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Organizational Structure of Wal-Mart

Organizational structure varies from one organization to another. Organizations with flat structure usually have a wide span of control; those with tall structure have narrow span of control. Organizations with strong or cohesive vertical type of authority structure are usually centralized; those with weak authority structure are decentralized. Although these are just hypotheses, there is a need to validate them. Hence, I have conducted an interview with a top manager in Wal-Mart to get a clear view of the organization’s structure. Question: How would you characterize your relationship with the Board of Directors?

Answer: Since they are the policy makers, managers are expected to contribute little in policy-making. Question: So, the relationship between the managers and the Board of Directors is direct and concrete? (vertical structure) Answer: Yes, in terms of accountability. We are expected to integrate our operations with the policies the board create. (strong vertical authority relationship) Question: How many departments Wal-Mart have? Answer: I’m not exactly sure how many. However, based on the company’s size, I bet the number is relatively large. Question: What is the definition of the operations manager, its roles and responsibilities?

Answer: There is no clear cut definition of an operations manager. However, operations managers

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are tasked in shipping, utilizing, and scheduling operation-related activities. Question: How does Wal-Mart serves the society and government? Answer: First, Wal-Mart provides goods and services that are not usually abundant in the “common” market, that is, the company seeks to increase societal choices, and hence, happiness. Second, Wal-Mart is one of the top tax paying companies in the United States. Simply put, the taxes collected from Wal-Mart are converted to public services. The company also offers scholarship programs and research grants.

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