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Trends In Population Growth And Diversity

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Autor:   •  March 7, 2011  •  2,428 Words (10 Pages)  •  703 Views

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In an ever-increasing world of competition, organizations today must have strategies in place responding to trends in population growth and diversity that could have an impact on an organization's ability to plan, organize, lead, and control. Some factors to be considered include; vendor relationships, population growth, diversity, lawsuits, one stop shopping, and overcoming barriers to new cultures.

Wal-Mart is a huge corporation whose operations are heavily scrutinized by the media, the public, and Wal-Mart's employees. Due to this constant visibility, Wal-Mart's management practices must be sound, consistent, and adaptable to change. The first factor impacting one of Wal-Mart's management functions relates to diversity.

Wal-Mart is an international corporation, in every aspect of the term. The company currently employs "1.6 million associates worldwide through more than 3,800 facilities in the United States and more than 2,400 units in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom" (Wal-Mart Facts: At a Glance). If one were to count all customers that visit the mega-store in one week, that count would surpass 138 million worldwide. How did the company grow from one store in 1962 to the mega-company that exists today? "We have always stayed true to the Three Basic Beliefs Mr. Sam established in 1962: 1) Respect for the Individual 2) Service to Our Customers and 3) Strive for Excellence" says Lee Scott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Five years later, the Walton brothers (Sam and Bud) had reported $12.6 million in sales and had plans to open 24 more stores across the states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The company continued its rapid growth, and in 1991 opened the first international store in Mexico. Eight years later, Wal-Mart expanded to Great Britain

with the acquisition of ASDA. "ASDA, Britain's best value food and clothing superstore, became part of the Wal-Mart family on July 26, 1999," (Wal-Mart Facts: At a Glance).

In 1996, Wal-Mart made its debut in China. However, the superstore had to focus its variety around the lifestyle of the Chinese people. Unlike Americans, Chinese shop for their food on a daily basis, as home refrigeration is well below the average in the United States. In addition, there are food stores in the region that are the same size as any convenience store found in the United States. "Assortment is key, and as of opening day, about 85% to 90% of the mix will be domestically sourced, with the remainder imported" (Andreoli, 1996). Millard Barron, Senior VP and COO of Wal-Mart International, recruited vendor partners earlier in the year, at the National Housewares Manufacturers Association, this annual committee, based in Rosemont, Illinois, had just over 100 attendees. However, only 23 were going to global markets with Wal-Mart. "Although the financing needed to go international may intimidate the smaller vendors, or those that don't have the information or savvy of Procter & Gamble, Nestle or Lever Bros., Barron warned that most vendors can't afford not to develop international relations"(Andreoli, 1996). Barron believes that if the current import trends continue, American brands will struggle to retain shelf space against international vendors, "unless U.S. makers develop global relationships now" (Andreoli, 1996). These vendor relationships are crucial in maintaining a good business rapport, which overall will retain the attraction for American products. "Anything American has a lot of attraction. Consumers there are intrigued with U.S. branded products," says Caroline Lober. Lober is the Newell International sales manager for Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and South Saharan markets.

1. Cultural Norms (Tony)

a. Providing a comfortable one stop-shopping atmosphere for all customers.

b. Over coming barriers in new cultures.

Wal-Mart in the past several years has faced many challenges with employees filing sex-discrimination lawsuits relating to women who allege unfair and unequal wages; there are also claims of union busting. (Karen Olson, March/April 2003 Issue, Up Against Wal-Mart). Workers in 27 states are suing Wal-Mart for violating wage and hour laws. An Oregon jury found Wal-Mart guilty in December 2005 of systematically facing employees to work overtime without pay.

One of the challenges Wal-Mart faces is a sex-discrimination lawsuit, denying promotions and equal pay to 700,000 women. Across the country employees in more than 100 stores in 25 states are trying to unionize Wal-Mart. Another challenge the company faces is the 120,000 employees in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana who are trying to unionize. Wal-Mart sends out union busting teams to collect and throw away union literature and to remove union supporters from their jobs. Wal-Mart has "zero tolerance" for unions.

Wal-Mart settled lawsuits involving 67,000 employees in New Mexico and Colorado, reportedly paying more than $50 million for keeping payroll low, regularly deleting hours from time records and reprimanding/issuing discipline to employees who claimed overtime. This opened up an opportunity to correct those issues with pay.

More than 2/3 of all Wal-Mart employees are women. Wal-Mart has the same 10% of top store managers who are women who they had in 1975. An internal survey conducted by a Wal-Mart executive showed that the company pays female store managers less than men in the same position. This is an opportunity for Wal-Mart to correct the unequal pay system.

Changing the workplace and employees attitudes that respect their rights is a big opportunity that Wal-Mart needs to work on. (NOW Times Fall 2002 article). Providing company health insurance benefits to the employees of Wal-Mart is another opportunity to show to the public that he or she is concerned with the welfare of the workers.

Wal-Mart challenged the class action ruling by asking a Federal Appellate Panel to overturn a judge's order last year that allowed a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the company to proceed as a class-action suit (, Fortune 500).

In the, Fortune 500 article, Wal-Mart has contributed to the American economy. The article stated that Wal-Mart is efficient and has improved American productivity both on their own, suppliers and competitors which help the American economy. Wal-Mart has had the opportunity to be a leader in the use of information technology, redefined consumer marketing and production through data and knowledge of


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