Corporate Social Responsibility in the Consumer Electronics Industry

Abstract
This paper examines the interactions between consumer electronics companies, suppliers,
and factory workers and the challenges corporations face in balancing corporate social responsibility with
corporate performance through a case study of Apple Inc. and its supply chain.

Introduction

To what extent are multinational corporations responsible for ensuring that workers’ rights are respected? In a system where stakeholders at all levels – corporations, subcontractors, governments, NGOs, and individual workers – are dispersed around the world where no clear rules or standards exist, what actions need to be taken and by whom to maintain a minimum level of respect towards a worker’s basic human rights? Though multinationals are, to some extent, becoming increasingly aware of the consequences of exploiting cheap labor and creating sweatshop conditions, lacking a widely accepted and clearly defined set of international standards for good corporate citizenship to keep them under tight control, they continue to push the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable corporate behavior in their pursuit to maximize profits.

This paper examines the interaction between corporations, workers, and governments and the challenges they face in balancing workers’ rights and corporate performance through a case study of Apple Inc., a company with an intricate supply chain that has recently come under fire by the media on issues regarding labor rights.

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