Case study: Apple Goes GlobalIt wasn’t long ago that products from Apple, perhap

Posted: January 11th, 2023

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Case study: Apple Goes GlobalIt wasn’t long ago that products from Apple, perhaps the most recognizable name in electronics manufacturing around the world, were made entirely in the United States. This is not the case anymore. Now, almost all of the approximately 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads, and 59 million other Apple products sold yearly are manufactured overseas. This change represents more than 20,000 jobs directly lost by U.S. workers, not to mention more than 700,000 other jobs given to foreign companies in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere. The loss is not temporary. As the late Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s iconic cofounder, told President Obama, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”
At first glance, the transfer of jobs from one workforce to another would seem to hinge on a difference in wages, but Apple shows this is an oversimplification. In fact, some say paying U.S. wages would add only $65 to each iPhone’s expense, while Apple’s profits average hundreds of dollars per phone. Rather, and of more concern, Apple’s leaders believe the intrinsic characteristics—which they identify as flexibility, diligence, and industrial skills—of the labor force available to them in China are superior to those of the U.S. labor force. Apple executives tell of shorter lead times and faster manufacturing processes in China that are becoming the stuff of company legend. “The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” one executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.” Another said, “We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers. The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”
Because Apple is one of the most imitated companies in the world, this perception of an overseas advantage might suggest that the U.S. workforce needs to be better led, better trained, more effectively managed, and more motivated to be proactive and flexible. If U.S. and western European workers are less motivated and less adaptable, it’s hard to imagine that does not spell trouble for the future of the American workforce.
Perhaps, though, Apple’s switch from one hundred percent American-made items to ten percent represents the natural growth pattern of a company going global. At this point, the iPhone is largely designed in the United States (where Apple has 43,000 employees); parts are made in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Europe, and elsewhere; and products are assembled in China. The future of at least 247 suppliers worldwide depends on Apple’s approximately $30.1 billion in orders per quarter. And we can’t forget that Apple posted $16.1 billion in revenue from China in the first quarter of 2015, up 70 percent from the first quarter of 2014, perhaps in part because its manufacturing in China builds support for the brand there.
As maker of some of the most cutting-edge, revered products in the electronics marketplace, perhaps Apple serves not as a failure of one country to hold onto a company completely but as one of the best examples of global ingenuity.
Questions 1. What are the pros and cons for local and overseas labor forces of Apple’s going global? What are the potential political implications for country relationships?
2. Do you think Apple is justified in drawing the observations and conclusions expressed in this case? Why or why not? Do you think it is good or harmful to the company that its executives have voiced these opinions?
3. How could managers use increased worker flexibility and diligence to increase the competitiveness of their manufacturing sites? What would you recommend?
Instruction:Please read the case study above and think about the questions. Write your responses to these questions in about 200 words.
Assignment RubricPlease carefully review the rubric below before you begin so that you are keenly aware of the expectations for this assignment.
Rubric
Research Paper Rubric
Research Paper Rubric
CriteriaRatingsPts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeResponsiveness and RelevanceCompletely responsive and relevant to assignment, instructions, stated requirements. Includes all required sections.
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThesis/PurposeIdentifies a relevant research topic and a clear thesis that provides direction for the paper. Thesis clearly and concisely states the position, premise, or hypothesis and is consistently the focal point throughout the paper. Concepts and terminology are clearly understood and used appropriately.
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAnalysisDemonstrates clear understanding and careful analysis of the research topic, thesis, and content of the research. Displays critical thinking by comparing and contrasting perspectives, considering counter arguments or opposing positions, and drawing original and thoughtful conclusions. Reasoning and logic are sound.
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeResearchProvides compelling, accurate, and substantive evidence to support in-depth the central position beyond assignment requirements. Depth and breadth of research is strong. Research sources are highly relevant, accurate, and reliable and add to the strength of the paper. Appropriately and correctly cites sources.
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClear and Well-organized WritingEach paragraph has a central idea; ideas are connected and paragraphs are developed with details; paper is easy to read and flows naturally in an organized way. Ideas are clearly connected and make sense.
10 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeGrammar/Syntax/Formatting MechanicsWell constructed using standard English, characterized by elements of strong mechanics and basically free from grammar, syntax, punctuation, usage, and spelling errors.
10 pts
Total Points: 100

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