Custom «Walmart» Essay Paper Sample
1. The major ethical issues that Walmart faces include sex discrimination reflected in promotion and salaries differences, low payment for the work on the background of high profits of the organization, unpaid extra hours that are presented to the employees as doing of a free favor to the company, union resistance, usage of the illegal immigrants’ workforce, overall questionable treatment, and lack of breaks. In addition to that, Walmart is commonly accused of hiring too many part-time workers and forbidding employees to chat during working hours. These issues can affect a number of stakeholders to a greater or smaller extend.
Firstly, the shareholders and investors who get their dividends from the company are interested in its flawless functioning and getting the highest profits. In addition, the manager and the employees who work directly with the customers feel the influence of the conditions and atmosphere created inside the organization. The customers are the next group of stakeholders because the quality of the service the employees provide them with depends directly on the above-mentioned ethical challenges that the workers face. The local communities experience Walmart’s work influence too and can either benefit from it or lose because of its failures depending on various situations. The suppliers and business partners’ successes also depend on the demand of the store. The government is involved in the process because Walmart is a great company and influences the situation in the entire state. In addition, the media and some academic commentators are interested in the Walmart-related situation since it provides various interesting topics for discussion. Finally, the competitors’ position is strongly dependent on the challenges the store meets while it is the strongest player in the region.
2. Gigantic sizes of Walmart primarily predetermine its excessive power. This corporation is a powerful representative in retailing and ensures both all necessary products and jobs to the community creating serious competition for other businesses. Mainly, these two points are crucial in predetermining its relationship with communities. First of all, as a powerful company, it commonly supersedes many other small competitors. As a result, people lose jobs and have to search it in the biggest firm in the region, which is, obviously, Walmart. In such a way, the company becomes the only reliable employer on the particular territory and attracts many people by the fact that it is not likely to be displaced from the business like the small ones. Investigation of the similarity of power manifestation to the employees or communities requires paying of particular attention to the process of labor management in the store. For instance, dealing with the extra-hours work presented as an offer to help, one can see that the truth is that the workers have no choice in the question of agreeing or disagreeing to it. The majority of the employees work “off-the clock” because Walmart is the largest private employer and loss of job is very likely to lead to the failure to find it anywhere else since this great corporation displaces all similar small organization nearby. In the same way, the immensity of the company can hardly leave any good options for the local communities that receive the only variant: to choose Walmart not just for its beneficial prices but also for the lack of competitors in the region. Therefore, the main issue is that Walmart becomes both the only employer and goods provider for the same reason – displacing all the smaller local organizations and becoming a real strong monopolist on the particular territory. As a result, the majority of people believe that Walmart is the stablest company to choose. In such a way, one can see that the position of the company with regard to the employees and business communities can be viewed as similar. The manifestation of power can be defined as the major similar issue in this case. Hence, Walmart controls the community as well as the employees, and its business decisions and transactions become influential for both of these groups too.
3. In order to explore whether the allegations of employees reflect social changes, it is necessary to find the main difference between generations. In fact, one can see that these are the growth of mobility and diversity among younger workers. In contrast to the previous generation, which consisted of people who were devoted to the only one place of work and preferred stability as well as honesty to the new impressions, modern people tend to look for new opportunities, reach new aims, and discuss possible problem quite honestly. In such a way, the search of the approval and recognition of the accomplishments instead of striving for stability characterizes the changing of the social contract.
As for the free-enterprise system, it also has special characteristic: peculiar restrictions related to business and ownership. Therefore, each company has to rely on particular rules when choosing the most effective practices of communication with employees. Managers of Walmart dictate sme of them; these norms are really aimed to ensure the effective work and avoidance of possible interruptions in the working process. For instance, taboo on talks as well as unionization restrictions can be considered as means to keep the work on the effective level. However, unpaid working hours and discrimination cannot be explained from this perspective. Apart from the free-enterprise system rules, the company also cannot neglect changing social demands and social contract. As one can see from the discussion above, it is necessary to understand that the company practices towards employees need to be changed with time. Otherwise, the old system can become inappropriate for the new generation and lead to a number of problems. In such a way, the modern management within Walmart is more oriented on the previous generation that was in search of stability. In contrast, the new one that is aimed to be valued is unlikely to be satisfied with the “off-the-clock working without breaks” or sex discrimination that is widely struggled in the society (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). Modern people are more educated and willing to expect changes. In case the conditions are inappropriate, the conflicts and public discussion raise. In such a way, Walmart can be regarded as an example of how the social contract changes can lead to the negative influence on the company reputation and demand definite changes in employees’ treatment.
4. The labor practices of Walmart reflect primarily immoral actions, of which the managers and superior personnel are aware. The actions that were described in the case study are absolutely inadmissible. Forbidding people to talk during working hours can be a correct decision in case it is the obstacle to maintain the working process but making it a strict rule regardless any situation resembles a kind of slave-owning. At the same time, making employees work extra-hours without compensation and intentional deleting of the working history to reduce the salary are unprofessional and inappropriate methods for a company that worries about its reputation. It is important to notice that this information is not hidden from the senior personnel since they get complaints regularly. In particular, the case has reported that the CEO neglected complaints related to the gender discrimination in payments to the workers. Therefore, all these actions are the conscious immoral choice and aware violation of the moral and ethical norms. In such a way, the management style of the senior personnel in Walmart can be defined as amoral that is making decisions without paying attention to the existing problems. At the same time, from the perspective of the employees, such management style makes the workers feel exploited and disrespected instead of valuing and rewarding for their efforts and achievements.
