Ethics Essay

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Business ethics Pages: 10 (3619 words) Published: February 14, 2013

Business Ethics 4438
Wal-Mart’s Bribery Scandal Analysis

Presented By: Josh Himmel
250 516 805

Presented to: Mark Reno
Monday December 3rd 2012

Company Background
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Wal-Mart) is one of the world’s largest retailers with chains of discount department stores across numerous countries worldwide. Wal-Mart has been highly regarded as the third largest public corporation and employs approximately 200,000 employees, which has cemented Wal-Mart’s status as the largest private employer in the world. With 8,500 stores in 15 different countries Wal-Mart has been able to grow substantially and become one of the most valuable companies in recent history. Importance of Ethics at Wal-Mart

Now that the presence and importance of Wal-Mart has been established, it is then important to evaluate Wal-Mart from an ethical standpoint considering their decisions can have a significant impact on so many different stakeholders. Some of the most important stakeholders involve; employees, customers, and suppliers. These stakeholders are directly impacted by Wal-Mart’s decisions on an everyday basis; however, there are so many more that can be affected. For example, it is known that establishing a Wal-Mart store in a developing country can provide a significant boost in that country’s economy in regards to providing employment and resources to the local people. Therefore, it is appropriate for Wal-Mart executives to broaden their scope when making decisions to account for locals in the developing countries in which they operate as well as government officials. Since Wal-Marts operations has such a strong hold on so many different parties it is important to note that any decision made in an ethical context can have a grave impact both on both social and economy aspects of society. Wal-Mart prides itself on being a family-owned business which traces all the way back to the founder Sam Walton who established the business in 1962 and whose family still owns a 48% share in Wal-Mart. Since the Walton family has been involved with Wal-Mart for such a long period, it can be assumed that there has been a strong ethical background in the company guiding day-to-day business operations in order to ensure that the business is operating in accordance with both law and managements ethical desires. This background has been sufficient in sustaining a strong corporate culture and proper ethical conduct for so many years. However, as the business continues to grow and incorporate different figureheads and expand into different countries it can be assumed that some degree of variance in regards to ethical standards will exist. Therefore, it is important to understand that this strong ethical background that has been present for so many years, will undoubtedly face obstacles and result in ethical issues that go against it. As these dilemmas come up it is once again essential that they are measured against Wal-Marts original Statement of Ethics to determine whether or not it is truly desirable conduct. Wal-Mart’s Statement of Ethics

Before analyzing the recent ethical issue regarding Wal-Mart’s decision-making it is first important to get a clear understanding of Wal-Mart’s Statement of Ethics. By analyzing the goals and objectives set out by Wal-Mart’s upper management it will be clear what their intentions were and whether or not their actions were a true violation of their corporate ethical duty. In addition, because Wal-Mart operates on such a global scale and since the ethical issue that will be discussed later involves a subsidiary in a country outside of North America, it is important to pay close attention to Wal-Marts policies regarding operations in international countries.

The elements of Wal-Mart’s Statement of Ethics rest upon three basic beliefs: respect for the individual, service to customers and striving for excellence. Although these are very broad,...
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