Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is claimed to be the greatest retail enterprise with enormous income and an extreme number of stakeholders. However, the company receives numerous complaints instead of being appreciated. It is believed to be involved in unethical behavior connected with “local laws on voluntary labor, working hours, employment practices, wages, freedom of association and collective bargaining, health and safety, dormitories and canteens, environment, conflict of interest, and bribery and corruption” (Sethi para. 12). It proves that it does not have a high level of corporate social responsibility.
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Corporate social responsibility presupposes that a corporation is not only in the charge of making money but also of ethical interaction with the society, in which it exists, and its community. It is a complex notion that is claimed to be connected with:
- The economic responsibility (make a profit): the company has a total revenue of almost $422 billion in 2011, which is a great number. Still, low-wage manufacturing can be found in some branches.
- The legal responsibility (follow particular rules and regulations). According to the national labor laws, Wal-Mart is obliged to pay its employees on time. Still, there were more than five issues related to unpaid work. The penalties under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are likely to be provided soon in order to improve the situation.
- The ethical responsibility (conduct right actions even though they are not required by the regulations stated by the law; it is connected to the corporate culture). Unethical actions such as bribery and refusal to support the workers’ initiatives are conducted. Except for that, when a fire raged at Wal-Mart, the managers blocked some of the staircases not to allow the workers to exit. The interest of workers tends to be ignored in order to fulfill the company’s needs. The company had an opportunity to provide financial help in order to improve safety but refused, as it would be costly.
- The philanthropic responsibility (make a contribution to the community without a particular necessity to do so but just because it will be appreciated by society). Officials are paid instead of helping society.
The company undertakes these responsibilities in the order in which they are mentioned in this list because they are tightly connected to each other. It can be explained by the fact that there is no sense to consider legal issues for the organization that is not in charge of economic operations.
The key areas that should also be discussed in this perspective include:
- Economic sustainability. The company should maintain financial solidity and create business plans that give an opportunity to perform stably. Still, it had several issues connected with bribery and employee payment.
- Social sustainability. Wal-Mart should try to establish a balance in people’s lives through diversity. It is expected to provide equal opportunities to individuals from different social levels and of different nationalities (University Alliance para. 7). Still, the personnel bribed Mexican and Asian officials. There are departments with low-skill and low-wage manufacturing.
- Environmental sustainability. The company should take into consideration the fact that natural resources are limited and try to prevent pollution. However, the resources are not used efficiently, which leads to numerous deaths and injuries. The fire prevention system is not working decently.
- Stakeholder engagement. The company should remember the power of stakeholders and its influence on the organization and promote stakeholder ethics (Brusseau para. 25). Wal-Mart does not consider employees’ opinions and is not willing to allow them to be involved in any form of collective action. The wages are extremely low, and safety conditions are not going to be imposed. MNCs act as if they are separated from the rest of the employees, and the workers of the lower levels are the only ones to be blamed for all problems. The supplies are not allowed to disclose any information about this company. The retailers think only about the low prices of the products and do not pay any attention to the workers’ problems. Foreign buyers usually are provided with the opportunity to escape from the factory-related issues, which is not provided to other stakeholders.
Trying to enhance corporate social responsibility it is critical to:
- Inspire the masses to reach improvement by increasing their awareness of its value.
- Reconsider the company’s core values to make sure that all operations are targeted at their fulfillment.
- Design a new corporate giving statement on the basis of the gained information to understand what, when and how will be given by the organization to the community, including philanthropy.
Corporate social citizenship theories discuss the role of the organization in society and its responsibilities. The firm Wal-Mart operates in its branches in Bangladesh taking into consideration the company’s perspective and economic responsibilities. It tends to be focused on the supply chain and its ability to maintain everyday operations that give the company an opportunity to earn more. Such inclinations prove that Wal-Mart is following instrumental theories, according to which “the corporation is seen as only an instrument for wealth creation, and its social activities are only a means to achieve economic results” (Garriga and Melé 51).
Such conclusions can be proved by the description of the company’s operations. It is stated that Wal-Mart is a large firm that has great revenue; however, its achievements seem to be limited to these two facts. The workers are mistreated because their interests are claimed to conflict with the goals. Environment and sustainability are claimed to be enhanced, but these are only words, as no substantial improvements can be observed (Walmart para. 6). The organization is not willing to support communities; it is even reluctant to assist its workers. The supply-chain also faces restrictions, but they are made to streamline the operations and limit the influence the stakeholders have while all participants are identified so that the provision of products is ensured. Political, integrative and ethical perspectives seem to be neglected and even violated by Wal-Mart.
If I were the new CEO of Wal-Mart in Bangladesh who needs to improve corporate citizenship, I would consider such aspects of work as:
- Commitment from management. Upper-level executives should understand the value of corporate citizenship (company action as a decent citizen) and support actions aimed at its promotion.
- Plan. Design an action plan that can be used by the public to perform actions peculiar to a good person. Some citizenship initiatives can be designed and assigned to a work team so that they act according to the instructions, and their performance can be measured.
- Expressing disagreement. It is critical to discuss the issues that are on the front burner and solve them to attract the public. For example, the company can investigate environmental problems or problems that are important for clients.
- Making citizenship. The company should remember about the competitive advantage and hire talented individuals, able to promote the products.
- Marketing. The representatives of the general public do not like self-promotion, so it is better to promote the whole organization, emphasizing its beneficial initiatives (Johnston para. 6).
The representatives of Wal-Mart believe that the Bangladeshi government is responsible for the adverse working conditions in the firms. One was talking about the poor quality of governance and its inability to regulate labor markets decently. The government pressure is claimed to increase, which makes the organization perform better and earn more even though no internal changes are established. As a result, the employees need to work more while the environment, in which they perform their duties does not become better. The government implements new requirements so that Wal-Mart needs to alter the way it operates to meet them. Trying to omit such kind of expenditures and reduction of labor wages, the firm bribed the officials, seeing it as a way out of the adverse situation.
The Bangladeshi government provides only a few restrictions on supply. People of all social groups have an opportunity to obtain such a working position. They may have no qualifications and specialized knowledge, which gives an opportunity to hire almost any individual from the street. If the government considered such aspects, it could influence the working conditions and payments, making the general public more educated at the same time.
Lack of government assistance is seen in the absence of financial funding and support, without people occur to be not able to have enough money to take care of themselves and their families. Finally, the government is influenced by the organizations, as its decision to increase salaries and superpose safety conditions can be bought by the companies.
Brusseau, James. The Business Ethics Workshop, 2016. Web.
Garriga, Elisabet, and Domenec Melé. “Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory.” Journal of Business Ethics 53.1 (2004): 51-71. Print.
Johnston, Kevin. How to Improve Corporate Citizenship, 2016. Web.
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Sethi, Prakash. The World of Wal-Mart. 2013. Web.
University Alliance. Walmart Reports on Global Responsibility Efforts. 2013. Web.
Walmart. Global Responsibility Report. 2016. Web.