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5. According to the US law, the employers are not obliged to pay their workers for overtime unless people work more than 40 hours per week (US Department of Labor, n.d.). However, the practices in Walmart show that the company managers use manipulations to save money and make the employees work for free. “Work off-the-clock” is definitely unethical issue because it is often done under the pressure, without the workers’ devotion and proper motivation. In fact, the important issue is making the employees understand for what they get money – whether it is a number of hours they work for or the project they present. Therefore, the analysis of the current question needs to refer to the contract, under which the Walmart employees work, in order to decide how fair the payment is from the perspective of the workers’ awareness. Nevertheless, the working practice “until the job is done” regardless how much time is needed is not appropriate in the sphere of retail selling (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). In fact, such practice can be applied when people work on a definite project. Such tasks are commonly limited in time and imply the definite reward to the worker. Hence, they offer to get high payment in lesser terms. Selling of all the goods cannot be defined as the project, the completing of which would lead to higher salary. Moreover, it is no limited in time. Even though it is better for the owners to sell as much goods as possible within the short terms, this is not a separate project that corresponds to the above-mentioned demands and ensures higher wage as well as bonuses. Therefore, the payment per hours’ number is the most appropriate choice for the big retail store. Instead, the absence of benefits and compensation for overtime work is not just unethical but also unfair from any possible perspective.
6. The situation has to be considered from the perspectives of the employees and employers separately. For Walmart managers, fighting unionization is correct and desirable choice because it helps to secure the existing system and avoid numerous possible complications, which workers’ discontent causes. From Walmart seniors’ point of view, unionization means separation of one family into the small unions, which different individual laws instead of general company rules govern (Carroll & BBuchholtz, 2014). As a result, the discontent of the unions decreases the effectiveness of work and leads to undesired outcomes like searching for solutions through raising of salaries or changing of rules. Such situation is, obviously, not beneficial for the company where the stakeholders want to earn more with minimal expenses. For this reason, being one big happy family is a convenient goal that sounds caring for workers but lets the employers manipulate them without undesirable expenses.
For workers, unionization is a good way to fight for their rights and show the protest towards unfair treatment. In case with Walmart, low payments and insufficient benefits can hardly be fought in a different way than unionization. However, being fired is not the best solution as far as it is quite difficult to find a new job. Therefore, theoretically, it is a good attempt to fight for personal rights but, in reality, job-seekers would search for a company that is stable in the market and offers good benefits for careers. Nevertheless, in this case, it is a serious risk for employees to lose everything. This is why people are hardly willing to fight for unionization in Walmart. Instead, they should rather work like one happy family; but Walmart’s task is to ensure fair conditions and treatment to everyone.
7. The data presented in the case proves that gender discrimination in Walmart is systematic and quite high. Therefore, it really shows that the company is guilty about that, and the corporate culture and mangers if not encourage such discrimination, at least, do not put any effort to struggle it. The gender bias lawsuit of Dukes vs Walmart in 2001 is one of the evidence for that (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). In addition, the case of Gretcher Adams also proves that the discrimination exists. It is important that the appeals of Walmart in the cases that were transferred to courts failed (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). Hence, one can conclude that the number of evidence that prove systematic discrimination is more solid than those that defend company policies. At the same time, there were numerous complains on the level of the organization that were neglected. Moreover, the lower payments for the females and their almost four times lower presence on the managerial positions are the sound evidence of the statement that the discrimination is systematic and quite obvious (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). The females get 5-15% less for the same work that males do. The difference in payment grows with the higher positions of females. The annual difference on the lower positions reaches $1,100 while the female managers lose $14,500 per year (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014, p.659).
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8. In order to answer the question positively, it is necessary to prove that women are really unwilling to get promotions. For now, this has not been proved. In case women really seek for less responsibility, it can be reasonable to avoid promoting them but unreasonable to decrease the payment since the duties of managers do not differ depending on gender. However, in the modern world, where females seek for equality, it is very unlikely that they would refuse or fail to become the candidates to get promotions at work.
For now, the evidence support the existence of sex discrimination in the company, and this statement sounds more solid. The point is that men do not always apply for promotion. Not all males are ruled by the desire for it. They can also want the promotions but not apply for them. Nevertheless, the case study reports that men get promotions much faster than women do (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). This happens primarily due to the company policies, not the actions and desires of the employees, even though they can partially influence the outcomes. With regard to the data that describes the situation, the explanation of the females lesser prevalence on the managerial positions is more likely to rely on the existing discrimination. The reason for that is that the decisions about promoting are commonly done by the experienced people and depend on the professional qualities and experiences of the workers. Therefore, the performance should be the criterion of prescribing responsibilities to the employees.
9. Samakow (2014) reports about numerous lawsuits against Walmart. Some of them were from the customers, like the case of 2013 that made Walmart to compensate the injure, which the falling caused. However, many lawsuits were also from the employees and blamed Walmart for discrimination and unreasonable conditions of work. For example, the sex discrimination case of 2011 against 1.5 million female employees proved that Walmart’s blaming was not justified. However, the lawsuit of the Canadian former manager assistant has led Walmart to the loss of $1.49 million (Samakow, 2014). According to Levin and Ritchie (2015), the reports on harassment at Walmart appear quite often. During five months, there were three cases when the defendants were blaming Walmart for discrimination of transgender and those having same-sex spouses (Levin & Ritchie, 2015). The cases are still under consideration.
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