Wal-Mart Stores is a multinational retailer in America. Wal-Mart is one of the world's most famous departmental stores. Wal-Mart is a chain of stores which runs discount and warehouse stores. In 2000, the company managed to get the 18th position as being the world's largest corporation in the Forbes list. Wal-Mart consists of over two million employees, and that makes it the largest privately held employer of the world. The company runs the largest discount departmental stores in America. Wal-Mart stores are divided into three groups, i.e. discount stores, markets and supercentres.
The company shares a fierce competition with many big shots in departmental stores such as KMART, Giant Tiger, Target and many others. Wal-Mart has its subsidiaries throughout the world. Wal-Mart is famous among its customers due to its business plan which is based on constantly keeping lower prices on all their products. The company has a strong customer base, which can be determined by the fact that every week, nearly 100 million people shop at Wal-Mart.
The company has been in a spot light for the criticism it received from the workers as well as other labor unions. One of the most highlighted criticism by labor unions and other environmental groups are that the company does not support labor unions. The company has been subjected of several lawsuits by its employees on behalf of bad treatment and over pressurized work environment by the organization. This paper discusses a situation of conflict that had occurred between an ex-employee of Wal-Mart and the organization.
Conflict in Wal-Mart
It is very important to identify what conflict is, and how it is defined in terms of different scholars. Several definitions have been given psychologists describing conflict.
Among many of the lawsuits that have been claimed by the Wal-Mart ex-employees, one of the noteworthy cases was of Julie Roehm. Julie Roehm was a former marketing executive of Wal-Mart. She had filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart was wrongfully terminating her. Ms Julie claimed money from the corporation for her termination, as she had not received any particular reason for termination. On the other side, Wal-Mart counterclaimed for the damages and the cost it had bore as a result of the premature contract termination from Ms. Julie. The company explained that Ms Julie has been terminated on account of illegally taking gifts and other gifts from the agency to which she granted the advertising contract of Wal-Mart. According to Wal-Mart, this act of Ms. Julie was against code of ethics that are being adopted by the organization. During the counterclaim, Wal-Mart also revealed that Ms Roehm had an affair with John Womack, who was her second in command at Wal-Mart.
During the lawsuit, Wal-Mart also revealed that Ms. Julie, along with Mr. Womack, the individual she was having affair with, also enjoyed gifts from the advertising company Draft FCB, an advertising company. Draft FCB has been bribing Ms. Julie and Mr. Womack in order to get the advertising contract of Wal-Mart.
The lawsuit was concluded by Ms. Roehm not receiving any compensation from the company as part of lawsuit. She claimed that she dropped the case as she was not being able to afford the financial burden of the lawsuit any more. As far as Wal-Mart is concerned, they did not file anything against Ms Roehm either, making it obvious that there was lacking from both sides of the party.
This situation is a classic example of conflict that has occurred between an employer and an employee. From part of the employee, there has been a termination of premature contract from the corporation. From the employer's side, there has been a violation of code of ethics that an employee must conform with, in order to perform their duties just fully and honestly. There has been weakness from both the sides of the case. Ms Roehm, being the employee of the company has neglected her ethics, while Wal-Mart has failed to keep a proper check and balance on the businesses of the employees, and has made sudden termination of the employee without any notice.
Nowadays, conflict is regarded as healthy within an organization. It is through conflict that a healthy debate can take place between an employer and an employee, but the conflict that affects the image of an employee, as well as an employer is not at all favorable in any ways to anyone.
Motivational theories that can be applied to Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is one of the biggest privately owned employers in the world, consisting of more than 2 million employees. Wal-Mart has diversity in the workforce. It needs to adopt a selected approach in order to motivate employee. "Motivation is 'an intrinsic response; it comes from inside and cannot be imposed from outside. Motivation comes from wanting to do something from one's own free will'. (Baldoni, 2005, p. 4) There have been several theories presented in the field of organizational behavior that can be applied in organizations. In case of Wal-Mart, the most appropriate theory that can be adopted by management can be the 'Reinforcement Theory."
Reinforcement theory was presented by B.F Skinner. This theory focuses on the behavior of a person and the consequences of the behavior.
There are many components of reinforcement theory and one of the most important components is positive reinforcement. Leaders and manger at Wal-Mart can use the positive reinforcement component of reinforcement theory in order to reward and praise the employees in best possible manner as a token of their appreciation for their work. This will encourage employees to engage in positive behaviors in future.
Role of Organizational Leadership in Wal-Mart
In this particular scenario, the leadership of Wal-Mart can be blamed for the situation to worsen or get out of control. During the lawsuit, Ms Julie had claimed that one of the reasons that she was terminated was because she was misfit in the conservative culture of Wal-Mart. Similarly, the main ground of termination was undesired behavior of MS. Julie. Ms Julie had been previously in the news for her questionable car advertisement in the previous company in which she was employed, which was objection for many people. While that advertisement was quite popular, Wal-Mart would have thought twice before hiring Ms Julie as a marketing executive in their company. Similarly, if affair or personal relationship between two employees were unacceptable in Wal-Mart, there should be some strict policies coming from the leadership of the organization. Even if there were policies, those policies should have been communicated again to Ms Julie when she was caught having an affair with another employee, rather than adopting extreme measure of termination,
Other than that, one more deficiency in leadership of Wal-Mart can be determined by the fact that Ms Julie had enjoyed bribes and perks from Draft FCB, as a result of the advertising contract she has awarded them. She had been using the company's name, granting contracts to her desired company, all this under the nose of the management. Management had no proper check and balance of the employee's activities.
During trial, Ms. Julie blamed CEO of the company for having personal friendship with the suppliers of Wal-Mart, which was against the policies of Wal-mart.
All these things can be found as a lacking of proper leadership of Wal-Mart. After several investigations, it was proved that Wal-Mart CEO did have social terms with the supplier of the company. Although Ms. Julie claim of exchange of gifts and other things were not proved, Wal-Mart CEO did admit that he and the supplier, Mr. Scott families went on vacations together. All this also contribute towards the leadership deficiency of Wal-Mart. The company CEO was not abiding the company's policy of not having social relations, similarly, an employee following the same footsteps, though with some additional cannot be totally…