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How is a case study written? I have to write a 3-4 page case study on the following:
With annual revenue of $430 billion, 2 million employees, and 7,300 stores worldwide (and even larger numbers by the time you read this), Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world and has held the number-one spot on the Fortune 500 list 6 out of the last 7 years. But, as the world’s largest company, Wal-Mart is also one of the world’s largest targets for anti-corporate groups and lawsuits. Indeed, to its critics, over the last decade Wal-Mart has become the default symbol of corporate evil.
On the issue of employee pay, Wal-Mart has been accused of forcing employees to work off the clock (working overtime and during breaks without pay) and of paying Wal-Mart employees wages that fall below the poverty line. In terms of health-care benefits, critics such as wakeupwalmart complain that Wal-Mart provides health insurance for only 43 percent of its employees compared to 66 percent for most other companies; that although managers receive health benefits their first day on the job, full-time and part-time employees must wait 6 months and 12 months, respectively, before enrolling in Wal-Mart’s health insurance program; and finally, that average Wal-Mart employees must spend a disproportionate share of their income, approximately 22 to 40 percent, to cover their health insurance premiums and medical deductibles. Wal-Mart, of course, disputes these facts and allegations and argues that many of these critical organizations and websites are financed by unions that have tried unsuccessfully for two decades to organize Wal-Mart’s employees, who represent the largest work force in the world.
Environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, have also been highly critical of Wal-Mart. According to the Sierra Club, “Big Box” stores like Wal-Mart “threaten our landscape, our communities, and the environment by building on the fringe of town, paving vast areas for stores and parking lots, and undermining the economic health of existing downtown shopping areas.” The Sierra Club also opposes new Wal-Mart stores because it believes their development destroys wetlands and increases the risk of flooding-based pollution.
With the average footprint of a Wal-Mart supercenter running about 18 acres, the Sierra Club believes that Wal-Mart is a major contributor to “non-point source water pollution,” which it says is the leading cause of water pollution in the U.S.” According to the Sierra Club, an undeveloped acre with trees and grass and flowers and bushes only produces 2,700 gallons of rainwater runoff for each inch of precipitation. In other words, most of the rainwater is absorbed into the ground. By contrast, a developed acre, meaning an acre that has been paved and has buildings, produces 25,000 gallons of rainwater runoff for each inch of precipitation. Since the average Wal-Mart supercenter is 18 acres, an inch of precipitation leads to 450,000 gallons of rainwater runoff filled with pollutants such as oil, chemicals, and bacteria.
Unrelenting attacks have undoubtedly affected how people view Wal-Mart. Gerald Baron, founder and president of a corporate relations consulting company, says, “Wal-Mart has a reputation crisis.” Ironically, though, this has had little effect on Wal-Mart’s sales. Indeed, Wal-Mart’s internal research shows that less than 0.1 percent of the people who are familiar with these criticisms would not shop or have stopped shopping at Wal-Mart. So, with almost no impact on its sales and little concern among its customers, should Wal-Mart take on its critics and fight back, or should it focus on its business and let its results speak for themselves? What should Wal-Mart do, if anything, in regard to highly publicized criticisms about the pay and benefits it awards to its employees? Should it ignore them or address them? Finally, should Wal-Mart view environmentalists’ complaints as a threat or an opportunity for the company? If you were the CEO of Wal-Mart, what would you do?
Bus 13-Principals of Management (community College -
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