Walmart Company (also known as Walmart Stores Inc.) handles retail stores in different formats across the globe. In the United States, Walmart operate the following retail store forms such as discount stores, supercenters, neighborhood markets, Sam's clubs and marketside. Outside the country, Walmart operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, India, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, Nicaragua, UK and Puerto Rico. The main headquarters of Walmart is located in Bentonville Arkansas, employing 2.1 million people (Datamonitor 2009).
The company serves 200 million times customers and members per week at more than 8,400 retail units of 55 various banners in different countries. Walmart reached sales of more than $405 billion. Walmart claimed themselves as an epitome of sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Walmart was established in 1962 when they first open Walmart discount store in Rogers Ark. Wal-Mart became incorporated organization on October 31, 1969. The organization's share started trading on OTC markets in 1970. When WalMart is first opened, the main purpose of people to help people to save money. Today, this mission is more valuable than ever to their customers and members across the world (About Us 2010).
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The main vision of the company is "Saving people money to help them live better," but their vision statement related to Global ethics is to "promote ownership of Walmart's ethical culture to all stakeholders' globally" (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).Walmart has three basic beliefs & values that make Walmart as a reliable company. The first one is giving respect for the Individual. Walmart stated that they consist of hardworking and simple people who cooperate to achieve extraordinary goals. While the company's background and personal values could be different, they never take each other's granted. The company encourages those people to state their ideas and thoughts and they treat each other with dignity (About Us 2010).
The second one is their service to their customers. Walmart believes that their customers should be treated as a valuable part of their business. Walmart always ensures that they provide quality merchandise at lowest costs and they perform it with excellent customer service possible. The company always aims to search for every opportunity where the company can exceed customers' expectations. The third one is thriving for excellence. Even though the company has always been proud with their achievements, they were never satisfied. They continuously search for additional ideas and other life. They create and implement policies based on Sam Walton's principles that he will never be satisfied until prices as low as they could be or until the customers achieved what they deserved and expected (About Us 2010).
Furthermore, they also implement open communication to understand the interests of their partners (employees) and customers. Through their open door policy, their partners are allowed to share suggestions, voice and ideas. Managers are encouraged to consider all discussions equally and without bias. As much as possible managers should sustain confidentiality (About Us 2010).
Analysis of Business Management Policies and Activities
The main vision of Walmart's Global Ethics is to encourage ownership of Walmart's ethical values to all stakeholders worldwide. However, the employee should not entirely rely on their vision statement due to its vagueness. How could employees own Walmart's ethical culture? Solving this dilemma requires referring to Walmart's Statement of Ethics, which serves as the business ethics framework for the Global Walmart. Walmart's statement of ethics consists of five parts including the introduction, guidelines regarding how to raise concerns and speak up, ways to lead integrity within the workplace, strategies how to lead integrity within the marketplace and how to lead integrity within the community (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).
The Walmart Statement of Ethics has clear communications strategy for the activities and policies that promote business ethics. One good example is stated in "Raising Concerns and Speaking Up." They stated clearly, that when an ethical concern is raised, they would ensure that the identity whistleblowers are kept private. However, they also warned their whistleblowers not to discuss their concerns to other people. Management will always give update their whistleblowers concerning the investigation, whether it is active or closed (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).
Walmart also provided specific ways and resources how to communicate business conduct concern. If the nature of the problem not serious, it would be advisable to confront the employee who committed a minor misconduct. However, if the problem is something more serious, the employee may use the following resources: open door communications process and calling the local and global ethics office (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).
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Walmart's statement of Ethics provided clear guidelines concerning how they deal ethical related issues within the workplace. This includes alcohol and drug abuse, harassment, inappropriate conduct, non-retaliation, non-discrimination, wage and hour and conflict of interests (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010). One good example is in terms of conflicts of interests. First, they define the meaning of conflict of interest as anything that influence personal benefit that could conflict the interest for the company and ways how conflict of interest could be communicated to the concerned people. For instance, if a recently joined employee owned stocks of a competitor, they should inform the Global Ethics office regarding the matter (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).
Another good example is issues regarding government and political activities. Walmart provided communications strategies for this kind of issue. For instance, if one of their new suppliers appeared on a list of a public agency and if they think they should not do business with them, Walmart stated the they could contact the legal department to determine what should they do or how to solve the concern (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010). However, if the issue involves purchasing a product from government-owned enterprise, they should contact the Legal department or the Global Ethics Office for instructions and recommendations. Ethical issues related to accounting should be forwarded to the internal audit or legal department (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).
Furthermore, while they aim for improving their activities, Walmart did not provided any statement regarding evaluation and continuous development plans for its business ethics framework. Instead, their Statement only states that some guidelines might be modified without notice (Walmart, Statement of Ethics 2010).
Stakeholder theory argues that it will be strategic to the company to address all stakeholder interests, in pursuit of its financial goals. One way of addressing stakeholder's interests is to encourage environmental sustainability since this aims to minimize a carbon emission, which is the cause of global warming and discourage wasteful consumptions of resources such trees, and water so that the following generation would be able to enjoy those resources (Sustainability 2010). Walmart has specific goals in order to minimize greenhouse gases. Their goals to achieve this include designing and operating feasible store prototypes that are 25 to 30% percent more energy efficient and will only generate 30% percent fewer greenhouse gases; minimize GHG and eliminate around 20 million tons of greenhouses gases from Walmart's stores globally (Sustainability 2010).
They attempt to achieve these goals through investing in renewable energy, improving energy efficiency of their delivery vehicles and buildings and minimizing waste from their operations. They also help their suppliers to minimize carbon emissions from their manufacturing facilities, logistics and even in the use of their services or products. Furthermore, Walmart also help their customers in minimizing carbon footprints of their homes and even supports governmental efforts in addressing climate change (Sustainability 2010).
While Walmart provide health and wellness services for their employees, they have their own health and safety workplace issues (Health and Wellness Services 2010). In other words, it would be more prudent for Walmart to focus also on improving the health and safety of their workers, apart from giving wellness services. For instance, they should implement rules and regulations concerning specific dangerous chemicals that their workers should be avoided. In fact, last March 2008, the OSHA had imposed fines against Walmart when they allowed their workers to use chemical acetone for installing ventilators at lab station (Walmart Watch 2008).
Role of Government as Stakeholder
The government acts as stakeholder for Walmart since the former implements rules and regulations that the company should adhere. Walmart also aims to work closely with the governments where they operate through aligning its objective by giving jobs. If Walmart did not fulfill any expectations of the government, the latter have the right to conduct further investigations and file charges against the company. One good example is when U.S. Attorney's Office of California's Northern District started their investigation concerning company's hazardous waste and chemical handling. Any litigation made by the government against Walmart would clearly damage the reputation of the company, especially if these allegations will be proven true (Walmart Annual Report 2010).