Abercrombie & Fitch: A Business Ethics Perspective in the Fashion Industry

19 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2015

See all articles by Veronica Arribas

Veronica Arribas

University of Navarra

Isabel Garcia

University of Navarra

Lourdes Susaeta

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

José R. Pin

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

Date Written: November 14, 2014

Abstract

Purpose - The aim of this article is to discuss some ethical issues in the fashion industry and start a debate about business ethics from a stakeholder perspective. It analyzes the implications of fashion companies for employees, with policies and practices, and for customers, with the messages and the lifestyles they communicate, especially when targeting adolescents. It also aims to highlight how company leaders can influence the corporate culture and values. The paper ends with an open discussion of the impact this is having on society and how it can affect a company's sustainability and performance.

Design/Methodology/Approach - The methodology used in this paper is the case study. We have chosen the fashion company Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) as it offers a fascinating example of how businesses - in the fashion industry overall - can promote or destroy ethical behavior through their cultural values and lifestyle as well as through management practices.

Findings - The values communicated and promoted by the company - both internally and externally - have a real impact on society and this may have negative consequences for brand perception and company performance.

Research Limitations - We are aware of the existence of limitations when analyzing a single case study due to the multiple interpretations it may have and the limited access to the company and to people directly involved in the case.

Originality/Value - There are some contributions concerning ethics in the fashion industry related to issues such as manufacturing labor, environmental pollution or consumer purchasing behavior. Nevertheless, as far as the authors are concerned, there have not been any studies so far that address the ethical implications of corporate culture and relationships with stakeholders.

Keywords: Business ethics, Values, Corporate culture, Stakeholders, Fashion industry

Suggested Citation

Arribas, Veronica and Garcia, Isabel and Susaeta, Lourdes and Pin, José R., Abercrombie & Fitch: A Business Ethics Perspective in the Fashion Industry (November 14, 2014). IESE Business School Working Paper No. WP-1105-E, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2597528 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2597528

Veronica Arribas

University of Navarra

Camino del Cerro del Aguila, 3
Pamplona, Navarra 31080
Spain

Isabel Garcia

University of Navarra

Camino del Cerro del Aguila, 3
Pamplona, Navarra 31080
Spain

Lourdes Susaeta

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Camino del Cerro del Aguila 3
Madrid, 28023
Spain

José R. Pin (Contact Author)

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Camino del Cerro del Aguila 3
Madrid, 28023
Spain

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