Walmart Business Ethics

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Improving Walmart’s Corporate Image


“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

-Sam Walton

Like the founder of the world’s largest retail company said himself, Walmart has certainly appreciated everything their associates do for their business. Everything, including dying. While Walmart has been scrutinized in the past for unethical behavior, one of their most heinous acts in recent years has been secretly taking out life insurance policies on unsuspecting “rank and file” employees and cashing in on them after they die. This highly publicized and shameless act is only one of the many reasons why Walmart has dozens of hate groups all over the internet, and even has an organization dedicated to watching their every move. was created for the sole purpose of holding the company “fully accountable for its impact on communities, the American workforce, the retail sector, the environment and the nation’s economy.” (

With their low prices and ubiquitous presence, the company has attracted millions of customers looking to save money in America, and Walmart has now successfully expanded their stores beyond the U.S. into 14 other countries. ( A very aggressive corporate strategy has made Walmart one of the most successful businesses in the world, but at what cost? As of today, there are many people who view Walmart as a tyrannical, money-hungry bully, and they do little to counter those views. Yes, they provide financial support to charities, pour money into organizations that help low-income communities, and have even given generously to countries that have undergone natural disasters. However, a multi-billion dollar company giving away money and saying it does good work is not very sincere, nor is it convincing.

Actions speak louder than words, and Walmart must do more than give money to improve their reputation to the world. By identifying the company’s stakeholders, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and recommending alternative corporate strategies, I think Walmart can hone their potential to be as respectable as they are inexpensive.

Stakeholder Analysis

Because they are such a large corporation, Walmart has many groups and individuals that have a stake in their well-being.

Market Stakeholders:
Walmart’s market stakeholders are groups and individuals who are directly engaged with the company. They include Walmart’s stockholders, employees, their customers, the communities in which they operate, the government, their investors, suppliers, and creditors. Walmart’s market stakeholders are very important to the problem Walmart has with their public image for several reasons. Their stockholders, the government, their investors, creditors and suppliers are effected by it because Walmart pays them based on how much income the company generates. With their aggressive behavior and constant criticism from the public and hate groups following and chastising their actions, the number of people who choose to shop at their stores may decrease, which in turn decreases the amount they have to pay these stakeholders. Employees are also affected because if Walmart does not do well, they may lose their jobs. Their consumers rely on Walmart’s presence for groceries, pharmaceuticals and clothes and choose to shop there because it gives them an opportunity to save. If Walmart’s unethical behavior continues, they may lose customers and be forced to close some of their retail stores down. The communities in which they operate also have a stake in Walmart’s well being because of the employment opportunities the company offers to those that live around their stores.

Non-market Stakeholders:
Walmart’s non-market stakeholders are groups and individuals who are not...
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