Organizational Development at Wal-Mart Corporation

Organizational Development
Since Wal-Mart opened, its first store in 1962 in Arkansas with a mission to bring priced quality products to its customers it has maintained a sound business strategy. This is what has placed the retail giant to revenues exceeding $ 250 billion in the fiscal year 2010. Being a one-stop shopping retail chain with different kinds of stores such as the Wal-Mart neighborhood grocery stores, Sam’s club discount bulk chains and super Wal-Mart.
The organizational development process helps an organization align the workforce with its long-term and short-term goals. Organizational development is about changing people for growth instead on focusing on financial measures. This planned intervention to bring change can be done in various ways. These include employee training, coaching, innovation, talent management, career development and organizational assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of the process ( Mohrman et al, 1989).
Thesis statement: The long-term process of attaining Wal-Mart vision and mission has to be supported by top management to improve its problem solving processes and leadership development.
A collaborative leadership is significant with an emphasis on technological improvements and facilitation by consultants. The process of change is rigorous since it involves the organizations aspects of culture, organizational life, organizational relationship, competition, policies and its performance improvement system. Wal-Mart process involving close to it is over 5000 stores and a 3 million workforce will involve culture change to promote a development culture (Beckhard, 1969). These values include mutual trust and confidence, honesty and open communication, sensitivity and to the feeling and emotions of others, shared goals, and a commitment to addressing and resolving conflict.
Teamwork and technology are vital to the functioning of modern organizations. A sturdy IT system supports an efficient logistics system. This makes it easier for employees to be able to know how individual products are moving store-by-store remotely. The RFID system is also a powerful tool compared to the bar code this motivates employees. With gender, inequality at the top management, which is a discouragement to career advancement the retail chain, has faced criticism. Ever since Sam Walton times the philosophy at Wal-Mart has been making the customer the most influential factor and always the first. By serving the customer first subsequently, the business would serve the society and associates.
The statement of ethics, which is based on three pillars of respect for the individual, service to our customer and striving for excellence, ensure the integrity in the workplace, in the community and the market place. An excellent supplier relationship while still maintaining under dependence on one supplier where it is the company policy to have no single manufacturer having more than 4% of the supplies. Wal-Mart has grown significantly in the last two decades by going global with one of its principal acquisition of the United Kingdom stores chain ASDA thereby strengthening its retail brand. Wal-Mart provided an opportunity to more than 5,000 women internationally to empower and equip them on how to be financially independent. With a strong community involvement, wherever Wal-Mart is located is a magnanimous gesture since it recruits from the local community. The Wal-Mart foundation supports initiatives of education, sustainability, health and awareness as well as equipping employees on how to improve on their standard of living.
Pilferage has a significant effect on profit margin to curb this Wal-Mart has a policy that shares 50 percent of savings from it to the specific stores employees in its incentive plans. In the past Wal-Mart, have developed programs that positively affect serious social concerns such as unemployment and nutritional meals last year it pledged $732 million to support these systems.
The untapped Asian market is a new frontier that could span growth for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the leading retail outlet this means that it is a target of competition both locally and globally. Wal-Mart had a strategy to build large discount stores in small rural towns. The resistance by small local businesses and politicians in small towns to entry of the giant retail chain is an issue of concern. With the market being flooded by cheaper substitute as competition rises Wal-Mart finds itself in an increasingly challenging position. Political problems are a significant challenge in emerging markets where government intervention in business is usually not fair.
Intense price wars from competitors due to fluctuating cost of producing consumer goods and effect of outsourcing of production to low-cost countries. A performance improvement system is put in place with each store being evaluated in terms of the profit relative to its inventory investments it challenges mid management to be innovative. Regional sales, profits and loss are transmitted on the real-time basis providing solid evaluation tools.  Employee alienation and harassment hinders the organizational development process. When people are treated as aliens and disrespectfully they feel unwanted whether this comes from a coworker, a manager, an associate or even a customer. Any inappropriate conduct, which interferes with performance of duties, intimidates, diminishes dignity or creates an unfavorable working environment, violates the belief of respect for the individual.
