Case Study - Wal Mart: the Main Street Merchant of Doom (Corporate Social Responsibility Case Study) Essay

Words: 2748
Pages: 11


Since its establishment in 1962, Wal-Mart has grown to be one of the biggest conglomerates in the world. Inevitably, with the expansion of the company, the weight and number of social and ethical issues facing the company has increased.

The key issues discussed in this particular case are:
• Wal-Mart's and America community – Small merchants and the community's environment
• Barriers to domestic expansion – Wal-Mart and its Opponents
• Wal-Mart's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes: Merely gimmicks?
• The company's responsibility to employees who lose their jobs and loyal customers when Wal-Mart pulls out of a community
• International expansion of the company – cultural sensitivity

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One possible avenue to fulfil this is the company could acting as a supplier/distributor to the small merchants rather than a competitor. Wal-Mart has its own line of products for almost everything - from study tables to shampoo. Most of them are imported from countries such as China. Due to the bulk purchased, both the cost and selling prices of these products are low. Thus, Wal-Mart could sell them at a price above cost but below selling to small merchants to sell to consumers, thus making a profit. In this way, Wal-Mart can have a share of the community's market while not putting the small merchants out of business. Moreover, having Wal-Mart products on the shelves would also help to increase brand visibility.

While such steps might diminish the company's profit margin, it will allow the company to overcome some barriers to domestic expansion – it would be better to make some sacrifices and break into new markets than to stick to its current approach and face stronger opposition.

The Landscape/Environment

With the arrival of Wal-Mart into some cities, the problems of urban sprawl and traffic congestion followed. Furthermore, some communities contend that the appearance of Wal-Mart changed their town/city's landscape for the worse. If the presence of Wal-Mart does indeed have negative impacts on a community's environment, then ethically speaking, it is the company's responsibility to either control/prevent such situations. This is because,