From the economic point of view, the Czech Republic is one of the most successful members of the European Union, owing to its continued prosperity and stable decision-making. Over the course of the past decade, the country’s GDP did not go below $190 billion on average, which is an essentially high-performance result (Papula et al., 2018). Despite the recession that occurred in 2009, the Czech Republic did not have any specific problem with developing businesses and coping with the public sector. The existing forecasts capitalize on the future growth and a strong inclination toward the development of SMEs (Strielkowski & Čábelková, 2015).
The numerous ups and downs that the country had to go through represent an advantage for the Czech businesses because of the improved adaptability and flexibility, helping local managers and entrepreneurs make effective decisions when they are limited either by time or resources. One of the venues that the Czech Republic recurrently exploits is the persistence of export activities.
Speaking of the demographic data and its relation to business operations, the biggest problem faced by the Czech Republic is an incredibly high rate of corruption. International partnerships are common for the local businesses, but a variety of fraudulent operations makes it harder for international partners to pay attention to their Czech connections (Sokolová et al., 2016). The lack of proper management created a gap in the Czech business environment, causing numerous overseas partners to evade any relationship with the local organizations. Since the Czech Republic has joined the European Union, it became significantly dependent on foreign exchange reserves and improved its capital transfer statistics (Strielkowski & Čábelková, 2015).
In the case of an expansion, businesses looking into the Czech Republic should consider a partially unstable field of government policies and risks associated with human resources and their cultural peculiarities.
Dimensions of Culture
The first element that has to be related to the Czech dimensions of culture is the performance orientation. As is mentioned by Sokolová et al. (2016), local employees tend to be rather strict when it comes to meeting the expectations of their employers. The latter, in turn, display an authoritative approach to managing their workers. This cultural dimension is crucial for the extension of Walmart because Western executives would be positively surprised by the Czech straightforwardness and practically zero-tolerance for failures.
Contrarily, the dimension of humane orientation may be outlined as one of the weakest links out of all nine. This might have happened due to the external influence that the Czech Republic had to experience when Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union were still in place (Papula et al., 2018). For the businesses expecting to extend their operations into the Czech Republic, it would be essential to pay attention to the fact that human capital is not placed at the forefront of the list of organizational priorities.
The third dimension is the Czech people’s institutional collectivism. According to the evidence from the literature, this country does not validate the usefulness of collectivism and mostly capitalizes on individual performance and the value of local culture (Strielkowski & Čábelková, 2015). Nevertheless, Czech employees do not tend to be intolerant or misunderstanding, as they are quick learners and have no problem adjusting to different management styles. As per Sokolová et al. (2016), Czech executives are not as flexible, which could become an issue for Walmart in the future.
The dimension of power distance is among the most important cultural venues for Walmart because most Czech employees and managers do not believe in equality and do not share the common Western values regarding discrimination and social injustice. The unequal distribution of resources is recurrently associated with the amount of effort that was exerted in order to achieve the organizational objectives (Strielkowski & Čábelková, 2015). Despite the lack of similarities, the Czech Republic is still a hierarchic society where most subordination clauses are taken rather seriously. Most tasks are assigned to different employees in the form of organizational orders that are not usually discussed by lower-tier employees. For the Czech organizations, the best frontrunner is a benevolent autocratic leader.
The dimension of in-group collectivism might also become a cornerstone for Walmart’s expansion because most Czech people do not display a high level of interdependence. For the most part, the Czech Republic is an individualist society, which means that the collective image of the community is rather weak and does not represent a relevant reflection of societal beliefs and needs (Sokolová et al., 2016).
The current social framework is a rather loosely-knit community construction where employees would be most likely to take care of themselves and their families in the first place. Walmart would have to come up with a strategy where employees’ self-esteem would not tend to zero in the case of a failure, as there have to be mutual advantages to keep the positive employer-worker relations alive (Papula et al., 2018). Walmart’s management would have to focus on the exclusive merits of local employees and promote Czech-specific values.
