Organizational culture is termed as the unique personality, which the organization follows in order to attain its objectives. Organizational culture is a system in which the firm shares the values, beliefs and the ways in which the members of the company are governed. The shared values of the organization help in overcoming the hindrances and challenges that are faced within the framework. The policies, practices, principles of an organization form its culture. It is essential for an employee to understand the culture and adjust to it well to deliver his level best and win management’s appreciation (Chhokar, Brodbeck and House 2013). The organizational culture depends upon various characteristics that range according to the priority of the organization. Each organization has a different value towards the characteristics. This helps in defining the unique culture of the organization (Awadh and Alyahya 2013). The members of the organization make the necessary amendments based on the prior aspects of the organization, thereby maintaining the work culture of the firm. It is quite vital for the management and the leadership framework of the organization to be efficient enough to choose the vital and prior characteristics of the organization that would maintain the goals of the organization along with its perceived set of values (Hogan and Coote 2014).
In this report, the case study of Walmart has been analysed, in order to analyse the organizational culture of the firm. The model that has been chosen to frame the report is Schein’s model. According to this model, the organizational framework has been divided into three levels, namely, basic underlying assumptions, espoused values and artifacts. The management and leadership framework of Walmart would be analysed based on the three levels of Schein’s model. The conflicts and negotiations that the firm has come across while framing its design and structure will be taken into consideration. This report would help in attaining the issues that prevail within the firm, thereby providing a scope for further negotiations and improvements.
Background of the Organization
Walmart is a multinational company with its headquarters in United States of America. The company has been founded in the 1962, and has been dealing in retail management since then. The organization is considered as one of the best retail stores around the world that deals with wide range of products. The company has been considered as the largest company around the globe on the fortune global 500 list. The organization has employed around 2.2 million employees until date (Walmart.com. 2017). The organizational structure of the organization specifies the business activities, which prevails within the association. The organizational structure creates limitations depending upon the process in which the problems are addressed within the firm. The organizational culture of Walmart analyses the way the responses are gained by the employees at times of challenges in the workplace. The resilience for human resources in the organization depends upon the mindset supported through the organizational culture. The history of Walmart is crucial enough to maintain the success of the organizational structure and culture, thereby bringing up the competitive advantage an success in the firm.
The leadership position of the firm in the retail industry and its potential long term success are important to link the combination of the company’s structure and culture. Walmart possesses a hierarchical organizational structure. Their structure comprises of two features, one is hierarchical based and the other is function based. The hierarchy feature pertains in obtaining the vertical line of command and authority in the firm whereas, the function based structure helps in fulfilling the criteria of various functions to be analysed in the organization (Wiewiora et al. 2013). Walmart has an extensive system of managers who help the organization in supporting the hierarchy function based structure efficiently. Their management and leadership qualities are efficient enough in influencing the entire organization in a positive manner. It develops new and efficient strategies that help the organization in achieving its target. The management system of the organization monitors and controls the subordinates (Babnik et al. 2014). One of the drawbacks faced by the organization structure is that, it does not support the organizational flexibility. It gets quite difficult for the lower levels of the organization to adjust and communicate with the middle and the corporate manages of Walmart headquarters.
The organizational culture is supported by four main components. The components of the organization act as a guide for the employees behaviours. The organization aims at providing eminent support to the customers, respect the individuals, strive for excellence and action with integrity (Wiewiora et al. 2013). One of the basic priorities of the organization is to provide the best services to the customers along with the recognition of the contribution made by the employees towards the organization. The firm strives for excellence in its field where the performance of the individuals, teams and the entire organization is managed efficiently (By, Armenakis and Burnes 2015). The organization supports the virtues of honesty, impartiality and fairness while taking decisions for the firm.
Schein’s Model was developed by Edgar Henry Schein’s deals with the culture within an organization (Fullan 2014). According to the model, organizational culture deals with the beliefs and values prevailing within the concerned organization. Edgar felt that there are both direct and indirect mechanisms prevailing within the organization. Behaviour, status, opinions and appointments directly influence the organizational culture model. The indirect mechanisms that affect the organizational culture are those, which do not affect the organization in a direct approach (Denison, Nieminen and Kotrba 2014). The aspects are the mission and visions statements of the firm, the guidelines framed by the organization, design and the rituals. In order to analyse the organizational culture in a broader and vivid aspect, Edgar had divided the model into three levels. These three levels are mainly artifacts and symbols, espoused values and assumptions.
