Walmart China Hr Case Study

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Business Type: Case Study Paper: #44000878 Related Topics: China, Wal Mart, Starbucks, Unemployment Rate
Excerpt from Case Study :


Wal-Mart faces significant challenges in the Chinese market. There are many barriers to trade and issues that constrain the company from using tactics that proved successful in the United States. As a result, the company needs to balance being able to follow the classic Wal-Mart business model with being able to handle the unique characteristics of the Chinese market. Faced with these strategic challenges, Wal-Mart needs to have a human resources strategy that supports being able to meet its strategic objectives in China.


The first issues is with recruiting. Wal-Mart aims to have a low cost workforce, implying low wages and flexibility on hours. In China, unemployment in 2005 is at 4.2% and has frequently been lower in recent years, which pushes up wages (Trading Economics, 2015). While there are millions of potential workers who are coming from the agricultural sector, where wages are often barely above subsistence, wage inflation is especially strong in the wealthier areas where Wal-Mart would want to situate its stores. This will pose a recruiting challenge for the company.

Furthermore, Wal-Mart relies on its managerial talent for a large part of its success; it is a very well-run company. The problem is that unlike American business schools, Chinese business schools do not turn out a lot of high-quality managers. Often, Chinese companies are forced to import managers from Taiwan or Hong Kong (Yang, 2015). This would not be an issue if Wal-Mart could simply send Americans over, but as the company is struggling with China-specific challenges, it needs to have Chinese managers....


The better Wal-Mart is at recruiting, the lower is turnover will be and the more it will be able to build institutional knowledge that blends the Wal-Mart systems with the PRC way of doing things (Sanford, 2005).

Recruiting such talent will be difficult, so the company may also wish to consider setting up training and education programs to develop its managerial talent in-house, blending the company's proprietary tactics with elements of doing business in China. Whatever its strategy, Wal-Mart needs a strong managerial pipeline in order to support its growth ambitions in China, and these managers need to be able to work effectively in the Chinese business environment.


Wal-Mart may be able to import some of its own people. Where there are deviations from how Wal-Mart would normally do business -- such as with fresh fish -- the company will need to have oversight from head office. Furthermore, many of the problems that the company has experienced to this point may well have been avoided if it had more of its own people in China, instead of relying on the joint venture partner to supply the talent. There are challenges in sending expats, especially to a challenging place like China, but there is an extensive body of research on the traits of managers who are likely to succeed in overseas assignments (Caliguri, 2000).


Training is definitely an area where Wal-Mart can deliver better performance in China. The company is still fairly new to the country, but it will need a talent pipeline in order to continue to grow. This means setting up a training program to build managerial skills among its workforce and identify potential managerial candidates. The training program should identify key needs -- such…

Sources Used in Documents:


Caliguri, P. (2000) The big five personality characteristics as predictors of expatriate's desire to terminate the assignment and supervisor-rated performance. Personnel Psychology. Vol. 53 (1) 67-88.

Sanford, J. (2005). Making cents out of the hiring process. HR Management. Retrieved March 24, 2015 from

Tang, Z. (2011). Starbucks buys back control of stores. China Daily. Retrieved March 24, 2015 from

Trading Economics. (2015). China unemployment rate. Trading Economics. Retrieved March 24, 2015 from
Yang, D. (2015). Mid-level management talent issues in China becoming severe. Frontier Strategy Group. Retrieved March 24, 2015 from

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