Contract global employment under the Nike Code of Conduct has been altered significantly, as diversity of legal and social standards for employment come into play in Nike factories all over the world. Nike also actively seeks to allow contractor managers and employees visits to domestic operations of both management and manufacture and hires within these pools when they can to increase domestic diversity.
Ethics are an essential aspect of the manner in which Nike has come to adopt standards that apply to both domestic and global manufacture, as their early exposure to public criticism in the global market led them to a completely different set of goals that enforce greater compliance with and the planning, organization, leadership and control of the Code of Conduct itself. External audits by outside interested parties have concluded that the Code of Conduct and its enforcement are novel and frequently uphold a standard that many other global manufacturers do not uphold or enforce, beyond marginal levels.
Taken together, our quantitative and qualitative findings suggest a multifaceted, evolutionary model for improving working conditions in global supply chain factories in which codes of conduct are only one, albeit important component. Nike's code emerged out of pressures from consumer and NGO groups. And the corporation has put considerable organizational resources into monitoring its code by building up a sizable staff of compliance and production specialists and multiple auditing processes. The data generated by these processes show that on average its plants are rated above the mid-points on its rating scales but that there continues to be wide variations both in compliance and in the broader evaluations...
(Richard, Kochan, Romis & Qin, 2007, p. 21)
This external opinion of how Nike's implementation and enforcement of its code of conduct, designed specifically to answer ethical concerns brought by the public has helped the overall business climate in the many nations where it does business. The ethical change can in fact be seen much as a benchmark for other nations as they attempt to enforce better compliance with national and international ethics regarding work conditions, hours, compensation and many other factors that are specific to ethical business development.
Managers are also frequently required to delegate the planning (a multifaceted aspect of development of the Code of Conduct), organizing (utilizing experienced enforcement and inspection personnel in a whole new department), leadership (which is developed through a cooperative effort between domestic and foreign managers and controllers) and control (again through both internal audit and inspection staff as well as external managers who are delegated the tasks of record keeping and assurance of compliance). Noteworthy, as an upstart company that developed through massive growth, Nike challenges many molds of corporate social responsibility, but outlives it scandals through the development of corporate code of conduct and audit applications. Though the two factories that Richard, Kochan, Romis & Qin analyze through internal Nike audit material differ somewhat is the success of Nike's goals of CSR implementation, they are also clearly reflective of the broader goals of Nike to build a better image and better reality for contract employees, even in emerging markets that demand greater corporate governance to ensure compliance. As one can see in the appendix of this work, Nike's code of conduct is expansive and inclusive and despite the fact that Nike was reluctant to create such a code it has done so and seems to be living by its standards.
Through cooperative management, with both domestic leads, foreign leads and even factory floor workers has been a significant aspect of improved corporate social responsibility and can serve as a long-term example of how to bring a global company into compliance with ever shifting public and corporate expectations regarding fairness of work practices, even when nations and locals where they do business do not have these same high standards.
Nike Code of Conduct, 2007
Richard, L., Kochan, T., Romis, M., & Qin, F. (2007). Beyond Corporate Codes of Conduct: Work Organization and Labour Standards at Nike's Suppliers. International Labour Review, 146(1-2), 21.
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