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Foxconn: This Factory In China Is Known For Workers Dying Of Suicide

The outcome and revenue of any company usually depend on the motivation of its employees. In a scenario where the staff is motivated, the firm will attain quality production and increase output, thus raising profits. The Job Characteristics Theory was created by J. Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham, psychologists, who specialize in the sphere of company success concerning employee motivation and tasks. The theory entails five significant characteristics: skill variety, task variety, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. 

These characteristics are applied to evaluate the confidence level of the companies, which can use the method to assess their performance as well as the employees’ welfare. Foxconn is one of the leading technological companies, assembling units for Dell and Apple, both of which are making good profits (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory” 1). However, the company has a weak state of employees’ welfare. The paper will examine Foxconn as a company having employee motivation and satisfaction issues that lead to suicide among the staff, using the Job Characteristics Theory.

The company’s management is facing problems with the workers’ motivation and satisfaction. According to the company’s statistics provided in the article, 12 employees have died from suicide, 16 were injured from suicide while 20 were stopped when they were about to attempt suicide. This data clearly shows that the firm has severe motivation issues. Thus, one of the aspects affecting the situation is task variety. If an employee performs the same operation repeatedly for many years, they will eventually get bored with the process thus lacking the motivation to continue working.

Representational Image: Work in this factory is so tedious and repetitive that workers often find their hands twitching in their free time.

The regular process of doing the same activity makes the life of an individual a routine that involves very few processes. With time, people get discouraged and develop a sense of lack of motivation. According to the article, one of the employees described the whole process as twitching (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory”). The workers were so used to their activity to an extent that when they had free time, they would find their hands twitching.

Unfortunately, the condition is caused by the workers’ performing the same task repeatedly during an extended period, which does not apply to the physiological state of experienced meaningfulness where the employee expects task variety. Therefore, task type is imperative for employees, and they have to have a break from the routine not to get depressed, which can lead to a sad outcome as evident from the article.

It is often argued that most people have more than one skill. The difference lays between the levels of the skills. Thus, companies are encouraged to train their employees on different operations to enable rotation in the enterprise. By reducing the number of hours one spends mastering a single skill, the worker will be motivated and have the morale to work. However, Foxconn as one of the biggest companies lacks the aspect of skill variety.

For instance, one worker would do twitching the whole month without changing (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory” 1). Furthermore, the company provides advanced technology regarding machines while at the same time failing to train the employees on how to use the tools. Due to the pressure of deadlines and the need for increased production, the company assumes the conditions of the workers are satisfactory without paying due attention to the actual situation. Skill variety ensures that all the employees are motivated and satisfied in the working environment. Foxconn has to introduce more training and skill choices for the workers to be more pleased with the job.

Autonomy in the company means having the freedom to make decisions by the employees and being able to make choices freely. The motivation of workers can be achieved by granting them responsibility. If they have a responsibility, they feel appreciated and important for the firm. Thus, companies, where the staff is given more decision-making opportunities and responsibility, have better growth opportunities. However, Foxconn is quite the opposite, and the workers are dying of suicide because of the extensive control exhibited by the company. Its employees are controlled to the extent that they do not even have the opportunity to choose their place of residence.

The company is managing the employee’s life by dictating the location of a home, food, and type of work (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory” 1). Also, these people lack morale. According to the article, they are always busy, and even finding time to use the social amenities is quite difficult, which contributes to the feeling of being controlled, thus depression and suicidal moods. Although the company is reallocating some of the workers to regions near their families, it still has to provide more freedom, allowing them to make decisions not only in their duties but also in personal lives. Thus, they will have a feeling they are controlling the quality of the outcome, strengthen their decision-making abilities, and, with time, will be motivated to increase performance.

Task significance is an important aspect of the process of employee motivation. It is the influence an individual has on the rest of the employees or the out-of-work environment. If a worker experiences task significance, he or she will feel more appreciated thus be motivated to work more and have positive morale (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory” 1). The higher the task significance, the more the employee motivation due to feeling appreciated. Foxconn as a company does not practice this approach, and everyone fends for himself without considering the state of the other.

The employees lack collective bargain. In fact, no one cares about the welfare of another, which leads to feeling lonely and abandoned. These factors are among the leading causes of suicide. Moreover, the management of the company does not strive to ensure the well-being of the employees. Instead of doing research on the cause of the problem and finding out why employees are dying of suicide, it invests in the nets to save those who try (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory” 1). This approach demonstrates the careless attitude of the firm towards its staff since it should prevent the situation from happening instead of alleviating its consequences.

Feedback usually is necessary for any process or activity. It is in human nature to strive for positive feedback on any activity. Employee motivation and satisfaction depend on two feedbacks; the payment one receives from the company and the treatment from the management of the enterprise. Some researchers believe that monetary policies affect the motivation of employees while others argue that non-monetary ones determine job satisfaction.

Both ideas have logic, but the staff will be motivated if they get good pay. Foxconn as a company lacks employee motivation due to both reasons, pay motivation and supervisors and managerial feedback. The workers are paid about 90 euros while having an average of twenty hours (“Inside Foxconn’s Suicide Factory” 1). The income is so minimal that the workers find it hard to support their families and provide them with proper standards of living. Secondly, the supervisors lack effective approaches to motivating the workers by imposing enormous fines and treating them inappropriately, which is extremely discouraging.

Theory the last lecture essay papers, as a result, explains the physiological state of responsibility for the outcomes and knowledge of the result where an individual is satisfied with the job opportunity knowing his direct influence on the outcome. Foxconn as a company has to review its policies and do some restructuring to reduce the cases of suicides. It is evident that due to high production pressure and a large number of workers, the fails to ensure essential policies that would guarantee efficient outcomes. The company can apply the job characteristic theory to handle the issue of employees dying of suicide.

The organization can use the principles of the theory in evaluating the psychological effect of the employees. Increasing the task variety, task significance, appropriate feedback, and better autonomy concerning the model will help the organization reduce the cases of suicide attempts. The company should also search for various ways of facilitating production while allowing the workers to be with their families, have closure, and thus feel less depressed. Ironically, the company is a contributor to the best brands in the world such as Dell and Apple while having the lowest motivation level and the highest suicide rates.

Feature image is for representational purposes only.

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