Apple has been criticized for at least the past three years for acting unethically and hiring cheap labor in China. Working conditions, work hours, and wages are most often condemned. Although these claims have hurt Apple’s reputation in the short term, it remains a leading innovator and contributor to the advancement of technology and communication specifically. As Ed Freeman states in his “Business Ethics at the Millennium”, “business as an institution is a source of the creation of value…the creative force of humans is the engine of capitalism” (Freeman 177). Though Apple may hire cheap labor in order to drive its profits or keep the price of its new iPhone affordable, it is Apple’s social responsibility to treat its employees ethically.
By continuing to be innovative and contributing to the advancement of society, Apple will remain profitable and can still please its stakeholders without being unethical. Innovation can be inhibited if values and ethics are ignored. Freeman supports this by stating, “if business is separate from values and ethics, and if change requires one to think about values and ethics, then change in business will be difficult” (Freeman 175). In order to maintain its well-respected reputation, Apple should reconsider its values and continue to focus more on its innovation than cost cutting metrics.