Walmart: “Save Money. Live Better.” (Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/business-ethics/pages/11-2-committing-to-an-ethical-view)
With annual revenues of almost half a trillion dollars (2017), 2.3 million employees, and nearly twelve thousand stores worldwide, Walmart is the largest private employer on the planet. In fact, it is bigger than many national economies, including some in the developed world. In 2007, it replaced its longstanding slogan, “Always Low Prices,” with “Save Money. Live Better.”
Largest Private Employers by State.” States where the largest employer is Walmart are Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. States where the largest employer is the healthcare industry are Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. States where the largest employer is the state university system are California, New Mexico, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Maryland, and North Carolina. States where the largest employer is listed as other are Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey.
According to Walmart, ninety percent of people in the United States live within ten miles of one of its stores.What does this say about the nature of for-profit business in the United States? What might such a map have looked like one hundred years ago?
Walmart attempts to demonstrate virtuousness by holding itself out as a responsible corporation, concerned especially for the lower-income families that make up the majority of its customers.16 (Links to an external site.) But the company has experienced problems over the years, including lawsuits over illegal firing of employees, withholding of overtime pay and benefits, violations of foreign workers’ rights, wage violations, violations of child labor laws, and failure to provide health coverage where and when applicable.
Thousands of Walmart’s U.S. employees are also reported to be receiving public assistance to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the Walton family, operators of the retailer that purports to help people “live better,” recently made $12.7 billion in a single day.
If you were an upper-level manager at Walmart, what kinds of decisions would you expect to make regarding the company’s challenges?
As a Walmart manager, how would you view the company’s relationships with its stakeholders, including its employees? How would that view guide your decision-making?
As a company executive, would you try to increase employee benefits? Why or why not?
Instructions for all case studies:
Prepare a paper that is longer than one full page. Please include a header on the paper that includes your name, course section, assignment title and date. Additionally, use headings through out the paper to organize your paper.
At a minimum discuss:
The particulars of the case
The critical issues
The applicable points from the readings that apply
Personal experience with similar issues
Questions brought up in the exercises, and
How you believe most people would act in a similar circumstance.