BadBusiness Ethics of Walmart
BadBusiness Ethics of Walmart
Walmartis widely considered to be the largest retailer that operates a longchain of hypermarkets and grocery stores in the United States. Apartfrom being the second-largest corporation, it is the biggest privateestablishment that has employed approximately 1.3 million workers.This article provides relevant information concerning the issuesfaced by the industry. It begins by describing in detail the cases ofsevere scrutiny and criticism over the misconducts and unethicalactivities that take place especially in the employment practices. Itgoes on to explain how and why the business has been accused ofseveral violations, including breaking the wage law, lack ofsufficient healthcare, employee exploitation and anti-union stance.Additionally, the circulating sentiments concerning low prices paidfor groceries and other commodities from Walmart which are not fairare also discussed. Ultimately, some proposed ways of dealing withthe issues have been slotted into the article.
Thiscompany is an illustration of how the aspect of allowing free marketscan lead to the disregard of the value of the basic needs of humansespecially the employees and consumers as well. An advocacy groupthat was involved in the follow-up of the supply chain was able touncover some desecrations which are contrary to the ethicalrequirements. Despite the fact that Walmart has its set of guidelinesthat regulate labor, immigration, health and safety of individualsand the environment, the implementation of these rules is notfollowed to the letter. Apparently, the human resource section seemsto be lagging, and there have been reports concerning mistreatment ofstore associates and the exploitation of supply chain workers [ CITATION Mic15 l 1033 ].Additionally, the safety of the workers was not prioritized.Complaints were raised concerning the lack of personal protectiveequipment such as gloves. One instance of an unusual case occurredwhen Walmart was fined heavily for involvement in child laborviolations [ CITATION Mic15 l 1033 ].A further investigation also led to the discovery that malpracticesin hiring included the selection of illegal immigrantsto work in the corporation possibly with the intent of procuring acheaper workforce.
Theseunethical practices in employment are accompanied by market controlstrategies throughout the Walmart’s transactions and programs.Instances of broken promises and contracting have been witnessed aslocal farmers had been informed of the potential sales and thus a fatbounty ultimately. Likewise, the corporation has stepped onsmall-scale dairy producers, to the extent that the buying price ofmilk from these farmers has declined by almost 40%. This is one ofthe examples of domination of market practices that take place withinthis entity. In an attempt to make sure that the situation remainsunchanged, Walmart began practicing anti-union stances. One exampleis what happened in Quebec when workers successfully becameunionized. This company responded swiftly by planning to close downthe store in that region. However, the labor relations board rejectedthe argument and discovered that the actions taken were illegal.Provision of health care services to the workers is also a neglectedaspect. Upon realizing this as a setback, the company developed acheap health insurance which some critics questioned. It seemed as ifWalmart was trying to uplift its bad public image by offeringlow-priced health care to more workers without putting intoconsideration the quality of the service. To prove this point, asection of the workers held a demonstration urging the company toincrease the rates of the health insurance benefits [ CITATION Chr15 l 1033 ].
Internalmatters aside, crimes against environmental laws have further marredWalmart’s image. Apparently, this business entity has violated lawsand regulations that govern clean water, air, and pesticide usepolicies. By doing this, the ecology and health of the public havebeen subjected to danger. Lawsuits have also been brought forwardconcerning the improper handling and transportation of animalproducts coupled by the improper disposal of wastes.
Impactof Wal-Mart on the Economy
AlthoughWalmart has several unethical and bad business operations, there arevarious benefits related to its establishment. First and foremost,the low-cost commodities sold to customers are accessible and eventhose who are not financially well off can afford them. The low priceis a competitive strategy which prompts other businesses andorganizations to set friendly prices. This leads to a vital economicadvantages, especially to the consumers. Also, the organization hasled to the creation of a good number of job opportunities for bothlocals and immigrants. This translates to an economic growth of theworkers and their families since they derive their livelihood fromWalmart. Furthermore, Walmart company stimulates an increase inretail activity. This happens especially in cases of spillovers ofcommodities to the local traders. The increased sales together withtaxes paid to the authorities also improve the economy.
Despitethese advantages in the economy, Walmart has contributed to negativeimpacts on the community. Based on this article, we have seen thatemployment process is one that is not ethical. As such, the poorremuneration and lack of other amenities such as health insuranceleads to poverty among the employees. The low salary means thatworkers are not able to afford a good living hence culminating todiminished economic status. Secondly, due to the cheap nature of thegoods and products in Walmart, other small traders will be squeezedby the competition and ultimately close shop. The closure means thatsome people will lose their jobs and trade will also be diminished,thus hurting both the economy and the society.
Asmentioned before, Walmart has been accused of failing to abide by therule and regulations that govern environmental pollution. Theorganization has been notorious for improper waste disposal and ithas been fined heavily over the years for discharge of pollutants,poor methods of pesticide storage, inhibiting inspections and lack ofcompliance to the clean water act. Because of these acts, large sumsof funds have been utilized to restore the cleanliness of theenvironment. Similarly, the fines accrued by Walmart also affect theeconomy. Also, the locals have spent their finances in the treatmentof illnesses that might have resulted from this contamination.
Itis evident that the unethical methodologies applied by Walmart havenow been brought to light. Their business model is centered on themisdistribution of labor and the cost of mass production to maximizedemand and the profits at the expense of the disadvantaged workers,producers, and the general public. Also, there is a total neglect ofpractices that are guided by the rule of Law from environmentalpollution to intimidation and discrimination. To revive its image andrevitalize quality services, Walmart needs to implement strategiessuch as labor organization, boosting production in the appropriateway and providing groceries that are clean and free from hazardoussubstances. Employee welfare must also be put into consideration byallowing for bargaining, improved salaries and satisfying workingconditions in order to do this a third-party organization can bedeveloped and given the mandate of overseeing the supply chain notonly for Walmart but also for other similar trade corporations.Lastly, paying workers a decent and fair remuneration enables them toafford a dignified life which ultimately improves the status of theorganization regarding production and average sales.
Chen, M. (2015, June 5). Here Are All the Reasons Walmart’s Business Is Not Sustainable. Retrieved from The Nation: https://www.thenation.com/article/here-are-all-reasons-walmarts-business-not-sustainable/
Osterndorf, C. (2015, May 21). 10 reasons Walmart is the worst company in America . Retrieved from The Daily Dot: http://www.dailydot.com/via/walmart-labor-unions-bad-company/