Nike's Unethical Practices Unleashed*



Mini Case Code : CLIM041
Publication date : 2005
Subject : International Marketing
Industry : Apparel, Clothing, Footwear
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Nike Inc., apparel and footwear manufacturer, cheap labor, contract factories, tortured workers, child labor, inhumane treatment, exploited workers, violated labor laws, health and safety standards, working conditions, health problems, medical facilities, sexual harassment, labor practices, sweatshop, Asian factories, unfair labor practices, labor relations department, Code of Conduct, labor rights group, international labor standards, social responsibility compliance


* This caselet is intended for use only in class discussions.
** More comprehensive case studies are priced at Rs.200 to Rs.700 (US $5 to US $16) per copy.


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The caselet narrates how Nike, a leading apparel and footwear company, cleverly disguised its unethical human practices in Asian factories. It takes the reader through a series of inhuman practices that have been taking place in Nike factories since 1996. It further describes the attempts made by some NGOs to reveal Nike's true colors and talks about the ultimate confession made by the company.


» The importance of ethics in business practices
» Nike's inhuman practices in Asian factories
» The company's attempts to cover up the unethical practices in its factories
» Nike's corporate social responsibility comes under fire


Nike Inc., the world’s leading apparel and footwear manufacturer, outsources the manufacturing part of the production to a number of factories in Asia where there is plenty of cheap labor available.

Usually, it chooses countries where cheap labor is available, where there is an authoritarian government, and the lack of union rights appeals and union movements.

Nike has the highest number of contract factories in China followed by Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. By opting for such places, Nike has made huge margins due to cheap labor...

Questions for Discussion:

1. Briefly describe the sweatshop conditions and the treatment of workers by the managers in Nike's factories.

2. Nike has failed to follow the labor laws of the countries it operates in and has not succeeded in effectively implementing its Code of Conduct. What measures must Nike take to convince the public that it really wants to put an end to the maltreatment and exploitation of workers in its Asian factories?