Walmart’s Consumer Redlining

One of the best-performing businesses to use cutting-edge managerial approaches and apply change management in a distinctive way is Walmart. However, despite its efforts to raise performance levels generally, the business found it difficult to foster a welcoming atmosphere on the inside. The business has battled a number of difficulties that are closely related to diversity in the workforce and equality over the years. The company is currently in a reasonably healthy state, but dynamic marketplaces necessitate quick responses. Understaffing has been a problem for Walmart for the last two years. Majority of international organizations face employee challenges that are related to work-life balance, understaffing, work overload, poor pay and lack of adequate time to interact with the family and social life. The challenges facing employees often lead to reduced productivity that further creates an unfriendly environment for the workers. Issues related to equality as well as diversity of work force continue to throng international organizations including Walmart.

First and foremost, starting from 2015, the company faced shortage of employees that had a significant impact on the overall performance of employees and the company as a whole. Indeed, the majority of employees are forced to work overtime for little to no pay. Although it is clear that no immediate solutions are available, it is worth noting that bigger states such as California are not suffering from this problem. However, smaller states find themselves in a difficult position since there is a substantial lack of raw work force. Employees that are working for Walmart are not able to tackle the constant income of customers. Moreover, in 2005, Wal-Mart also had confronted a lawsuit in Missouri that suspect them of failing to pay staffs overtime, give insufficient dine breaks and declined to pay them for performing off the clock and this claim comprises over 160,000 employees.

Clearly, over the years, Walmart has proven to be a poor place to work. The core staff consist of people from different backgrounds, as a matter of fact, they all come from different countries and the majority of them are inexperienced, or lack communicative skills to outline the issue to top management. There are recommendations that enable the chain to improve its relations with the staff and customers.

Table of Contents

Abstract 2

Summary 3

Case Study: Walmart 4

Introduction 4

Literature Review 4

Method 5

Analysis 6

Discussion 6

Recommendations 7

Conclusion 7

Case Study: Walmart


Walmart is among the international organizations that need to improve their work diversity balances across its branches worldwide based on the international coverage of its incidences affecting the workforce. Workforce diversity can be defined as the process of embracing a variety of differences among the stakeholders in an organization (Mattke et al. 2013, p.2). Work diversity in a multinational company like Walmart is embracing staff from different races, ethnic groups, gender, personalities, ages, cognitive styles, education, backgrounds, and organizational functions among other work factors that come to play when staff from different background are embraced together. Management issues arising from implementing work-life balance and conducive working environments affect workers’ productivity and thus should be handled.

First and foremost, starting from 2015, the company faced a shortage of employees that had a significant impact on the overall performance of employees and the company as a whole. Indeed, the majority of employees are forced to work overtime for little to no pay. Although it is clear that no immediate solutions are available, it is worth noting that bigger states such as California are not suffering from this problem. However, smaller states find themselves in a difficult position since there is a substantial lack of raw workforce. Employees that are working for Walmart are not able to tackle the constant income of customers. Moreover, the fact that Walmart’s global policy is aiming at affordable, medium quality products, makes them an obvious choice for consumers (Parker and Burke 2016, p.29). Therefore, the income of customers is only increasing, as more Walmart’s stores are being opened. Moreover, in 2005, Wal-Mart also had confronted a lawsuit in Missouri that suspects them of failing to pay staffs overtime, give insufficient dine breaks and declined to pay them for performing off the clock and this claim comprises over 160,000 employees.

An imminent issue affecting the Walmart stores is its management of claims and cases of sex and gender discriminations. Valdez (2014 p.327) revisits several court cases affecting multinationals in terms of gender and sex discrimination. Walmart has had poor policies on handling work diversity based on gender and staff background, for instance, the case of Betty Dukes and others exposed how the company has widespread gender and sex bias (Reed et al. 2015, p.256). There have been cases of discrimination against women in California, Texas and other states where statements like “overt sexism” and “unfair treatment” were common. From the case study of the discriminations and understaffing, Walmart faces work diversity and managerial challenges where recommendations and actions are needed to improve the public image of the company (Valdez 2014, p.327). There has been poor working environment at Walmart that need to be improved to ensure improved work productivity.

Clearly, over the years, Walmart has proven to be a poor place to work. The core staff consists of people from different backgrounds, as a matter of fact, they all come from different countries. Thus, managing stress and constant income of customers have proven to be an issue for both, employees and managers alike. In essence, the core workforce can do little to nothing, thus it is clear that managers are in desperate need of a new performance strategy that would attract new employees, as well as tackle the shortage of raw force (Mattke et al. 2013, p.2).

