Levi Strauss Company is one of the biggest cloth manufacturing companies and there are several ethical practices which can be clearly seen in its operations. Ethics is a very crucial aspect and is recommended that business executives put it in to major consideration. They are seen to close the branch in China due to the fact that they observed that human rights were not being observed. The workers were receiving less than the minimum wage (Shaw, 2011). Levi Strauss paid its workers well and even gave them a notice before the company was closed. In addition to these the company gave health insurances and compensations. It refused the issue of child labor and opted that children should be paid as they attend school and get full time employment at the age of fourteen. There are things they can do differently like involving all the stakeholders before getting involved in any business activity.
Ethics is one aspect which is very crucial when it comes to the success of a particular organization. Especially for the business executives or people at top management, ethics is very important. An organization can collapse due to lack of ethics. Sometimes organizations do not incorporate ethics at all levels of operation and with all stakeholders. However, it is important to know that all stakeholders are important for an organization and should be treated with ethical considerations (Shaw, 2011). Levi Strauss is one company which is considered to have acted ethically both at home an abroad. We see the benefits which semiskilled workers were getting at San Antonio. They were getting a good pay, maternity leave pay, health insurance, ten days for Christmas or during summer. His was one act of ethics in which the workers are given benefits as a prove of ethical considerations (Shaw, 2011). The dilemma came about when it decided to close that plant. The question of ethics came about. The workers were highly paid in America but it is noted that workers from other places like in Caribbean and Central America despite the fact that they might have the same level of skills and qualifications. The problem of ethics which we see in Levi Strauss is that it is closing some of its plants and hence leaves people without employment. To correct these issues, Levi Strauss helped its workers by giving them eight months off before they are released, which is six months more than what is required by the law plus provision of three week’s severance pay per year of service (Shaw, 2011). In addition to this, the workers who were displaced were given a compensation of up to $6000 which will help them in settling (Shaw, 2011).
Levi Strauss’s ethical practice can also be clearly seen when it acts upon workers in China. They tried their best to emphasis social responsibility and employees rights. There were some contractors who were accused of enslaving workers in China. Levi Strauss only agreed to take those contractors who agreed to act upon their code of ethics (Shaw, 2011). The contractor who was not paying workers the minimum wage was fired. They considered treatment of workers and maintain a health environment where workers could work without risking the health of its employees. The closure the plant at China was due to the fact there was a lot of human rights abuse. For instance women could work overtime and yet do not receive enough days off and they never received any health care allowances or compensations in case of an injury. Due to this reason, Levi Strauss acted ethically by closing the plant at China in order to reduce the chances of the workers being mistreated (Shaw, 2011). They did not take the advantage of cheap labor at China but instead acted to save them from being exploited by opportunists. Worker unions at China are suppressed and so Levi Strauss did not take that advantage. Since it could not control the situation, it opted to pull out in order to save the workers working at their plant. Many people despised Levi Strauss for leaving the opportunity of cheap labor and suppressed work unions but that did not make the company change its mind. There were those companies who were using child labor because it was cheap. Levi Strauss did not like the idea of children working. To avoid the issue of children working, they came up with a solution in which children could be paid as they attended school and once they attained the age of fourteen, they were given full time jobs (Shaw, 2011).
There are so many things which the company can do differently to improve its ethical issues in the top management. There is a time which the company is deciding to reopen its branch at china. This can be seen that the company is now thinking much about the profits and not thinking about consumers who are not willing to buy goods manufactured at abusive situations. Another issue is that they are not considering the conditions which happen in china related to mistreatment of workers (Shaw, 2011). They have not done anything yet to ensure that the working conditions have changed and workers can get their rights and yet they have plans of reopening. They should consider all the stakeholders in any decision they make. In fact the most important stakeholder is the consumer sine even if they produce a lot of products and no one is willing to buy them, they will be doing work in vain. They should also consider whether their employees will work under conducive environment or they will die in the firm due to mistreatments. It is not bad to go back to China but it is crucial to ensure that mechanism have been devised to ensure that human rights are considered always and workers are working under good working environments (Shaw, 2011). They can even come up with other measures of lying off the workers. This is because sometimes when an employee is sucked, they not be in the right mind to think and come up with an appropriate income generating activity. Before sucking the employees, the company can decide to put up small businesses for the employees using the money they will be compensated so that they do not have to hesitate after being sucked or loosing the job. This is based on the fact that when one loses a job, before they come up with the right income generating project, they have already used the money they got from the compensations.
To approach both foreign and domestic apparel in the future, the company should consider all its stakeholders including customers, employees and even shareholders. This will helps them satisfy every one at the same time. They can also do research so that they can be aware of what is required in the market so that they can make the necessary adjustments. If the labor does not comprise human rights, they need find out their own way by which they can make themselves different from others by including human right issues in their labor.
Levi Strauss is one company which has tried its best to address ethical issues and act ethically in its industry. This can be clearly seen by the fact it shifts its plant from China when it noticed that human rights were not being observed. It also refuses child labor by ensuring that children are paid as they go to school and get full employment at the age of fourteen. It is also seen in its act of proper compensation for workers when it is about to close the company at different places. It also gives them a notice for even a longer time than required by the law.
It is recommended that the company considers issues of human rights in China and how to handle them before reopening. It should also consider all its stakeholders in any business they are involved in as each of them contributes in one way or another to the company’s success.
Shaw, W. (2011). Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. Boston, Wardsworth