1. What ethical issues faced by MNCs in their treatment of foreign workers could bring allegations of misconduct in their operations?
2. Would the use of third party independent contractors alleviate or insulate MNCs from being attacked? Would that practice offer MNCs a good defensive shield against charges of abuse of “their employees”?
3. Do you think statements by companies that describe good social and moral conduct in the treatment of their workers are part of the image those companies create and therefore are part of their advertising message? Do consumers judge companies and base their buying decision on their perceptions of corporate behavior and values? Is the historic “made in” question (e.g. “Made in the USA”) now being replaced by a “made by” inquiry (e.g., “Made by Company X” or “Made for Company X by Company Y”)?
4. Given the principles noted in the case, how can companies comment on their positive actions to promote human rights so that consumers will think well of them? Would you propose that a company (a) do nothing, (b) construct a corporate code of ethics, or (c) align itself with some of the universal covenants or compacts prepared by international agencies?
5. What does Nike’s continued financial success, in spite of the lawsuit, suggest about consumers’ reactions to negative publicity? Have American media and NGOs exaggerated the impact of a firm’s labor practices and corporate social responsibility on its sales? How should managers of an MNC respond to such negative publicity?