Case analysis



Humanresources problems at Wal-Mart

Wal-Martis the largest retailer store in the world, which offers low cost andconvenient shopping experience to its customers. Additionally, it isone of the largest corporate organizations in the United States andthe largest private employer (Matusitz &amp Reyers, 2010). The mostimportant challenge that faces Wal-Mart stores in the modern businessenvironment is human resources management related. Recently, adocumentary called “Wal-Mart:the high cost of low prices”,exposed the poor employee relations that has threatened Wal-Mart, theworld largest retailer. The documentary which interviewed formeremployees, including senior managers in the organization revealed theunfair practices and policies in Wal-Mart on how it treats itsemployees (Workplace Fairness, 2015). One of the human relationsissues that Wal-Mart has been forced to deal with threatening itsreputation has been it anti union stances. There is a generalperception that companies and organizations that do not support laborunion activities among its employees tend to mistreat and care lessabout the welfare of their workers. For example, the actions ofWal-Mart management in Quebec, including firing of workers anddecision to close the store in the near future due to allegedeconomic reasons after the store workers were able to form a workersunion. There have been similar attempts in the United States whereworkers have attempted to join workers union or non union workgroups. Although Wal-Mart workers in countries such as China havebeen able to join workers unions, the giant retailer management hasaffirmed its anti union policy. Although the company argues that thepolicy is in the best interest of the workers, it has been difficultfor the human resource department to give a valid explanation(Workplace Fairness, 2015).

Anotherhuman resources problem in Wal-Mart relates to overexploitation ofits employees. Wal-Mart has a very strict overtime policy whereworkers are expected to work for a maximum of 15 hours overtime perweek. The policy is strictly followed, where managers who pay formore than 15 hours overtime per week were demoted or fired. As aresult, managers tend to force workers to clock out at the end of theshift, but continue working. As a result, workers are forced to workfor extra hours without any compensation (Snell et al, 2015).Additionally, Wal-Mart has been accused of violating workers rightssuch minimum wage, overtime and union membership. In some cases,Wal-Mart was also accused of not providing some of the workers withadequate safety and personal protective equipments. For example, inCalifornia, workers in a Wal-Mart store sued the management forviolating the state employment laws due to its decision to give someworkers a 30 minutes unpaid lunch break (Workplace Fairness, 2015).

CompanyAnalysis, SWOT analysis

Thereis no doubt that Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world. Inthe recent past, the giant retailer has adopted a strategic plantthat involves global expansion. The company management has over theyears concentrated on strategic frameworks that increased efficiencyand reduce cost of operations to ensure that the retailer offers thelowest prices in the market. However, the focus on low prices shouldnot compromise the quality of products or services offered byWal-Mart stores. An analysis of the internal and external environmentof Wal-Mart operations reveals that it has its strengths, weakness,threats and opportunities (Matusitz &amp Reyers, 2010).


  • Immense financial strength.

  • Advanced and secure information and communication systems.

  • Flourishing corporate culture.

  • Economies of scale which reduce cost of operations and increases its power as a buyer.


  • Low international presence, despite its global status.

  • Human resources problems.

  • Small profit margins.

  • Easily copied business model.


  • Global expansion targeting emerging markets in the developing world.

  • Improvement of human resources relations and practices.

  • Enhancing quality standards.


  • Intense competition in home and international markets.

  • Changes in lifestyles to adopt healthier lifestyles.


Adedicated workforce is the most important resource in a businessorganization. Wal-Mart can take advantage of the highly experiencedand dedicated workforce by effectively and strategically dealing withthe problems associated with it human resources management. Toachieve the desired world class customer services, Wal-Mart need toensure that its employees are highly motivated. This is by ensuringthat the employees feel valued and are provided with safe andcomfortable working environment. This includes the dealing with thechallenges facing the human resources management proactively andencouraging the input of all stakeholders. For example, it isimportant for Wal-Mart to discuss the workers union policy with itsemployees and consider reviewing the policy. Additionally, issues ofemployee’s exploitation and overworking can be handled effectively.From the SWOT analysis, although Wal-Mart has a relatively narrowprofit margin, it has immense resources that can be used to resolvethe human resources issues. Being the largest retailer in the world,Wal-Mart has the resources to attract and retain qualified andskilled workforce. Increased investment in employee welfare,remunerations, promotion and provision of flexible and reasonableworking hours will significantly influence employee relations andconsequently customer service (Snell et al, 2015).


Matusitz,J., &amp Reyers, A. (2010). “A Behemoth in India: Wal-Mart andGlobalization”. SouthAsia Research,30(3), 233-252.

Snell,S et al (2015). ManagingHuman Resources.Boston, MA. Cengage Learning.

WorkplaceFairness, (2015). Wal-Mart,