The wal-mart effect on suppliers, employees, global trade

Wal-mart has been one of the most succesful companies in the United States; however, I believe that the company has lost its focus of social responsability. After reading the book Nickle and Dime, and having the author describe in great detail her working experience at Walmart, it seems like they are not valueing their employees effort, they have been outsourcing most of their products to reduces costs and increase the willingness to pay in their customers,  which has had a great effect on suppliers profits. Starting with employees, the firm has become too greddy and has slowly been turning away their employees who views it as selfish. As Barbara shared her experience, she seemed to have changed personalities noticing herself sadder, less motivated and angry at the situation and working conditions. It does not seem right that a person working at Wal-mart can not even afford a product there. Moving into suppliers and global trade, Wal-mart has had a great impact in these two aspects for outsorcing and trying to reduce costs. This has enhance global trade, transforming  from a world of separated states and national sovereignty to an integrated international community, in other words a global market. Wal-mart has made it possible to explore different forms of deals with its suppliers and their are bringing a greater variety of products into the market. Although it has had a positive effect on the global market, I think it should try to focus on active more social responsible and treating their employees more efficiently. Being one of the most wealthiest companies, they should show other companies how to treat well their workers since they are a prime example to them.

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4 Responses

  1. I would argue that Wal-Mart in fact does value their employees. Two things, in particular, that support this stand out to me. The first is actually written about by Ehrenreich in her book Nickle and Dimed. I specifically remember her discussing about how surprised she was at the level of autonomy afforded even the lowest level employees. In the women’s clothing section, Barbara and her boss were allowed to decide which clothing rotated where. Believe it or not, this is more autonomy than is afforded employees at Abercrombie, Holister, and American Eagle. Each week, employees at those retailers are sent maps, pictures of layouts, and specific instructions on where to place each specific item of clothing. The second thing that leads me to believe that Wal-Mart does value their employees is that 93% of management positions are filled from within the company. Clearly Wal-Mart values their employees enough to promote from within 93% of the time. Check out http://www.walmartfacts.com. This is a corporate repository of all that is Wal-Mart. This site should give everyone a more up to date view (Nickle and Dimed is 10 years old) of how the World’s largest retailer supports its employees and the community. Also check out http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_pa.htm. This is the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site. Wal-Mart’s wages in PA are on par with average wages across PA.

  2. Those are all valuable points based upon Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed. In research, we often ignore how up to date information and data is, so it appears that Walmart has responded to the criticisms regarding employee treatment. I think that comparing Ehrenreich’s account with the current Walmart wages, hiring process, and employee regulations would make an interesting discussion to have in class, as we largely ignored the time period Nickle and Dimed took place in. On top of the Abercrombie and Hollister layouts and such, something can be said about the employees they hire. These trendy stores tend to only hire more attractive and stylish employees, regardless of how personal or qualified they are. Also, these retail stores usually require employees to only wear their brand of clothing, and these brands are pretty pricey. Walmart tends to hire all types of employees of varying abilities, experience, and wealth statuses. Discrimination and stereotyping doesn’t appear to affect Walmart’s hiring, which bodes well for its work environment evaluations.

  3. Thanks a lot for the comments. I do have to still argue that Wal-mart does treat their employees as they should. Yes, maybe they are paying the average wages but is that enough? Are they paying extra hours? Are they giving their employees more benefits? If they were, why would articles named “Wal-Mart Employee Morale at “Rock Bottom” are written. I am not saying that Wal-mart is paying below average wage, I am just saying that they should put a lot more attention to their employees because after all they are one of their most valuable assets.

  4. This post can be improved in three ways.

    One, define what you mean by social responsibility.

    Two, give us some specific information or source for some of your ideas. For example, does Wal-Mart make any claims to social responsibility? Is there any research about Wal-Mart’s wages or effect on suppliers?

    Three, break the post into two or three paragraphs so it is easier to understand the range of ideas you want to discuss.

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