Ethical Issue's at Wal Mart
Wal-Mart Stores Inc receives a lot of negative publicity from media and news organizations.
I worked in the Marketing Department for one year; I saw the truth and lies within the organization.
The one visible unethical procedure was favoritism. I saw it more and more as time went on. The problem
with favoritism at Wal-Mart is that it's obscured deep within their corporate culture. The top-executives
will disagree, but the truth still remains that the company utilizes favoritism on a daily basis. The main
offense is during the promotion period, they avoid female managers, employees with degrees, and employees that
are labeled as non-Wal-Mart people. What is a non-Wal-Mart person? It is an employee that did not spend their
entire carrier working there, not part of a company niche, has an education or seeking, supports a union, and voices
opinions that differ from company vision. Any of the following would label the employee as a non-Wal-Mart person and
hurt their chances for promotion. In this manuscript, I will examine the ethical issue, my personal values that were in
conflict, potential outcomes, and consequences to the company.
The ethical issue is favoritism in the work place. The people involved were the Department Managers
and the General Manager of the organization, more specifically during the promotion period. For example,
a job for a Front -End Supervisor position has been posted, two employees sign-up for an interview. The
first employee called subordinate A, has an M.B.A, fifteen years experience as a manager in the retail industry,
and has been working for Wal-Mart Stores Inc, for two years. Subordinate B, has a 9th grade education, no
experience in management or retail prior to Wal-Mart, and has been working for the company for one year and
has a poor attendance record. They both received the same rating on their ninety day evaluation, who does the
manager pick for the position? The answer is subordinate B. Subordinate B got the job, because his kids play
with the General Manager's kids at school. I have seen this often during my employment at Wal-Mart.
Conflict of Values
Wal-Mart's operational strategies in regards to promotion, conflict with my personal values.
I don't believe in giving someone a job because they are friends of yours. I think this type of
behavior is unethical and should be avoided. Managers are behavior role models to other employees.
The circumstances that were mentioned earlier caused a lot of employees to become disgruntled. It became
apparent from all levels of the store that performance meant nothing and it was who you knew that mattered.
Outcomes and Consequences
The outcome of this unethical behavior is lawsuits against the company. Even with record lawsuits world-wide,
the company continued to show favoritism during the promotion period. Wal-Mart has an unimaginable amount of
lawsuits pending. The news paper USA Today said,
By its own count, Wal-Mart was sued 4,851 times last year - or nearly once every two hours, every day of
the year. Juries decide a case in which Wal-Mart is a defendant about six times every business day, usually
in favor of the Bentonville, Ark., and retail giant. Wal-Mart lawyers list about 9,400 open cases.
No one keeps a comprehensive list of all the nation's litigation, but legal analysts believe that Wal-Mart is sued
more often than any American entity except the U.S. government, which the Justice Department estimates was sued
more than 7,500 times last year. Dozens of lawyers across the United States now specialize in suing Wal-Mart;
many share documents and other information via the Internet. (USA Today, 2005)
Unethical behavior will catch up to you in business. Wal-Mart managers should understand this,
but they don't follow it. In the corporate level of the company, it seemed this type of behavior
was not visible, but at the store level it was.
The consequences to the parties involved were different. The General Manager still to this day utilize
favoritism within the work place. The department managers have little choice, but to take the employees
he wants for the position. It is a general understanding that you must know someone to get promoted within
this organization. Because of this unethical behavior, I have left the company to be a manager else where,
due to favoritism at Wal Mart.
In conclusion, Wal-Mart must reduce the amount of favoritism during the company's promotion process.
Favoritism seems to be deep within their corporate culture. It may take several years to reduce this form of
unethical behavior at Wal Mart. In this manuscript, I have examined the ethical issue that I was exposed to,
my personal values that were in conflict during my employment, potential outcomes of the company using unethical
behavior, and consequences to the company in the future to come.
Published by Richard Publishing. Copyright, 2005
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