There is no questioning Apple Inc.’s credibility. Apple Inc. at a point introduced its computers to the world and totally revolutionized the way this world listens to music, stores data and interacts with informational & technology components [IT]. Over time, Apple has also grown to become the world’s most valuable company. Apple has a strong turnaround, a complex and unparalleled innovative design, applications, media content and unmistakable sleekness. Because of these qualities, some critics and analysts argue that despite these positive qualities that are attributable to Apple, the company’s Achilles’ heel is its inaction and lack of commitment to corporate social responsibility [CSR]. While some critics and analysts argue that Apple contravenes its CSR commitments, others charge that Apple cannot be counted as being committed to CSR, since the commitments Apple cites as its CSR objectives are merely responsibilities that any sensible firm would engage in. While this argument may be easily and mistakenly dismissed as pedantic, yet it is sacrosanct, touching on the very identity, image, stability and success of any organization, Apple Inc. included.
Question 1: Examining Apple’s Current Position on the Company’s Ethical and Social Responsibilities
That Apple Inc is a remarkable organization is not in question. Apple also states that it is also committed to corporate social responsibility [CSR] in its company website and has therefore made some strides to this effect.
At the moment, Apple states that the world over, it is expanding opportunities for workers and ensuring that these employees are treated with dignity and respect.
Apple follows the commitment above with another commitment. Particularly, Apple states that it believes that education is a powerful tool for empowering its workers and improving their lives. Since to Apple education is a great equalizer, Apple is investing immensely in assisting its supply chain to learn new skills and to better understand their rights.
Determining Whether or Not the Company Has Met These Responsibilities
Definitely, Apple has served these commitments. Second, in 2013 alone, more than 280,000 individuals at Apple’s supplier sites registered in Apple’s growth and free education initiative for courses in a broad variety of subjects and disciplines. Secondly, more than 1.5 million workers have been further educated by Apple vendors about their privileges. This has taken the cumulative number of those educated under Apple’s auspices to 3.85 million since 2007. (Apple Inc., 2014).
Again, in order to address the shortage of health and safety personnel, Apple launched the Apple Suppliers EHS Academy. Apple Suppliers EHS Academy is a formal, 18-month program which is a very comprehensive EHS education and training programs in a supply chain. Because of this initiative, in 2013, over 240factory personnel who represented factories with more than 270,000 employees enrolled for this program. This undertaking raised the standard for EHS management in Apple’s supply chain (Apple Inc., 2014).
Even analysts and scholars such as Sean (2012) and Keith (2013) observe that since Apple’s CSR is intent on empowering its personnel and to have it increase in respect and dignity, then it is clear that Apple has met this responsibility. Apple in this light can only be judged by its dedication it has made toward the commitment it had made earlier.
Question 2: Determining The Impact That the Publication of Ethics and Social Responsibilities Violations Made by Apple’s Suppliers Has Had on Apple’s Reputation
Publications to the effect that an organization violates its CSR are dire to any establishment, and Apple is not an exception. These kinds of publications are potent enough to subject an organization to disrepute. This is because, an organization that violates its CSR commitments is deemed to not take CSR seriously and is therefore thought to take profiteering as its sole intent and social justice and development as needless. This organization is therefore deemed as selfish and only interested in depleting the environment. Ultimately, the firm’s corporate and/or public image gets destroyed (Morrison and Bridwell, 2011).
To set the record straight on Apple’s commitment to CSR, it is worth noting that at the moment, there is no CSR commitment that Apple has violated. For this, Apple cannot be accused for having contravened or breached its commitment to CSR and can also not be said to have taken CSR for granted or used CSR for publicity.
However, as a side note, there are critics who have accused Apple of not having a comprehensive CSR goal. These critics point out that Apple has done well to concert efforts to extirpate unethical practices among Apple’s suppliers by eradicating underage labor at 10 Apple facilities, bribery in one Apple facility, falsification of audit materials at Apple’s four facilities and dangerous working conditions in two Apple facilities. However, these critics such as Jasmine (2014) argue that creating safer working conditions for employers is not CSR as Apple wants to argue.
Bianzino, Raju and Rossi (2011) continue that Apple’s competitors such as Blackberry Messenger have been keener and more committed to positive social change, going by their commitment to CSR.
3. Two (2) Methods Methods That Apple Can Utilize To Ensure That Its Suppliers Adhere to Wage and Benefits Standards Going Forward
Apple can use technology as the main driver of change on the entire market system. The possibility of this proposition is underscored by the fact that Apple is the world’s leading firm in technology and is credited for introducing iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and iTunes. Apple has also lately introduced Apple TV into the market. Introducing disruptive innovation into the market will not only strengthen Apple’s brand in the market, but the same will also edge out other competitors and guarantee demand for Apple products. This is likely to increase Apple’s volume of sales and to culminate into more competitive remunerations for Apple’s suppliers. Apple Drop cam, Apple Parrot A.R. Drone, AirPort Time Capsule [2TB] and Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio are strong indicators of the possibility of this recommendation.
