The Good and Bad of Wal-Mart's Culture
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.
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||1943 - 2003
Wal-Mart was the biggest company in the world. With sales at a quarter of a
trillion and over 1.3 million employees, it was the biggest retailing success
ever. A lot of Wal-Mart's success was attributed to the strong and pervasive
culture at the company, which was developed and nurtured by founder Sam Walton.
In over four decades of operation, Wal-Mart managed to retain most of the
elements of culture it had when it first started out, as well as the
entrepreneurial spirit which often drives startup companies to success. The fact
that the company's growth rate was often in double digits bears this out.
Wal-Mart's culture was characterized by an orientation towards customer service
and providing the best value at the lowest prices.
Employee well being was also given a lot of
importance and the company tried to project an image of a
socially responsible entity.
However, despite the positive aspects and strength of the
culture, there were a number of issues on which Wal-Mart was
severely criticized. In the light of the number of law suits
filed against the company, the top management realized that
there were drawbacks in the culture of the company and began
taking steps towards correcting them.
» Trace the roots of the culture that supports the growth and success of a
company; in this case, the largest retail organization in the world
» Analyze the elements of culture fostered by a company and how they support the
company in achieving its basic mission
Wal-Mar, biggest company, world, sales, quarter, trillion, 1.3
million, employees, biggest retailing, success, strong,
pervasive culture, Sam Walton, four decades, operation,
entrepreneurial, double digits, customer service, best value,
lowest prices, image, socially responsible, entity
Good to Great
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