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Walmart Culture Change Essay

3823 words - 16 pages

Culture Change Paper
Walmart is a global retailer with one of the most profitable business strategies on the planet. Walmart’s objective to offer the lowest prices to a diverse customer base has proven successful over several decades. Walmart began with a humble business model in the early 1960s. Sam Walton, original founder, wanted to provide people with the best prices possible. Sam Walton launched over a dozen locations to the public in the late 1960s. The profitable groundwork and strategy of every-day low prices spread rapidly through the next several decades. Throughout the 1990s, Walmart’s growth soared globally as they continued to facilitate a cost cutting strategy. ...view middle of the document...

Their mission is to save people money to lead better lives” (p. 1). Walmart’s vision and mission statements have changed several times throughout its tenure as they adapted to consumer behavior and negative publicity. Walmart’s obsession to offer the lowest prices to customers has resulted in sacrifices to their vision. Walmart is not providing an ethical culture to all stakeholders because of their continuous attempts to cut costs. Walmart Stores (2014) says their stakeholders are associates, customers, NGOs, shareholders, and suppliers (p. 1). Complaints of discrimination, unethical management, ambiguity, and inconsistencies are contributing to the retailer’s hostile work environment. While Walmart may have positive and ethical sounding policies, codes of ethics, and beliefs, their implementation process is lacking. Walmart’s code of ethics encompasses three beliefs that provide insight into their core values. Walmart Ethics (2014) says their three guiding principles are to have respect for people, provide service to the customer, and strive for excellence (p. 1). Unfortunately, Walmart has only proven they focus on cutting costs and improving profits. Endless employee lawsuits paint a picture that contends with Walmart’s vision and code of ethics. Walmart’s public perception is taking a beating because of their unethical culture and poor leadership.
Walmart addressed their poor reputation by hiring Leslie Dach. Leslie Dach, aide to the previous Clinton administration, brought a certain skill-set to Walmart’s arsenal in 2006. Over his tenure, Leslie Dach decided to improve Walmart’s public perception by focusing on energy conservation, environmentally friendly packaging efforts, and donations. Unfortunately, these targeted initiatives only helped improve the mindsets of certain activist groups. According to Featherstone (2012), “Leslie Dach, hired by Walmart six years ago, has wooed pro-environment activist on the retail giant’s behalf, using environmental initiatives, as well as generous bipartisan campaign contributions and strategic donations” (p. 4). Walmart’s efforts failed to solve their negative public perception because they did not solve their culture problem. Walmart’s true issue is their ignorance to unethical business practices within their organization. Perhaps Walmart has globalized too extensively to handle all of its unethical problems at once. Unfortunately, serious crimes such as international bribery investigations continue to haunt their reputation. According to Featherstone (2012), “Walmart’s largest foreign operation, Walmex, had paid more than $24 million in bribes to Mexican politicians who could grease the wheels of its expansion in Mexico” (p. 4). Surely, Walmart executives are aware of this illegal behavior within their organization. If not aware, future leaders need to come to their senses and take drastic measures to uphold their original vision statement.
Walmart’s poor reputation is...

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