Back to Ethics: Foxconn Scandal


Foxconn International Holdings Ltd is a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, a Taiwanese company that is the world’s largest maker of electronic components. It supplies famous brands such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft. 300,000 to 450,000 workers are employed at the Longhua Science & Technology Park, a cramped and walled campus referred to as “Foxconn City” in Shenzhen, China. Workers live, work and eat inside the complex and from January to November 2010, 16 Foxconn workers have committed suicide.

Some of the key problems in the Foxconn factories are the lack of freedom and interaction between the employees, the military-style enforcement, and an excessive amount of security around the factory.The low salaries and harsh punishments for faults committed by workers have greatly reduced employee motivation and ultimately, their motivation for life. The suicides at Foxconn were essentially caused by Foxconn’s weak and dysfunctional organizational culture and company structure. I believe that in order to restore stability and to prevent further suicides within the company, Foxconn needs to rebuild its organizational culture and to remodel its leadership style to be more employee-oriented. To rebuild trust, Foxconn’s leaders should formally apologize for the company’s unethical decisions in the past and promise positive organizational change for the future.

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