Every company that achieved great results in its native country strives to cover new territories and expand its production into other markets of the global community. As the concept of globalization and cultural diversity is a well-known issue, entrepreneurs from all over the world try to address these issues and allocate their business in the countries with emerging economy. Levi Strauss & Co is the company that has world-wide popularity and gained global acknowledgement demonstrated with the help of the growing revenue of this multinational corporation. However, the company’s beliefs and values can be the barriers for allocating its business in China that has been labeled as anti-human in terms of employment relations and employee protection laws and their violation. As such, it is necessary to question whether the cooperation of Levi Strauss & Co. and China would be beneficial for both parties.
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Ethical perspective of cooperation of China and Levi Strauss & Co. includes such issues as the beliefs and values of the company and the legislative basis for business from the Chinese side. In this respect, the operation of the company in this country should be based on the principles advocated by the company and not violate the rights and freedoms of employees; neither should these principles break the laws of the country in which the company operates. As stated in the study by Compa and Hinchliffe-Darricarrère, the position of the Levi Strauss & Co. indicates the ‘guidelines for country selection’ as a set of “issues which we believe are beyond the ability of the individual business partner to control” (677). In this respect, beliefs and values in combination with the corporate principles and local laws and the process of “standing by our convictions and acting on our beliefs” (LS & Co ‘values and vision’) are the primary factor that influences whether the company would or would not allocate its business in a specific country.
Laws are first and foremost rule which is important for operation of LS & Co. business. As stated in the Worldwide Code of Business Conduct, “Obeying the law is the starting point in how we do business” (Levi Strauss & Co. 10). In this respect, the company should take into account the law of the country in which it is headquartered and the laws applied to the market in the countries where they also allocate their business. For instance, operation of Levi Strauss & Co. in China requires legitimate decisions coordinated with the legal base of China with regard to the human rights and employee relationships typical of the US business.
At the same time, the employees in China can have other rights and freedoms appropriate in the framework of their legislation. Besides, the public policy of the company states, “By leveraging the power of our trade relationships and our brand, we seek to strengthen implementation and enforcement of labor laws and workplace standards in countries where we have a business presence” (LS & Co. ‘public policy’). Before assigning managers to the positions in another country, it is necessary to investigate whether its laws are supportive or contrasting to the rules and values of the company.
When the company Levi Strauss & Co. started its operation in the late nineteenth century in the United States of America, the concept of globalization was not spread as widely as it is today. This can be considered one of the obstacles for not expanding the market of clothing manufacturing to China and other countries. However, the situation in the world changed and the global market is open for original ideas and innovative decisions.
As such, the laws in different countries have also changed and should be reviewed in order to analyze possible ground for cooperation with Levi Strauss & Co. For instance, we can find evidence of Chinese laws that are rather favorable towards women; the article by Cai, Guo, and Moore evaluates the legal protection of women’s rights in the workplace with the help of specific act “issued in 1992 and amended in 2005” (n. p.). Thus, it is inappropriate to say that Chinese laws are anti-human and cooperation with this country is impossible and violates human rights.
The global perspective of cooperation of Levi Strauss & Co. with Chinese employees includes the engagement of multinational staff of the company in different locations. Discrimination and other issues related to unequal perception can be associated with a company if it actively operates in the global market but does not involve any other staff workers than those that can be found in its original location. In other words, it would be suspicious if the Levi Strauss & Co. would use the labor force of the US based population only allocating the business in other countries and inviting their usual workers to managerial positions. At this point, the global component in cooperation of China and LS & Co. includes allocation of the business in China and employment of Chinese population in accordance with the production, managerial, and distribution needs. Besides, it is believed that Chinese workers are hard-working and efficient.
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Quantitative (financial) Perspective
The quantitative perspective of LS & Co. and China cooperation is that allocation of business in the country with emerging economy enables the company to save some costs. As a rule, the global perspective enables the company to reduce the labor force costs when operating in the country with emerging economy. As such, locating the business in China, Levi Strauss & Co. would employ a sufficient number of workers paying them with acceptable wages typical for a wide public in this country; adapt programs that increase the education of population in terms of their health. For instance, “Launched in 2007 in China, BSR’s HERproject links multinational companies and their factories to local NGOs to create sustainable workplace programs that increase women’s health awareness” (LS & Co ‘HERproject’ 36). In this respect, receiving a cheaper labor force, the country contributes to the stabilization of employment relationships in the country.
To conclude, the cooperation of China and Levi Strauss & Co. takes place for a significant period of time. At this point, both parties are trying to adapt changes and improve the relations in order to receive more benefits which are not always related to financial sector. So, global perspective as well as ethical issues is not the barriers for such cooperation; nether is the financial perspective. Therefore, multinational corporations expand their businesses to the emerging countries in order to gain some profit and bring something new to local cultures and employment relationships.
Cai, Ron, Nicole Guo, and Kevin Moore. “Protections for Female Employees under Chinese Law.” Davis Wright Tremaine LLP: Defining Success Together. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, 2009. Web.
Compa, Lance A., and Tashia Hinchliffe-Darricarrère. “Enforcing International Labor Rights through Corporate Codes of Conduct.” Articles & Chapters 177 (1995). Web.
Levi Strauss & Co. Worldwide Code of Business Conduct. 2010. Web.
LS & Co. HERproject: Investing In Women for a Better World. BSR, 2010. Web.
LS & Co.: Official Website. Public Policy. 2010. Web.
LS & Co.: Official Website. Values and Vision. 2010. Web.