The Foxconn management challenge: Group indifference

By | May 12, 2013

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Foxconn CEO Terry Gou was bothered a lot recently: low yield of iPhone5, Apple’s returning of the defective products, what brought him more headache were Foxconn employees’ jumping suicide cases which came back again.

Speaking of Foxconn, except specific cases of jumping which were in relate to individual employees factors, many media have contributed the recent jumping of two workers to the dissatisfaction of the “silent mode”(静音模式).

The so-called silent mode (静音模式) is a management rule adopted in Foxconn in China which is a major manufacturer of the Apple products, the rule requires that employees can not talk about any non-work related content in the workshop; even talking about work, employees are required to lower down the volume to a minimum and prevent a third party to hear about job content; the conversations involving three or more must be held in an office area, otherwise relevant employees may be punished or even expelled.

Besides the silent mode, Nankai University Professor Lv Feng related the jumping cases to the management challenge in Foxconn: Group Indifference.

Because the vast majority of employees in Foxconn are not management responsible for others, and the large number of staffs also caused the “diffusion of responsibility”, over time the organization groups apathy would be more prominent, said Lv Feng, “The increase in the number of staffs means geometric progression of difficulty of management, thus all kinds of factors including employees emotions, personality, etc., may be the burst incentives of the various management accidents. In addition to the enhanced difficulty in management, each employee can easily feel an obvious sense of helplessness, meaning to say that they can not get the support and help in the organization.”

Source: 中国经营报

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