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Jinjian Garment Factory Case Study

Jinjian Garment Factory Case Study


The case study discusses the challenges in the Shenzhen garment industry. The production of garments was concentrated in Shenzhen because the region was one of the world’s most advanced garment manufacturing regions. It was also more economical for garment manufacturers to manufacture in Shenzhen because the region had cheap labor and land. Most garment factories were managed or owned by people living in Hong Kong, thus making the industry an extension of the garment industry in Hong Kong. Despite the success of the Shenzhen garment industry, various issues needed to be addressed. One of the main issues was the poor working environment. Workers had little time to rest because they only rested for two days or one day every month during the peak season, which lasted six months. They were also paid based on the number of pieces they made, thus prompting them to work fast and for long hours.

The second issue was high worker turnover, mainly due to poor working conditions. This created a scarcity of workers during peak seasons. The slow season also placed workers and factories in a disadvantaged position because they faced stiff competition and insufficient orders, thus reducing profit, which forced them to pay workers minimum wage. The piecework system affected employee productivity because workers knew there was a high possibility of receiving less pay for more work if they worked too fast. Factories also had to keep workers motivated to meet quality requirements. This was the main issue for Mr. Lou because he did not know the best motivation strategy to motivate his workers to work faster.

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Critical Aspects identified in the case  

One of the critical aspects was the lack of employee motivation. The Shenzhen garment industry operated under the piecework system, thus pushing workers to produce more pieces to increase their pay. However, they realized that the piecework system could lead to more work and less pay because the price of piecework was determined after an order was completed. Therefore, they started collaborating to deliberately slow their working pace to prompt management to increase the piecework price due to low productivity. The second critical aspect was poor working conditions. Workers could work long hours and still get less pay due to the piecework system. They also had to accept minimum wage to retain their work because of the high competition for jobs in the Shenzhen garment industry. Factories also prioritized profits over worker welfare to the extent of lowering the price of piecework if workers worked too fast because they were not willing to pay workers more than their market salary.

One of the critical aspects I perceived to be vital is the risk of reduced worker productivity because workers would deliberately reduce their productivity by working slower, especially when there were urgent orders, so the employer would increase their pay to motivate them to work faster. The second aspect is poor quality. In some instances, workers produced poor quality garments because of the pressure to work faster and for long hours, leading to errors. Workers also tried avoiding responsibility and covering for their mistakes by blaming one another because the factory would deduct a worker’s wages to cover the loss incurred due to an error or mistake. The third aspect is a lack of job satisfaction, mainly due to poor working conditions. This mainly occurred during peak season when workers felt they were producing more for less pay.

How I was able to make the assessments of selecting the critical aspects of the case

I was able to select the critical aspects of the case by determining the main issue presented in the introduction part of the case study. The description of what Mr. Lou was experiencing pointed out some of the major issues in the Shenzhen garment industry that were discussed in detail in the other case study sections. I then began breaking down the case following various steps. The first step was examining the case in detail by highlighting relevant facts, taking notes, and underlining key problems. The second step was identifying the key issues outlined in the case study, determining their source, how they impact the Shenzhen garment industry, and who is responsible for them.

I used the subtitles in the case study to determine what was covered in the case study and identify the areas that needed more in-depth analysis than others. For example, although the section discussing the background of Lou Baijin and his garment factory was important, it did not cover the main issues identified in the introduction, thus implying that there was no need to focus too much on the information provided in that section. I paid more attention to the working environment, seasonality and high worker turnover, effective worker management, and severe punishment and quality assurance system sections because they covered the main issues identified in the introduction section. I also ensured that I only considered facts when determining whether something was a critical aspect or not to avoid bias. According to Whitesmith 92020), bias is a common issue in case analysis and may affect the interpretation of the information presented. The main types of bias in research are information, confounding, and selection bias Chapman (2014). However, the main type of bias I would be more vulnerable to was information bias, which could have emerged from selecting the wrong variables in the case study.

Outcomes and Solutions

One of the outcomes extrapolated from the case was reduced performance of the factories producing garments in the Shenzhen garment industry because of a lack of job satisfaction among the workers. According to Siddiqui (2014), employees play a significant role in an organization’s performance. Therefore, organizations must ensure that employees are motivated and happy with their work to increase commitment (Foster, 2020). The factories in the Shenzhen garment industry offered poor working conditions characterized by poor wages and long working hours. This may have significantly reduced employee morale, thus reducing job satisfaction. Another factor contributing to reduced job satisfaction was the salary deduction imposed on workers who made errors, even though the errors resulted from long working hours and the pressure to work faster to meet customer demand. The second outcome is workers’ strikes and go-slows. The workers in the Shenzhen garment industry had already recognized their major role in the factories because they relied on them to produce garments based on customer orders, and there was a shortage of skilled workers. Therefore, they may collaborate and strike or initiate a go-slow in all factories to push for better working conditions.

The main solutions to the issues identified in the case study are employee unionization and motivation. Employee unionization can help improve the working conditions in the factories because the unions can bargain with the factories on behalf of the workers. Motivation can be achieved by incentivizing workers (Korzynski, 2013). The factories may set targets for each worker and reward them based on whether they meet the targets. The factories in the Shenzhen garment industry should also consider creating flexible workplaces to give the workers enough time to rest to be more productive and keener on their work to avoid errors and mistakes.


One of the things I have learned from the case pertaining to global leadership is that a global leader has to adapt to the leadership practices engraved in a specific country or industry. For example, Mr. Lou had to embrace the leadership practices in the Shenzhen garment industry, which included pushing workers to work for longer and faster to meet strict deadlines during the peak system. Although he knew that the strategy would lead to reduced productivity when the workers wanted to be paid more, he had to continue implementing the practice to maintain uniformity with other factories. I have also learned that global leadership requires embracing diversity in the workplace. For example, the factories in the Shenzhen garment industry were owned by Hong Kong residents, and most workers had moved from Hong Kong in search of a jobs to save money to build homes and take care of their families. Therefore, the workforce in the factories was diverse, thus requiring a leader to understand the culture and values of the people of Hong Kong to create peaceful coexistence among the workers. I also learned that the diverse nature of the workforce in a global environment requires setting a vision and specific organizational goals and objectives to ensure that everyone is working towards a shared goal. For example, the factories in the Shenzhen garment industry set the goal of producing a specific amount of piecework per day, thus prompting every worker to work towards meeting the factory’s target within the specified timeline. This played a vital role in reducing conflicts among the workers. Global leaders also need to understand important laws such as minimum wage requirements.


Chapman, J. M. (2014). Researcher as participant: Safeguarding against bias in a qualitative case study.

Foster, B. (2020). Achievement motivation and employee commitment: The role of leadership. Kontigensi: Jurnal Ilmiah Manajemen, 8(1), 17-25.

Korzynski, P. (2013). Employee motivation in a new working environment. International Journal of Academic Research, 5(5), 184-188.

Siddiqui, M. N. (2014). The success of an organization is a result of employees’ performance. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 1(4), 179-201.

Whitesmith, M. (2020). Predicting confirmation bias. Cognitive Bias in Intelligence Analysis, 184-206.


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Write a brief Overview/Summary of the case in your own words, describing the nature and/or background information pertaining to the case. (Minimum 1/2 -1 page)

Jinjian Garment Factory Case Study

Jinjian Garment Factory Case Study

In your opinion, what were some Critical Aspects of the case that were identified? What were some Critical Aspects that you perceived to be very vital? (Minimum 1 page)

How were you able to make those Assessments of selecting the critical aspects or components for the case author/writer and for yourself? (Minimum 1 page)

Identify and/or list some of the Outcomes, Solutions, and/or Resolutions you extrapolated from the case. (Minimum 1 page)

Write a Reflection on what you learned from the case pertaining to global leadership. (Minimum 1 page)

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