The management should be committed to maintaining an all-inclusive working environment without bias based on color, ancestry, race, age, sex, and sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, character, disability or even marital status. It is also the responsibility of management to ensure that a solid conflict resolution system is in place, which serves the best interest of the organization in case of harassment.
Wal-Mart mission statement is we “save people money so they can live better”. This is derived from its advertising slogan, which makes it easy to capture and understand. Having a culture that aligns with the mission is the role of organization development process and aligning organizational policies with the long-term goals (van de ven, 1976). The company has adopted a series of policies and principles, which include and not limited to capturing ideas and suggestions from customers, open-door policy, servant leadership, service to customer, respect for the individual and striving for excellence. The ten foot rule of making an eye contact, greeting and offering assistance to customer within a range of 10 feet has improved customer service.
Organizational relationships with guidelines that answer to customers, employees and suppliers should be given the same day they are asked. The statement of ethics ensures a conducive environment for teamwork by giving a room for honest, fair and legal organizational environment. Employee harassment and alienation heavily violates the policy of respect for the individual this hinders service delivery (Bennis, 1969). Operating a business with high integrity was Sam Walton’s principle, avoiding deceptive and disrespectful practices will maintain excellence in the company’s operations. Realistic expectations should be set so as not to be used to intimidate workers. This can be done by having a participatory decision-making system as well as goal-setting system (Collins, 2001). Personal relationships that interfere with any operations should be discussed before hand to avoid conflict of interest in the future.
Organizational Assessment
This is a significant measurement used as a guide in organizational transformation. They provide information about strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to be considered when strategizing for performance achievements. Due to the increased competition and innovations there has been a wider focus on organizational development. Each of the three assessment modes as it distinct merits and demerits based on the usage.
The self-assessment model is where internal parties take part in the evaluation of their performance. The advantages of this mode include it is relatively cheaper, it is more intense since the assessors are familiar with the processes, and collecting information among participants is easier (Nadler, 1977). The disadvantages of this assessment mode include prerequisite knowledge and attitude can undermine the effectiveness since participants might be biased on some issues. Another shortcoming of the model is that consistency and interpretation of results might vary.
Hybrid managed assessment model is where independent but internal parties are in charge of organizational development as well as measuring the performance. Being an independent internal party their evaluation might be compromised by top management but they offer a more objective evaluation of the process (Nadler, 1977). A better organizational familiarity and assessment trends are achieved at an added cost of maintaining departmental resources and personnel.
Managed assessment model involves a third party collecting information from the participants and doing an analysis of the data provided. Professionals with the tool mastery in most cases give a reliable, objective and consistence assessment (van de ven & Ferry, 1980). This mode provides an opportunity for comparison across the industry with competitors. Due to lack, familiarity with processes some crucial information might be left out in the assessment is a shortcoming of this model.
In the case of Wal-Mart the hybrid, assessment is the most appropriate. Using the right to excellent diagnostic tool, which evaluates performance in five different concept groups grades are assigned on a scale of a-f. The criteria used focuses on leadership, sustainability and organizational culture. By further considering, the three outputs which act as a measure of the concept implementation, which include impact on community, surpassing the mission and endurance beyond any changes (Collins, 2001).
Beckhard, R. (1969) Organization Development Strategies and Models, Addison – Wesley, Reading, MA
Bennis, W. G. (1969) Organization Development: Its Nature, Origin and Prospects, Addison Wesley
Collins, Jim. (2001). Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap And Others do not.   New York. NY: Harper Business.
Mohrman, A., Mohrman, S., Ledford, G., Cummings, T. & Lawler, E.E. III  (1989) Large-Scale Organizational Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Nadler, D. (1977) Feedback and Organization Development: Using Data-Based Methods.  Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Rouse , William B. (1999). A Theory of Enterprise Transformation. Systems Engineering 4, no.     2: 170-265.
Van De Ven, Andrew H. &Diane L. Ferry. (1980). Measuring And Assessing Organizations.        New York.NY : John Wiley & Sons.

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