There is a clear chain of command in all branches of Wal-Mart from the CEO and president to the shop attendant. The multinational firm mostly operates on four basic principles, namely respect, integrity, excellence, and service. Each organizational team model openly outlines the business policies that distinguish an organization from others within a competitive environment (Burke & Ng, 2006). Wal-Mart deals in the supply of groceries and different merchandise in various stores across the US franchises and around the world. In its operations, Wal-Mart experiences a fair share of criticism and support from different analysts who assess its position in the competitive US market.
Over the past few years, the chain of stores never operated groceries, until the demand for grocers increased. Most competitors offered grocery services while Wal-Mart’s affordable outlets lacked such services. It became evident that the groceries attracted many consumers in the US; this shift threatened the existence of Wal-Mart between 1995 and 2000. Its reorganization in 2002 saw it form mergers to strengthen its ties, but some failed to yield requisite fruits (Fishman, 2006). This paper intends to provide a detailed organizational team model of Wal-Mart, including the effects of mergers with other companies and characteristics of different team members in the organization.
Organizational Team Model
At Wal-Mart, the leaders and the followers collectively make decisions that have a significant impact on the organizational performance. At Wal-Mart, leadership is a symbol of authority that promotes social relationships between the subordinates and the supervisors. The following illustration summarizes the organizational team model at Wal-Mart.
The aim of Wal-Mart’s founder was to create an institution of equality in which authority acted as an element of growth, and not subjection of staff members. According to the illustration, communication occurs in an interactive manner. The chain of command ends in the staff and sales department that equally participates in decision-making procedures even though the managers have the ability to influence adoption of various leadership tactics (Paavola, Lipponen, & Hakkarainen, 2004).
Organizational Team Leadership at Wal-Mart
Successful Team Work
In the early 2000s, it became evident that most customers sought for convenient stores that offered affordable prices while delivering products and services in homes and places of work. In the service industry, organizations such as Alibaba, eBay, and Amazon among other online shopping avenues offer affordable prices. They also deal in a variety of products and services while enabling customers to choose products virtually and carry out online transactions irrespective of their destinations.
The introduction of the online industry was a threat to Wal-Mart because its low pricing strategy would no longer influence consumer decisions. Instead of striving to increase the number of Wal-Mart outlets and reduce the prices of foodstuffs, Wal-Mart has the opportunity to collaborate with the industries in order to propel its growth (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2006). Collaboration is a good tool of meeting the needs of consumers and matching the stands set by competitors within the same market place. Today, most consumers display interest in online transactions, and this explains why Wal-Mart may be successful in merging with Amazon and other companies in the online industry. Operating in the online sector places companies at a competitive position because most customers look for convenience, aesthetics, and home deliveries owing to the busy nature of most people today.
Failed Team Work
A failed teamwork would emerge between Wal-Mart and a multinational that deals in fast foods or soft drinks. For instance, Pepsi Co. and McDonalds seem to be stable in various markets across the world, but an increased need to prepare healthy meals and diet drinks increases the cost of production while reducing profits. While this happens, the companies have to advertise their products daily in order to remain relevant in the various established market places. Collaborating with an organization that faces limited competition is the best thing that could happen to Wal-Mart.
However, increased concerns over human health and the need to embrace healthy living might make it difficult for the company to make any proceeds. When Wal-Mart introduced groceries in the chain of businesses the intention was to meet the growing demand. Soft drinks and fast foods are only part of the products the company offers, but acquiring or merging with such an outlet would further interfere with business procedures. In addition, the organizational team models of companies should have areas of commonality and failure to submit to the rule of marketing and management might result in the greatest business failure.
Wal-Mart Team Concepts
Open Communication Channels
Wal-Mart realized that one of the greatest avenues to success is the ability to create an open communication channel. Through this, people are capable of sharing information while exchanging information of value to the firm and to the individuals. In 1995, it had to carry out reorganization in order to respond to the market that shifted towards the online service deliverers (Romero, Galeano, & Molina, 2009).
