Apple’s success is partly due to its ability to satisfy stakeholders and corporate social responsibilities (CSR). Stakeholder groups impose demands that translate to corporate social responsibilities, which influence firm performance. In Apple’s case, stakeholders significantly affect the business in terms of customer perception and sales revenues. Considering the continued high value of its brand, Apple effectively accounts for stakeholders in its strategies and policies. For instance, the company addresses stakeholders’ environmental concerns through a policy on sustainable material sourcing. Apple has a firm and holistic approach in addressing the interests of stakeholder groups significant to the business. These stakeholder groups compel Apple to improve, and Apple affects them by satisfying their interests.
Apple’s stakeholders have varied concerns encompassing product quality and function, business sustainability, employment practices, and financial performance. These interests highlight the need for a holistic approach in corporate social responsibility efforts, which Apple already uses in its aims to satisfy major stakeholder groups.
Apple’s Stakeholder Groups
Apple considers the interests and concerns of a number of key stakeholders in its policies and programs for corporate social responsibility. Stakeholder groups impose varying demands in different aspects of business. In Apple’s case, the following stakeholders are the most significant:
- Apple’s Employees
- Employees of Suppliers and Distributors
Customers/Consumers. Apple prioritizes customers as its top stakeholders in devising corporate social responsibility strategies. This stakeholder group is composed of individual and organizational buyers of Apple products. The main interest of customers is to have effective and efficient products that are reasonably priced. Apple products have higher price points. However, Apple’s premium pricing strategy is acceptable because it matches the high quality and aesthetics of these products. The company also has environmental programs for recycling and responsible sourcing to address customers’ demands for business sustainability. Thus, Apple’s corporate social responsibility efforts satisfy the interests of customers as the top stakeholders of the business.
Apple’s Employees. Employees are the second-priority stakeholders in Apple’s approach to corporate social responsibility. This stakeholder group is composed of employees at Apple’s facilities. The main interests of these stakeholders are proper compensation and career development. Employees as a stakeholder group are important because they directly determine Apple’s human resource capabilities to innovate and develop profitable products. The firm addresses the interests of its employees through compensation packages competitive in Silicon Valley. Thus, Apple’s corporate social responsibility efforts satisfy the concerns and interests of employees as a major stakeholder group.
Investors. Investors are typically major stakeholders and determinants of corporate social responsibility programs in businesses. In Apple’s case, investors are interested in maximizing the returns on their investments. The company effectively addresses this stakeholder group through excellent financial performance. For example, Apple is now one of the most profitable companies in the world. The firm maintains high profit margins. Apple also has a strong financial position, which involves high liquidity through large amounts of cash. The company has also managed to avoid debt. Based on these corporate social responsibility conditions, Apple effectively satisfies the interests of investors as stakeholders.
Employees of Suppliers and Distributors. Workers in Apple’s supply chain are also significant considerations in the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. These workers are indirect stakeholders in Apple’s business, but determine the firm’s corporate social responsibilities. The main interest of this stakeholder group is similar to the interests of Apple’s own employees, such as proper compensation and job security. Also, this stakeholder group is interested in ethical employment practices. To address these interests, Apple has a Supplier Code of Conduct. The company monitors and imposes requirements on the employment practices of firms in its supply chain. Part of Apple’s policy is to terminate business relations with suppliers that continue to fail or refuse to satisfy this Code of Conduct. Apple’s 2014 assessment of suppliers shows that 92% of suppliers now comply with the 60-hour workweek rule. Thus, to a certain high degree, Apple’s corporate social responsibility efforts satisfy the interests of the stakeholder group of suppliers’ workers.
Apple’s CSR Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests
Apple has a considerably high performance in addressing its corporate social responsibilities by satisfying the interests of stakeholders. The company satisfies the interests of customers, Apple employees, and investors. However, Apple has the opportunity to improve its corporate social responsibility performance in addressing the interests of the workers of firms in its supply chain. Imposing rules on suppliers is difficult, considering differences in organizational contexts. However, Apple has the power to compel suppliers to comply with its Supplier Code of Conduct. Thus, the company’s main corporate social responsibility effort should be to improve overall compliance in its supply chain.
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