Wal-Mart: Ethics & Organization
Wal-Mart started in 1962 when the first store was opened by Sam Walton, the man who was to be the driving force behind the success and culture of the company, a company that has now grown the over 3,000 stores in the United States and over 1,000 internationally. Since then it has become a well known retail chain, specifically the largest supermarket in the market. According to Fortune 500 Magazine Wal-Mart has the highest number of employees world wide, and they were ranked number one out of retailers.
It is often argued that their position in the market place is one where they serve as the benchmark for all retail super stores (Weaver, Klebe, & Cochran, p. 155). What kinds of services does it provide? Today, the Wal-Mart groups include Sam’s Wholesale Clubs and Neighborhood Markets as well as the Wal-Mart brand with national and international stores. This provides a service for the customers who are often owners of small business to buy items for bulk whole sale.
Wal-Mart also provides merchant services in which customers can become retailers themselves by selling their small minority/ female owned business through Wal-Mart (Weaver, Klebe, & Cochran, p. 155). This service is not isolated just for minorities or women, but it is heavily promoted in their direction. What is the identified purpose of the organization (Wal-Mart)? The first objective of Sam Walton, the founder of the company, had the aim of giving the customers the “very best.
” The way this was to be achieved was by putting associates (employees) first. Feeling that if they were treated well they would want the company to do well and be the cause of success for Wal-Mart. The second objective is to offer the lowest possible price with a high level of quality. The initial strategy was similar to that of JCPenny, opening small stores in downtown main street areas. This strategy was to change later with the “big box” format stores, but the pricing strategy remained the same.
A main policy has been aggressive growth. Based on core competences, they evolved due to the necessity present in an undercapitalized company (Berry and Seiders, 1993). These included the creation of a distribution and communication system to make sure of timely deliveries. There was also a high degree of careful budgeting to save money (Berry and Seiders, 1993). This is the secret to Wal-Mart’s success.