Wal-Mart Ethics Case

Topics: Employment, Public relations, Wal-Mart Pages: 5 (2004 words) Published: November 28, 2012
Wal-Mart is the largest grocery chain in the world, second largest company on Fortune’s 500 2012 list, and the largest employer in North America. Wal-Mart is faced with many dilemmas and issues that can be expected of such a large and imposing organization. These problems include environmental issues, employee’s issues, leadership issues, supplier issues and creating an uncompetitive market. This is not an exhaustive list, and Wal-Mart has other dilemmas as well, but this paper will concentrate on the issues involving Wal-Mart interaction with employees and the problems Wal-Mart faces with them. Wal-Mart employees’ relations have been a dilemma for various reasons. One reason is that Wal-Mart has been criticized for not paying a decent wage or providing enough benefits. Another issue that Wal-Mart has with employee relations is Wal-Mart’s stance as not allowing any unions in Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart has also faced problems with discrimination and the allowed hiring of illegal immigrants. All of these are a dilemma for Wal-Mart because it is such a large employer and is well respected by other employers. This puts Wal-Mart in a corporate leadership position and the way in which Wal-Mart handles situations with employees is viewed by other corporations as potential solutions to their employee problems. This is also dilemma for Wal-Mart because it is such a large employer and its decisions affect a great number of people. Wal-Mart employs over 1.4 million people in the United States alone, encompassing 1% of the U.S. work force. At the same time Wal-Mart wants to remain the low-cost leader in the grocery and box stores market. The conflicting forces that Wal-Mart must try to balance are maintaining their leadership aspect while maintaining healthy relationships with employees and customers. There are many stakeholders involved in this dilemma. These stakeholders include Wal-Mart’s employees, Wal-Mart customers, Wal-Mart’s competitors, and the unions. All of these stakeholders have the ability to influence decision concerning employee welfare, within the organization, as well as being influenced by those decisions. The first stakeholder mentioned is the employees for Wal-Mart. Employees are considered supportive stakeholder for the most part, although they can also be considered mixed. This stakeholder is important because Wal-Mart employees so many people, but it is also important because Wal-Mart wishes to stay competitive in the market place. One way to stay competitive is by recruiting good and hardworking employees who are invested and engaged in their work. Otherwise the employee retention will be low, and the work performed will be substandard. This stakeholder is important also because Wal-Mart’s reputation and commitment to low prices. One way to maintain low prices is by maintaining costs that permit these low prices. One way to keep costs down is to keep wages down and provide lower costing benefits. At the same time, one significant way to retain employees and ensure they are invested in their work environment is by paying them fair wages and providing essential benefits. Wal-Mart employees are also an important stakeholder because Wal-Mart has developed a reputation as being discriminatory in their hiring practices and use of illegal workers. This is important for Wal-Mart, because once again a negative reputation can make it hard to recruit and retain workers. It is also important because a negative reputation can spur litigation and lawsuits that can be initially somewhat costly and end up becoming a burdensome expense, as out of court settlements tend to large. These legal proceedings also garner new headlines and the negative publicity can negatively affect sales, and recruiting efforts. The publication of these problems can also embolden the unions who want to break into and unionize Wal-Mart’s employees. The problem with illegal aliens being used in the work force is a dilemma not only because...

Bibliography: Blodget, Henry. “Wal-Mart Employs 1% of America. Should it be Forced to Pay it Employees More.” BusinessInsider.com. Business Insider, Inc. 10 Sep 2010. Web. Accessed 24 Nov 2012. http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-09- 20/news/30081785_1_minimum-wage-real-wages-employees
Ferrell, O.C. et al. “Wal-Mart: The Future of Sustainability.” Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. Carnegie Learning. South-Western:Mason, OH. 9th ed. 2011.
Surowicki, James. “State of the Unions.” New Yorker. Conde Nast. 17 Jan 2011. Web. Acessed 26 Nov 2012. http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2011/01/17/110117ta_talk_surowiecki
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