Wal-Mart, the largest corporate organization in the world and the largest employer in the private sector in the United States, is a success story in the corporate world.
The history of Wal-Mart dates back to the year 1962. Initially, it was a single store which was the initiative of one Sam Walton who has since died. It has weathered the storm of competition and has now grown in size to a worldwide corporation. Walton had at the time of starting Wal-Mart opened 20 stores which were competing against 250 from Kmart.
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Walton was dynamic in operating the organization. He made sure that he maintained the principles of marketing and those of customer satisfaction, a factor that made Wal-Mart become the single biggest retailer worldwide.
International sales have been increasing at an impressive average of 13 percent, which is a dream for any company or any corporation anywhere in the world, no matter how large it is. In the year 2000, Wal-Mart realized an increase of 46 percent in international sales which translates to 16.8 percent of all the corporate sales combined.
This corporation however has its shortcomings in the way it relates with its employees and the obligations to its corporate responsibilities. On the part of human resource, Wal-Mart gives its employees lows benefits even though they add great value to the corporation, and health benefits have been lost. Wal-Mart does not consider the values of the grassroots community but rather of more importance to it is profit together with economic growth.
Wal-Mart’s contribution to the local communities is enormous given that it employs many people. When it opens a new outlet, it employs people from the surrounding local community and in this way it improves the living conditions of the people from these communities.
Given the current rate of unemployment and job losses, Wal-Mart has taken the lead role in solving this problem and has helped many people who otherwise would not have been in any form of gainful employment to at least get something to do for the sustenance of their lives and those of their dependants.
But there is the negative side to this employment issue. Wal-Mart has for all the years been an insensitive employer. Besides poor pay, the working hours are inconsistent and this is a great inconvenience to the workers. Long working hours and unpredictable working schedule characterizes the experiences the employees of Wal-Mart have to go through.
This retail outlet giant has made it a rule that its employees should not join any labor organization or union of any kind.
Several attempts by the workers’ representatives to force Wal-Mart allow them to join labor organizations have all come cropper. Court cases have been ruled in favor of the employer to the detriment of the employee, and this seems not to bother the management of Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart has adopted capitalist as its politico-economic approach. This therefore means that in any venture, it is guided not necessarily by the interests of the general society or more specifically those of the local communities, but rather by what gains they stand to get from them in terns of profits from the investment.
This is capitalism per excellence and this approach has made Wal-Mart to have an edge over its competitors, who seem to favor a combination of both reasonable profits and good conditions for the workers.
Wal-Mart is not a good neighbor. It thrives on capitalizing on the weaknesses of and inability of its competitors. Five years after Wal-Mart enters into a new market, all the existing retail businesses start recording losses and others close shop.
This leaves Wal-Mart to monopolize the market and therefore the customers have no alternative but to consume what is on offer at the Wal-Mart outlets. This amounts to monoculture as it thrives on cultural homogenization.
It manages to draw away attention from a local competitor by selling its commodities at very low prices, in fact at prices below the actual price making it impossible for any other business, however strong and committed it may be, to lose out and leaving Wal-Mart to dominate the market.
This homogenization is actually due in part to confusion. While its intention on the one hand is to ensure that it has an upper hand in the market share, it also genuinely thinks that this is good corporate practice (Jacques et al pp 7-10).
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