The masculinity/femininity dimension plays an important role in Walmart’s strategy because it serves as an indicator of how the company could drive innovation and employee achievements. For the most part, it may be stated that Czech Republic-based companies prefer a more masculine outlook because it allows them to pay more attention to their own quality of life and support their classic value system (Strielkowski & Čábelková, 2015).
The Czech community is a masculine one, which also means that most workers focus on getting the work done and not their interpersonal relationships. Most managers display assertiveness and make decisions quickly, without allowing too much emotion to show. Czech businesses are also shaped by aggressive conflict resolution and never-ending competition that affects companies internally.
The dimension of uncertainty avoidance plays an important role in Czech management because most organizations across this country do not tolerate the unknown and prefer assessing all the risks in advance. This is also a part of the culture because Czech people rarely express excessive trust in other people’s actions and beliefs (Papula et al., 2018). While fighting ambiguity, managers might be prone to overlooking a rival’s actions or possible room for investment. Given the level of uncertainty in Walmart’s activities being rather high, the company would do a lot to make the Czech partners more capable of tolerating uncommon decisions and a high level of uncertainty. The emotional need for rules should not be overlooked by Walmart management either, as punctuality and precision represent the two values that motivate Czech employees the most.
The dimension of long-term orientation cannot be ignored by Walmart either because the Czech society is often resorting to its past to make decisions in the present. The lack of prioritization tricks local companies into picking orthodox options that are often obsolete or irrelevant (Sokolová et al., 2016). Nevertheless, it is an important point for Walmart that Czech society is rather pragmatic and does not revolve around emotions when it comes to decision-making. Long-standing traditions represent a form of encouragement for local managers because innovative approaches are mostly unwelcomed by developed Czech businesses. Accordingly, more attention has to be paid to the context of decision-making and the ability of employees to adapt to different business scenarios.
The ultimate cultural dimension that is of average importance for Walmart is employee assertiveness. Czech people can be described as extremely socialized, as they mostly always prefer spending time in large companies and see time spent alone as inferior to holidays with friends and family (Sokolová et al., 2016). The level of indulgence for local employees is also rather low, which means that they do not have any problem switching their behavior but mostly prefer not to do that. Walmart should consider Czech assertiveness a rather vivid trait of generally pessimistic and cynical people (Papula et al., 2018). No social norms seem to restrain local employees, as they feel relatively free and indulge themselves for the most part. While focusing on tasks and completing them, Czech workers appreciate reasonable rewards and holidays.
There are two styles of leadership that are characteristic of Walmart’s operations. The first one is democratic leadership, which is also known as participative. The cornerstone of this type of leadership is an increased amount of attention being paid to the contributions made by peers and team members (Blome et al., 2017). Nevertheless, the ultimate decision-making depends on the participative leader and not their followers. With the help of this leadership style, employee morale can be increased significantly. Their ideas could become more visible over time and make them feel as if their plans and aspirations matter for the organization (Hallinger, 2018).
Walmart recurrently resorts to this leadership style because it signifies easier change acceptance and improved roles for all stakeholders. The challenge of swift decision-making does not remain a significant problem under participative leadership, as multiple sources of input protect the company from lopsided verdicts (Fang et al., 2018). Participative leadership can be treated by Walmart as an “open door” dogma where every employee might have a chance to generate change with the help of personal contributions.
Another important clue that cannot be overlooked when discussing leadership in Walmart is the development of an outlook that employees are the ones who generate the best ideas. It actually hints at a developed transformational leadership that can be utilized only by companies where the level of communication is above average, and every member of the team is aimed at success (Murnieks et al., 2016). Productivity enhancements introduced by the management would also improve visibility and motivate workers to achieve even more. A transformational leader would delegate less important tasks and focus on the big picture to accomplish everything of noteworthy prominence for the organization (Blome et al., 2017).
Knowing that Walmart is synonymous with team spirit, it may be safe to say that transformational leadership carefully supports the company’s business philosophy and pushes executives and stakeholders toward innovation and unorthodox decisions. An essential point about the company’s transformational leadership is that the latter drives workplace efficiency and elicits the willingness to pursue the corporate purpose without overlooking employees and their needs (Hallinger, 2018). Transformational leadership presupposes continuous monitoring and performance assessment as well.
