Strategic Social Challenges
Wal-Mart is a giant retail company. This is almost an understatement. According to Head (2004) the company of Wal-Mart is “an improbably candidate for corporate gorilla because it belongs to a sector, retail,” that never produced a powerful company in the history of America. Yet, the retail company grew into a giant company that can compete and rival General Motor’s when it was in its peak. Right now, Wal-Mart is an employer of 1. 4 million people worldwide, and this means power.
And when a company has power there is also a corresponding social responsibility it has to face as challenges and which the community is expecting it to react and make a move. If we follow the logic of Bonini et. al. (2006), they said that business leaders ought to involve themselves in sociopolitical debate not only for the purpose of doing it for their respective companies but also for the reason that they have a “strategic interest in doing so. ” Since it is already premised that Wal-Mart is already a giant player in its industry, it is safe to say then that the company should engage themselves in sociopolitical debate.
Bonini furthermore added that social and political forces are aspects that a company should ponder with serious attitude since these external forces can affect the industry’s strategic landscape. These forces can damage the image and reputation of a firm that is caught unaware of the situation and blamed as culpable. On the other hand, these forces also can pave the way for valuable market opportunities when unmet social needs are highlighted as well as new consumer preferences. Basically this is what Wal-Mart for sometime now is working on.
Going back to the section where the present initiatives of the company is discussed under the light of strategy and public relations, the giant retailer company has already addressed one sociopolitical challenges that it ought to face sooner or later. This is the diversity of culture of the population of United States. Gauging by the initiatives that the company is doing, it has able to address this sociopolitical issue when it made a policy the diversification of the employees it hire to work for the company.
This is one bold move coming from a company that for sometime since its foundation been only hiring Caucasian in its rank and file and top management positions. With the move for the diversification of its rank and file and other positions in the company the retail store is also parrying the fear of being called biased against certain cultural minorities. At the same time, the move also brings the company almost a family to these people constituted of multiracial composition.