As 2004 came to a close, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, found itself facing a variety of stakeholder issues. The largest company in the world, which had ranked number one on the Fortune 500 for several years, was accused of, among other things, sending jobs overseas, destroying small-town America, paying its workers substandard wages and providing abysmal healthcare coverage, and discriminating against women and minorities. Many outsiders accused the retailer of circumventing or ignoring the principles upon which the legendary Sam Walton founded the company: respect for the individual, service to customers, and constant striving for excellence. As 2005 began, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott and other Wal-Mart executives had to address the various issues. This case details not only the rise of Wal-Mart and its notable capabilities and strategies, but also how the retailer had inadvertently found itself with such a negative reputation.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia