Rivaled possibly only by the golden arches of McDonald’s, the Nike Swoosh is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. Nike is an international corporation focused on designing, creating, and promoting high quality athletic wear. Nike “fosters a culture of invention creating products, services, and experiences for today’s athlete while solving problems for the next generation.”
According to their website, Nike’s mission is to: “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (if you have a body you are an athlete).”
Nike was founded in 1964 by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman in Portland, OR. When it was first created it was called Blue Ribbon Sports, and then changed its name to Nike in 1971 to reflect the values of the Greek god Nike, who is the god of victory. Bowerman was Knight’s track coach at the University of Oregon, and the two started the business selling running shoes to distributors in Japan. The first shoes were made in a waffle iron in Bowerman’s garage and eventually evolved to the ground-breaking technology they have today.
Due to the sheer size of the company, Nike works under a hierarchal system, with the CEO at the top, and then filtering down to all other employees from there. Corporate Nike is based out of Beaverton, OR, but the company has offices across the United States, as well as in 45 different countries. In addition to all of their corporate offices, Nike also has retail shops, called NikeTown, all over the world. They also sell their products in many other big department stores such as Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Macy’s.
Nike is a sporting company, therefore their core principles and the way they run their business greatly reflects those sportsman-like values. Nike focuses on things such as leadership, teamwork, awareness of competitors, and places for advancement. Almost all of their corporate employees work in teams because Nike believes the best way to create truly innovative ideas is to collaborate across a diverse group of people.
Sports culture is also reflected in the work environment of corporate Nike. The Nike Campus, which is the name of their headquarters, has a track, training facilities, and outdoor walking paths all throughout; encouraging its employees to take breaks during the day to exercise. Earlier this month Nike released a statement saying they are planning on expanding their headquarters and hope to be completed by 2018. The expansion will add 3.2 million square feet of office, parking, and miscellaneous spaces.
To continue with their sports culture, Nike also encourages its employees to wear Nike clothing whenever possible, at work, play, or at home. It is not uncommon to see executives walking around with suits and Nike tennis shoes on. Employees can wear athletic wear to the office anytime they like. The only thing that can not wear is anything from a competitor, such as Nike, Underarmor, North Face, etc. If employees come to work wearing something that is obviously from a competitor, employers may go as far as asking them to go home and change.
Being as prominent and global as they are, controversy about the company was bound to arise. Starting in the 1990’s, Nike faced allocations that they were using cheap labor in third world countries to produce shoes in unsafe sweat shops. Evidence of poor working conditions were released and Nike spent all their time and effort trying to change these views. After this accusation Nike raised wages and bettered their factory working environments, however they are still dealing with the backlash of the controversy today. Many activist groups are still weary of their working conditions.
On the flip side, Nike also strives for sustainability in all of their products and throughout the company. Nike incorporates recycled polyester made from plastic water bottles in to almost all of their shoes and since 2010 they have saved more than 2 billion water bottles from being put in to landfills. The rest of the materials they use all come from sustainable resources and create the lowest amount of waste possible; Nike has a special team devoted solely to discovering the most environmentally sound materials to use.