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Did Wal-Mart Wake Up?
How Strategic Management Handled Wal-Mart’s Reputation

[ABSTRACT] The nation’s largest private corporation and retail giant Wal-Mart has faced multiple opposition from labor unions, grassroots organizations, religious groups, and even from its own employees, impacting its corporate reputation and ultimately its bottom line. This case study will demonstrate the strategic communication Wal-Mart used for its corporate reputation management (CRM). In particular, the case describes the company’s response to criticism regarding its current business policies and practices.

Table of Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………3 1. Company History……………………………………………………..5
1.1 Wal-Mart’s Early History: 1960s to 1970s…………………………….5 1.2 Wal-Mart Expands and Goes International: 1980s to 1990s…………...6 1.3 Attack of the Advocacy Groups: 2000 to present……………………....7 1.4 Repercussions…………………………………………………………...8

2. The Issue: Employee Relations and Workers’ Rights…………………9 3. Opposition…………………………………………………………….10
3.1 Labor Union-Funded Groups…………………………………………...11 3.2 Gender Discrimination………………………………………………….12 3.3 Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price……………………………………..13

4. Wal-Mart’s Response……………………………………………………15
4.1 Response to Labor Union-Backer Groups………………………………...16 4.2 Response to Gender Discrimination Lawsuit……………………………..17 4.3 Response to Greenwald’s Film……………………………………………18 4.4 Wal-Marting Across America: Jim and Laura’s Blog…………………….18 4.5 Corporate Social Responsibility…………………………………………..20

5. Did Wal-Mart Wake Up?..........................................................................21

2

Introduction
Starting off with Sam Walton’s idea of low prices in the 1940s, Wal-Mart has since then become the world’s largest public corporation, topping the list of Fortune’s Global 500 for the sixth time in seven years.1 With headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, this retail giant has

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