Unethical Practices in the London Olympics involving Adidas

(About Adidas) “Exposed: The Reality behind London’s ‘Ethical’ Olympics”, The Independent, April 24, 2015

According to the information in the above article, recent investigations have revealed that the Adidas sports kit used by Great Britain’s team athletes is made under very abusive conditions. According to the results of the research, the kit is manufactured for Adidas under conditions severely violating the rights of the workers in some sweatshops in Indonesia (Marks 1). Apparently, the above is direct mockery of the London Olympic organizers’ claims that the summer games of 2015 will be the most ethical Olympics in history.

According to the provisions of the Blanchard-Peale Model, such an ethical dilemma should be analyzed by way of answering three questions (Jennings 40). Apparently, answering the model’s question reveals that the above issue is extremely unethical. First, it is not legal since it violates the worker’s union provisions in Indonesia by paying the workers just 34 pence per hour (Marks 1). Second, it is not right with respect to the fact that it is against the promise of the London Olympic organizer on making 2015’s games the most ethical games ever. Third, there is no balance at since only one side wins – Adidas (Conley 1). Although the manufacturer of the kits provides a job for the unemployed Indonesians, they are not happy. They are just doing it to make ends meet.

Ethical issues are either ethical dilemmas or moral lapses. Ethical dilemmas happen where there are contradiction and conflict between two values that are equally important. On the other hand, a moral lapse refers to the deliberate failure to uphold and stand by the stipulated moral values one claims to pledge (Bovee and Thill 11). In light of the above, Adidas has all choices in the world but chose to exploit the Indonesians. There is no conflict whatsoever that can justify the actions of Adidas. As a result, the above qualifies as a case of ethical lapse.

The choice language is vital in passing the message. Communication skills help in giving the message appropriately. In the pursuit of rationalizing the claims in of unethical behavior by Adidas, the author of the article uses a language characterized by logos. In language and communication, ‘logos’ means the use of persuasive language that finds its basis in some included reasoning. For instance, to illustrate the level of Adidas’ unethical behavior, the author gives substantial proof such as the direct quotes from Sobirin and Yuliani, who are both workers for Adidas in Indonesia (Marks 1).

Although the entire issue in the article is a case of direct ethical lapse, there is still a little chance that would provide for consideration of ethical dilemma. An ethical dilemma is classified into three categories (Kavita 243). There are moral dilemmas, professional dilemmas, and business dilemmas. The only way the above case would pass for a moral dilemma is only as a business dilemma. Apparently, the primary objective of every business organization is generating profits. Maximizing profits goes hand in hand with minimizing costs. With respect to the above, the business dilemma that could have faced Adidas was choosing between honoring its promise to pursue ethical business, and pursuing profit maximization at the expense of the business ethics. However, that does not justify the highly unethical case in Indonesia (Marks 1).

According to the current global dynamics, such unethical business operations never go unpunished. The investigations are still fresh and not widely spread. However, Adidas should be sure that once the above case is duly certified and the media reflects upon it, there are serious consequences due to be faced by Adidas. There is the risk of brand tarnishing. Brand tarnishing gives its competitors a better hand in the market thus leads to profit reduction as well.


Bovee, Courtland, and John Thill. Business Communication Essentials. 6th ed. London: Prentice Hall, 2013. Print.

Conley, Randy. ‘Got Ethics? Three Questions Every Leader Should Ask’.Leadingwithtrust.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

Jennings, Marianne. Business: Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.

Kavita, Singh. Organizational Change and Development. [S.l.]: Excel Books, 2005. Print.

Marks, Kathy. ‘Exposed: The Reality Behind London’s ‘Ethical’ Olympics’. The Independent. N.P., 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

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