Today, Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in the US and the world. At the same time, working conditions in Wal-Mart are far from perfect. Employees suffer from discrimination and file lawsuits against the company, whereas many employees are doing part-time jobs, whereas the full-time employment is rather the prerogative of the managerial staff than average employees. In such a situation, the successful marketing performance of the company and its business development may be under a threat because negative trends in the working conditions in Wal-Mart undermine the healthy organizational culture and deteriorate the organizational performance.
On analyzing the current working conditions in Wal-Mart, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that employees of the company working in the field of sales are in the most dangerous position because they are exposed to the risk of losing their job and, what is more, their work is difficult and often needs good physical and psychological health. However, many employees operating in this field are not informed of this risk and they are unaware of potential dangers they expose themselves to while working in Wal-Mart. At the same time, the company carries on implementing its marketing strategy and fires many of its employees who are employed full-time. Instead, the company recruits employees, who are ready to work part-time, although these employees are unaware of the discrimination, poor working conditions and unhealthy organizational atmosphere that affect consistently the psychological and physiological health of employees.
In addition, the company exposes its employees to the risk of discrimination. In this regard, female employees are particularly vulnerable to the threat of discrimination. To put it more precisely, female employees suffer from discrimination in terms of wages and promotion. What is meant here is the fact that Wal-Mart establishes lower wages for female employees compared to male employees, whereas many female employees complaint that male employees have preferences in terms of promotion in Wal-Mart, although their qualification, experience and initial position are equal. As a result, female employees are in consistently worse working conditions compared to male employees.
Discriminatory practices being conducted by Wal-Mart lead to widening gap between employees and growing conflicts within the organization. Moreover, employees grow more and more dissatisfied with their position in the company and working conditions. In such a situation, naturally many employees prefer to change a workplace or to shift from the full-time to part-time job because the part-time job takes less time and they can find another place of employment, where they can get rid of discrimination and realize their full potential. It proves beyond a doubt that employees cannot work in an uncertain workplace environment (Trevor, 2005). In fact, employees working in Wal-Mart can never be certain in their future of the company, whereas part-time jobs are rather an option for employees than the regular and stable work they are naturally looking for. In such a situation, the dissatisfaction of employees arises in response to policies conducted by the company.
The company can succeed only on the condition of the effective employees’ performance. If employees are dissatisfied with their position in the company or suffer from discrimination in the workplace, the company is likely to face the problem of the deterioration of its organizational performance. At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that Wal-Mart attempts to minimize the negative impact of the growing employees’ dissatisfaction through the introduction of part-time jobs (Wilkins, 1999). However, the introduction of part-time jobs will not solve the problem of discriminatory practices and poor working conditions in the company. Instead, part-time jobs can just postpone the solution of the problem of discriminatory practices and poor working conditions because employees doing part-time job are less concerned with working conditions. They view their work as provisional and they are not going to work for a long time in Wal-Mart.
At the same time, part-time jobs do not solve the problem of the unhealthy organizational culture, which is closely intertwined with and derives from discriminatory practices being conducted by the company. Poor working conditions naturally undermine the healthy organizational culture. They provoke conflicts between employees and deteriorate interpersonal relationships within the company. In such a situation, Wal-Mart needs to change its current policies and protect employees from the risks the company exposes them to. What is meant here is the fact that Wal-Mart should stop discriminatory practices and create equal conditions for all employees to let them work in the company. Employees should feel confident in the employer and in their future in the company. In such a way, they can improve consistently their performance and increase the effectiveness of their work.
Obviously, Wal-Mart needs to improve working conditions consistently. The company should stop discriminatory practices and attempt to develop employees’ loyalty through the wider introduction of full-time jobs. However, the introduction of full-time jobs should occur only after organizational and structural changes that prevent discrimination of employees within the company.
Trevor, T. (October 31, 2005). “Wal-Mart ponders reshaping its benefits.” Life and Health, 109 (41), p. 8-10.
Wilkins, A. L. (1999). Developing corporate character: How to successfully change an organization without destroying it. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.