Wal-Mart’s Organizational Behavior Conflict
As the largest American retail employer, Wal-Mart operates on a model by which it operates and produces goods at minimal cost. This allows it to be distinguished for its commitment to providing consumers with a rock-bottom price for a wide array of retail goods. However, changes in laws regarding global trade have increasingly allowed the Wal-Mart corporation to retain competitive advantage over other retail operations. By using market contexts where environmental and labor laws are weaker than in its domestic market, Wal-Mart has succeeded in significantly reducing its costs, making it hard for companies to compete.
However, it is doing so to the detriment of developing markets by degrading environments, exploiting workers and promoting this behavior in its competition. In order to improve its corporate value, Wal-Mart must aspire to become a more conscientious corporate citizen. This is a just cause for Wal-Mart’s improved involvement in the global community, where many nations experience only the outcome of its production efforts and not the results of its market presence. Therefore, in such locations as Mexico, Central America and Southeast Asia, Wal-Mart could actually have a positive impact if so desired.
Instead of using these markets as contexts in which to only develop operations around limited to nonexistent protections for laborers, it would seem more appropriate for the corporate to actually take a vested interest in the future development of such marketplaces. This is to say that at present, the company’s policy interests is in jumping from one production context to the other, leaving the former as soon as the latter opens up to even cheaper labor or lesser environmental standards.
The result is quite often that production operations in the former venue will cease, leaving a developing economy in the lurch. The ‘correction’ can be devastating to a nascent local labor economy. Therefore, first and foremost in its attempt at improving orientation should be Wal-Mart’s improved stance toward the commitment to selected operating venues. This change should bring the developing nation the opportunity for greater long term gain, such as in the technological and infrastructural development that a company on this scale might bring to the table.
It is up to Wal-Mart to direct these efforts in a way that extends improved global standards rather than taking advantage of lesser national standards. Often, it is the case that a lack or resource or policy development has served to prevent such environmental protection, suggesting that the globalizing corporation must take a lead role in improving developing nations’ strategies for address such. An organization like Wal-Mart has taken the opportunities of globalization as just cause for exploitation.
However, it is a company with the resources to improve conditions in impoverished nations. At this juncture, it must only take an interest in doing so by recognizing the economic value in developing healthy new marketplaces and, thus, new consumers. Ultimately, instead of serving as the primary offender of human rights concerns relating to free trade, Wal-Mart could be a positive model for future orientation.
Clark, J. & Irwin, E. G. 2006, ‘The local costs and benefits of Wal-Mart,’ The Ohio State University.