9215.docx - 1 Identify the multiple levels of analysis at...

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1.) Identify the multiple levels of analysis at play for Apple as it addresses the CSR challenges in its supply chain. Although Apple had been working diligently to improve its image after accusations of labour rights violations at Foxconn, it again finds itself addressing corporate social responsibility (CSR) challenges in its supply chain five years later. Evidence showed that labor rights violations continued in China at another one of Apple’s suppliers: Pegatron. Despite being highly ranked for its CSR reputation, along with a valuation close to $1 trillion, CSR allegations are still being made about Apple and their suppliers located in offshore locations, and they need to be addressed. The case states four sets of challenges in their supply chain: (1) Apple operates in different environments (legal, cultural, political, social and economic) from many of its suppliers; (2) the conflict for suppliers between meeting expensive high labor standards, and accepting lower payments from Apple, consequently earning less profit; (3) the gap between the high CSR standard that Apple sets for itself and what it actually achieves; and (4) differing assessments among labor experts about what constitutes healthy working conditions and the amount of attention that should be paid to these labor issues. CSR management “assumes that companies have responsibilities towards a number of external stakeholders that sometimes go beyond mandatory obligations such as profitability and legal compliance.” According to the stakeholder framework, there are many parties, in addition to shareholders, for whom a company should make decisions. The most important group (first level in the framework) includes shareholders, suppliers, customers, employees, and suppliers’ employees. At the second level (indirect relationships) of the framework are governments, nonprofits, media, among other groups. Stakeholders significantly affect the business regarding customer perception and sales revenues. Considering the continued high value of its brand, Apple effectively accounts for stakeholders in its strategies and policies for CSR. To address its CSR management challenges, Apple is conducting analysis separately at the (1) individual level, which includes all levels of employees and customers, for example, and looks at how the individual would act based on her/his moral code; (2) firm level, which examines what Apple can solve as a company; (3) inter-organizational level, which determines how much control (if any) Apple has over its suppliers, for example, like Foxconn or AT&T; and (4) social or national level, which takes into consideration where the company is doing business and which points of view come into play. For example, in China, where CSR regulations are lax, Apple has to decide whether to act from an ethnocentrism, relativism, or universalism perspective. Apple has to figure out how their response to the labor workforce allegations of its offshore suppliers will affect the financial and social considerations of its stakeholders (individuals), the firm, its inter-organizational relationships, and their partnership with China.

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