Case study Analysis of Being Worked to Death

Case study Analysis of Being Worked to Death

The case scenarios involve apple iPhone and Foxconn manufacturing company. Besides assembling Apple’s iPhones, Foxconn is also offering services to other technology companies like Sony, Dell, and others. Repeated attempted, and accomplished suicides have been witnessed at Foxconn Company. This affected Apple’s reputation resulting in several investigations seeking to ascertain the causative factors despite the advancements at the workplace in China.

Facts That Will Help to Answer Questions in Johnson’s Discussion Probe

  • Working conditions at Foxconn are slightly above other working conditions in other companies in China regarding the facility. Yu’s testimony indicates that they are overworked and at times load is increased despite the advancements in the production processes at the facility. The employer-employee relationship is not well at the lower level. Yu is seventeen years old, and his presence amounts to child labor.
  • Apple has contracted Foxconn to assemble its iPhones. Foxconn deals with employee issues at this facility.
  • Besides Apple, companies like IBM, Samsung, Amazon, and others have signed a contract with Foxconn. Foxconn may have facilities, but employees such as Yu access them only when they are working for long hours. Some employees work for close to sixteen hours.
  •  Besides hiring Foxconn to manufacture and assemble its phone accessories, we are not told of anything that Apple has done to improve the condition of the workers. Perhaps we might hear of it again when the media pushes it for answers in case another scandal emerges.
  • Apple is making exorbitant profits, unlike Foxconn. While Foxconn’s profit reduces by 1.7%, Apple’s profit is at 44%. The profit makes it one of the richest companies in the world. Customers are questioning whether their gadget costs the life of an employee at Foxconn. Its credibility and attachment to human needs are questioned, and this affects its popularity in the market and stock price.
  • Human rights activists, unions, and investigators are questioning working conditions at Foxconn and blaming its military-like authority on its employees.

Questions That Can Solve Jonson’s Probe

  • What are the working conditions at Johnson? Which company, in particular, produced my phone and had any person committed suicide from that company?
  • What has CEO Gou and Foxconn done to cause, accelerate or minimize suicide cases?
  • Is it important to conduct such scrutiny? Is the matter in public? Which other companies are in partnership with Foxconn?
  • What is Apple doing in the person of its workers and affiliated companies?
  • What can Apple do to improve minimum wage rate for its subcontractor’s employees?
  • What is the public opinion on matters as they are at Foxconn?

Ethical Solutions

I would be bothered by the working conditions at Foxconn if I owned an iPhone. Despite providing facilities, the company is not operating on the principle of “least harm.” The identified conditions are shown to be harmful to the employees. The company does not follow the principle of beneficence as its intent to do right on its workers is questionable. The greater percentage of blame should go to Foxconn and Apple. It can only be fair to cast blame where it belongs following the principle of justice (Wolf, 2014). It is the working conditions that prompt the workers to commit or attempt to commit suicide because they are overworked.

The two are receiving the correct treatment. The management at Foxconn violets the rights of its employers by overworking them and denying them the freedom to express themselves and enjoy the facility (Wolf, 2014). Apple is the largest beneficiary of Foxconn cannot receive the same treatment as other companies it should also be engaged in benefiting the society from which it is benefiting (Johnson, 2017). Apple has not taken enough responsibility as it is operating in opposition to the principle of utility which demands that one should create the largest ratio of good over evil (Wolf, 2014).

Currently, Apple is only concerned with their profits. It should accept lower profits to improve minimum wage rates of its subcontractor’s employees. This would be justice served for the labor offered (Wolf, 2014). This case casts dark global shadows. Future business prospects for Apple will not be as usual. Its market will shrink due to rising fear created by the media, unions, and investigators.


Johnson, C. E. (2017). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. New York, NY: Sage Publications.

Wolf, R. (2014). Empowering Organizations through Corporate Social Responsibility. New York, NY: IGI Global, 2014

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