The Effects High Demand on Employment Practices in the Computer Manufacturing Industry

The most generic definition of computer hardware centralizes around the idea of a computers physical parts, or what can physically be touched on a system. This being said, a few questions come into play; How do these manufacturing companies work? What are the employee’s roles? How are they treated? And most importantly, what problems could arise with these processes? To answer a few of these questions we need to look behind the scenes of how manufacturing companies carry out their business with emphasis on how they function.

These findings are key to figuring out how employment practices are affected by this field and how business outside of the manufacturing center is affected.

After watching ABC’s nightline report I was able to get an in-depth look at how apple products are made. I was able to get a glimpse of the employment situation at “Foxconn” and how some of the Chinese citizens react to the working conditions they are presented with at the facility.

This particular working environment differs greatly from employment practices in the U.S and the American standards/expectations of a proper working environment, which ultimately makes me question the credibility of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, when he states “Apple takes working conditons very, very seriously.” I greet this statement with skepticism because of dangerous and subpar conditions these young, minimally trained workers are forced to comply with. These discommodious conditions greatly contribute to the negative side of computer hardware manufacturing because of the steep repercussions placed on the physical and mental health of the employees.

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Physically, the employees are provided with a bare minimum amount of breaks, that are only allowed when eating the unorthodox food that is served for a fee, and are on their feet all day which could quickly lead to a wide-range of health concerns. In addition, the workers are mentally unstable. I learned in the video that “suicide nets” were installed to help prevent anymore suicides because that seemed to be a reoccurring problem, especially after an entire group of employees threatened to jump in protest of their work circumstances. If that wasn’t problem enough, I also learned that unions at these industries don’t exist.

This fact helps me believe Dr. Paul Harpurs statement in Rutgers Law Record “Labor laws in China were not primarily introduced with the intent to protect Chinese workers” (Harpur, 2011). While working for Foxconn may provide a steady low wage income, the drawbacks of living in a small dorm-like room with seven other people defiantly appeal to the more adverse side of the employment practices involved with computer manufacturing.

Although this industry seems completely out of line with the enforced, widely practiced labor regime, I found their actually are a few benefits of working for a facility like Foxconn. After going into detail about the living options at the facility, the nightlife report explored the Chinese villages that some employees originated from, in order to provide a good comparison. In these villages, the level of poverty was very high and according to Ya Ping Wang, “Increasing urban poverty has attracted the attention among Chinese officials and academics in recent years” (Wang, 2006).

This being said, the housing provided for the employees could be considered a very good deal for some of the more unfortunate workers. In addition to the available housing, the facility employs a very generous amount of citizens; “The demand for Apple products is so high, Foxconn will hire 80% of the people here today” (Nightlife report). This statement was referring to the mass of people waiting outside the Foxconn center in hopes of getting a job.

As a result of all these eager workers, the facility has no trouble hiring staff to help manufacture these deeply desired products. “Thanks to global competition, faster product development, and increasingly flexible manufacturing systems, and unprecedented number and variety of products are competing in markets” (Fisher, 1994). This has a positive effect on global business for obvious reasons including the ability to keep up with supply and demand more efficiently. One of the only negative effects I can imagine Foxconn would have on the actual business itself might have to do with image. If more people were made aware of the conditions and circumstances that exist in these facilities, they might not want to do business with Apple any more or might just stop purchasing their products overall.

One prime example of this is the Walmart sweat-shop scandal of 1996. It was revealed that the employees of this company were forced to work under dangerous conditions and as a result, according to The Labor and Work life Program at Harvard Law School, “the publicity was enough to virtually wipe out child labor in garment factories around the world producing for export to the U.S.” This negative publicity definitely took a toll on Walmart’s image and reputation. A bad reputation can be very dangerous and could potentially lead to a decrease in sales, while a good reputation will often attract loyal customers whom will buy a broader range of products and services. It’s a simple concept; the better reputation, the better business.

People interested in this dilemma probably think a possible solution could be to shift the manufacturing site from China to the U.S. This idea might be beneficial when considering the working atmosphere, labor regimen, and potentially shipping costs, however, would be unproductive in other important areas that need to be put into consideration. First, moving the locations would put a very large amount of Chinese citizens out of a job, taking away their only source of income in most cases. With no income, these citizens would be forced to live in poverty and might have to work for a company with even worse working conditions.

In addition, manufacturing in countries like China is cost efficient and Output/time efficient which ultimately has a positive effect on global business for larger companies such as Apple. With constant technical innovations and immense demand for the latest and greatest products as soon as they hit the market, it’s no doubt that the manufacturing of computer hardware is an enormous field. With this field comes a great deal of advantages that can unquestionably benefit not only a country as a whole, but potentially each citizen on an individual level. Although this idea of hardware manufacturing seems promising and has certainly increased global business drastically, it can definitely present some issues that lead to unfavorable outcomes and effect employment practices.

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The Effects High Demand on Employment Practices in the Computer Manufacturing Industry. (2022, Dec 17). Retrieved from

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