Good Research Paper On Walmart
Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
Today “Walmart” is a household word. It is difficult to drive down a street without seeing one in business, or witnessing one swiftly being built. Between Mega-stores and grocery-pharmacy sublets, Walmart has always strived to be a one-stop-shop for their customers, since the store’s conception in 1950. Founded by Sam Walton in Bentonville, Arkansas, few if any dreamed Walmart would ever become the titan of industry that it is today. What was once a simply grocery store in one state, expanded over the next six decades to include every state in the union, as well as over fifteen countries. Walmart is seemingly unstoppable.
Walmart is such an all-consuming business; it can be easy to forget its innocent, meager roots. According to Margot Meeks and Rachel Chen, Walmart began only as a pharmacy. Slowly, over the next few decades it expanded to include lawn care items, automotive equipment, and clothing. An entire mechanic station and a grocer section followed. These all-in-one stores were, emerging in the 2000’s, were known as Mega-Walmart; they provided the consumer with everything they could want from a department store and a grocery store. As of 2013, Walmart’s mission statement was, “We save people money so they can live better.” They are living up to their mission statement in many ways by outselling opponents, cutting prices, and offering deals such as “coupon matching,” meaning if customer brings in a coupon for any competitor advertising a product both retailers sell, Walmart will match the price of the competitor if it is lower than their own .
Walmart has been attempting to maintain speed ahead of the pack as a high performance organization since it began breaking away from other retailers in the late 1980’s. Profitability was a concern to sustain Walmart financially, but the corporation also needed to build trust with the public in the form of human capital. Customer friendly policies concerning returns and pricing were put in place to establish this. The famous “Walmart Greeters” were also introduced . The aim was to use these new ideas to make Walmart for personable and friendly; the business model assumed that human capital would eventually equal a higher financial success rate and, thus, stability due to loyalty to the brand. Walmart was a good company but when it was able to transition to a trusted public name, it became a great company. At the time, management and store leaders were striving to keep lower-level employees and customers happy while treating both parties fairly. Items for sale were from fair to great quality and this lasted long enough to maintain Walmart’s high performance organization brand despite its lackluster performance in customer and employee care, as well as inventory over the past five years . While it may no longer qualify as a high performance organization by definition, the business holds enough sway among other businesses to act as a high performance organization would act.
Walmart’s overall effectiveness is speculative and, many times, subjective based upon the individual and their needs. Employees, overall, are typically unsatisfied with Walmart’s treatment. Walmart’s offered insurance garners an employee’s wages up to $40 every paycheck. Dental insurance costs extra, as does vision. The cheapest insurance available with the company only pays $250 toward insurance, followed by $3,000 deductible before Walmart’s insurance once again pays for the employees medical bills. At this time, Walmart only pays for a percentage of the medical bills incurred. Each year, the number is reset and the employee must pay another $3,000 on their already meager wages. Once a company that was advertised as one to help the working man or woman and their family, will now typically only hire individuals on a part time basis not only to be in a position to pay them less, but to also be in a position wherein they do not have to offer insurance benefits at all. In order to get hired, most stores demand open availability, which means the individual must be available to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as most Walmart locations are open around the clock. These changes over time have increased profits exponentially. They have also allowed new locations to open up in several different countries. Walmart continued down its path as a titan of industry as it began importing many of its products from other countries such as China, India, and Kenya, cutting costs once again. This final change gave Walmart the edge it needed, almost putting companies like Kmart out of business. Essentially, yes, Walmart has changed and made many innovations since it conception. However, the only effectiveness these changes have supported has been the increased profitability in a market saturated with cheaply made goods.
Despite the fact that most of the public, and even many of the employees, are disapproving of how Walmart’s CEO’s now choose to run the company, it is succeeding. The policies once put in place to please the customer and build consumer relations have now been replaced with policies that promise to make the business the most money as possible. They stand to prey on the greed of the public, as well as the employees’ necessity to survive. For example, the only day Walmart closes if Christmas day. They are open, of course, for Black Friday, and for Thanksgiving, which they have renamed Grey Thursday. Deals begin at 6pm on Thanksgiving and continue until the following Sunday, enticing customers to omit spending time with their families and instead spend money on items that were imported from Bangladesh and may end up breaking before the New Year . Walmart was once a family business that wanted to serve families. Now it is simply a business wanting to prey on families. The corporation hides behind the idea people are innately greedy and will simply find somewhere else to shop, even if Walmart were not open. It is unfortunate that Walmart will remain successful given its current business methods and actions.
In the end, I do not think Walmart will survive. There have been many criminal reports filed against Walmart concerning their outsourcing venues. In 2008 a sweatshop in Africa, where it was found that several young boys who had quit school were working in the dark, sewing blue jeans together, collapsed. Walmart had commissioned them. Several of the young boys were killed. Another similar story emerged in China, when a poorly ventilated factory caught fire. With few exits available and over four hundred employees attempting to escape, many unfortunately perished in the tragic accident. In yet another, relatively similar story, a Walmart in Mexico was not kept up to code and, unsurprisingly, began to collapse with customers still inside. Once again, death ensued. Currently, headlines like these are still relatively easy for Walmart to sweep under the rug. Eventually there will come a day when the cheap prices within the store do not match the pricelessness of a human live. The public will see Walmart has gone from a family business to a mountain of corruption and they will decide to take their business elsewhere.
In sum, Walmart as a company has changed greatly since its initial conception. It began as a small family business in the mountains of Arkansas and, with swiftly growing profits, began to blossom throughout the states. Slowly it became more than a pharmacy as the business became an all-purpose department store, where customers could stop in for everything they needed all at once. Sales soared, as did customer relations. Unfortunately, customer relations took a backseat as more policies were put in place to ensure sales would continue to rise, regardless of the risk to employees and customers. Walmart, though no longer the high performance organization it once was, still reigns supreme as a department store. The world will see if a day comes when low prices begin to matter less to consumers than their own dignity.
Meeks, M., & Chen, R. J. (2011). Can Walmart Integrate Values with Value?: From Sustainability to Sustainable Business. Journal of Sustainable Development, 57-69.
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