Professor Connie Golden
19 October 2008
Wal-Mart: The Challenge of Making Relationships with Stakeholders 1. Evaluate how Wal-Mart has ranked and responded to various stakeholders. 2. Why do you think Wal-Mart has had a recent number of ethical issues that have been in the news almost constantly? 3. What do you think Wal-Mart could do to develop an improved ethical culture and respond more positively to its diverse stakeholders? Question 1
Many groups have a stake in what Wal-Mart does. Stakeholders can be broken down into two diverse groups: market stakeholders (shareholders, employees, consumers, and suppliers and non-market stakeholders (labor unions and environmental stakeholders). Market Stakeholders
With the shareholders, whose focus is to see profit, Wal-Mart ranks number one, 2008 per Fortune 500 magazine and listed as the 13th most profitable company with $11.3 billion dollars in earnings for 2006. Shareholders equity is over $64 million dollars. 1 (Fortune 500, 2008, CNNMoney.com) Wal-Mart definitely makes their shareholders money. The fundamental question is whether the shareholders care about Wal-Mart’s scrutiny. Shareholders should have some concern on how the world views Wal-Mart and how long they will hold up under the scrutiny. Employees
Employee stakeholders have another story. The discrimination lawsuits ranging from female employees not getting equal pay or equal positions, to disabled employees, class-action lawsuits stating that Wal-Mart doctors questionnaires to prevent disabled workers from applying, Wal-Mart does not rank very high with these employees. Lawsuits stemming from Wal-Mart’s failure to monitor labor conditions at oversea factories and hires illegal immigrants add to the rift in relations between the employees and the company. Wal-Mart continues to deny charges, yet settle cases. The most disturbing is that Wal-Mart states as part of their company’s purpose...