The Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Company has been known as the provider of comparatively cheap goods and services of a rather impressive quality for years. The company’s motto has always suggested that a very strong emphasis should be placed on the needs of customers; as a result, Wal-Mart has been the focus of modern media’s attention as the promoter of global responsibility.
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However, a recent study has revealed that the organization seems to have succumbed to the idea of pushing a set of very rigid rules and restrictions on its staff in order to promote quality and customer satisfaction. The specified issue needs to be addressed immediately so that the organization should not lose its position and clientele.
The above-mentioned alterations should be carried out in a manner that would not prevent the company’s current economic, political, civil and environmental status. Seeing that the company makes a consistent effort in order to maintain politically neutral, as well as support the ideas of green policy and sustainability in the global economy, a shift in priorities towards the needs of the staff may jeopardize Wal-Mart’s current plans regarding the above-mentioned issues.
Therefore, an elaborate approach towards managing the social, economic, environmental and political issues needs to be designed. The above-mentioned alterations can be carried out with the help of a change in the leadership strategy and the promotion of better flexibility for the staff in terms of their choices and workplace decision-making.
Introduction: CSR from the Perspective of Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart has always been known as the company that supports the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, thus, promoting it among not only its staff, but also every stakeholder involved, including other organizations that operate in the global environment. According to Wal-Mart, CSR should not only be implemented in the organizational environment, but also taken to the new level of global responsibility (2013 Global Responsibility Report, 2013).
Current Vision and Value Statements: Helping Save Money
Wal-Mart has always had a very sharp focus on the needs of its customers, and years of development have not altered the specified approach significantly. If anything, the organization’s experience has only added several areas to be addressed in its current mission and vision.
While previously, the focus of Wal-Mart was primarily on the financial aspect of the clients’ wellbeing, the company has recently embraced a wider idea of customer friendly service. To be more exact, the firm has suggested reconsidering the production process to gear it towards green economy, therefore, addressing the health concerns of the stakeholders involved (Grant to support local green economy, 2014).
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Current Programs Related to the Three Spheres and the Environment: Zero-Waste-to-Landfill
Wal-Mart has recently deployed a program that allows for reducing the negative impact of the company on the environment. Called Zero-Waste-to-Landfill, the program presupposes that the total amount of waste produced by the organization should be reduced to minimum and that landfills should not be used as the key to maintaining global sustainability and promoting it to other companies.
In addition, the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) can be viewed as the company’s attempt at enhancing the concept of “global social responsibility” (2013 Global Responsibility Report, 2013, p. 23) in the realm of contemporary business
Recent Events Related to Current Programs: Expo and the Milestone Meeting
Apart from creating a range of programs that allow for enhancing sustainability within the organization, Wal-Mart has arranged several events related to the programs in question recently. Particularly, the launch of the Wal-Mart Sustainability Expo and the 2015 Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting deserve to be mentioned as the key steps in the right direction.
Indeed, the Expo created the premises for enhancing awareness concerning the issue of sustainability among the key stakeholders, including not only the company’s customers, but also its partners and media. As a result, the event contributed significantly to the promotion of the idea of green economy and sustainability in business: “8 food companies vowed to ensure a #sustainable and #affordable food supply at last week’s #WalmartExpo” (#WalmartExpo, 2015).
Seeing that the event is not only recurrent, but also ongoing, i.e., it is still taking place, as the recent tweets from the organization show ((#WalmartExpo, 2015), it can be assumed that Wal-Mart has managed the promotion of sustainable ideas into the global economic environment quite well.
The 2015 Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, in its turn, has also had a major impact on the promotion of green economy among the rest of the organizations.
Particularly, Wal-Mart invited the members of the meeting to discuss the issues regarding the enhancement of sustainability, from rather down-to-earth ones, such as the use of battery storage cells (Walmart, 2014, 00:23:46), to more global approaches, such as the idea of serving customers (Walmart, 2014, 00:40:27) and, thus, promoting a safer environment for the latter to live in.
Reported Stakeholder View of Programs and Actions of the Company
Needless to say, most members of the global community are more than enthusiastic about the idea suggested by Wal-Mart. Though not being new, the approach towards improving sustainability rates by reconsidering the waste production and disposal is admittedly efficient. Moreover, the program in question has been supported with several related events, which means that it is going to have a rather impressive longevity and, hopefully, a significant impact.
Wal-Mart’s Current Economic Status
Employee Relations: A Major Dent in the Company’s Policy
At its core, the approach adopted by Wal-Mart towards its staff seems rather reasonable. The company acknowledges the needs of the staff and agrees to meet them, also paying major attention to the issue of diversity in the workplace (Diversity & inclusion, 2015). The specified measures seem quite enough to create the environment, in which positive employee relations could exist.
