Business / Trends In Population Growth And Diversity

Trends In Population Growth And Diversity

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Autor:  anton  07 March 2011
Tags:  Trends,  Population,  Growth,  Diversity
Words: 2428   |   Pages: 10
Views: 357

In an ever-increasing world of competition, organizations today must have strategies in place responding to trends in population growth and diversity that could have an impact on an organization’s ability to plan, organize, lead, and control. Some factors to be considered include; vendor relationships, population growth, diversity, lawsuits, one stop shopping, and overcoming barriers to new cultures.

Wal-Mart is a huge corporation whose operations are heavily scrutinized by the media, the public, and Wal-Mart’s employees. Due to this constant visibility, Wal-Mart’s management practices must be sound, consistent, and adaptable to change. The first factor impacting one of Wal-Mart’s management functions relates to diversity.

Wal-Mart is an international corporation, in every aspect of the term. The company currently employs “1.6 million associates worldwide through more than 3,800 facilities in the United States and more than 2,400 units in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom” (Wal-Mart Facts: At a Glance). If one were to count all customers that visit the mega-store in one week, that count would surpass 138 million worldwide. How did the company grow from one store in 1962 to the mega-company that exists today? “We have always stayed true to the Three Basic Beliefs Mr. Sam established in 1962: 1) Respect for the Individual 2) Service to Our Customers and 3) Strive for Excellence” says Lee Scott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Five years later, the Walton brothers (Sam and Bud) had reported $12.6 million in sales and had plans to open 24 more stores across the states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The company continued its rapid growth, and in 1991 opened the first international store in Mexico. Eight years later, Wal-Mart expanded to Great Britain

with the acquisition of ASDA. “ASDA, Britain's best value food and clothing superstore, became part of the Wal-Mart family on July 26, 1999,” (Wal-Mart Facts: At a Glance).

In 1996, Wal-Mart made its debut in China. However, the superstore had to focus its variety around the lifestyle of the Chinese people. Unlike Americans, Chinese shop for their food on a daily basis, as home refrigeration is well below the average in the United States. In addition, there are food stores in the region that are the same size as any convenience store found in the United States. “Assortment is key, and as of opening day, about 85% to 90% of the mix will be domestically sourced, with the remainder imported” (Andreoli, 1996). Millard Barron, Senior VP and COO of Wal-Mart International, recruited vendor partners earlier in the year, at the National Housewares Manufacturers Association, this annual committee, based in Rosemont, Illinois, had just over 100 attendees. However, only 23 were going to global markets with Wal-Mart. “Although the financing needed to go international may intimidate the smaller vendors, or those that don't have the information or savvy of Procter & Gamble, Nestle or Lever Bros., Barron warned that most vendors can't afford not to develop international relations”(Andreoli, 1996). Barron believes that if the current import trends continue, American brands will struggle to retain shelf space against international vendors, “unless U.S. makers develop global relationships now” (Andreoli, 1996). These vendor relationships are crucial in maintaining a good business rapport, which overall will retain the attraction for American products. “Anything American has a lot of attraction. Consumers there are intrigued with U.S. branded products,” says Caroline Lober. Lober is the Newell International sales manager for Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and South Saharan markets.

1. Cultural Norms (Tony)

a. Providing a comfortable one stop-shopping atmosphere for all customers.

b. Over coming barriers in new cultures.

Wal-Mart in the past several years has faced many challenges with employees filing sex-discrimination lawsuits relating to women who allege unfair and unequal wages; there are also claims of union busting. (Karen Olson, March/April 2003 Issue, Up Against Wal-Mart). Workers in 27 states are suing Wal-Mart for violating wage and hour laws. An Oregon jury found Wal-Mart guilty in December 2005 of systematically facing employees to work overtime without pay.

One of the challenges Wal-Mart faces is a sex-discrimination lawsuit, denying promotions and equal pay to 700,000 women. Across the country employees in more than 100 stores in 25 states are trying to unionize Wal-Mart. Another challenge the company faces is the 120,000 employees in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana who are trying to unionize. Wal-Mart sends out union busting teams to collect and throw away union literature and to remove union supporters from their jobs. Wal-Mart has “zero tolerance” for unions.

