Unethical Behavior and Child Labor in Supply Chains: Willful Ignorance

Corporate Responsibility
Knowledge Center

Forum

New Topic

Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Unethical Behavior and Child Labor in Supply Chains: Willful Ignorance

Even though many organizations claim to comply to strict policies with regard to human rights such as child labor, a report by Amnesty International has revealed that still a lot of technology companies are linked to child labor. Those companies argue that it is impossible to track the source of their raw materials, and to verify that supplying companies are behaving irresponsible and unethical.
Despite the claims of many organizations to adhere to strict rules and policies about ethics, reports about unethical behavior within organizations' supply chains is still commonplace.
Zane, Irwin and Reczek (2016) claim a possible explanation for this contradiction can be found in the concept of "willful ignorance", referring to organizations not actively researching their supply chains to obtain such information. This phenomenon occurs both in consumer and organizational contexts:
  1. CONSUMER CONTEXT: Consumers tend to – either consciously or unconsciously – neglect information regarding unethical activities within organizational supply chains. Consumers will factor the information about (un)ethical behavior of organizations into their decision making. But they will not further investigate the issue, because the outcomes may be hard to process and lead to negative feelings about purchasing the product/service. In other words, human coping mechanisms make them prefer to remain blind for information that will be hard to deal with.
  2. ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT: Organizations tend to ignore information related to unethical behavior in their supply chain for the simple reason of refraining from the possible costly outcomes. Willful ignorance does not mean that organizations will not take actions when reports of unethical behavior are reported. It just means that they will be ignorant if the information has not been revealed yet.
Because of the above, reports by third parties about supply chain activities of organizations are valuable in that it forces them to think about ethical issues. But they do not necessarily spur actual changes in their behavior due to the fact that these reports often contain information about several competing organizations at once. As a result organizations will not feel more or less ethical than their competitors and may not feel a (strong) need to change.

⇒ To what extent do you believe that reports by parties such as Amnesty International are important to spur changes in organizations’ supply chains?

Source: Zane, D., Irwin, J. and Reczek, R.W. (2016) "Why Companies Are Blind to Child Labor" Harvard Business Review

  Ismael Bena MBA
Management Consultant, Netherlands
 

Child Labor in Supply Chains

This is a great point, as companies naturally tend (...)

  Edward Watson
Director, United States
 

Role of Leaders in Corporate Responsibility

I've found that, especially in hierarchical struct (...)

  Thato Fredrich Peloentle
Coach, Botswana
 

Classification of Child Labour in Rural Areas

It is very true. Sometimes it depends on how one g (...)

  Murtada Khidir Mohamed Abuzaid
Consultant, Qatar
 

Moral Intensity Construct (Jones)

The moral intensity constructs developed by Jones (...)

  Josephat Olwal Ngesah
Kenya
 

We Should Address the Root Causes of Child Labor and Poverty

This is definitely an important conversation for b (...)

  Brillo L. Reynes
Consultant, Philippines
 

Recognizing and Resolving Child Labor. Role of CSR

I agree this ethical problem exists, especially in (...)

  srinivas
Lecturer, India
 

Living in Spirit May Be the Solution

Willful Ignorance affects the further progress. Li (...)

  Gerald Richards
Business Consultant, Australia
 

Profit is the Religion and the Shareholder is God

In the good old / bad days, people committed offen (...)

  Ismael Bena MBA
Management Consultant, Netherlands
 

Why 'Sweat-Shop' Issues are Neglected in Underdeveloped Countries

Often, underdeveloped or emerging countries, with (...)

  Josephat Olwal Ngesah
Kenya
 

Governments Burying their Heads in the Sand

@Ismael Bena MBA: The question is for how long wil (...)

  KALEELUL RAHUMAN
Management Consultant, Saudi Arabia
 

The Roles of Companies and Politicians in Child Labor

Obviously child labor is common in developing and (...)

  Ismael Bena MBA
Management Consultant, Netherlands
 

Governments Held Hostage to Choose Between Two Social Evils

@Josephat Olwal Ngesah: I agree with you that gov (...)

  Briolett
Manager, Canada
 

History Shows This is Hard to Change

There have been many labour movements throughout N (...)

  Ismael Bena MBA
Management Consultant, Netherlands
 

What we Did Learn from the Past!

I concur with you @Briolett, history has learned u (...)

  Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa
 

Child Labour - a Complex Situation

Forced child labour is always abhorrent. However, (...)

  Francis Joseph
United Kingdom
 

Combine Education with Constructive Labour

In areas where there is obvious persistent child l (...)

  Edy Khalife
Manager, Lebanon
 

Ethics Enforcement Concerns

Two major concerns arose specifically at internati (...)

  Tim Dibble
Project Manager, United States
 

Assumed Standard

Like the use of chemical weapons in war, child lab (...)

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

Done with Willful Ignorance? 5 Predictors that your Suppliers are Improving Work Conditions

To companies who are done with "willful ingorance" (...)

  Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa
 

Bob a Job and its Benefits

Use of child labour remains a sensitive issue. Whe (...)

Start a new forum topic

 

More on Corporate Responsibility
Summary
Forum
Align CSR with Corporate Purpose and Values
Unethical Behavior and Child Labor in Supply Chains: Willful Ignorance
Is Acting Selflessly Required for Social Responsibility?
Tips for Starting an Ethical Business or Social Enterprise
Moving CSR from a Business Case to a Development Tool
Examples of Truly Putting CSR Into Practice
Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility (Caroll)
Potential Corporate Social Responsibility Focus Areas
How to Measure the Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Reasons for Corporate Responsibility
Legal and Tax Strategies to Support Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
Company Social-Economic Responsibility (CSER)
Best Practices
Corporate Responsibility: Different for Large and Small Firms?
Stages of Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR Communication Should Be More Impactful
Taxation and Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Responsibility versus Porter's Shared Value
Marketing of Corporate Responsibility Efforts
The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Employee Engagement
The Meaning of Sustainability as Perceived by Consumers
Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Corporate Responsibility? Become our SIG Leader

Corporate Responsibility
Knowledge Center



About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2021 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 29-7-2021. All names ™ of their owners.