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Organizational Behavior Analysis: Wal-Mart

Organizational Behavior Analysis: Wal-Mart

Organizational Behavior Analysis: Wal-Mart


In today’s highly modest business environment, it is vital for individual’s and group behaviors in an organization to align with the plan and goals of the organization. Organizational behavior analysis depicts the systematic approach involved in understanding human behavior in an organization and how it impacts on organizational goals. Organizational behavior plays a critical role in providing an organization with a competitive position over its competitors. Therefore, organizational behavior analysis provides an essential basis for understanding how an individual’s behavior, group behavior and organizational culture impact organizational performance and profitability. There is a wide range of organizational factors including remuneration, leadership, organizational structure, communication and others that impact significantly on individual and group behaviors in an organization. Getting an improved understanding of organizational behavior helps an organization understand how it can better manage the workforce effectively to achieve the set organizational goals and objectives. Human resource plays a critical role in promoting success and improved organizational performance. Therefore, it is essential for an organization to promote an environment that encourages efficient and effective behavior within an organization to promote organizational success. This paper argues that getting a clear understanding of organizational behavior plays a critical role in promoting effective employee management, which in turn leads to improved organizational performance and success. This paper will address the organizational behavior analysis for Wal-Mart, one of the organizations I worked in previously. The analysis will address a wide range of factors including culture, communication, authority, emotional quotient and virtual elements and how they impacted positively or negatively on organizational behavior. 

Wal-Mart Culture

Wal-Mart is the largest retail store in the world and one that has experienced unprecedented growth in the world since its inception. Bogdanowicz (2015) posits that organizational culture can serve as a vital source of competitive advantage for a business. The organizational culture at Wal-Mart has a significant impact on the way employees behave since it important direct employees behaviors such as dressing and the way employees perform their tasks. The Wal-Mart organizational culture plays a critical role in promoting organizational image and values of the organization by dictating inner workings and interactions within the organization. It is expected that all the organizational employees should observe the organizational culture values to create a working environment that conforms to the mission, vision and objectives of the organization. 

There are three types of cultures that are predominantly adopted by organizations when creating a work environment that they want to achieve. Pluralism is one of the cultures, and it depicts a situation whereby, groups of individuals when operating in sizeable cultural setting preserve their unique identities, values and behaviors. The second type of organizational is dualism, which depicts a situation where individuals in a society or setting comfortably adopt two types of cultures.  The third type of culture is the Salad Bowl culture that depicts a mix of diverse cultures being put together without affecting their individual values, traditions and beliefs despite operating in a broader cultural setting. 

Walmart observes a Salad Bowl culture by promoting an environment that allows employees from a diverse cultural environment to work together effectively. The Walmart culture is based on the values of respect for the discrete, excellence, action with integrity and quality services to customers. According to Lombardo (2019), the employees are treated as “associates”, and they are empowered to take part in organizational decision-making by making their own decisions. The “associate” empowerment makes employees feel it is a vital part of the organization, thus promoting positive behavior. Employees are also providing with an opportunity to share organizational profits and enhance their skills through training and development programs.  Wal-Mart recognizes that employees’ contribution has a significant impact on the success of the organization (Thomson, 2010). That is why Wal-Mart promotes the value of respect for the individual to promote the value of employees in the organization. Subsequently, the employees are able to provide quality services to the customers and thus promoting high levels of customer satisfaction and organizational success (Thomson, 2010). The value of action with integrity plays a vital role in promoting positives virtues in employees such as honesty, fairness and impartiality in decision-making since employees are a critical part of the organization. 

The salad bowl culture at Wal-Mart helps to infuse tolerance and inclusion and get the best out of every employee in the organization. The organizational culture is able to build an environment that promotes a sense of belonging, which in turn leads to improved employee performance. The value of respect of individual means that each individual’s culture is highly respected leading a positive employee’s behaviors. 

Modes of communication 

Effective communication is an essential ingredient needed in an organization to align employees’ actions with organizational goals and objectives. Effective communication is one of the elements that were actively promoted by the Wal-Mart founder, Walton. He used to visit the stores at least once per year as he sought to get ideas from the employees on how he could improve operations (Brea‐Solís et al., 2015).  The same form of communication is followed by the Wal-Mart’s executives as they make consistent visits to the stores to interact with employees “associates” to promote improved relationship and understand how they can best work together towards improving organizational operations. The open communication technique adopted by Wal-Mart plays a critical role in reducing time wastage through formal/written communication. It also provides the executive with an opportunity to interact with the associates directly, thus playing a vital role in promoting strong employer-employee relationship (Efron, 2017). Additionally, employees feel their concerns are heard, thus promoting their morale and level of output. Information gaps in the organization are sealed, which enable the executives to gain immediate feedback and ideas on how they can improve overall organizational operations. Subsequently, a high level of efficiency is achieved, which in turn promotes positive employee behavior and performance. 

Other than open communication, Wal-Mart has adopted the satellite communication system. The satellite system promotes formal communication in the organization. This form of communication plays a critical role in communicating organizational goals, strategies and objectives to the employees and in motivating employees through pep talks and couching (Lopez, 2018). The satellite system also connects more than 24,000 stores allowing efficient inventory management, communication with suppliers, stock forecasting, planning, and producing, which in turn helps about 1 million Wal-Mart employees to work efficiently. 

Effective communication has been one of the main reasons behind Walmart success. The open communication makes employees feel is an essential part of the organization, thus promoting morale and improved performance. The motivation provided through pep talks over the satellite communication system also helps Walmart to enhance employee morale, which contributes to positive behavior. Human capital is considered an essential resource in promoting organizational improved organizational performance (Proctor, 2014). High level of employee motivation is associated with increased employee productivity and competitiveness of the organization. Therefore, communication serves as an essential tool for promoting high employee motivation at Walmart. 