Wal-Mart settled lawsuits involving 67,000 employees in New Mexico and Colorado, reportedly paying more than $50 million for keeping payroll low, regularly deleting hours from time records and reprimanding/issuing discipline to employees who claimed overtime. This opened up an opportunity to correct those issues with pay.

More than 2/3 of all Wal-Mart employees are women. Wal-Mart has the same 10% of top store managers who are women who they had in 1975. An internal survey conducted by a Wal-Mart executive showed that the company pays female store managers less than men in the same position. This is an opportunity for Wal-Mart to correct the unequal pay system.

Changing the workplace and employees attitudes that respect their rights is a big opportunity that Wal-Mart needs to work on. (NOW Times Fall 2002 article). Providing company health insurance benefits to the employees of Wal-Mart is another opportunity to show to the public that he or she is concerned with the welfare of the workers.

Wal-Mart challenged the class action ruling by asking a Federal Appellate Panel to overturn a judge’s order last year that allowed a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the company to proceed as a class-action suit (CNN.Money.com, Fortune 500).

In the CNN.Money.com, Fortune 500 article, Wal-Mart has contributed to the American economy. The article stated that Wal-Mart is efficient and has improved American productivity both on their own, suppliers and competitors which help the American economy. Wal-Mart has had the opportunity to be a leader in the use of information technology, redefined consumer marketing and production through data and knowledge of consumer behavior. There are many Wal-Mart retail outlets in rural and small town regions in America that felt underserved. (Hedrick Smith, Senior Producer, Correspondent, Front-line: Is Wal-Mart Good for America).

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retail with 220 billion in sales and the nation’s largest private employer with 3,372 stores and more than 1 million hourly workers. There are 800,000 more jobs worldwide, which is to be added in the year 2007.

Diversity can best be explained as a combination of individuals who are different in some ways and similar in others. Diversity is no longer about race and gender. Diversity is about leveraging the collective mixture of attributes, talent and behavior of different people present (Thomas). Diversity can be viewed from several perspectives either internal or external to the organization.

Externally, and as part of the organizing function, corporations need to have a strategy around attracting and retaining quality talent. Wal-Mart, one of the world’s largest employers with over 1.5Million associates, understands the need for diverse talent pools. Hiring over 600,000 new associates a year; Wal-Mart must have a staffing strategy and sound hiring practices to recruit diverse talent pools.

Hiring people who also demographically reflect the company’s customer base is good business. Applicants with an array of different experiences, education, cultures, and work ethics, could promote innovation and less “group think” than those with more like attributes. The links between employees who understand and reflect the customer and more diverse set of ideas and beliefs contribute to greater customer satisfaction.

Once talent is hired, leadership should expect a level of performance a manner aligned with business objectives. Leadership must recognize contributions from their entire employee base. Leadership that displays inequality with certain employee populations could create huge liabilities and thus a negative reflection of the company’s reputation. Wal-Mart has experienced bad press in recent times due to questionable hiring practices, with allegations of inequality with female workers. Class action lawsuits have been filed alleging women were overlooked for management positions and received lower pay than their male counterparts (Workforce). With an employer of this size, a class action lawsuit of this magnitude could have crippling affects to the bottom line and hamper future recruiting efforts. Leadership that truly embraces diversity and embeds diversity into all functions has the advantage.

Wal-Mart also organized an Office of Diversity, which ensures diversity not only is a key component in recruitment, but also community efforts, and supplier relations program (Wal-Mart). Supplier programs relate to the external procurement of supplies and equipment. Effective supplier programs from a diverse set of resources could have a positive impact to the procurement controls. Besides good business practice, diverse supplier programs communicate externally that the organization is open to minority/women owned businesses. A sound program has consistent and fair criteria for vendor consideration. Wal-Mart’s supplier mission statement is: “to enhance and integrate our supplier diversity programs into all of our procurement practices and to be an advocate for minority- and women-owned businesses" (Wal-Mart). The retail giant expects suppliers to have competitive pricing, financial stability and success in the marketplace.

