Human Resource Development Essay

Pages: 8 (2517 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

Human Resource Development

Human resources development

Management Development at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the United States and the preferred one stop store of all American citizens. The company was founded in 1962 in Arkansas by Sam Walton, an inspiring man who envisioned a store with an increased selection of products, retailed at affordable prices (Website of the Wal-Mart Stores, 2011).

The success of Wal-Mart was pegged to the attention to details and the ability to serve customer needs, and this was attained with the aid of a skilled and motivated workforce. Gradually however, the emphasis of Walton's successors shifted from customer satisfaction and employee motivation to the creation and preservation of the lowest possible price. This represented the primary competitive strength and the generator of customers, despite generally limited lower levels of client satisfaction.

Generally, it is assumed that Wal-Mart sacrificed customer and employee satisfaction in order to minimize costs and as such retail prices. Robert Greenwald centralized the majority of accusations brought against the retailer in his documentary Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price. Some notable accusations brought against Wal-Mart include the following:

Poor product quality as a result of sustained imports from cost effective regions, and imports completed in sometimes unsanitary conditions

Low quality of the customer services, as the staff are unmotivated and not committed to their jobs

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Low levels of employee satisfaction as a result of minimum wages, long hours -- often unpaid extra hours --, barely existent benefits, inadequate medical coverage and even discriminations. Discriminations were traditionally observed against women and African-American employees, in favor of Caucasian males to be promoted in managerial positions (Greenwald, 2005).

Essay on Human Resource Development Assignment

As a result of the fierce media campaign launched against the company, as well as the amounting trials and the negative impact on the corporate image, the Wal-Mart executives decided to create an organizational plan to improve the corporate image. Some dimensions of the plan include:

The creation of a pleasant working environment in which the staff members are rewarded and motivated. At this level, emphasis is placed on the acceptance and embracing of diversity

The support of the communities in which the firms operates through involvement in charity actions as well as other endeavors

The collaboration with local providers to enhance the quality of the products and provide more fresh produce within the stores

The decision to act in a socially and environmentally responsible manner in which the company supports general well-being (Website of the Wal-Mart Stores, 2011).

The plan developed and launched by the Wal-Mart executives is daring and stands an increased chance of improving the company's public image. Nevertheless, in order for it to succeed, it is insufficient for it to be developed by the top executives and implemented by the bottom workers. It requires the support and attention of the middle managers in order to represent the link between executives and employees and to enforce the new agenda. In this order of ideas, the current plan seeks to support the development of the human resource at Wal-Mart with emphasis on management learning and development.

2. Considerations

Before actually coming to create the plan for managerial development, it is important to take into account several issues which would sit at the basis of the plan created. The first of these considerations is pegged to the need to develop the managers, which in turn is revealed by the important role played by the middle managers. In essence, the middle managers represent the link between the executives that set a company direction, mission and vision, and the staff members who ensure that the company objectives are attained.

Mike Hughes and David Potter (2002) for instance mention that the role of the middle managers has suffered impressive mutations throughout the past recent. Middle managers are no longer just the heads of departments, but they represent change and evolution, they play a crucial part in "the quality of teaching and learning." Given the problems faced by Wal-Mart, it becomes obvious that the development of the managerial team is crucial to attaining company objectives, to developing the staff members and to as such enhancing organizational strength.

Following this line of thoughts, it is now necessary to generate an adequate comprehension of the concept of management development. According to Karen Bright, management development represents a process by which the effectiveness of individual managers is enhanced, leading to an overall improvement in the very performance of the managerial act. Jim Stroup defines the concept as "a planned learning process that may include mentoring, training, college courses, and job rotations to prepare employees with the skills required to manage the day-to-day work of an organization."

At an organizational level, it is noted that managerial development is not an isolated program, but it represents a business model which has to be integrated at all organizational levels. In other words, the plan for the development of the middle managers at Wal-Mart will have to be universally accepted and implemented, as well as integrated at a corporate level.

Ultimately, it is noted that the manager can only lead the staff members if and when they implement the values they preach. In contexts in which the managers only create the culture and do not implement it, the staff members are unlikely to implement it themselves. A relevant example of ineffective organizational culture was revealed at Enron, where fraud and embezzlement was common at numerous levels and with various employees, as this model was implemented at the top management level (Lipman and Lipman, 2006).

The final two considerations which are introduced at this stage both refer to individuality. The first sees that the staff members are unique and individual creatures and that the development program taught to the managers could prove unsuccessful in dealing with all staff members. Also, the managers are individual beings which might perceive and apply the program in different manners. Based on this realization, it is necessary to ensure an in depth process of managerial development by which the managers are taught not only basic principles, but basic knowledge to themselves apply and customize in specific situations.

The second consideration refers to the fact that Wal-Mart is not a company specialized in managerial efforts. They are recognized and successful in retailing and the strategic efforts pegged to these operations, but it has to be realized that Wal-Mart is not specialized in managerial efforts. In this order of ideas, the plan proposed through this endeavor should be reviewed by the company executives and adapted, if necessary to company particularities. Additionally, it is advisable that it be further personalized and implemented with the aid of a team specialized in managerial training and development.

3. The management development plan

The management development plan to be implemented at Wal-Mart is based on the gradual completion of the following steps.

1. The clear delimitation of the organizational goals. It is essential at the initial stage to define the goals of the company, to integrate them within the company mission and to ensure that they represent the final scope of all processes and operations to be completed. It is as such necessary to clearly communicate these goals in a means in which it becomes clear that they are not redundant and they are well understood by the managers.

2. The definition of the goals of the management development program. At this level, the primary scope is that of forming highly skilled and capable managers able to support the company's attendance of the established goals. At this stage, it is important that the goals be SMART, namely specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time framed (Hoeger and Hoeger, 2008). The program is also expected to create managers which are able to efficiently communicate and constructively interact with the employees, to as such ensure that they also support Wal-Mart in attaining its greater objectives.

3. Executive commitment. As the direction of the firm and the objectives of the program are cleared, it is now crucial to ensure that the management development is not just a generic name in an effort to improve corporate image, but that it in fact represents a real effort to improve the company's internal structures and processes. When the executive managers are not interested in the project, this is doomed to failure. In order to prevent this outcome from materializing, "it is essential that managers lead by example and go through the process themselves. They should also be held accountable for leading the process with their employees" (Cornerstone Connections, 2010).

4. Identification of organizational strengths and weaknesses. At this level, it is crucial that the firm identified its weaknesses in order to limit them, as well as its strengths, in order to capitalize on them (Jacobson, 2010). At the level of the weaknesses which need to be improved, these include low levels of trust on the part of the employees, but the strengths include increased access to resources and powerful business image and capability.

5. Allocation of the necessary resources. Wal-Mart is a large size entity,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Human Resource Development" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Human Resource Development.  (2011, May 10).  Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Human Resource Development."  10 May 2011.  Web.  11 May 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Human Resource Development."  May 10, 2011.  Accessed May 11, 2021.