Artifacts and symbols: the artifacts are considered as the surface of the organization. They are considered as the visible elements of the firm, which considers the logo, architecture, structure, processes and the corporate clothing of the firm (Alvesson and Sveningsson 2015). The visible aspects of the organization affect the culture in a major way. It is not only visible by the employees but also to the external parties of the firm.
Espoused values: espoused values are concerned with the standards, rules of conduct and values of the firm. The process in which new strategies are formulated and implemented in the organization falls under this aspect (Azanza, Moriano and Molero 2013). It is quite important for the managers to maintain the alignment with the employees, as it is necessary to maintain the coalition within these two aspects of the firm to attain success.
Basic underlying assumptions: this aspect of the model deals with the organizational culture and are hence considered as self evident and unconscious behaviour of the firm. This level of culture is considered as the basis in which the foundation of the firm has been created (Landy and Conte 2016). The underlying assumptions are intangible and are better understood by those who are well aware with the culture prevailing in the organization. These are the invisible aspects of the firm that would not be mentioned anywhere. It is an abstract effect associated to the organizational culture, which is analysed with experience (Hofstede 2014). This aspect is a powerful level of the culture prevailing within the firm.
Management and Leadership
The management and the leadership team of Walmart are quite well structured and efficient. Two forms of leadership that prevails in the organization are the transactional and transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is one form of leadership style that deals with the changes in the life of the people and the society in which the leader or the manager operates (Iriana, Buttle and Ang 2013). This form of leadership aims at bringing changes in the life of the subordinates. It further helps in making their life better and more fruitful. Transactional leadership is focussed on various transactions that the leader or manager of the firm makes with her subordinates.
Transformational leadership form is considered as an important leadership criteria of Walmart. Mr. Sam walters, the founder of Walmart is a visionary and transformational leader of the organization. The official and the top managers visit the stores of the organization on a regular note, which helps them gain information regarding the current scenario of the organization. The managers of the organization are well aware of the ground realities that persist in the firm. This helps them in taking better decisions about the firm (Knight 2014). The manager team of Walmart are not adverse in taking big decisions regarding the firm, that would lay a major impact overall organization. The actions that are undertaken by the organization are totally based on the feedbacks of the consumers. The decisions regarding the closure of certain operations of the firm in places, the managers and the heads of the firm also took where the cost of the company was more (Zhu et al. 2016). This shows that the management and the leadership structure of the firm were well acquainted with all the major right of the firms in order to take the decisions that could affect the organization on a greater note.
Transformational leadership of Walmart consists of the ideas in order to frame the strategies to be executed by the transactional leadership framework (Eisenberg, Goodall and Trethewey 2013). This aspect of the organization deals with the ideas plans and policies that must be analysed thereby focussing on the betterment of the organization. The transformational leadership characteristics that prevail in the management aspect of the organization analyses various responsibilities where the firm has a good balance of control and standards at one hand and freedom at the other.
Walmart even has various successful leaders in the organization, which helps in improving the scenario of the organization. Being one of the well-known organization in the retail industry, the organization is well aware of how the systematic steps must be involved in accessing the targets of the firm (Kummerow and Kirby 2013). The management and leadership aspect of the firm is very well structured, that provides an incentive for Walmart to achieve its goals easily. The goals of the firm is aligned with the raise in its revenue and market share along with maintain the internal culture of the firm. With the efficient form of leadership, Walmart has been able to attain supremacy in such aspects. There prevail some loopholes in the organizational structure and culture. These conflicts are analysed in the next section of the study.
Conflicts and Negotiations
Walmart is a multinational organization that exercises its operations in various parts of the world. Being operated in different countries, it acknowledges the need of the organization in overcoming various cultures around the globe. In spite of trying their best to figure out the various strategies that could be analysed to overcome the cultural differences in the organization, there has been various cultural conflicts. These cultural conflicts have decreased the profitability of the organization to a level, which is beyond the expectations of the organization (Prevos and Watson 2013). Keeping the Schein’s’s model in mind, the cultural conflicts and negotiations faced by Walmart in terms of cultural disputes would be analysed in this section. This would help in acknowledging the areas where the organization could have improved to attain stability.