Through communication, markets, employers, and employees of the company were capable of sharing information through different forums. These included advertising, road shows, social media, and meetings. It became easy to understand that shifting towards the same direction would elicit a similar effect on the target population. As such, the company focused on direct marketing, home deliveries, opening other stores, and actively engaging consumers on the company website. As a result, market research became an affair for every team member and not only the responsibility of the marketing department.
Team Building Exercises
Team building through company retreats, trips, luncheons, and fun activities remain very important to Wal-Mart in establishing mutually beneficial relationships between employees and the employers. In an organizational setting, subordinates are likely to fear supervisors because of the harsh approach towards management. Instead of creating a collaborative environment, this reduces performance because the employees work under duress. Wal-Mart understands the significance of team building in meeting consumer needs and responding to the competitive environment (Fishman, 2006).
Through team building, it becomes easy to identify talents, skills, and competencies that increase productivity in different organizational departments. For instance, some subordinates have leadership skills, but they lack an opportunity for self-expression when the environment does not reinforce the same. Team building exercises create a free environment through which the managers can easily identify the talent pool (Loulakis, 2010). In most cases, some employees shift to different departments in which they display interest and signs of growth.
An organization that lacks a proper duty delegation platform becomes dictatorial. Since Wal-Mart’s inception, the leaders keep changing especially when potential leadership skills emerge within the industry. Seniority human resource management occurs in order to give an opportunity for other people to lead while others assume the leadership of retired individuals. It would be impossible to achieve the same without delegation of duty and power. Decision-making is a collective process, but in each capacity of employment, an employee, or a manager has the authority to delegate duties (Lichtenstein, 2006).
Corporate Social Responsibility
Supportive learning and corporate social responsibility help in building organizational image while promoting the growth of different employees within the company. Wal-Mart’s environmental sustainability plan is an activity in which all team members participate. Besides being a learning opportunity, it supports different members of the communities in achieving sustainability. Their principal areas of interest in the sustainability plan include energy conservation, waste recycling and proper disposal, and sale of sustainable products.
In essence, when team members learn water conservation skills together, they would want to share the same with several people, and this raises the sustainability index for Wal-Mart. Recently, the company introduced a fleet of delivery trucks that use renewable sources of energy in order to reduce the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. From the team building exercise, Wal-Mart aims at creating mutually beneficial relationships within the internal and external environment through learning and development of support programs (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2006).
Team Member Characteristics and Needs
According to the organizational team model, communication is the greatest need for each team player. Open and two-way communications provide an avenue for information sharing, team building, and this helps in meeting the demands of the customers. In the leadership stage, there is need for autonomy and mutual understanding of team members’ strengths and weaknesses. The third stage, which is development of an organizational culture, remains integral to the leaders and employees in the firm (Burke & Ng, 2006).
An organizational culture should be a representation of the popular views of the employees and employers at Wal-Mart. The organizational culture gives room to the development of an organizational strategy, which will have a direct impact on the operations in the firm in the next 3-5 years. Concerning team work, the employees expect incorporation of fair employment and payment strategies while ensuring that team leaders do not implement authoritarian techniques in management since this would deter growth for the chain of retail stores. In everything the employees and the managers do, the customer response remains very significant, and this explains the ardent need for creating of a sustainable business culture (Paavola et al., 2004).
Wal-Mart purely focuses on mergers and acquisitions for its strategic plan. This implies that it has to use liaison tactics often for future benefits. Consequently, the organizational culture should focus on collaboration because a coalition between two different companies strengthens the two. For instance, they share costs of marketing while extending markets to different areas of interest in the society. Equally, Wal-Mart has to attend to online customers by collaborating with eBay or other virtual technological companies that offer efficient, affordable, and effective services to consumers. Market trends keep changing, and Wal-Mart should respond to the same through consistent research.
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Lichtenstein, N. (2006). Wal-Mart: the face of twenty-first-century capitalism. New York: New Press.
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