation of a suspected violation will not be tolerated. ” This is essential for the employee and the environment that he or she is surrounded by. If something inappropriate occurs, the employee can report it without any anxiety. These standards are not only held within the walls of Nike, but outside them as well. Nike says that all workers, even those outside the company must follow the same code of ethics. This includes sales agents, consultants, representatives, independent contractors, etc.
The web site states, “Business integrity is a key standard for the selection and retention of those who represent Nike. ” This statement is a great example of how Nike has adapted from its previously bad reputation. No one wants to work for a company that has bad morals or a company that has its employees questioning their own principles. Integrity is one of many key aspects in retaining skilled employees and Nike understands that every decision an employee has to make will not be easy. After taking care of its employees, Nike looks out for its customers.
Product safety is their number one concern when it comes to people purchasing Nike’s products. After all, if a person uses an unsafe product, he or she will never buy from that company again. Therefore, product safety should be an extremely high priority when production is taking place. Nike claims that safe products, “fulfill Nike’s responsibilities to the public, enhances our competitive position in the marketplace, and retains the confidence of our customers. ” All products at Nike must meet a certain set of highly regarded standards in order to be placed into the market.
Maintaining a detailed ethical policy at Nike is one thing, following it by the book is another. As mentioned earlier, Nike had the reputation of a company that exploited their employees. Currently, they have recovered some of their virtue, but the stories about the sweatshops in Southeast Asia will always exhibit a negative imprint on the company. According to research compiled by the Vietnam labor watch, Nike did not pay the minimum wage standard, did not provide proper working conditions, and did not take adequate safety and health measures around ten years ago.
They also disregarded child labor and sexual harassment in their factories. Although Nike has reasonably improved their working conditions, employees may still be violated due to uncontrollable forces in underdeveloped nations that Nike manufactures within. Our opinion combines both of Nike’s positives and negatives. Nike is certainly a renaissance company. It is globally renowned for products of absolute superiority. It is very rare to see a Nike product that doesn’t satisfy a customer. Nike’s advertising strategies have also breached the worldwide market in such a way that anyone can recognize the company and what it produces.
They have broadened their product line and have continued to make sure each new prototype lives up to the required standards. Nike faithfully holds the customer in high regard while keeping its product’s reputation at the apex of the sportswear and equipment world. However, there is no way of recognizing Nike’s ethical concern towards their employees unless one would investigate their foreign factories. It’s easy to arrange an acceptable policy; it’s harder to employ the policies and actually regard it with value. One can assume that the company’s awareness of unethical issues has increased.
Also, their response to those issues has been set given that Nike respects its employees, customers, products and many other things that relate to the company. Nevertheless, the legitimacy of Nike’s policy will not be identified anytime soon until further investigation. Rumors have always been spread since the 1990s about Nike’s employees. Nonetheless, any business adept individual would understand why the sweatshops are considered at all. Businesses strive to make money and the sweatshops provide Nike with the opportunity to make their products at an extremely low cost.
When a company is able to produce at a low cost and inflate at an excessive amount, the difference is unbelievable profit. Profits are clearly the goal of any company (non-profits excluded), and Nike makes certain that they obtain all the benefits in the most efficient way possible. Now what should Nike do about their problem with ethics? Well, the honest answer would be to eliminate the sweatshops completely. This is unlikely because it would be very difficult for a company with such a broad reach in the corporate world to shut down its factories overseas.
Companies will always continue to exploit lower wages as long as the opportunity is present. A possible way would be to improve their employee surroundings. Since Nike is benefiting from low wages, they should at least provide a safer working environment for its employees. No employee should ever be put at risk due to a lack of environmental awareness. Nike should also pay attention to wage laws that govern the area that they manufacture in. With all the profits Nike earns, it couldn’t possibly hurt them to pay their employees no less than minimum wage. Otherwise, any company that possesses such blatant greed will not last in the long run.