Outsourced Jobs

Throughout our discussions we have taken a look at companies such as Apple who have exported the majority of their labor overseas. For this prompt I wanted to explore firms who have exported labor overseas. In looking at companies to focus on, I decided to choose Verizon. Verizon has been my phone provider for as long as I can remember and they have always provided great service to my family. I wanted to explore companies that started sending labor overseas and found that Verizon has been outsourcing many different tasks overseas. Many of the jobs that they have outsourced have been tech support jobs, which seem to be the norm among many companies. Investigating how many jobs are actually outsourced by Verizon, I found that even domestically Verizon has outsourced labor in order to cut costs. I found this article on the Communication Workers of America union site that discusses why workers are standing up to Verizon.

Why does this matter? We have discussed the idea of consequentialism and I think it applies quite nicely in this situation. While unions and corporations will always have different objectives, and I admit the article above is biased in favor of the unions, it is important for a corporation to understand the impacts of its decisions especially if it is comprised of union workers. We have discussed the differences between shareholder and stakeholder theory, and it can be acceptable for a company to move jobs overseas in favor of better profits. What the organization needs to realize though is that it will have a large impact on its workers. Using consequentialism to analyze the effect of sending jobs overseas, it is important for Verizon to realize these consequences to their actions. I’m not trying to say that Verizon doesn’t know the impact of moving these jobs; I think that they might need to take a closer look beyond just the numbers.

Speaking of looking beyond the numbers, should Verizon as a US provider, look at keeping jobs in America? As Verizon only serves the US market it would be interesting to see it only source labor in America. While obviously some goods and services may have to be imported from abroad, jobs such as call centers don’t have to. Using deontological theories, does Verizon have a duty to provide a good quality service to the portions of the U.S which they serve? I would argue yes, but do they need to provide these services in a manner that benefits U.S workers? That I’m not so sure about.

As mentioned in the prompt, “…what changes when ethics is considered and why?”. This has a large interpretation when it comes to businesses stationed and providing within a singular country. Does a U.S company like Verizon, who only provides services here, have an ethical duty to try and keep as many aspects of their business within the country? Wouldn’t consumers be willing to pay just a bit more for services if they knew they were paying for local or national jobs, not just an outsourced jobs somewhere else in the world? I realize that it isn’t this cut and dry, and that there are business decisions that get made behind the scenes. I do think that using some schools of ethics can beg the question of whether or not companies have a duty to do something, or if that’s just an added bonus if we’re lucky to get it.

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5 thoughts on “Outsourced Jobs

  1. Ian you made some wonderful connections between Verizon and ethical theories. You brought up consequentialism, so I tried examining Verizon’s activities through a utilitarian decision making method. The idea behind this is to maximize the benefits while minimizing the potential harms. Providing reliable networks for its customers is something Verizon strives for, so they must maximize that outcome since it benefits society and all customers. The normalcy for outsourced jobs is natural, but it does not provide American jobs. There was no mention of harmful or hazardous working conditions. Thus, Verizon is providing the greatest net impact to society while maximizing customer service and minimizing the harms of outsourcing labor.


    1. Thanks for the comment Lexi! I’d agree that using a utilitarian decision making method it would appear that Verizon is providing the greatest net impact to society. Personally I feel that it is alright to outsource some jobs as long as it still provides benefit for the consumer. As you state, they maximize customer service and minimize harms of outsourcing labor.


      1. It’s also important to note the competitive pressures that Verizon faces. Currently, they are aggressively fighting a “pricing” battle with T-Mobile, and Sprint. The outsourcing of labor has positively impacted Verizon’s ability to be competitive and to continue to service its customers. Is it fair to suggest that without Verizon’s pricing power they would lose business and therefore risk the need to layoff employees? In this sense, does the assured continuation of Verizon’s business justify the outsourcing of labor?


      2. I completely agree with this statement. While Verizon is a US service provider, I think that it is definitely ethical (or, I guess, not unethical) to outsource jobs. I think this because even with the outsourcing of jobs, they are still fulfilling their duty of satisfying the needs of all of their consumers in America.


  2. As consequentialism is about measurable effects, I would feel better about outsourcing if we had a global minimum wage that was at parity for purchasing power. That way, labor location choices would be less about finding the country most willing to exploit its labor force and about other differences.


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