“Retraction” brings up numerous issues concerning decision making for stakeholders and shareholders. For this blog post, I am going to reflect on three decisions that were brought about throughout “Retraction” concerning Mike Daisey as a manager, the managers at “This American Life”, and Apple’s top managers. First, it is clear throughout the podcast that TAL managers regret putting Daisey’s show on the air because they did not take enough time to fact-check his story. Interestingly enough, it could be argued that TAL managers felt extremely moved by Daisey’s story and knew many viewers would be drawn to the TAL show just to hear Daisey’s story. This interest in the show would then make TAL more popular, and thus putting Daisey’s story on the air was a great decision when considering the success of TAL. Of course, the other side to this decision involves the deceitfulness of the story, as many listeners really believed every word Daisey said, thus creating a negative bubble around TAL for airing a false story as journalism. I believe TAL did a great job of attempting to clean up this mess and put credit back into their name, but I am sure listeners will still be weary of false stories in the future when listening to TAL after this incident.
Next, Mike Daisey’s decision to air his story as journalism even though he knew many parts of the story were untrue was extremely risky and obviously ended poorly for him. This brings about the issue concerning the distinct difference between journalism and fiction or theatre, as Daisey describes it. I assume that Daisey knew airing this story on TAL would result in many more listeners and followers than if he were to broadcast or perform his story on his own, and thus chose to hope no one would find out about the untruthfulness of his story. This is another example of shareholder managing, since Daisey is the one shareholder of his career and benefitted from the thousands of people who downloaded his story and knew his name. His career took off, and it is clear he only regretted his decision to air the story after the truth came out.
Last, but not least, are Apple’s decisions to continually ignore issues in their manufacturing factories. I agree with the reporter who said that it is somewhat unfair to compare US working conditions to Chinese working conditions because our law systems are different and China is still in its developing stage. Still, it is clear that Apple has enormous negotiating power with these companies and could easily choose to enforce changes regarding working conditions because these companies want to keep Apple as a client and thus would do anything Apple asked them to. As a result, it is also clear that Apple chooses to keep the largest profit margin possible despite their ability to change things if they wanted. In this case, Apple choosing to manage for their shareholders is having great negative effects on its stakeholders, but more importantly, I, as an Apple customer, am the reason these harsh working conditions exist oversees because I am not asking Apple to change their ways when I continue to buy their products.