The paper at hand presents an analysis of the organizational behavior (OB) challenges that the leading retail corporation, Walmart Inc. faces in its daily operations. In particular, it focuses on analyzing various organizational behavior issues that are significant to the activities of the company to identify the present-day business problems that it experiences. Before problem identification and analysis, a brief overview of the company is provided.
Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart is a US retail chain operator that runs over 11,200 discount department stores, grocery stores, and hypermarkets. The multinational retailer, which was established by Sam Walton in 1962, operates in the U.S. and Canada under the brand name ‘Walmart; in the U.K. as ‘Asda’; as ‘Seiyu Group’ in Japan; as ‘Best Price’ in India, and as ‘Walmart de México y Centroamérica’ in Central America and Mexico (Gopalakrishna, Subramanian, & Fleischmann, 2016). Regarding revenue, Walmart is the largest corporation in the world operating with over $500 billion in receipts. It is noteworthy that, the company’s slogan is “Save more. Live better” as its strategy is designed to allow it extend the lowest prices possible to its clients.
Walmart has managed to influence a large market in significantly dynamic business environments thanks to its slogan and low price strategy. Nonetheless, its extensive operations present various organizational challenges due to multiple socio-economic structures and cultures. Managing employees in a multicultural setting to boost their performance has been particularly challenging for Walmart (Mourdoukoutas, 2016). What is more, cultural shock has been problematic to the corporation’s international operations. Beyond that, various organizational behavior issues in Walmart’s dynamic locales of activity have resulted from the company’s lack of an appropriate multicultural approach. As a result, employees have complained of low wages and overall dissatisfaction; discrimination issues; and the authoritarian culture that results from the pressure to achieve excellence.
Given the expansiveness of Walmart operations, various management issues regarding leadership, diversity, and employee satisfaction are bound to influence organizational behavior. The research question posed below forms the basis for the analysis at hand:
What is the impact of leadership, diversity, and employees satisfactions on Walmart’s organizational behavior issues?
To this end, employee dissatisfaction and low wages, authoritarian leadership, and issues of diversity and discrimination will be covered as the central problem facing the corporation. Accordingly, the problem identified will be explored and a framework for possible solutions provided.
According to Olafsen, Halvari, Forest, & Deci (2015), managers should foster employee motivation to enhance job performance. In many work environments, the fundamental purpose of employment is the regular acquisition of earnings by workers. Consequently, meeting employee needs is vital for positive organizational behavior. Consequently, wages should be sufficient to satisfy the psychological requirements of employees.
Primarily, various “hygiene” factors influence employee motivation in work settings. According to the Dual-Factor motivation theory by Herzberg, such hygiene factors include policies and procedures, supervision and management styles, salary, working conditions, and interrelations among employees (Olafsen et al., 2015). In principle, the lack of hygiene factors causes employee dissatisfaction that leads to negative organizational behavior tendencies.
Establishing the type of leadership that is preferable for a particular organization is vital in determining employee participation in cases of unethical organizational behavior. As indicated by Graham, Ziegert, & Capitano (2015):
“Leadership style affects organizational behavior by interacting with how leaders frame problems to followers. The role of leadership is prominent in the definition of unethical organizational behavior and leaders are central in shaping followers’ unethical behavior.”
Accordingly, both transactional and transformational leadership styles are known to affect organizational behavior positively. Usually, using idealized influences and inspirational motivation, as exhibited in transformational and transaction leaders, drives employees towards higher goals, which, in turn, influence organizational behavior constructively (Graham et al., 2015).
Furthermore, charismatic leadership abilities and inspiration spark a sense of purpose while providing a clear vision to workers. Conversely, authoritarian leadership emphasizes discipline, compliance, and obedience. In many instances, authoritarian leadership styles imply that leaders are only keen on attaining institutional interests. As a result of the centralized power in the leadership approach, employees fail to communicate effectively as they feel excluded from significant innovation opportunities. Subsequently, they are predisposed to developing negative attitudes toward their leaders, which contributes to negative organizational behavior.
Diversity in the workplace is bound to give rise to various discrimination issues regarding gender, race, and sex. As institutions increasingly become cosmopolitan, heterogeneity concerning race, ethnicity, disabilities, religion, socioeconomic status, political orientations, education, language, and sexual orientation present many challenges. Consequently, managers should be keen on ensuring that employees respect diversity. They can achieve the mentioned objective by encouraging workers to recognize social differences and to respond to them in a manner that promotes cohesion. According to Wagner and Hollenbeck (2014), workforce diversity can present various advantages when utilized adequately. For instance, it can lead to the development of international skills, the establishment of knowledge and experience, the promotion of cross-cultural learning, and the establishment of a positive worker reputation.
