Writing Assignment 2, Option 1 In 2010, eighteen employees of the contract manufacturing giant Foxconn attempted suicide. The company is headquartered in Taiwan, but most of its factories are in China, where a larger and cheaper labor market is available. It is the largest manufacturer of Apple products, as well as products of many electronics companies. Studies cited poor treatment of employees such as long hours—including illegal overtime, failure to report accidents, and lack of working relationships. Foxconn factories have been decried as labor camps and its management style has been called “inhumane and abusive. The majority of the production line employees are young migrant workers, joining up when recruiters travel mostly to rural areas in search of inexpensive labor. This practice is not new. So why has such a radical event happened in recent years? Simply put, these workers are a new generation of young adults. China has modernized and westernized in the past decade, and these employees, even if not highly educated, are better educated than the previous generation of workers and so it is harder for them to deal with their menial jobs.
They are forced to work seven-day weeks, with hours upon hours of repetitive assembly work. Their wages are so low that they cannot afford to buy the higher-end products that they make. They believe that hard work and/or higher education will change their lives, but they do not know what changes to make. In addition, while Foxconn has around one million employees, the majority being these factory workers, the nature of the occupation leaves little room for building relationships with coworkers.
In response to the suicides, Foxconn raised wages, installed suicide netting, and made employees sign a no-suicide agreement. What other CSR practices does Foxconn follow? More specifically, what CSR practices does Foxconn claim to follow? According to its CSR report, “[all] Foxconn hiring entities must follow equal employment opportunity rules including respecting human rights, prohibiting child labor, forbidding forced labor and assuring employee diversity. To its employees, it provides free laundry, uniforms, internet, and shuttles, as well as various facilities and education programs. They also offered just under nine million training hours, of which there were twenty million attendees (attendees of different courses are counted separately. ) This attempts to provide employees with the incentive and skills to perform better, thus benefiting both the company and its workers. The company has also started welfare initiatives to help employees deal with stress.
One benchmark that can be applied is that fewer suicides have occurred this year. Compared to the eighteen in 2010, there have been three in 2011. To procure internally valid estimates of the programs implemented, there are a few options. The easiest (and cheapest) and most impersonal is a survey, while the hardest (and most expensive) yet most personal would be individual evaluations. Other options include measuring turnover rates or productivity.