Walmart: A Case Study in Strategy Essay

3960 Words Oct 3rd, 2014 16 Pages
Walmart: A Case Study in Strategy
Sean Karrels
Webster University
Management 5650 Management and Strategy 2014
Professor Mike Gibbs
September 20, 2014

As I sat down several weeks ago to begin writing this case study, I struggled with how I wanted to lay the paper out, however, when I opened Lee Scott’s 21st century leadership speech that was part of the required reading, the following quote struck me as the essence of the whole case study, so I would like to share it with you. You know, we are in uncharted territory as a business. You won’t find any case studies at the Harvard Business School highlighting answers for companies of our size and scope. If we were a country, we would be the 20th largest in the world. If
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Costco is coming off a big year with more than $100 billion in revenue, 5% growth in U.S. store sales, and 7% growth in international sales. As Costco continues to challenge them domestically and internationally, some are beginning to question whether they could replace them as the largest retailer in the world. (Pelletier, 2013) The Company continues to thwart allegations of bribery for expedited building permits in Mexico and potentially other international markets such as Brazil, China, and India. Here in the United States, the company faces continued criticism for its low wages and its opposition to organized labor within stores. Labor unions have always criticized Walmart for their policies and business practices. The article “Inside the Leviathan” by Simon Head, points out several reasons why Walmart has to constantly fight off the threat of unions and other labor activists groups. Walmart has a strategy of demanding more productivity out of their employees by simply overworking their employees. When the productivity of labor rises and its compensation stagnates, then, other things being equal, the cost of labor per unit of output will fall and profit margins will rise (Head, 2004). Another major issue that can provide ammunition for union organization is the sexual discrimination that has plagued Walmart. Ramona Scott, a Dukes case petitioner, was told by her store manager that “men are here to make a career and women aren’t. Retail is for

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