Ethical Line and Social Issues

Question One:

Should the social business still be trustworthy even though their ethical bottom lines swing back and forth?

Yes. Every coin has its two sides, not to mention social media might enlarge the negative sides. According to the reading “Managing Business Ethics”, even though the author pointed out the financial crisis caused by unethical market at the beginning, most of companies are trying hard to balance between ethics and profits. Most of the managers are well educated and keeping learning in business school as working in management level in order to cope with complicated situations and make ethical decisions. The unethical business issues reported by media influence the portrait of social business. Also, there are various factors to determine the different ethical bottom lines, for examples, types of industry, competition, labor force and social rules.

Question Two:

Does social imagination means to step back and get a bigger picture of society?

I think social imagination is a broader view of social issues combine with the self-consciousness. I really like the statements of trouble and issue in “ The Sociological Imagination”. Troubles occur among individuals directly and reveal the straight relationship. Issues should be viewed from a broad angle and explained with many connections. As the examples given in the article, if the percentage is one out of one hundred thousand, it is a trouble. However, if the percentage is fifty percent, the thing should be an issue, which is needed to be studied and figure the inside connections. Nothing is what it seems. An unethical business or a social violence may reveal social issues, like Apple’s Chinese factory, Foxconn. The suicide, violence, overwhelming working hours and child labors exhibit the unethical and illegal facts of Foxconn and Apple superficially. However, if we review the Foxconn event from social imagination side, it reveals a lot of serious social problems in China.

Question Three:

Should Apple, Inc is responsible for series of violence events in its Chinese factory, Foxconn?

Foxconn is the largest phone producer in the world. It responsible for many well-known brand’s cell phone, like Sony, Apple, and Nokia. The following link reported the changes are going to take by Foxconn in 2013. Social media reported Foxconn about hiring child labors, suicides, excessive working hours and toxic working environment for years. Apple had talked with top executives of Foxconn about working conditions in the future. Foxconn decided to increase the employees’ salaries, decrease working hours and try to prevent suicide events. Although Apple is independent with its Chinese factory, it is still unethical to use such a manufacture. It is Apple’s response to have a talk with executives in Foxconn and make changes.


3 thoughts on “Ethical Line and Social Issues

  1. I like the points you made for the first question about ethical business decisions. There always seems to be a fine line, between doing what is right for your company and what is right for society. It seems that many businesses battle with this everyday and need to make the decisions accordingly.
    However, what I think answers your question best is the Whole Foods example that we heard in class. The CEO was creative in saying that companies that are have to make ethical sacrifices for profit are not thinking outside the box. There does not always have to be a right or wrong answer. Sometimes there is a third option, a win win win scenario. The bottom line is still the same: in order for a business to thrive, it needs to make ethical decisions.

  2. 1) What do you mean by “social business” here? Social media companies? Or any company covered by the media?

    2) Your answer is important because it brings the key point of social facts into our understanding of sociological imagination. It is not “only” that every individual is influenced by social context. We already knew that. The point is for people to understand that some “troubles” are also issues.

    3) Who has more power in the Apple-Foxconn relationship?

  3. I would definitely think that Apple has more power in that relationship. Apple, I’m sure has exclusive rights to all their patents and products and could take their business elsewhere if they really desired although it would be highly expensive to shift away from their largest supplier. However after all the media that is about how Fox-conn is really operated it could be a power play to move away from them. However, if I am being realistic I don’t think Apple will move away from Fox-conn and its almost certainly not in their best interest to do so anyway.


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