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Nike, the NBA, China, and Free Speech: A Zone Defense

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As John Donahoe prepared to take over as CEO of Nike, Inc., he faced growing controversy over the company’s failure to support anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong.  After US basketball team Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey tweeted agreement with the Hong Kong protesters, Nike did not publicly back this stance.  Instead, it removed Rockets merchandise from its China stores.  Nike’s silence on this matter contrasted sharply with its past strong support of individual’s opinions.   Nike management had to determine how to reconcile the company’s image based on Western values with its continued growth in China.

Learning Objective:

1.  To understand how a brand image can be developed over time and damaged by adverse events.

2.  To explore the tensions between principles and commercial success faced by multinational companies operating in diverse cultures and systems. 

3.   To consider the influence of social media and how actions by outsiders can affect a company’s reputation.

4.   To examine the impact of the 2019 Hong Kong protests on global businesses.

Year of Publication: 2021
Ref. No.: 20/667C
Discipline: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) , Marketing, Public Policy and Strategy, Strategy & General Management
Industry: Leisure products
Country: United States of America
Company: Nike
Languages: English
Pages of Text: 7