wal-mart case study


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as i am doing my case study on wal mart this presentation would be very useful for me to gather the information plz mail me to sprithivi89@gmail.com

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BACKGROUND NOTE In 1962, Sam Walton (Walton), along with his brother Bud Walton established the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, US. When he established the first Wal-Mart retail store, many people told him that operating a discount store in a small town would not be profitable enough in the long run. However, Walton strongly believed in his business model. Ignoring the critics, he continued to focus on providing good service to customers through his retail stores. Walton understood the importance of building good relations with both employees and customers. He relied on three basic principles to build his retail business: Respect for the individual, Service to customers and Strive for excellence. Thanks to this people-centric philosophy, Wal-Mart registered sales of $ 1 million within one year.

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By 1967, Walton had established 24 Wal-Mart stores, which had combined sales of $ 12.6 million. This success prompted Walton to expand Wal-Mart operations to other places. Over the years, Wal-Mart expanded its operations to many US states and other countries. From the very beginning, Walton laid down two rules that guided Wal-Mart associates (hourly employees were called 'associates') through their work. The first being 'The Customer is always right,' and the second being 'If the customer happens to be wrong, refer to rule No 1.' He encouraged associates to discuss problems openly and created a highly participatory, entrepreneurial and goal oriented environment. Wal-Mart's manpower policies encouraged its employees to make decisions, take risks and even commit mistakes in the cause of customer service. Walton formulated a mission for his associates 'get them, keep them and grow them.' Walton described his relationship with his employees as a 'partnership'...


WAL-MART IN TROUBLE The beginning of the 21st century brought with it a spate of problems for the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart. The company found itself facing one of the biggest lawsuits ever in the history of the US. In June 2001, a former Wal-Mart employee, Betty Dukes (Dukes), had filed a case accusing the company of 'sex discrimination in promotions, training and pay.' Many more employees joined Dukes, and by May 2003, the case had taken the shape of a class action suit. after the plaintiffs asked a Federal Judge to allow the case to proceed on behalf of more than 1.5 million women. Wal-Mart had for long been accused of not treating its female employees in a socially responsible manner. A study of Wal-Mart's own employee data (conducted by some experts hired by the plaintiffs) revealed that women had been discriminated against in many instances. Even the company's internal memos revealed that Wal-Mart was far behind its competitors in promoting women at the workplace. Industry observers said that the company's competitors had employed more female managers in 1975 than Wal-Mart did even in 1999

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Apart from the sex discrimination case, Wal-Mart was also accused of breaking Federal laws that protected the freedom of association of workers. Wal-Mart faced lawsuits (filed in more than 30 states in the US) that accused it of breaking many Federal overtime laws (in some cases, company managers locked stores to prevent workers from leaving the premises). On November 21, 2002, thousands of protestors took to the streets in 40 US cities protesting against Wal-Mart's treatment of employees. Commenting on the situation Wal-Mart was in, Kyle Johnson, Project manager at Domini 400 Social Index, a US based socially responsible investment fund, said, "Wal-Mart is a market leader in retail, yet has not taken a leadership position on labor issues and has been unresponsive to calls for change from shareholders”

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Meanwhile, Wal-Mart categorically denied that its labor practices were unethical and illegal and that its employee hiring and promotional practices were biased. The company dismissed the lawsuits as baseless and said that the litigation was nothing but a ploy to squeeze money out of it.


ALLEGATIONS AGAINST WAL-MART The June 2001 the sex discrimination case filed by Dukes covered all female employees of Wal-Mart retail stores in the US. Wal-Mart was charged with discrimination against its female employees in compensation, promotions and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) . The plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart mistreated women in various ways: they earned much less than their male counterparts even when they had more experience than men or performed better than them. The case also alleged that Wal-Mart prevented women employees from advancing by » Prohibiting them from working in departments that were traditionally assigned to men (and often paid more)...


TAKING A CLOSER LOOK According to the employees suing the company, Wal-Mart's culture and environment were inhospitable to women. The company had reportedly held on to its traditions, including those that made women uncomfortable. For example, the company organized annual quail hunting (a practice introduced by Walton) for only a small group of top managers. Few women, who worked in the lower executive ranks, were also invited. At one point of time, some women suggested that an activity other than hunting would allow more people to participate. The idea was rejected on the grounds that it would interfere with the company's tradition. There were also instances where women executives were forced to go to Hooter's restaurants (known for the titillating dress and behavior of their waitresses) and strip clubs in the course of business events. Moreover, female employees at Wal-Mart were reportedly given fewer promotions than male employees...


OTHERS ALLEGATION AGAINST WAL-MART Wal-Mart was criticized for several anti-employee practices other than gender discrimination. In June 2001, employees accused the company of failing to record extra hours of work, altering time records, and preventing them from taking rest breaks in violation of federal labor laws A lawsuit filed by Taylor Vogue and Sally Mussmann in June 2001, on behalf of Wal-Mart employees, stated that, "Wal-Mart gives its employees work assignments impossible to complete within scheduled hours, and then pressures the workers to complete them anyway through intimidation and threats of adverse employment consequences. At the same time, the staffers are prevented from clocking in extra hours worked." However, Wal-Mart denied the above allegations. Bill Wertz, Wal-Mart's corporate spokesman, said, "The allegations here are completely contrary to Wal-Mart policy. This is an issue that Wal-Mart feels strongly about." Defending its stand, the company spokesperson said that Wal-Mart required employees to take permission from the management before working overtime...


CONCLUSION HRM of any organisation is accountable for such type of unethical issues. In this case we can conclude discrimination between sex is unethical as well as against of human behaviour. Any organisation should not take any descison against law. Human resource manegment should respect individuals.



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