Artifacts and symbols: Based on visible aspects of the organization, Walmart deals with some merits and demerits. The logo used by Walmart along with its tagline quite clearly represents of how they want to provide best services to the customers. They use the line “save money, live better”, which states how the organization prioritises the needs of the customers. The architectural facilities provided by the organization along with its spacious retail outlets through a major impact on the consumers of the organizations. The workplace of the organization possesses various adversities in cultural aspect. In this context, it gets quite difficult for the management team to look over the work process at different parts of the world. Walmart is handled in a hierarchical functional structure, where the heads manager of the firm is solely responsible to take the major decisions regarding the firm. It gets quite difficult for the firm to advance its issues from the retail stores of some other countries to the man heads of the organization mainly situated in the headquarters (Reiman and Rollenhagen 2014). Hence, it could be stated that though the artefacts used by the organization in order to overcome the cultural differences is quite achievable, yet there are some drawbacks, which still prevails.
Espoused values: the code of conduct followed by the organization while entering into international markets is quite well planned in nature. The managers of the firm utilize a set of strategies that would make the encounter in the international market quite smooth in nature. Various drawbacks prevail within the managerial skills of the organization that raises a bar against the embracement of new culture in the firm (Singh and Chalil 2013). The company holds optimistic views about the change in cultural influence of the people of other countries. Yet, the cultural influences within the organization affect the success and failure of the firm. The cultural aspect changes from time to time and from place to place. It gets quite difficult for the senior heads of the firm to overcome the hindrances and attain similar code of conduct and responsibilities for all the retail outlets over the world. This incapability of overcoming the incompetency in the organization would affects the future prospects of expansion in the organization up to a certain level.
Basic underlying assumptions: corporate culture helps in seeking the responsibility of great power within the firm. The invisible aspects prevailing within the organization can be analysed only when the employees have gained enough experience of working under the firm. With the vast diversities in the cultural aspects within the organization, it gets quite difficult for the managers of the firm to manage the basic underlying values of the firm (Whelan 2015). These invisible factors of the organization are quite tough to be analysed, as the employees are not well aware regarding the basic cultural aspects of the firm.
By analysing the organizational structure and culture of the Walmart retail organization, using the Schein’s’s model, various conflicts among the managerial and leadership aspects of the firms has been framed. One of the major issues that are faced by the organization is that the firm is considered as one of the largest retail firms in the world which has the employment capacity of a large number of people. Hence, it gets quite difficult for the managers of the firm to analyse all the issues prevailing within the organization. With huge diversities in the cultural aspects of various countries, Walmart finds it difficult to attract both consumer and employees towards it. Hence, in order to overcome such challenges, the duties of the managers and leaders should be divided depending upon the area of the stores. The senior authority being the major head of firm creates a gap of miscommunication within the firm. Hence, in order to overcome such issues, the organization must thereby divide its functional structure into various sub heads. These sub heads must belong to the country, in which the Walmart store prevails. They would analyse the issues existing among the organization more efficiently and effectively. Later on they can pass on the information perceived to the heads of the firm in the headquarters.
The costs of producing for the firm have been quite more, while planning to promote and expands its business in some foreign countries. It would beneficial for the country to adopt the cost effective methods, cultures and raw materials from the domestic aspects of that area. This would raise the incentive for the organization to gain a better knowledge towards the culture, needs and demands of the people in that particular country. Hence, this would even solve the problem regarding publicity of the firm.
The employees within the organization must be provided with various rewards and appraisals that would promote their loyalty towards the organization. The employee turnover rate would reduce and hence would strengthen the internal structure of the organization. The firm must address the problems that are faced by the employees belonging to different cultures in the organization. Assistance and privileges should be provided to all the employees of the organization that would help the employees to improve their stay as an employee and be faithful to the organization thereby raising its productivity and expansion capacity.
The management of the organisation is a difficult task and thus needs to be performed efficiently. The organisational behaviour model or the Schein’s model is effective in determining the values and beliefs of the organisation (Martinez et al. 2015). The model is thus beneficial in understanding the values and beliefs of Walmart affect its culture. The artefacts and symbol, espoused values, and the basic underlying assumptions are the levels in the organisations that affect the organisation.
The management and leadership aspects of the world largest retail industry, Walmart has been successful enough to raise the stability of the organizational culture and structure. They have followed various provision under the hierarchical functional structure followed within the firm. Both transactional and transformational leadership aspects have been undertaken by the senior heads and managers of the organization in order to overcome the adversities of the firm. Yet, these management skills and policies that are adhered in the organization is not efficient enough to eradicate all the issues that prevail under the organizational culture (Schneider, Ehrhart and Macey 2013). In order to pertain the effective solution to address these problems, the organization must undertake certain measures that would help in procuring the organisational culture and raise the productivity and expansion among different countries of the world.
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