A major focus on the code of ethics in the organization has been evident over the recent past. Studies on this topic include different themes representing different lines of inquiry. A major objective regards the attributes of effective codes of ethics in connection with promoting ethical behavior in organizations (Somers, 2001). Apple remains a leader in the technological industry (Apple Inc, 2016). The success of this company has been attributed to the combination of different factors including exceptional leadership skills inculcated by Steve Jobs, highly innovative products in addition to a corporate culture that supports innovation. There are however issues that the company has had to contend with, resulting in major changes to its code of conduct in a bid to promote ethical operations. This paper analyzes the major changes and explanations regarding the code of conduct of Apple.
There are major changes that Apple has made to its code of ethics. First and foremost, the company acknowledges the fact that there is a right way in which products can be made (Apple Inc, 2016). This begins by acknowledging and appreciating the rights of the employees making these products. Apple suppliers employ more than 1.6 million people in 20 nations. As a result, each of these people must be treated with the respect that they deserve. During the 10th annual Supplier Responsibility Report, the company seeks to share the recent steps it has adopted to guarantee fair employment and good working conditions across the supply chain (Apple Inc, 2016).
Apple has also focused on accountability. The company sets high standards and helps the suppliers to meet them (Apple Inc, 2016). When Apple initially audited Lens, Apple factory located in China and which generates glass for Apple Watch and iPhone among others, auditors came to the realization that there were a lot of labor and human rights, health, safety and environmental violations. Some of these violations included age discrimination in the course of recruitment, long working hours and poor waste management which never lived up to the standards of Apple (Apple Inc, 2016). However, instead of punishing the factory, Apple closely partnered with the management to assist in boosting the working conditions for their 35,000 employees. An auditor from the company by the name of Nikko Liao was asked to make changes from within. Also, after the company introduced e iPhone 4, customers lodged complaints about reception problems. The challenges were caused by interferences with the antennae which took place when consumers held the phone in a particular way (Apple Inc, 2016). In the same vein, the company has been criticized by public relations experts for seeming to reduce the problem as opposed to reacting fast and completely addressing the problem.
Privacy has been another challenge for Apple. For instance, in 2011, the company disclosed that some features on its cell phones gather data on locations of phones (Apple Inc, 2016). Government officers and consumers viewed this as a violation of user privacy. Apple announced that consumers could disable these features. However, this was never entirely the case as some of the phones kept gathering location information even when the consumers had disabled the feature. The company has addressed these issues in its Supplier Code of Conduct which is ranked among the strictest in the technology sector. As evidenced in the case above, Apple does more that ensuring suppliers stick to these standards (Apple Inc, 2016). On the contrary, the company works with them, offering the support needed to work in a responsible manner.
Emphasis has also been laid in labor and human rights. Years back, Apple realized that small-scale tine mines operating in Indonesia were using practices that endangered the safety of workers (Apple Inc, 2016). Moreover, it became apparent that unsustainable mining practices were causing soil and water pollution. To deal with these challenges, the Tin Working Group was formed bringing together IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the industry group ITRI, Friends of the Earth, and other entities using tin. Apple ensures that each and every person working in its supplier facilities are properly treated (Apple Inc, 2016). Furthermore, the company is delving deeper into the supply chain to ensure that materials are sourced in a manner that is responsible.
Employees are the main assets of any organization, and this fact is well understood by Apple (Apple Inc, 2016). The company strives to empower workers by making sure that they are prepared for the company and beyond. From 2008, Apple suppliers have trained more than 9.25 million workers about local laws, safety and health regulations. Most important is that this training has focused on company code of conduct. It is important that factory supervisors comply with the employment policies and promote a safe workplace. Employees might lack access to good education in other areas where products of the company are made (Apple Inc, 2016). Therefore, Apple looks to offer training in factories to assist employees to be well informed, provide classes to assist the employees assume the next steps in their careers, and work together with vocational schools to boost education standards.
Most important is the focus on environment, health, and safety. Apple respect and cares for the environment it operates and thrives. Supplier facilities of the company could have a major effect on the planet and those making products (Apple Inc, 2016). In 2009, the company reported that its operations contributed 9.6 million tons of gasses being released. Though 3% came from company facilities, 97% originated from the lifecycle of its products. Given the fact that the success of Apple revolves around constantly developing and initiating new products, the environmental effect of its products remains a major concern (Apple Inc, 2016). In this regard, the company partners with suppliers to implement strict environmental policies and provide employees with the right equipment. Also, employees are provided with safety measures.
In conclusion, Apple has made major changes regarding its code of conduct. These commitments have been made as part of the promise to implement major reforms in its supply chain. Over the recent past, Apple has succeeded in keeping abreast of modern development in computer and consumer electronics. The company's diversification, product innovation, and collaborative organizational culture had spurred Apple to the highest heights of success envisioned when the company was first established. Furthermore, Apple shows no signs of losing touch. Consumers on the other hand, have shown no signs of changing their loyalty to the company. All this has been aided by the company's code of ethics.
Apple Inc. (2016). About Apple Inc. Retrieved from https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/empowering-workers/
Somers, M. (2001). Ethical codes of conduct and organizational context: A study of the
relationship between codes of conduct, employee behavior, and organizational values. Journal of Business Ethics 30: 185195
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