Walmart and Employee Relations

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Walmart and Employee Relations Rinda L. Lane
rindalane@att.net Prof. Jere Ferguson GM591 – Organizational Behavior December 12, 2011

Overview
The organization that I chose for this project is Walmart where I am employed as a cashier. The focus of the project is employee relations. Walmart is an American public multinational corporation that has a large chain of discount department stores and warehouses. In 2010, the company was the worlds largest public corporation by revenue. Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, incorporated on October 31, 1969, and publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville Arkansas and is the largest employer and grocery retailer in the United States. In 2009, it generated 51% of its $ 258 billion sales in the U.S. from the grocery business. The company also owns and operates the Sam’s Club retail warehouses in North America. Walmart has stores in Puerto Rico, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and India.

Walmart has faced a torrent of lawsuits and issues regarding its workforce. These issues involve low wages, poor working conditions and inadequate health care, as well as strong anti-union policies. The company’s high employee turnover rate is seen as evidence of an unhappy workforce. Approximately 70% of its employees leave within the first year. On average, full time hourly associates earn $10/hr or less than $ 17,874 per year which is about twenty percent less than the retail worker makes. Walmart managers are judged , in part, on their ability to control payroll costs. The company also faced employee poor working conditions where they were forced to work off the clock, were denied overtime pay or were not allowed to take rest or lunch breaks . A lawsuit ensued because of these conditions and Walmart paid $50 million to settle. Ethics problems occurred because of Walmart’s refusal to promote women to management positions. High employee turnover is due to low employee morale and the ever increasing workload. Outside of the corporation Walmart has a negative reputation which it has used the media and advertising to try to rebuild it. The company has been involved in many lawsuits over the years and has spent millions of dollars to resolve them.

In the store where I work, management does not follow company policy when dealing with employees thereby further alienating employees. Employees feel they are not respected or appreciated. Employees tend to go their own way and do their own thing and this in turn affects productivity.

Problem Statement
The problem is miscommunication or no communication for problem identification that employees may face. Because Walmart is not unionized, employees have no place to turn to for problem resolution.The employees and management need to come together to discuss these issues in a meaningful way and resolve these problems. The question is how to bring these two opposing factions together for problem resolution and what recommendations should be made and implemented? The company employs a mechanistic structure with strict rules and policies. Working for this company as a cashier, I have found that management doesn’t always follow these policies, but tend to makeup their own rules according to the situation. This in turn, gives lower level employees the perception of unfair practices when dealing with management. Productivity and morale are low and unhappiness permeates the organization. Management is uncaring and ever vigilant to make sure that employees are performing their...
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