Employee Dissatisfaction and Low Wages at Walmart
Walmart has hired over 2 million employees, making its workforce one of the most significant in the world. However, according to reports and comparative analyses with similar corporations, it’s wage rate is relatively low. Meyn (2018) notes that Walmart employees have to depend on governmental assistance to sustain rent and keep up with the cost of living. Consequently, employee dissatisfaction has manifested itself in workers who feel unappreciated. Since its inception, the company has been opposed to the formation of organized employee unions and has even closed stores due to such establishments. Considering that Walmart’s CEO receives a wage of over $20 million per year, employee dissatisfaction resulting from wages as low as 12$ per hour presents an immediate organizational behavior issue (Meyn, 2018). It is evident that the corporation cares more about its operations than its employees.
Authoritarian Leadership in Walmart
Walmart relies on a centralized management style. Usually, the corporation’s workers have little time and opportunity to share opinions concerning work problems and other issues with their leaders, which is a consequence of the authoritarian leadership style. Beyond that, it has been reported that communication among managers and subordinates is a problem, as workers feel overworked and underrepresented in management (Lichtenstein, 2011). Consequently, poor talent development and innovation have inhibited employee and company advancement.
As previously indicated, Walmart discourages the formation of employee unions and has been known to punishing workers by shutting down operations when they try to establish labor unions. The indication above further elaborates the authoritarian culture in Walmart, which makes it cumbersome for it to ensure employee loyalty and retention (Lichtenstein, 2011). What is more, the culture has negatively affected the behavior of employees as they experience various forms of discrimination.
Issues of Discrimination at Walmart
As evident in the discussion above, discrimination that results from the authoritative leadership style in Walmart is a significant issue in the company. still, other forms of discrimination such as those in the sex and gender domain are reported to be pertinent to the corporation’s poor leadership techniques (Lichtenstein, 2011). For instance, although women represent a significant number of the company’s workforce, they are often paid lower wages than men are (Lichtenstein, 2011). Inevitably, the lack of vital motivation factors such as recognition and job satisfaction among a majority of women has caused low employee performance. Additionally, beyond sex and gender biases, workforce diversity has significantly affected Walmart. Since it is a multinational corporation, its employees ascribe to varied cultures, and this presents challenges in management. Consequently, issues of prejudice regarding racial, cultural, political, and religious affiliations are inevitable in the company’s environment (Lichtenstein, 2011). Such forms of discrimination affect managers, subordinates, and consumers alike.
Developing a positive work environment is central to appropriate organizational behavior, which enhances organizational performance. In a bid to provide appropriate solutions to the OB issues analyzed above, the following recommendations can be considered:
Since wage is a key motivating factor for employees (Olafsen et al., 2015), Walmart should adopt a standardized salary that can fully satisfy the psychological needs of its employees. The mentioned objective can be achieved by conforming to standard wage requirements in its countries of operation.
Additionally, the company ought to shift its management style to a more inspirational one to ensure easy communication between managers and subordinates. Doing so will allow Walmart to instill inclusivity and extend employee development opportunities.
Furthermore, Walmart should revise its policies and procedures to cater for diversity and inclusion. As a result, it can minimize gender, sexual, racial, cultural, political, and religious favoritism.
The corporation’s management should also focus on training both managers and employees on how to enhance communication between one another, especially in diverse cultural settings.
More importantly, Walmart should allow the formation of worker unions, which are vital to enabling career growth, improving employee loyalty and retention, and enhancing worker performance.
Overall, the analysis at hand influenced our team’s personal, academic, and professional views in many ways. For example, we managed explore various kinds of leadership styles and their influence on employee satisfaction and motivation. Additionally, the tem learned more about Herzberg’s two-factor theory of hygiene and motivation. More importantly, the group engaged in the analysis of one of the largest corporation in the world, an activity that provided vital insights on some of the managerial issues in organizational behavior that are common in the corporate world. For instance, it became clear that multinational corporations face the issue of cultural diversity, which poses significant managerial challenges. To this end, the team managed to a framework for possible solutions. For example, training employees and managers on effective communication can go a long way in improving organizational cohesion and performance. Consequently, the analysis was essential to establishing teamwork and enabling the sharing of various academic perspectives and ideas.
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Lichtenstein, N. (2011). Walmart’s authoritarian culture. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/opinion/22Lichtenstein.html
Meyn, C. (2018). Bernie Sanders digs up old figure in fresh attack on Walmart’s wages. Retrieved from https://www.politifact.com/vermont/statements/2018/nov/16/bernie-sanders/bernie-sanders-digs-old-figure-fresh-attack-walmar/
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