Wal-Mart's Organizational Culture

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Wal-Mart Culture
There are a number of organizational behavior concepts that affect the success or failure of any organization; a few examples would be communication, motivation and decision making. Every organization has its’ own organizational culture which defines the organizational behaviors that it believes to be most important. An organization’s values, mission statement, goals and philosophy all make up the organizations culture. An example of an extremely successful company with a very strong organizational culture is Wal-Mart. History

Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Ten years and fifteen stores later, Wal-Mart stock was offered for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange. Eleven years later, in 1983, the first Sam’s Club member-warehouse store opened, and in 1988 the first Wal-Mart Supercenter opened, which had a complete grocery store and 36 departments of general merchandise. By 1989, there were 1,402 Wal-Mart stores and 123 Sam’s Club’s, and their sales had grown from $1 billion in 1980 to $26 billion. Today, forty-two years after the opening of that first Wal-Mart store, there are over 7,390 stores and clubs that employ more than 2 million associates. Wal-Mart stock has split eleven times, and their net sales are over $345 billion a year. (See chart next page) (walmartstores.com-7603) How did Sam do it?

In the 1950’s, before Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store, he own several small five and dime stores. These stores faced very stiff competition from regional discount stores. This competition led Mr. Walton to travel around the country studying everything he could about discount retailing. During his travels he became convinced that American consumers wanted a new type of store. He believed this new type of store was one that would provide a wide assortment of quality merchandise at the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction; friendly knowledgeable service; convenient hours; and a pleasant shopping experience. Mr. Walton believed so strongly in this new type of store that he and his wife invested 95% of their own money to open the first Wal-Mart store. (walmartstores.com-297) One of the many things Mr. Walton brought back from his travels was the Wal-Mart cheer. (walmartstores.com-320) Mr. Walton was visiting a tennis ball factory in Korea and he saw the workers doing a company cheer and exercising together every morning. Mr. Walton returned to the states and created his own cheer, the Wal-Mart cheer. So now, every morning at 8:00am, the Wal-Mart associates gather together to enthusiastically shout out the Wal-Mart cheer which goes like this: Give me a W! – W!

Give me a A! – A!
Give me a L! – L!
Give me a M! – M!
Give me a A! – A!
Give me a R! – R!
Give me a T! – T!
What’s that spell? Wal-Mart!
Whose Wal-Mart is it? It’s my Wal-Mart!
Who’s number one? The customer! Always!
Organizational Culture
There is clearly a huge difference between a five and dime store and a Wal-Mart Supercenter. However, the one thing they have in common is the beliefs and values that Mr. Walton instilled in his employees, which live on today even after his passing. Mr. Walton had three basic beliefs and values: respect for the individual, service to our customers, and striving for excellence. These beliefs and values are the foundation for the organizational culture that Mr. Walton created at Wal-Mart, and are the underlying basis for a number of rules and processes that are still in place today. “At the core of every one of our rules and customs is the basic value of respect – for the customer, associates, and suppliers. It’s our focus for building relationships. It helps us serve the communities in which we live, and build a business committed to excellence.” (walmartstores.com-321) Human resources practice

Mr. Walton’s philosophy that associates will treat customers the way managements...
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