Ethical Issues at Apple Inc.
One of the leading electronics companies in the world, Apple Inc. has grown to possess a large market percentage in the industry. The company deals with electronics such as phones, computers and music systems among others. Despite the success of the organization, Apple Inc. has been faced by various ethical issues in the recent years, issues which could be detrimental to the position of the company in the near future. The ethical concerns that have been raised concerning the company include failure to achieve environmental sustainability, product quality and privacy of consumer information among others (Clark and Boersma 54). These ethical concerns have to be addressed for the company to continue enjoying market strength. In terms of product quality, Apple has been working towards keeping pace with the dynamic customer demands in the electronic industry. To some extent, this has affected the company’s product qualities as the massive production and change rates make it difficult to identify defects in particular products.
In Apple’s iphone 4, there were reports that the phones lost reception if held in a certain way. The problem constitutes an ethical challenge to Apple due to the potential for reduced trust and dependence among consumers. While Apple tried to correct the problem, the impacts were only reduction in the prevalence of the problem and not complete ending to it. As such, it cannot be said that Apple managed to solve this issue that is an ethical concern. In addition to this, maintaining customer privacy has also been reported as an ethical issue with the use of Apple phones.
Some of the company’s phones have been reported to collect pertinent information about the customers such as their location. The company’s defense in light of this was that the customers had the choice to disable the location tracking features, a claim that was refuted as the phones continued to collect the information even after disabling the feature. Governments and other agencies also argued against the ethical concerns of this information disclosure. This led to the advocacy for mobile phone privacy laws that limit phone producers from accessing customer information (Lawrence and others 28).
Apple has also been blamed with the failure to observe environmental sustainability. According to environmental advocates, the company continuously releases new products into the market. This results in the disposal of the old ones by people in order to acquire the new phones. The effect of this is an increasing level of pollution in the environment since the old phones as well as the materials used in phone production are not degradable. The materials also produce greenhouse gases which are harmful to the environment (Gomez 323). The company has taken various measures to protect the environment. For instance, the company currently uses materials that are recyclable hence reducing the amount of E-waste generated. The consumers are also encouraged by the company to recycle rather than throwing away their old products.
Apple can take various strategies to address the pertinent issues in line with the ethical concerns raised. For instance, to address the issue of product quality, the company has invested heavily on technological advancement to be capable of identifying the defects in products. In addition to this, through the recycling program developed by Apple, the challenge of environmental sustainability can be addressed. The company’s new devices also do not provide consumer information to help protect the privacy of consumers.
Clarke, Thomas, and Martijn Boersma. “The Governance of Global Value Chains: Unresolved
Human Rights, Environmental and Ethical Dilemmas in the Apple Supply Chain.” Journal of Business Ethics (2015): 1-21.
Gomez, Jessica. “Developing Effective Transparency: A Case Study on Voluntary Disclosure
and Social Responsibility at Apple Inc.” Hastings Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 37 (2014): 323.
Lawrence, Cameron, Jake Balyeat, and David Firth. “Privacy and ethics in the age of the
smartphone.” Information Systems Education Journal 11.5 (2013): 28.
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