Nike Cross-Cultural Perspectives
October 25, 2012
Nike Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Nike and its trademark swoosh is known worldwide as the symbol for excellence in the field of athletics. Whether that game is Football, Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Baseball or any sport recognized in any country around the world, Nike has attached itself or sponsored the athletes recognized as the best in that sport. Starting at its seed with shoes and flowering into apparel and sporting goods, the Nike swoosh is so popular that even in impoverished third world regions around the world it has been said that you can find “peasants sewing crude swoosh imitations on to shirts and caps, not for ...view middle of the document...
On April 6, 1995, CBS aired a documentary on the soccer ball industry in Sialkot, “Children at work” (CBS transcripts, 1995). This story told of the irony of the impoverished children in the region who worked so that their richer American counterparts could play. There were allegations of poor work conditions and the use of child labor to stitch the soccer balls that the company produced. Boje & Khan (2009) state that soccer balls have been produced mainly in Sialkot, Pakistan for years in organizations like Nike, and it has been estimated that thousands of children have been hired to stitch the balls. The mass media picked up this story both in the United States and around the world and created such a storm that Nike had to address this delicate issue or face widespread boycotts of Nike products.
An underlying story in all of this is the different views that different cultures have on the issue of labor. “Childhood experiences do not simply vary across countries but also within a single culture and across different ethnic groups”, (Khan 2010). In other words, what one culture deems morally or ethically correct could be a very different from the point of view of another culture. For instance, in the lower income regions of Sialkot, Pakistan, it was normal for the children in these poor families to work to help support their families. In the United States however, child labor laws have been put in place to protect the children from having such responsibility put on them at a young age. Yet just like in Pakistan’s poor regions, lower income areas in the United States are known to have children who are go to work at earlier ages than those of children who live in wealthier areas of America. The child labor issues that the Nike Corporation faced affected its interactions inside and outside of the United States. There were serious changes to the way the organization ran its operations abroad. Nike held itself accountable to stricter regulations and paid close attention to how their contracted offshore factories produced products and who they hired. They adopted a business model called the “Triple Bottom Line" — the idea that the impact of a company on people and the planet is just as important, if not more important, than profit.
When analyzing the moral, ethical and social responsibilities Nike Corporation had to deal with in its quest for global expansion there are two important factors to consider. The first consideration is production cost. To be competitive in the marketplace, Nike has to be able to price their products competitively while still having the ability to have the highest amount of profit margin on each unit sold. They have to do this by employing a workforce that is able to keep up with demand while keeping manufacturing cost to a minimum. This was done so by taking advantage of the ability to outsource their...