Nature of authority

Wal-Mart uses a hierarchical functional organizational structure that involves a mix of hierarchical and functional organizational structure. The hierarchical structure is characterized by bureaucratic vertical lines of command and authority in the Wal-Mart organizational structure (Duke, 2013). The directives in the stores come from the top level managers and are implemented through the middle level managers to the lowest employee in the organization (Duke, 2013). The employees are required to strictly flow the laid down procedures and policies in the organization, thus impacting the morale and attitude towards the organization negatively.  Bureaucratic organizational structure has been established to impact negatively on employee morale and performance. According to Nørgaard (2018), in a bureaucratic setting, leaders tend to focus more on driving results and pay little attention to the employees’ needs and concerns. Subsequently, the strict and rigid regulations can spark resistance in the organization leading to lower levels of commitment, morale and motivation from the employees. 

The bureaucratic structure at Walmart impacts negatively on employee creativity, which is very critical for organizational innovation. Employees are restricted from stepping out of their job assignments and have limited freedom to produce new ideas (Hirst et al., 2011). Completing the same repetitive tasks helps to create a specialty in a particular area. However, it leads to monotony and reduced commitment, thus impacting negatively on employee productivity (Idrus et al., 2016). On the other hand, Walmart employees a functional organizational structure that is depicted by groups of employees performing certain functions while they are headed by a departmental head. There is a wide range of departments, including the human resource department, IT, marketing, accounting and others. The various organizational departments play a critical role in promoting effective leadership. The span of control is therefore narrowed with various departmental heads controlling a few employees in the stores, thus leading to improved management and employee experience. The mix of hierarchical and functional organizational structure is vital to Wal-Mart due to its size. Wal-Mart has over 2 million employees across the globe. The hierarchical organizational structure is essential for an organization of such size to manage its employees and implement its organizational policies effectively. On the other hand, Wal-Mart stores are found in different geographical locations. Therefore, the functional structure helps to streamline management activities in the various departments based on the needs of the stores in a particular geographical location. 

Motivation Techniques

Wal-Mart is one of the organization hats very concerned about keeping its employees motivated. Wal-Mart uses a wide range of motivation strategies, but most of the strategies relate to extrinsic strategies. Wal-Mart offers rewards, money and recognition to employees to keep them motivated. A wide range of rewards is offered to the employees, including healthcare benefits such as health insurance at low prices for a primary doctor, pharmacies, dental and vision care (Duke, 2013). Employees are also offered discounted prices when shopping with Wal-Mart and pay rise depending on organizational performance.  Employees are also allowed to have a share of the organization’s profits, thus making them feel they are working towards promoting their own good. Other than extrinsic strategies, Walmart also uses essential strategies by empowering employees through training and development opportunities. The employees are involved in making vital organizational decisions that make them feel is an essential part of the organization (Lee & Raschke, 2016). Additionally, the company’s executives make a face to face visits and communications with the employees, making them feel valued. Subsequently, Wal-Mart is able to promote positive employee behavior and encourage improved employee commitment and performance. The organization also refers to its employees as associates rather than employees, thus making them feel isa vital part of the organization. Employees are also called by their first name only, which helps to create a sense of family-oriented business. Therefore, people are able to maintain a high sense of respect regardless of the position that a person occupies in the organization. 

Areas Of emotional Quotient embraced by Wal-Mart

Emotional intelligence is an essential virtue when dealing with customers, like in the case of Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart employees engage with customers in a wide range of situation, and it is crucial for the employees to practice a high sense of emotional intelligence (Srivastava, 2013). Wal-Mart promotes the elements of self-awareness, self-management, self-motivation, social awareness skills and empathy in its employees (Srivastava, 2013). These elements enable employees to control their personal feelings whenever they are dealing with customers and to exercise empathy when attending to customer needs. Additionally, the different values help reduce politics in the office, avoid conflict and alleviate personal ego in employee and customer engagements. Subsequently, Wal-Mart is able to create a productive working environment that promotes positive employee behavior. Employees mostly engage in constructive disagreements since they are able to eliminate personal emotions and ego from engagements with the customers and fellow employees. 

Virtual Working Elements

Wal-Mart has one of the largest private satellite communication systems that link its stores across the globe together through voice, data and video communication. The video communication allows executives in different geographic locations to communicate, manage inventory and promote process efficiency. The C.E.O also engages with employees through video to provide them with motivational pep talks.  The CEO is also able to communicate with the various executive in different stores across the world to get a glimpse of how they are running operations, communicate organizational policies and strategies and make future plans for the organization. The employees are also provided with virtual gadgets for training to help them gain new skills needed in addressing the rapidly changing customers’ needs.  For instance, in 2018, employees were provided with virtual training gadgets to train them on how they would respond to customers’ needs during the black Friday. 


Understanding organizational behavior plays a critical role in promoting organizational performance by understanding factors that impact employee’s behavior either positively or negatively. Wal-Mart is one of the largest retailers in the world. Analysis of Wal-Mart’s organizational behavior has indicated that the company has done all that is needed to promote positive employee behavior, which pervades improved organizational performance. Wal-Mart’s organizational culture put significant value on the respect of every individual employee, thus making employees feel valued and are an important part of the organization. The organization also promotes open communication that involves face to face communication and interactions between executives and the employees. Subsequently, employees concerns are heard and thus promoting employees’ morale positively. Therefore, it is essential for an organization to understand how best to elicit positive employees’ behavior since it has a significant impact on the success of the business.



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