A Model of Cultural and Ethical Leadership
The first element of a decent model of cultural and ethical leadership should contain numerous references to the importance of extroversion and an active personality type in general. The idea here is that the team should try to improve the socialization process and make it less formal to benefit from employee practicality and efficient conversations (Fang et al., 2018). The leader should motivate employees to participate in social activities and not forget about their personal development.
Walmart is known as a lively company that is always ready for action, and it should remain an essential characteristic of its employees. Without knowing what to pursue and how to achieve goals, the workforce would get lost rather quickly (Hallinger, 2018). Interestingly, Walmart’s leadership could be effective enough to allow for employees to become leaders and train their adaptability to a variety of real-life scenarios. The brand new model of leadership should also focus on worker learning and externalization of issues and solutions (Fang et al., 2018). Walmart is about communicating with the customers and not merely selling products, which is a strong point for rationalizing the company’s expansion to the Czech Republic.
One more crucial element of Walmart’s leadership is the company’s exclusive attention to loyalty and commitment. The management expects every candidate to perform on the verge of their capabilities and remain open-minded to accept different transformations with no regard to negative thinking (Murnieks et al., 2016). For Walmart, an ideal job candidate is a person that is dedicated to serving the utmost purpose of the organization and follows the leader while speaking out where necessary. Walmart is a large company that can be recurrently affected by the changes occurring in real-time, which is a serious problem for a lot of employees that are unprepared for the challenge (Hallinger, 2018).
The new model of leadership should focus on professional knowledge and personal experience when hiring and retaining employees across the Czech Republic. Development potential is one essential factor that cannot be overlooked by the management. Employees who are not intending to remain in line with the company’s pace will become the key reason for Walmart slowing down its operations (Fang et al., 2018). Therefore, the new leadership approach should revolve around teambuilding and workforce motivation.
The most important element that has to be considered by Walmart is the presence of potential hiring mistakes that could avert the organization from moving forward. The management will not have an opportunity to navigate and allocate all types of resources properly because there is going to be a minimal number of stakeholders deeply involved in decision-making and forecasting operations (Fang et al., 2018). Mismanagement should be avoided by creating extra work that can be delegated to employees from all corporate tiers without losing the initial pace. From the point of culture and ethics, this is a vital step that can protect the company from unacceptable decisions and inaccurate predictions (Murnieks et al., 2016).
Walmart leaders should use their judgment when trying to find the right employee – either locally or overseas – because little information would most likely lead to a weak decision. Interpersonal communication should be seen as a bridge between the applicant’s capabilities and the manager’s willingness to achieve organizational objectives (Hallinger, 2018). Job performance demonstration would be an essential asset to be possessed by a potential Walmart employee.
Blome, C., Foerstl, K., & Schleper, M. C. (2017). Antecedents of green supplier championing and greenwashing: An empirical study on leadership and ethical incentives. Journal of Cleaner Production, 152, 339-350.
Fang, F., Gurnani, H., & Natarajan, H. P. (2018). Leadership, dominance, and preeminence in a channel structure with a common retailer. Decision Sciences, 49(1), 65-120.
Hallinger, P. (2018). Bringing context out of the shadows of leadership. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 46(1), 5-24.
Murnieks, C. Y., Cardon, M. S., Sudek, R., White, T. D., & Brooks, W. T. (2016). Drawn to the fire: The role of passion, tenacity and inspirational leadership in angel investing. Journal of Business Venturing, 31(4), 468-484.
Papula, J., Kohnova, L., & Papulova, Z. (2018). Impact of national culture on innovation activities of companies: A case of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Economic Annals-XXI, (169), 26-30.
Sokolová, M., Mohelská, H., & Zubr, V. (2016). Pay and offer of benefits as significant determinants of job satisfaction: A case study in the Czech Republic. Economics and Management, 1, 108-120.
Strielkowski, W., & Čábelková, I. (2015). Religion, culture, and tax evasion: Evidence from the Czech Republic. Religions, 6(2), 657-669.