Solving Ethical Issues In Wal-Mart

Solving Ethical Issues In Wal-Mart


Wal-Mart stores Inc can be looked up to as an icon to many businesses in America. It grew from just a small-town business into a renowned multinational organization. Wal-Mart tends to members and customers close to 200 million times in a week. They control over 8000 retail shops fewer than 53 banners in about 15 countries. They make close to $401 billion in their sales and have provided employment to 2.1 million workers in the entire world. Wal-Mart is now a leader in sustainability, employment opportunity and corporate philanthropy. It has become the most powerful and largest retailer in the world making exceptionally high sales per square foot. It also has a high inventory turnover and an operating profit just like any other retailers. Wal-Marts mission statement is to help those whom visit their stores save money so that they can better themselves and their lives in general. Wal-Mart has been using the slogan “Always Low Prices “for an unusually long time it is only recently that they changes the slogan into “save money live Better”. Wal-Marts initial goal was to provide customers with suits their needs and at the particular time they need it .Focus is on the developing of cost structures, which would the organization to offer their goods at very low prices (Fishman, 2006). This goal was to be achieved through making the replenishing of its inventory centerpiece of the organizations strategy that relied on a logistic technique known as docking. This strategy saw the reduction of costs incurred by Wal-Mart significantly which enabled them to pass what they were able to save to the customers. Wal-Marts focus shifted to the developing a supply chain management this is highly structured enhancing their competitive advantage.


Wal-Mart stores Inc just like many other organization’s have faced challenges in its operations. Over the recent years, there is being a lot of negative publicity received from the media on the organization. There have been a series of accusations of some ethical issues within the organization. There are various unethical behaviors that are visible within the organization, and it is obscured quite deep into the co-operate culture. One of the ethical issues is favoritism within the workplace. Those involved are department managers and General Managers in the organization (Kehoe,2013). This is a common occurrence during promotion periods. It is a general understanding by the employees in Wal -Mart that they can only get promoted if they know someone in the management position. The employee is demoralized and sees no absolute reason why they should work hard in the organization. They see that no matter how hard they work their efforts will not be recognized and they will receive no reward. There are instances where a job position is posted say a Front-end supervisor position. Two employees go ahead and sign up for the position so that they can get an interview for the position. One employee is a holder of an MBA with fifteen year working experience, in a managerial position in the retail industry and has been working in Wal-Mart for two years. On the other hand the second applicant is a 9th grade graduate, has no experience in managerial issues or retail prior to their employment in Wal-Mart. He has worked for the organization for just a year, and on top of that his attendance record is quite poor. They are both gate same ratings on their ninety day evaluation. Among the two applicants who is the manager likely to pick? Contrary to most peoples expectations the general manager will pick the second applicant (Kehoe, J,2013). This is simply because the applicants’ wife and that of the general manager are close- friends and are both members of a social club. This is just one example of the complaints on Wal-Marts favoritism. Favoritism when promotions are done is gender based there is discrimination against women when it comes to position placement and promotions.

This act of favoritism in Wal-Marts operational strategy when it comes to promotion of employees is in conflict with most of the personal values that people hold. Managers should be role models to their employees as well as their fellow mangers. Such acts of favoritism can cause the disgrantment of many employees. Apparently the performance of an employee, their qualification and working experience means totally nothing when it comes to promotion. It means that the only thing that matters when it comes to a promotion is who one knows and not what you know.

This unethical behavior has resulted to numerous lawsuits against the organization. There are unimaginable numbers of lawsuits that Wal-Mart since the practice of favoritism is still deeply rooted in the managers of Wal-mart. This unethical behavior will soon catch up with the organization. They will continue loosing their competent employees who loose morale simply because they do not get rewarded accordingly. They will seek employment opportunities in other organizations where they will feel they are fully maximizing their knowledge and applying it to the full. This move can be quite devastating to Wal-mart since they will lose competent employees who can steer Wal-mart forward in the direction intended. They will probably seek employment in competitors to Wal-Mart.

Solving ethical issues in Wal-mart

The changes in Wal-Mart towards being having an organizational culture whose entire operations are ethical calls for the existence of managers who are ethical in their leadership. Therefore as a general manger of Wal-Mart I can easily foster ethics in the entire organization. The general manger has a big influence over the entire organization. Other managers take the opinion of the general managers seriously (Baron, ,& David ,1999)

As a general manager, I will ensure that I employ justice in all the operations pertaining to the organization. This is particularly when carrying out promotions will ensure that I treat each and every applicant in a just and fair manner. I will also be honest when it comes to giving out promotions and rewards to the employees. Under no circumstance will I be dishonest as I am to give a good example to other managers. I will treat them equally and only give the position to someone with qualifications and has the relevant experience required for the position. This means that I will do promotions based on one’s competence and not whom they know. My decisions will be purely on the basis of evaluating the individual and their track record as an employee.(Baron, ,& David ,1999)

As a general manager, I can have an influence on the decisions t made by other managers. Therefore, I will ensure that I am fully involved in promotions of employees is taken done by various mangers in their respective departments will ensure sure that they base their decisions pertaining to a particular candidate on their knowledge and expertise. This will ensure that they are just in their decision and do not favor anyone in their promotions will ensure that I foster an ethical culture within the organization, and every manager should be ethical in their performance

If there are ethical managers within Wal-Mart this practice of favoritism will be a thing of the past, and it will be done away with completely. If promotions are done justly promoted justly then, employees twill feel comfortable to work in the organization. Those employees who are aiming a particular position will work hard knowing that their efforts are recognized, and a reward given to them.

Personal statement

I have a Masters in business management, masters in business administration and a degree in business studies and economics. I have been in the retail industry for close to fifteen years, and throughout this time in high profile companies. I have held the post of a general manger for ten of these fifteen years of my working. I am an ethical leader and posses some ethical traits like honesty. I have dignity, and respect for people. I serve others when I have the opportunity and my efforts go towards community building. If given the opportunity, as the General Manager of Wal-Mart I will ensure that I apply my ethical traits fully within the organization. I will also ensure a code of ethics is upheld within Wal-Mart particularly when it comes to issues pertaining to employee promotions and development. My presence in Wal-Mart as the general manger will be felt and the appropriate and much desired changes will be made under my leadership.I will ensure that Wal-Mar stays of the news as an ethical company and instead be known as a company that if full of ethics in its operations .many people will desire to work at Wal-mart after the changes that I will make.


Though deeply rooted in the organization culture, with efforts from competent and ethical managers through their performance there can be an end to this unethical behavior. Even though it can take several years and effort from leaders who have ethical traits it is still achievable. If Wal-Mart manages to deal with this practice, they will no longer loose employees who are competent, and these are the same people who will lead to the further development of the organization into an even better organization than what it is today.


Baron, N,& David M, 1999,Strategic human resources: frameworks for general managers. New York: John Wiley.

Fishman,C, 2006 The Wal-Mart effect: how the world’s most powerful company really works– and how it’s transforming the American economy.New York: Penguin Press.

Kehoe, J,2013 ,Business ethics 12/13,24th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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