A recent study, however, has shown that the actual relationships between the company’s managers and employees, though, are far from being stellar. Far from it, a range of employees feel that their rights are consistently being infringed by the organization. The specified phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the company’s focus on the customer satisfaction rates gear the corporate policy towards meeting the clients’ needs for the sake of the needs of the staff.
In lieu of creating the company that would support every single stakeholder and promote sustainability at not only the environmental level, but also at the economic and social one, therefore, suggesting that every single stakeholder will have their demands met, the organization has created the environment, in which the staff literally gives its best in order to enhance the production process without receiving any major incentives.
More importantly, some of the people working for the company mention that Wal-Mart resorts to infringing the rights of some of its staff. The specified characteristics of the organization are clearly a reason for a major concern.
Corporate Culture: Saving Money, Living Better
The corporate culture of the organization is geared towards satisfying all the stakeholders involved, including customers, investors, business partners, etc. Particularly, the organization puts a very strong emphasis on the customer relationships and customer satisfaction.
The people criticizing Wal-Mart’s strategy, however, have pointed out that the specified approach may backfire, affecting the quality of employee treatment at the organization (The good, the bad, and Wal-Mart, 2015). Indeed, a recent study has shown that the rigid regulations at Wal-Mart may affect the treatment of the staff and drive the rules adopted in the company to the point where they become absurd (Yates, 2013).
Investor Relations: ROI, ROA and Constant Currency
The company bases its relationships with investors on the financial relationships. According to Wal-Mart’s concept of interactions with investors, the availability of the information regarding the company’s key financial transactions, as well as the data concerning the income of the company, allows for a better understanding of the reasons behind the organization’s financial operations without altering Wal-Mart’s strategies much (Walmart reports Q1 FY 16 EPS of $1.03, 2015, p. 12).
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A recent study has shown that the organization is seeking the ways of improving the relationships with its suppliers (Yanrong, 2013). Particularly, Wal-Mart needs to strengthen its position in China and other Asian states, which makes the company locate homogenous modes of operating within different countries and communicating with suppliers belonging to different cultures (Yanrong, 2013).
Plans, Programs and the Related Issues
At present, it is strongly suggested that Wal-Mart should reconsider its attitude towards its staff. While the customer relationships can be viewed as impeccable at present, the rates of staff dissatisfaction seem to have grown out of proportions, which may affect the sustainability rates within the organization and reduce the quality of its production quite a few notches.
Political Status of the Company and the Associated Concerns
According to the official statement issued by the organization, Wal-Mart has recently reconsidered its regulatory structure.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) approach is currently viewed as the ultimate solution to the firm’s issues, as the specified approach allows for carrying out the “environmentally sound recycling of aerosol cans” (Walmart proposal for the non-hazardous management of consumer product aerosol cans under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 2011) as required by the present-day environmental standards.
Adherence to Government Regulations
Wal-Mart also complies with the standards set by the government. Particularly, the company adheres to the principles listed in TISA. The specified measures are taken with the help of communication with the “elected officials and legislative and regulatory bodies at the federal, state and local level” (Government relations policy (CA-15), 2015).
Nevertheless, one must admit that Wal-Mart is geared towards minimizing the role of government in the process of running the organization. The reasons behind the specified tendency are quite obvious; with no state intrusions into the mode of the company’s operations, Wal-Mart will be relieved of the obligations to meet the needs of the staff fully.
For instance, Wal-Mart clearly attempts at pushing the boundaries of the aforementioned TISA legislation: “Walmart, a member of the Coalition of Services Industries, sees TISA as a way to free itself of local government zoning regulations and restrictions on store size” (Gould, 2014, p. 9).
As a result, the current conflict regarding the employee treatment issues within the company is supposed to die down, according to the company’s assumptions. What Wal-Mart managers do not realize, though, is that the power of modern media is far too big to prevent information leakage from the firm and, thus, spreading rumors regarding rights infringement in the organization.
Relations to Government Entities
According to the principles of Wal-Mart’s operations, being a government entity is one of the requirements for an organization to apply for one of the programs suggested by Wal-Mart. The official statement regarding the subject matter says that “A recognized government entity: state, county, or city agency, including law enforcement or fire departments, that are requesting funds exclusively for public purposes” (Community grant guidelines, 2015) is one of the key requirements for application.
Programs to Implement
Seeing that Wal-Mart needs the support of its stakeholders at present, it is highly suggested that the company should implement the programs that will create premises for cooperation between Wal-Mart and the state government. As a result, a better management of the company’s core processes with the help of sustainable choices will become an opportunity.