Not only does Wal-Mart have sound hiring practices for diversity, but also Wal-Mart has to have a diverse set of law firms. The nation's biggest retailer has asked each of its top 100 outside law firms to submit a list of three to five candidates who could serve as the firm's relationship partner. The catch: Firms must suggest at least one woman and one minority (Thompson, Gale 2005). The goal is to increase the number of women and minorities directly responsible for the Wal-Mart relationship at Wal-Mart’s law firms. This goes to show that Wal-Mart corporations are trying to obtain diversity, not only in the workplace but also with their clients.

More so, there are two factors of trends, which make Wal-Mart a success in increasing their stores rapidly. One is diversity within the company and the other is population growth. There are others trends involved, however, the two are the ones that stand out the most.

Diversity within an organization is imperative especially with Wal-Mart, the trend in diversity involve race, sex, gender, experience, language and not to mention the cultural background of an individual. “Wal-Mart associate diversity is important to the company by actively recruiting talent from college and universities with significant population of diverse students, including women’s colleges, colleges with Hispanic representation and African Americans universities” (walmartfact.com). Wal-Mart emphasizes the importance of leaving no one out regardless of his or her differences. In today’s society people are diverse in numerous ways such as cultural background, religion and not to mention language. Although we are diverse, each store is set up similar to another, however, Wal-Mart focuses on what is most common in the area, you don’t want to sell swimwear in New York during wintertime or sell coats in California.

In addition, language very in many areas of the world and depending on what area the store is located will make a great impact. Employees need to communicate effectively with customer service and implementing the mission statement of the company. The focal point would be accommodating the customers to their needs. Where as employees are shifted around with their expertise in certain departments either it is in household goods or stocking products on shelves to cashiers checking out items for customers.

The other trend is population growth is increasing rapidly everyday with newborns and immigration contributing factors to U.S. population growth. Dr. Steven Camarota, Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in a January 2001 paper: “Immigration has become the determinate factor in population growth. The 11.2 million immigrants who indicated they arrived between 1990 and 2000 plus the 6.4 million children born to immigrants in the United States during the 1990s are equal to almost 70 percent of U.S. population growth over the last 10 years.”

There are homes expanding in just about every place in the United States as well as the world. Mortgage rates are increasing as well as fuel prices, which tend to have families’ budget with there hard earn money. Sam Walton stated in his memoirs, “You see: no matter how you slice it in the retail business, payroll is one of the most important parts of overhead, and overhead is one of the most crucial things you have to fight to maintain your profit margin.”

Families like to shop at Wal-Mart to bargain at a cheap price and with the one stop store they tend to purchase the necessities of their needs. People tend to purchase items that meet their needs such as furniture’s, household items, groceries, garden items, and not to mention pharmacy located in the store make it easier for people to pick up there prescriptions. As female employees, Liza Featherstone quoted “you can change a tire, buy groceries for dinner, and get a new pair of shoes and some yard furniture—a set of errands that once would have required a long afternoon of visits to far-flung merchants” (NYBooks).

The population growth and the diversity of employees is supporting Wal-Mart expand across the world and shutting down other small businesses where the employees end up working in a department of Wal-Mart. Small business can not compete with Wal-Mart’s benefits, shifts, and named brand offered to the population. However, the wages offered to employees will always be a factor to who ever is employed or is interested in working for the company. Not only are the following factors are reasons such as traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, energy shortages, air pollution, loss of open space, overburdened infrastructure, wage depression and deteriorating quality of life. The main cause is rapid population growth with diverse people.

References:

Andreoli, Teresa (1996, July). Wal-Mart sees potential fortune in China debut. Discount Store News, 35(14), 1. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 9864738).

Wal-mart facts: at a glance. (n.d.). Retrieved Feb. 27, 2006, from walmartfacts.com Web site: http://www.walmartfacts.com/doyouknow/default.aspx.

http://Money.CNN.com/2005/08/08/News/Fortune 500/Walmart_SY, retrieved February 25, 2006, Wal-Mart Challenge Class Action Ruling.

http://www.motherjones.com/c91-bin/print_, retrieved February 25, 2006.

http://www.NOW.Org/NNT/Fall-2002/Walmart.html, retrieved February 25, 2006, National Organization for Women.

http://www.Washington Post.com/ACZ/WP-dyn/A45855-2004 Nov/, retrieved February 25, 2006 – Is Wal-Mart Good for America?



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