Walmart Ethical Issues at Wal-Mart Case Study

Pages: 4 (1159 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business


Ethical issues at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer within the United States and it is an epitome of corporate success within the country. The organization has also strives to increase its global presence, but has been met with limited success. The primary reason for their failure within the global community is represented by the company's inability to adapt to the local markets, but their emphasis to implement the unchanged American model.

Aside from its business dimension, Wal-Mart is also noteworthy at an ethical level. Throughout the years, the company has often been subjected to accusations of poor treatments towards its staff members, but also towards its customers. At the level of the customers, the primary accusations included the company's lack of commitment to high quality products and services, but also a decreased safely level. While the stores are packed with cameras and security agents, the parking lots are not supervised and they represent a constant attraction for crime (Greenwald, 2005); this behavior interferes with the citizenship principle.

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At the level of the staff members, the unethical behavior of the retailer is observed at various levels. At the general level, the underlying idea at the company is that of offering the lowest retail prices possible, and in this pursuit, they often sacrifice the employees. The staff members are often asked to put in long hours and these are not paid. As a subterfuge, the managers will ask an employee to complete a time consuming task minutes before their shift has ended, and then argue that the additional time spent in the firm is due to the employee's inability to complete their assigned tasks within the working hours. This behavior exploits the reliability principle, according to which the employee will commit to the employer.

TOPIC: Case Study on Walmart Ethical Issues at Wal-Mart Is the Assignment

Then, another ethical consideration for Wal-Mart is represented by the treatment of the employees from the standpoint of discrimination. Specifically, the company has been reported to favor male Caucasians in the detriment of minority populations. This behavior has been observed best at the level of middle management promotions, when minorities were disregarded for Caucasian males with lower skills and justification for promotions, breaking as such the fairness principle, as well as the transparency principle.

From the standpoint of compensation, Wal-Mart provides limited benefits. The wages are low, in some cases minimum wages. The incentives to the employees are also restricted, and the most common problem raised by the employees is represented by the poor heath coverage, due to which the individuals were forced to pay large sums in medical fees.

Last, aside from all these issues, Wal-Mart is also accused of violating child labor laws by employing minors in its stores in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Arkansas. "Wal-Mart employed 85 minors, ages between 16 and 17, who performed prohibited activities, including operating cardboard balers and chain saws, which are considered particularly hazardous jobs" (Congress, 2005). In all this setting, the Wal-Mart employees have tried to better protect their rights by forming a union, yet the company prohibits unions and forbids its employees from joining unions. The entire behavior of the organization indicates that it breaks numerous ethical principles.

2. Questions for thought

2.1. Personal ethics and teleological frameworks

A couple of years ago, I worked as an intern to planning the campaign of a candidate to the local elections. One afternoon, I was approached by a 30-something male, dressed in a smart outfit. He represented a local company and wanted me to speak to the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Walmart Ethical Issues at Wal-Mart.  (2012, June 1).  Retrieved August 4, 2021, from

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"Walmart Ethical Issues at Wal-Mart."  June 1, 2012.  Accessed August 4, 2021.