Motivational Practices at America's Best Managed Companies Essay

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Organizational Behavior -- Walmart

Organizational Behavior - Wal-Mart

Organizational behavior is critical components in a company in order help to determine the effectiveness and efficiency. When we look at organizational behavior, we are looking at how an individual acts or relates to each in a working environment. There are certain key components that as we look at this organization that we focus on, such as this organization's culture and their communication and their diversity. In addition, their efficiency or effectiveness or lack thereof is observed. The organizational structure and OB theories at Wal-Mart are shown as the key success factors influencing employee performance and commitment. Even with the frequent visits by the labor officials in relation to the way it treats employees has not watered down the company's efforts of remaining competitive in the industry. This study has offered some succinct measures that the company has implemented in terms of reward systems aimed at fostering employee commitment and productivity.

I. Introduction

Wal-Mart has gained massive popularity following their always low cost leadership technique. However, along with this achievement has come criticism on the value of their products and the ethics behind their techniques. Wal-Mart Inc. was established on concepts designed by Sam Walton. These concepts demonstrated every day by hard-working and helpful affiliates have designed an exclusive organizational culture that is the key to Wal-Mart's advantage against their competitors. The primary values directing Wal-Mart Inc. are:


Respect for the Individual- opinions of each associate is highly respected. Managers are regarded "servant leaders" who help new affiliates recognize their potential through coaching, compliment and beneficial feedback.


Service to the Customer- The client is always right. Everything possible is done to ensure shopping at Wal-Mart a pleasant and friendly affair.

II. Key issues

Since 2007, worker motivation at Wal-Mart has not enhanced. A few months ago, Business Expert revealed that working at Wal-Mart "is worse than Costco or Target." Employees also belittled Wal-Mart for making more money at the expense of its employee's well-being. Discrimination is rampant in the company. Wal-Mart discriminates against women in job assignments, promotions, training and pay. Activists and lawyers say that more than 70% of Wal-Mart's sales affiliates are females while only a third of managers are women (Carrigan, 2010).

Critics claim that Wal-Mart is generating profits at the expense of associates' benefits and salaries. Two-thirds of employees do not have medical insurance because they cannot afford it or are eligible. Employee earnings average is about 30% less than union members in the retail food store industry. So the organization is also experiencing legal cases from employees who were forced to work off time, in some cases claiming they were locked in stores. Wal-Mart's interest in the lives of its employees has plunged the company into trouble because of electronic eavesdropping. The company has been illegally recording private conversations of its employees. The company is well-known for opposing labor unions. As such, it has been labeled the "reigning enemy of organized labor unions." The company is a resolute anti-union in the country. Because it has defeated all union organizations at its facilities, Wal-Mart has evolved into a bully, holding onto the rule of employment-at-will. This prerogative has seen the company fire employees for no legal reason. This rule permits the company to withdraw lawsuits based on the employment-at-will rule (Silver, 1987).

Defining the central issues

Regardless of Wal-Mart's size, their groups of stakeholders match those of any other publicly traded organization. There are two types of individuals with an interest in the activities of the organization, inner stakeholders and exterior stakeholders. Internal, stakeholders include the owners (stockholders), workers and the board of directors. Externally, there are many stakeholders that range from clients, lenders and creditors to the government and the opponents affected by Wal-Mart's existence.

The company's mission and vision will always match the objectives of the stakeholders. To do otherwise would be to invite problems. How the organization functions confirms how well the goals fit. Wal-Mart's objective and mission statements focus completely on the client. The company's mission fits well with the most obvious objectives and goals of this stakeholder, better living for less by concentrating on saving people's money so to support better living standards.

Another important Wal-Mart stakeholder is its workers. While mentioning of workers is clearly missing from the company's mission, their web page spends several WebPages to the topic of worker interaction. These WebPages explain a positive employee culture where the affiliate is a respected and valued member of the team. The web page describes that workers can depend on an open door policy, which demands that employees be handled with regard, and paid a reasonable salary. The site also informs some of the many benefits, such as medical care, available to Wal-Mart workers. These mentioned policies are according to what the common working person would see as being arranged with their personal objectives and goals, employment with reasonable treatment and a good salary and benefit program (Lefcoe, 2005-2006).

ii. Outline the values of Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart workers have been demonstrating in demand of better working conditions and a living wage at the organization where the lowest-paid workers make an average wage of $18,720 before taxation. Due to their low salaries, many Wal-Mart workers depend on SNAP benefits for a living, amounting to what is described as a company subsidy funded by taxpayers. Wal-Mart has an interest in acting according to a moral standard higher than what is expected or required by law is challenging. The very nature of organizations as profit-accumulating systems opposes and undermines their ability to control themselves. In this case, it is challenging because Wal-Mart not only derives profits through the impoverishment of its own workers, but extracts a large part of its sales from a continuing platform of impoverished customers.

According to Sam Walton, the Wal-Mart hero started the organization in 1962 with an objective to "raise the quality of life by providing affordable goods" to an incredible number of People in America, especially low-income family members and the poor. However, the very substance of Wal-Mart appears in direct contradiction with its objective to "raise the quality of life." Persistent cost-cutting and competitive market share expansion to keep its rate of profit forms the primary dogma of its religion. Following this dogma, its "army of priests" emphasizes on practices that seem to do anything but increase the quality of life for its workers and people in the larger society (Harris & Kleiner, 1993).

iii. Outline the elements of culture

Commitment to discounting permitted Walton early success, but other contenders followed similar techniques in the 1960s, and Walton was in those days, just one of many discount suppliers. Walton was dedicated to the concept of discounting and offering products at a cheaper price than any opponent and this focus led him to numerous innovations.

Walton was one of the first suppliers to adopt computerization. It was this commitment to performance through access to information that promotes the company's use of technology that is now known as "Just-in-Time" inventory management. The concept behind Just-in-Time inventory management is that by offering products to an outlet instantly as the need occurs, stock expenses can be reduced considerably. As such, it needs significant amounts of details, but Walton's initial commitment to computerization made obtaining this level of details possible. Walton's strategy of centralizing his business locations between communities and offering a single huge shop, rather than several smaller sized ones also permitted him to access reduced expenses and consequently offer affordable prices. One thing that cannot be declined is that Wal-Mart has brought reduced prices in a huge part of the country, and Walton's business methods have become standard practice in diverse sectors, which only increases his influence. Simply understanding that people want cheaper prices and finding impressive ways to offer them made Sam Walton a Hero.

In terms of training, the company refers to its workers as "associates," and motivates managers to think of themselves as "servant leaders." Such encourages them to serve others while remaining focused on accomplishing results in line with the organization's integrity and values. An organization's technique demands behavior need for achievements and the use of HR strategies in the company can compensate and control worker actions. Therefore, the company should apply HR practices that motivate the worker actions that are reliable with the organization's strategy. Wal-Mart tries to modify the worker behavior and capabilities to what the company's strategy needs; to reduce the cost through coaching. This reasoning is embodied in its "lock-in" of its nighttime working time in various facilities. Wal-Mart tries to avoid "shrinkage" behavior of its workers, to remove illegal smoking breaks or fast visits home through this policy.

Wal-Mart's management routines and strong culture are very exclusive. At the individual level, most of its primary competencies are short-term aggressive benefits, but these capabilities form a maintainable primary competency leading to excellent productivity. These primary capabilities make it challenging for competitors to recognize which primary competency is crucial for Wal-Mart's achievements. Therefore,…[continue]

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