Nike Corporation, The Sweatshop Debate

Essay by susanb50University, Bachelor'sA, October 2008

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Nike Corporation, founded by Phil Knight in 1972 is not only one of the leading marketers of athletic shoes but also considered one of the world's leaders in globalization. Nike is a huge corporation and its founder is one of the wealthiest people in America. Along with these distinctions comes scrutiny and accusations. Often these accusations are founded in fact but just as often may be exaggerated. Whenever a company is in the global arena, there are many things to consider. The organization must consider the legal, cultural, and ethical challenges that they face doing business another country. The leaders of the company must also understand the various roles that host governments play in their business.

Nike does not manufacture any of its products but designs them and subcontracts to some 700 factories in foreign countries. Nike lists 124 plants in China contracted to make its products, 73 in Thailand, 35 in South Korea, 34 in Vietnam and others in Asia.

It also produces goods in South America, Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, and the US. It employs 650,000 contract workers worldwide. For the past 10 plus years, Nike has battled accusations of building its success on the backs of sweatshop labor. It is easy to find information outlining the poor working conditions and substandard pay in these factories. What is more difficult for Americans to understand is the different cultural, legal and governmental situation in these countries and how they affect the global business (Teather, 2005).

Legal, cultural, and ethical challenges that confront NikeWorking conditions and wage considerations vary in different countries. Nike does not own the factories that make their product but as a global business leader, they must consider these situations. It may be true that a corporation is not be legally bound if a subcontractor has...