Cellphones Are Letting Companies Learn What Their Factories Are Really Like

by MR Magazine Staff

In 2010, with funding from USAID, Good World Solutions developed a program called Laborlink to help companies get better data on labor conditions at their factories abroad. Taking advantage of the fact that 89 percent of people in developing countries have mobile phones, Good World Solutions was able to gather data that was near impossible to get before. Factory workers call a phone number given to them by an instruction card, and then get an automated call back from Laborlink (so they’re not charged for the call) with a multiple-choice survey about their working conditions. The process is designed so that even workers who are illiterate can give feedback. By letting workers report conditions on their own time, without managers listening in, Laborlink lets workers share (and companies collect) honest feedback. Six years later, Laborlink has surveyed half a million workers in 16 countries, collecting some 1.4 million data points that tell a story different from the one companies are used to hearing. Read more at The Atlantic.