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Walmart - the High Cost of Low Prices

Essay by   •  April 2, 2013  •  Case Study  •  1,466 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,648 Views

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Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Prices

Individual Video Case Analysis

TOP LEVEL STATEMENT

The low prices offered in Wal-Mart stores come at the cost of each and every stakeholder within the organization. Record profits occur despite a complete lack of disregard for the welfare of employees, suppliers, communities, and environment. Wal-Mart uses their financial muscle, government loopholes and corporate tax breaks to inflict their will on all stakeholders involved. According to Freeman's Stakeholder Theory, the key to what makes capitalism tick is lost when the sole focus is on the financial aspect of business. All stakeholders working together allows for something to be created that wouldn't be possible if attempted alone. The real issue is the ethical and moral implications that surface when one stakeholder places his/her own interests above all else.

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The primary purpose of the Wal-Mart documentary is to bring the very real allegations and instances of inappropriate, illegal, and highly unethical practices out in the open to expose Wal-Mart for the way in which they operate. Meeting and exceeding the expectations of their shareholders is the primary end goal of this organization despite the shockwaves that are sent throughout all other involved stakeholders. The biggest allegations Wal-Mart are charged with involve employee mistreatment. Employee mistreatment is such a broad topic in the documentary that it covers issues such as extremely low wages, lack of benefits, union resistance, unpaid hours, lack of opportunity for advancement, gender discrimination and racial discrimination. What's most disturbing is that these are the issues that affect the employees who live in a part of the world with the highest global standards of living: North America. If these are the issues that are plaguing North America, just imagine the mistreatment that is going on in areas such as China, Bangladesh, and Honduras. Wal-Mart employees in countries such as Bangladesh have been subjected to sweatshop conditions in which they were paid less than $20 per week while being forced to work 19 hour days, 7 days a week. If you were to do the math, you would come to the conclusion that these workers were being paid approximately $0.15/hour.

The scope of this documentary is very broad. It takes on perspectives of past and present employees who have suffered mistreatment at the hands of the juggernaut corporation. Employees, Unions, Suppliers, Government, Communities, Religious Groups, and Environmental activists are all acknowledged in the documentary which just goes to show the depth of abuse and negligence that Wal-Mart is rightfully accused of.

FLOW, ORGANIZATION, AND CREDIBILITY

This documentary was incredibly well done. The film covered many areas in a logical sequential manner and the topics covered moved well from scene to scene. Part of what made the documentary great was the constant reinforcement via testimonials which gives each affected group important credibility. The film starts out by recognizing the struggles of the employees and transitions to issues at a municipal, state, national, and international level. When thrust into the lives of those affected by the issues Wal-Mart is plagued with, you really get an idea of what it's like to view life through their eyes. The issues presented in the documentary are not only very real, but are increasing in severity and the lack of corporate response is baffling. Transitions between segments were particularly strong as each segment tied in well with previous one while providing strong lead up to the next. The film was actively engaging and did a strong job of tugging on the heart strings by depicting some of the worst conditions Wal-Mart employees are being faced with.

The credibility of this documentary is very strong as the testimonials of past and present employees, government officials, and those affected by Wal-Mart's entrance into a new community give gripping accounts of the harsh realities Wal-Mart is solely responsible for. It is easy to disregard anti Wal-Mart activists opinions as extreme but to hear the honesty in the voices of the most loyal and proud former Wal-Mart employees helps to but the realities of the situation in perspective.

BIAS OF DOCUMENTARY

The documentary is undoubtedly biased. However, any effective documentary whose aim is to expose a large corporation is going to be guilty of bias. The goal of the documentary is to paint Wal-Mart in the most negative

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