Walmart case study answers

1. What is the ethical dilemma facing Wal-Mart in this case ? Do Wal-Mart’s associates also face an ethical dilemma? If so, what is it ?

Wal-Mart is facing an ethical problem by implementing computerized scheduling system. Indeed, before the store managers had to arranged manually the schedule for the employees but Wal-mart begun to use Kronos system to create work schedule. Obviously, this implementation helps to increase the profit margin of the company. But what are the consequences for the employees ?

The new system scheduling time work is totally irregular and unpredictable which may decrease the employee’s job stability and potentially create financial hardships. The result was a computerized system that totally overhauled employee scheduling. The system optimizes the schedule so that employees are matched with customer demand. It completely changes the balance of the scheduling equation from the employee. Employees are a fungible resource. Actually, their associates are simply another resource to be scheduled, like trucks. People are not automatons, they are not “resources”.

And due to the human behaviour we can say that people are resistant to change and yet wonderfully flexible at the same time, but in this case we have to take into consideration that the job stability is decreasing and might affect the life’s employees especially regarding irregular hours working, inconsistent paychecks, make it more difficult for employees to organize their lives, from scheduling babysitter to paying bills. I’m not surprised that they deeply resent being treated like machines.

2. What ethical principles apply to this case ? How do they apply ?

In my opinion the principles that apply to this case are :

  • Principle of respect for persons It means that we have to take into consideration four dimensions of human life such as : biological, psychological, social and spiritual. To sum-up the persons should not be treated as an object or machine but with respect in such a way that recognizes his/her human dignity. All individual human beings are presumed to be free and responsible persons and should be treated as such in proportion to their ability in the circumstances. Individuals with reduced autonomy are entitled to appropriate protection, according to the principles of subsidiarity, human dignity, justice, charity, and vicarious consent.
  • Principle of Nonmalefience (First, do no harm)  Nonmaleficence is sometimes interpreted to imply that if one cannot do good without also causing harm, then one should not act at all. The difficulty with this rigorist interpretation, however, is that it makes action almost impossible in a world where even the best actions may have some harmful results. But in Wal-Mart case we can see that the implementation of the computerized scheduling affects life’s employees especially due to the irregular hours working which makes live harder because the employees are not able to organize their life in the proper way.

Also we can ask ourself what will happens if Wal-Mart continues to take some decisions in order to increase again and again their profit margin in the detriment of its employees ? I personnaly think that if the employees feel integrated, taking part to the company it is easier for him/her to be more productive because he/She knows that they are « associate », part of the company. In that way, the company should treat correctly their employees.

For example I remember an example that gave us my Economics professor about the factory in Asia which increase their depenses for increasing the working conditions of their employees (More lights, Nap room, Bus transportation,…) at the end, they realized that the workers were more productives, so they finally earn more money by increasing working conditions. It seems to be a win-win situation.

3. What are the potential effects of computerized scheduling on employee morale ? What are the consequences of these effects for Wal-Mart ?

For sure the implementation of computerized scheduling will have impacts on employee moral to suffer. They have to be more flexible in their work time, may work only few hours during the weekday and have to work the week-end or even during the nights. It’s a serious problems because people don’t have the possibility to manage their lives as they would like which makes family life harder to organize. If you want the best of your employees, you have to treat them with respect and dignity. And treating them like trucks or robots doesn’t do that.

4. What are this group’s major points of contention with Wal-Mart ?

The main problems are :

  • Health-care Wal-Mart’s health care plan fail to cover hundreds of thousands of associates ; Wal-mart stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees working less than 24hours per week ; The plans that the company offer are unffordable for many hourly associates ; Walmart made it even more difficult for associates to get quality health care for themselves and their families ;
  • People of color About 19% of Walmart’s 1.4 million US workers are African-American. Unfortunately, Walmart jobs keep our communities in poverty ; A full-time Walmart associate earns less than 70 percent of the 2013 federal poverty line for a family of four ; People of color are underrepresented in management jobs at Walmart ; Employees face harassment and intimidation at work, wage and hour violations, and unsafe working conditions.
  • Women’s issues Walmart discriminated against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments ; Female workers are underrepresented in management ; Walmart fails to provide real opportunities for women ; Women get paid less at Walmart
  • Labor problems Deterioring customers services ; Health and safety risks ; Wage and hours violation ; Failure of governance
  • Political problems  Spend millions to influence democracy process
  • Wage’s issue : Discordance between the speech of the headquarters and the workers, most of the time they are paid less than 10$/H.

Walmart utilizes a computer-based scheduling system that prioritizes employee flexibility over schedule regularity. Working parents who need regular childcare have been forced to quit their jobs due to Walmart’s scheduling policies. Walmart’s insufficient sick days policy also makes it hard for working mothers to care for sick children

5. How well does the web site serve their causes ? Does the site serve their cause or hurt it ?

The website serves especially to give the right informations to people about the Wal-mart policy regarding the relation between Wal-Mart and their its employees this include heathcare, wage, color people, and women’s issues. Unfortunately, I don’t think that serves the Wal-Mart’s interests, but hurt it. They criticized their policy and their strategy throughout this web site. It also allows us to have a better understanding of the Wal-Mart’s employees situation.

6. What other approach could the organization take to bring about change ?

Many other approaches could be used by the organization in order to bring changes. But in my opinion this approach is really well though because by publishing all this informations on internet, everyone can have access and see how Wal-Mart is proceding with its employees. We can read many articles about personal problems that the employee can encountered. How Wal-Mart try to silence workers by firing them illegaly, How much money are really earning the workers, what is their healthcare situation,… This web site is really a bad image for the company. All this point mentionned above create a difficult and tense work atmosphere. And we know that when workers do not feel good at work it affects dirrectly the productivity.

7. How does Wal-mart adress the issued raised by organization such as WakeUpWalMart ?

After this accusations, prooved, and hauled by some workers esperience, it’s hard to raised this issues. But Wal-mart definitily has to improve its image. They need to communicate in the proper way and tranparent. Also they should try to show that there are an engaged company willing to make effort for the world, communauty, and their employees.

8. Are the company’s methods effective ?

Actually there is lot of issues mentionned on the web site WakeUpWalMart regarding the relation between Wal-mart and their associates. Even If the company tried to answer, we can not really say that the method is effective. Moreover they made a huge mistake. When they explain their choices, they wrote on their web site : « – We want our associates to be able to meet the needs of their family, educational needs, or secondary job needs and do what we can to help promote balance in the work place. » Does that really mean “our employees are so impoverished by the wage we are giving them that they need other jobs to be able to -finish the month-”? This proove that they are not respecting the principle of persons.

9. If you were public relation expert advising Wal-Mart, which suggestions would you make for handling critisism ?

If I were public relation expert advising Wal-mart I will recomend them first to be patient, because this kind of critic situation is really hard to handle for a company, especially when it’s a well known one. Secondly, I’ll try to change the image. How ? By trying to change the human beings. Imean the relation with the employees, I definitely think that it is possible to do it and it is the main objectives.

Because people working inside the company are reflecting the image when they finish to work.. and if they are vehiculating bad image, it’s not gonna be a good point for Wal-Mart. They might improved the relationship by proposing them more hours working per week, establishing a fix schedule for a certain period of time (New schedule all 2 or 3 weeks), it allows people to organize their lives. And be sure that they are going to work a certain amount of hours per week. Also, Wal-mart should be engaged in some other important projects such as : Eco diversity, recycling, decreasing time/km transportation (decreasing of CO2), help/donnation to people who are in the need,…