BrianS Paper 1 Ideas – Nike

Why did Nike change?  It is obvious that the company was shareholder-oriented for a while.  They had their shoes made cheaply and marked them up generously to reap a huge profit.  They marketed their product until the “swoosh” became synonymous with athleticism.  People wait in lines for the shoes, sometimes spending money that could be used on food or clothing.  But then… something changed.  During the controversy about overseas labor, Nike began to take a more stakeholder-oriented approach to its business dealings.  Was this purely for financial reasons or did the company actually want to make an effort to better themselves?  This seems unlikely, given Phil Knight’s unwillingness to have a factory in America.  Did the executive board collectively develop a sociological imagination, suddenly able to see how each person has their individual story yet is only a thread of a much larger cloth?  Given that Nike was so focused on profits, I’m hesitant to believe it.  I could see less-prominent employees urging for a business that cares about stakeholders.  This begs the questions of whether Nike turning a new leaf came from the top-down or from the bottom-up.  I look forward to finding out.


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