Civil Society and Wal-Mart: Analysis
NGOs (non-governmental organizations)
Wal-Mart has long and rather stable relationships with a range of NGOs. Relying on the help thereof in the time of need, Wal-Mart has created a very strong connection with the specified kind of organizations.
As the CEO of the company assures, “Our track record of success, and the strong NGO partnerships for which we are so grateful, give us confidence that we will make the most of those opportunities” (2011 Global responsibility report, 2011, p. 1). It should be born in mind, though, that in the states such as China Wal-Mart walks a very fine line between responsible management and breaking the existing regulations:
Walmart uses supply chain contracting on a large scale from labor conditions to energy and emission requirements, packaging, sustainable Ösheries, or conflict-free diamonds, to name just a few. Industry surveys show that roughly half of companies surveyed impose environmental requirements on their suppliers that exceed regulatory requirements. (Abito, Besanko & Diermeyer, 2014).
The company assures that it has a great passion for serving the local communities and tending to their needs (2011 Global responsibility report, 2011, p. 3).
As it has been stressed above, Wal-Mart focuses on the needs of customers, the satisfaction of the latter being the company’s prime concern.
Because of the recent issues regarding the staff dissatisfaction and the environmental issues, Wal-Mart has gained a rather negative reputation among some members of the global community. Even though Wal-Mart’s current strategy is geared towards sustainability in all domains, the need to redesign its global image still persists.
Plans and Programs
The plans and programs that Wal-Mart has implemented so far regarding the subject matter tie in with the principle of sustainability promoted within the organization quite well. For instance, the recent Direct Farm Program (2011 Global responsibility report, 2011, p. 5) aimed at engaging the Chinese farmers into economic relationships with the company pursued the goals of creating job opportunities for the community, which suffered from high unemployment rates.
Environment and Wal-Mart: Maintaining Sustainable Use of Resources
Local Environmental Impacts
The sustainable use of resources is currently the highlight of the company’s policy. Therefore, the negative effects produced by the organization on the environment are practically driven to zero.
Global Environmental Impacts
Likewise, the company has been striving to reduce its negative environmental impact worldwide. Wal-Mart has reached outstanding results in its environmental sustainability endeavors. According to the recent reports, Wal-Mart’s environmental impact has dropped to 21,000,000 CO2 per annum (Kroll, 2012), which is rather impressive.
However, recent reports display a rather troubling tendency for the company to tamper with environment (Kroll, 2012). Therefore, the sustainability approach adopted by the company needs to be enhanced.
Plans and Programs
Apart from the green programs, which Wal-Mart has already enrolled in, the creation of a new program that could help the company restore its reputation is highly advisable. Specifically, the reconsideration of the use of exhaustible resources needs to be incorporated into the program, as it will help represent Wal-Mart as the company that considers the future use of resources.
Media Campaign: Wal-Mart Announces Its Global Strategy
Objectives: Striving to Reach a Twofold Goal
Seeing that the company’s reputation is quite vulnerable to the external factors because of the recent issue regarding the needs of its employees not being met, it is essential that the new media campaign should be focused on all stakeholders involved, including the staff. The organization, therefore, needs to acknowledge its past mistakes and make it obvious that it is ready to move on.
The key objective of the global strategy, therefore, is to improve Wal-Mart’s current image and at the same time promote sustainability as the key towards an organization’s major internal processes. Hence, the goal of the company can be described as twofold. In order to reach this goal, the following objectives need to be considered: creating a powerful media campaign, reaching the right audience, and convincing people that sustainability must be the basis for global economy, as well as that Wal-Mart is the embodiment of corporate sustainability.
Media and Audience: Targeting the Right People
For the campaign to have a tangible impact on the organization’s wellbeing, it needs to be launched successfully and attract as much attention of potential and current customers, media and investors. The specified denizens of population can be viewed as the key types of audience that Wal-Mart needs to regain its positive reputation. In order to get in good graces of the specified denizens of the population, Wal-Mart will have to make sure that it is capable of meeting the needs thereof.
Implementation: Making the Campaign Possible
The campaign can be carried out the help of the tools such as modern media. The significance of the latter for promoting an organization in the 21st century can hardly be overrated. Although Wal-Mart already has a Facebook page devoted to its current Expo, the organization will have to go further and invite the people visiting the specified page to interact with each other and the representatives of the company.
Conclusion: Making the World a Better Place
Despite the fact that the Wal-Mart Company may have certain problems with the strategy that it adopts for meeting the needs of its staff, the overall sustainability course that Wal-Mart has adopted can be defined as quite positive. A minor change in the above-mentioned employee relationship issue will help the organization improve its sustainability rate and become even more powerful.
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