Home > Free Essays > Business > Case Study > Apple Company’s Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce

Apple Company’s Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce Report

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jul 21st, 2021


For several years, Apple, among other top companies, was accused of mismanaging human resources. The company suffered major media outbursts on how it overworked workers in its China-based plants. The situation was made worse by the idea that the workers were also not well compensated for their hard work. The issue escalated in 2014 when a worker committed suicide that was associated with his work (Tharoor 2014).

It is important to mention that the same case had been highlighted in 2010 where more than five employees committed suicide. The media then revealed that 18 individuals had died of suicide in the manufacturing plant since 2010 (Cooper 2013). Consequently, Apple was put on the spot for denying its workers basic human rights.

Many theories were formulated to rescue and destroy the reputation of Apple. However, after the exposé, the workers demanded better pay, working hours, and conditions. It was revealed that the workers had previously demonstrated due to the same issues and 157 of them threatened to jump off the building if their issues were not addressed. However, the employees quickly went back to work as their positions were announced as vacant during the demonstrations.

Response from Apple

Apple responded to the situation by using several strategies. The first way was to give a press release explaining that the manufacturing plant was a contractor of Apple, but it did not follow the guidelines provided by Apple on how to treat its employees (Mostegel 2016). However, in the same release, the COO of the company, Tim Cook, stated that Apple would visit its contractors’ manufacturing plants and ensure that all employees working on their products would be treated well. This strategy was aimed at ensuring the employees’ welfare issues were addressed.

The second strategy that Apple used was to ensure that all contractors had nets that would catch anyone attempting to jump off the roofs. This move, on one hand, prevented further damage to the company’s reputation by reducing the number of deaths. On the other hand, it damaged its reputation by showing that Apple was more concerned about its public image than ensuring that the welfare of the employees was addressed accordingly.

Role of Public Relations

Arguably, Apple adhered to the confines of public relations to craft its response. First, the company agreed that a mistake was made. Secondly, in an attempt to rectify the situation, Apple made a public promise to do everything to ensure that the mistakes were not repeated. For this, the company appeared humane and willing to correct its mistakes. In the same breath, the company also communicated that it cared about the lives of its employees by putting up the nets that would save anyone trying to jump.

Despite getting the facts right, there are still some mistakes that the company did that worked against its efforts. The first thing is the failure to explain the importance of the nets fully. Much of the media gave the audience pictures of the company’s senior management teams taking nets to China and inspecting as the nets were put in place. However, there was a minimal campaign on the significance of the nets. Thus, speculations on the priorities of the company arose, with some people arguing that the company did not care about the welfare of its employees compared to its concern for its public image.

A second mistake that the company did was continuing to support the contractor. Even though the COO promised to ensure decency in work conditions and pay, there was not much reproach toward the management of the contracted company. This strategy backfired in 2014 when other employees committed suicide in the same company and in other companies that were contracted by Apple.

Looking at the response given by Apple, it is arguable that the result was prolonged but positive. In other words, the public was not convinced of Apple’s stand on the matter, which continued to damage the company’s image. However, the strategy paid off due to the apology given to the public for any responsibility that Apple had.


The main recommendation that can be given for the future, similar engagements is the full involvement of the public relations team. One would recommend that the Mahoney model should be used in the future. Mahoney (2013) explains that some communication tactics have to be followed whenever addressing issues about reputation and crisis management.

Some of the tactics include giving out a press release and keeping the public updated through traditional and digital media (Mahoney 2013). Other things that can be used to go through the dilemma include releasing fact sheets to the public through the press and coming up with a strategic way of interacting with those affected by the crisis (Mahoney 2013). The rationale is the ideology that a systematic flow of events and guidelines used will allow an easier overview of the situation. The parties involved will also have a guideline that highlights the things that have to be done and the reasons behind such decisions.

Also, one would recommend that management creates a strategic plan for communication during the crisis (Fitch, James & Motion 2016). The suggested plan begins with identifying the key people who will be in charge of the process (McKie & Heath 2016). Secondly, guidelines should be put in place on how to identify the issues of concern during a crisis. Thirdly, guidelines should be put in place on how to align the communication needs of the specific crisis with the goals of the company. The recommendation is crucial as it encourages a systematic way of handling crises.


The evaluation will be done based on the duration of the crisis. As mentioned, the highlighted crisis was prolonged due to the mistakes done in the public relations experience. Thus, the plan would have been successful if the recommendations led to a shorter period of crisis. In particular, the event could be done through a controlled pre-test.

Reference List

Cooper, B 2013, ‘’, Daily Mail.

Fitch, K, James, M, & Motion, J 2016, ‘Talking back: Reflecting on feminism, public relations and research’, Public Relations Review, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 279-287. Web

Mahoney, J 2013, Strategic communication: Principles and practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

McKie, D & Heath, RL, ‘Public relations as a strategic intelligence for the 21st century: contexts, controversies, and challenges’, Public Relations Review, vol. 42, no. 2 pp. 298-305

Mostegel, I 2016, ‘The great manipulator’, History Today, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 41-45

Tharoor, I 2014, ‘The haunting poetry of a Chinese factory worker who committed suicide’, Washington Post.

This report on Apple Company’s Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Report sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2021, July 21). Apple Company's Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-companys-reputation-of-mismanaging-workforce/

Work Cited

"Apple Company's Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce." IvyPanda, 21 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/apple-companys-reputation-of-mismanaging-workforce/.

1. IvyPanda. "Apple Company's Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce." July 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-companys-reputation-of-mismanaging-workforce/.


IvyPanda. "Apple Company's Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce." July 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-companys-reputation-of-mismanaging-workforce/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Apple Company's Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce." July 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-companys-reputation-of-mismanaging-workforce/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Apple Company's Reputation of Mismanaging Workforce'. 21 July.

More related papers