Blog 3 / Uncategorized

Should We Feel Bad About This?

“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.

4 thoughts on “Should We Feel Bad About This?

  1. I like that you pointed out, that despite why the podcast was published and why some parts were not true, it remains true that Apple factories use employees in terrible working conditions. On the other hand, I do not agree that it is your fault, or the fault of any consumer, that Apple behaves in this manner. I think Apple could, and should, choose to have more acceptable labor standards without consumer pressure to do so. I do think that consumers have the power to demand better from Apple, but also that Apple should choose to be better without that pressure.

  2. I think your point about how we can recognize Daisy’s unethical behavior and Apple’s unethical practices, but we (the consumers) are ultimately responsible for perpetuating the cycle. I also feel bad about buying Apple products and the fact that I am still in love with my iPhone after learning about the terrible conditions, scares me.

  3. I agree and think your last paragraph is very accurate. The fact that Apple knows about the difference in working conditions and that China is a developing country and know about the issues, there so why would they even do work there knowing there are problems? Clearly they want to maximize profits to please their shareholders because they know manufacturing in China will give them that opportunity, so if they were truly ethical and believed in stakeholder managing they would never have done that.

  4. I find that your breakdown was very helpful in considering all sides to this story. I however am more on the side that China is still developing and we can’t control as much in terms of working conditions as they continue to develop. In our own history the people went through similar things and overcame and democracy helped that. In another country I think it is experiences like this that bring out the best in them and allow the type of governing they need to emerge. As long as Apple is meeting its OWN standards and doing all it truly can then I think a lot of this falls on China. It seems unfair because we are so ahead of them but you have to work to achieve and we cannot give everyone a boost up because resent from other places is always going to be an issue.

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