Wal-Mart Ethical Issue Paper

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Running head: ETHICAL ISSUE IN BUSINESS

Ethical Issue in Business (Wal-Mart’s Ethical Controversy)

Michael J. Charley, Deniqua Jackson, Beatina Marshall, Tom Pletzke

University of Phoenix

Instructor: ROBERT OXLEY

Course: ETHICS IN MANAGEMENT PHL/323

Date: May 21, 2008

This paper will obtain information about a researched issue that deals with business ethics. The paper will include a summary of the Article and issue. This paper will also touch on the following topics, what seems to be the basis of the issue, what ethical change, deficiency, or conflict brought it about, and how did the organizational leadership come into play. The paper will conclude by proposing a plan for revising the ethical standards and communication of these standards in order to resolve the ethical issue. “Chalace Epley Lowry started working at Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) as an administrative assistant in the communications department, on Jan. 2 of the year 2008; she went through a day-long orientation with a heavy emphasis on ethics. Chalace stated that, "We were told that even if we see something that has the appearance of something unethical we should report it”. “Now, two weeks after filing a complaint against a more senior executive, the 50-year-old mother of two finds herself looking for another job”. The article states that, “Chalace did not know for a fact that Wal-Mart executive was doing anything wrong”. “Wal-Mart says Lowry is simply confused. The company says she mistook a deferred compensation form for an options exercise request and that Williams did nothing wrong. "The Ethics Office determined the same day the complaint was filed that the document that created Ms. Lowry’s [sic] concerns had nothing to do with stock trading and that there was no violation of Wal-Mart's ethics policy," said David Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, in a statement”. Soon after Lowry filed the complaint, her identity was disclosed to Williams. Wal-Mart says Lowry agreed to disclosure, but Lowry says she was never given a choice. Lowry said, “It was impossible to remain in the department since Williams was effectively her boss, so she asked to be transferred”. Wal-Mart has said that, “Lowry now has 60 to 90 days to look for a job within the company, but she may not get one. If she can't find another Wal-Mart job in 90 days, human resources officials have told her that they would have to discuss "next steps”. To make a long story short, the article said that, “Wal-Mart gave Lowry the option of staying in her current position. In spite of the fact that Ms. Lowery was not treated any differently after making her report and was in fact praised for bringing her concerns to her supervisor's attention, Ms. Lowery [sic] indicated that she was uncomfortable continuing in her current position and asked to be transferred," said Tovar in his statement. In the article Lowry says that, “a human resources officer she met soon after her identity was disclosed brought up issues related to team dynamics and alleged that she didn't get along with co-workers. Given the timing of the comments, Lowry says, “She grew even more uncomfortable in the communications department”. “Lowry says she had an outstanding evaluation in her last job performance review in March, scoring 4.5 out of a possible 5 in the rating scale”. "Lowry's story may prove a cautionary tale for workers at Wal-Mart, and beyond. She had been on the job only a few months when she saw the documents that fueled her concerns. With the words from her initiation class still ringing in her ears, she decided to tell her direct supervisor, Sarah Clark, a senior director in the communications department. Clark encouraged her to report the issue to the company's ethics office. So on May 25, Lowry filed a complaint. Within days, Williams knew that it was Lowry who had raised questions about her ethics. Wal-Mart says that's because Lowry agreed to make her name public ". "Ms. Williams was...
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