Apple can also use innovation to systematize its operations and management system. Technological systematization of processes and systems is bound to integrate and decouple processes and systems while also saving employees of extra manual work. This is bound to increase Apple’s productivity. Increased productivity in turn is bound to pave way for greater profitability. Increased profit margins are likely to culminate into more competitive wages and benefits for employees.
4. Determining if Apple’s Customers Would Be Willing to Pay More for Its Products If Apple Had to Increase Selling Prices in Order to Provide Better Wages and Benefits for Suppliers’ Workers
It is likely that Apple’s customers would be willing to pay more for its products if Apple had to increase selling prices in order to provide better wages and benefits for suppliers’ workers, due to several reasons. However, despite these reasons, this possibility of clients’ loyalty to Apple’s products depends on the percentage of the price increase. The higher the price adjustments, the higher the likelihood for waning client loyalty will be. Therefore, the imperative herein is that even if Apple is to increase the price of its products, the increment should be minimal. Not heeding this directive would sway both potential and prospective clients into the arms of Apple’s rivals.
Providing a Rationale for the Position Above
Several reasons inform the standpoint taken immediately above. One of the factors that will glue clients to Apple products even in the face of price increment is the strong brand and identity that Apple and Apple products have. Secondly, price increment for Apple products is not likely to herald a drop in Apple products’ demand since the increment is meant for revising salaries upwards. Upward reviewing of salaries and allowances is bound to increase efficiency and productivity among employees because of employee motivation, inward pressure to match the competitive rates and the freeing of employees from the need to be on the look-out for greener pastures (Lundgren, 2011).
Nevertheless, it is important that a pricing increment in Apple’s products may not affect Apple’s marketability, as long as the increment is neither drastic, nor of a higher percentage. Secondly, it is expedient that Apple Inc remembers that the way to building internal strength by giving employees fair remunerations is not by increasing the price of products. Instead, an organization of great renown such as Apple should nurture a comprehensive strategy by incorporating competitive human resource management, effective talent management, effective business culture, innovativeness, effective public relations, organizational management and marketing strategy. From the profit accrued, Apple should seek to raise employees’ emoluments and perks.
Question 5: Analyzing Apple’s Current Overall Marketing Strategy
Apple can exploit its CSR strategy as a marketing strategy. This recommendation is informed by the fact that Apple has assets and proper organizational structures, culture and strategies which are needed for proper marketing strategy. It is only Apple’s approach to CSR which is being faulted and this could be a setback.
Recommending Two (2) Actions That Apple Can Take in Order to Improve its Competitive Advantage in the Global Marketplace
Seeing that Apple should use CSR as a marketing strategy, it is expedient that Apple supports the development of technology which measures and contributes to social change. This technology that Apple is to use to this end should help in fighting diseases, improving education and distributing food. Since Apple is a leader in technological innovations, it will also be in order that Apple also be the pioneer of the use of technology to bring about social emancipation, especially in developing economies.
It may also be expedient that Apple through its technological innovation supports the dissemination of the most credible information which relates to social issues. For instance, making iTunes the world’s most important and credible source for social research, programs and tools may be long overdue both for Apple and its market.
Just as Koo and Cooper (2011) recommend, the foregoing is underscored by the fact that Apple is the leading company in IT technology and wares. While it is true that Apple has fulfilled its stated commitment to its CSR objectives, yet its objectives are merely organizational human resources [HR] responsibilities. All meaningful and serious organizations are committed to provide employee safety and welfare. Dissemination of socially relevant information for the purpose of promoting social research, programs and tools and using technology to fight diseases, improve education and distribute food are causes that have not been ventured into. It would therefore be in order if Apple as a power house in IT technology also leads in using innovation to perpetuate these values.
- Apple Inc. (2014). Supplier Responsibility. Apple Inc. Retrieved on April 12, 2014, from: http://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/
- Bianzino, A., Raju, A. & Rossi, D. (2011). Apples-to-apples: a framework analysis for energy- efficiency in networks. ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, 38 (3), 81 – 85
- Jasmine, M. F. (2014). Fairer Shores: Tax Havens, Tax Avoidance and Corporate Social Responsibility. Boston University Law Review, 94 (1), 337.
- Keith, W. D. (2013). The Charitable Responsibilities Model of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 7 (3), 1.
- Koo, Y. and Cooper, R. (2011). Managing Corporate Social Responsibility through Design. Design Management Review, 22 (1), 68 – 79.
- Lundgren, T. (2011). A Microeconomic Model of Corporate Social Responsibility. Metroeconomica, 62 (1), 69 – 95.
- Morrison, E. and Bridwell, L. (2011). Consumer social responsibility–the true corporate social responsibility. Competition Forum, 9 (1), 144.
- Sean T. L. (2012). Comparing Apples to Apples. Career Development International, 17 (4), 333– 357