Literature Review

To begin with, it is common knowledge that the more there are employees involved, the better. However, it also has its downsides. Managers often find themselves in a difficult position since they are unable to fully grasp everyone. Clearly, this is the sole reason why bigger companies such as Walmart, General Electrics, and Toyota develop subdivisions of managers that are responsible for all kind of activities (Parker and Burke 2016, p.29). Furthermore, huge corporations (including multinational once) gather managerial staff from all over the world, which is exactly what Walmart needs. True, there are managers from all sorts of backgrounds, but the scope is smaller, while the impact is bigger.

In given case, it is clear that Walmart has developed a working environment that is not only damaging for their employees but creates a negative image in the eyes of the public. As stated by Mattke et al. (2013, p.2), bad publicity will hinder the company’s performance due to the fact that employing new people will prove to be, both a financial and managerial burden. A similar statement was made by Reich (2016, p.77), the author stresses that poor public image will eventually have an impact on sales and will most likely result in bankruptcy. Indeed, putting this into perspective, it does not matter what kind of quality products are distributed, if a poor image in the eyes of publicity is present, sales will suffer dramatically.

The cases of understaffing has been prevalent among multinationals especially in areas with low populations. In the case of Walmart, the states that are demographically less populated were prone to be understaffed (Seiner 2013, n. p). The problem was also experienced among other multinationals who had relatively adequate staff in high populated states like California and understaffing among the middle-Western States. In an interview with Nomi Stone, Hagman (n. d), argued that understaffing was a perennial problem among the less populated states and the stores with relatively lower sales had the issue of understaffing, with the staff regularly facing work overload.

As more and more people migrate to the US and other developed countries, the more there is a need for a diversity management system. Indeed, as stated by Llopis, diversity management is key to growth. Indeed, once such a system is implemented, greater results and more importantly feedbacks can be expected. Feedbacks are vital and every employee is an individual that has its own values and methods of expressing themselves. In addition, the author clearly makes a heavy emphasis on the fact that it is vital to keep it authentic. Indeed, authenticity is an important aspect since it will secure that all values employees have are addressed, as well as it will outline who is more prone to this kind of negotiation (Reich 2016, p. 75). Moving on forward, as stated by Coutler (2014, pp.19-29), understaffed and overworked employees experience ample amounts of stress, making them both physically and mentally damaged. This is a major problem, especially considering given case. A workforce that is constantly exposed to this kind of issue will most likely layoff and never return, which in turn, will generate even more financial losses (Ruetschlin and Traub 2014, n.p.). Certainly, the author stresses out that overdue should be rewarded, but he also mentions that exploiting this will sub-sequentially lead to frustration and irritation since workers have little to no time for themselves. As mentioned by Sterling et al. (2010, p.132), tackling the issue of time management is not only hard but puts the business institution in a difficult situation. Considering the situation Walmart is in, creating a functional time management system will prove to be a challenge.

Another vital problem stated by Coutler (2014, p.38) is the fact that the brand itself will struggle as a result of poor management. Indeed, as stated by Mattke et al. (2013, p.2), brand connotation denotes to the deeply connected defiance as well as moods clients have to a business or a product. A product with an adverse customer association is likely to attract undesirable attitudes as stimulated in the mind of a potential buyer. Corrupt profile-raising can donate to harmful brand overtone, which can in turn in a decrease in sales, especially in a long-term perspective. Altering views and brand relations require ample amounts of time, as well as it will require massive expenses, due to the fact that the company will be enforced to allocate resources on advertising in order to regain customer trust (Mattke et al. 2013, p.2). Injured product association also plants area for the opposition to move in on a client base, which will also lessen sales. Clearly, the above-mentioned literature proves that Walmart is in a critical state. One might argue that their core stores are performing well, but it vital to understand that smaller establishments are responsible for supporting the bigger once. It works in both ways, which means that eventually, both smaller and bigger stores start to suffer since a strong team is determined by the weakest member. The more they are organized, the better they will do.


The paper embraces secondary sources for information in performing the research study. Since the researcher might not get adequate time to conduct primary data collection, the best approach to performing the study was to use secondary information related to the store, Walmart, in terms of major issues related to work diversity and managerial effectiveness. Digging into journal entries, books, interviews, news articles, and other scholarly works that point to the Walmart store and its related competitors in relation to work diversity, workers discrimination, and understaffing among other issues facing the multinational. Thus, for this particular issue, both a qualitative and quantitative method will be utilized. The method can be described as a mix of variables that are aggregated into a statistic. This particular statistic will address a wide array of issues, including demographics, tendencies and scale of the whole issue (quantitative). Furthermore, the method will also address specific problems that are localized in one particular sector of the company (qualitative). Based on results from the analysis, a potential solution can be applied, as well as it will outline certain drawbacks. From the qualitative and quantitative I formation from the secondary sources, an analysis based on the emerging themes on work diversity, and managerial effectiveness were made.


The analysis of the secondary sources was done through content and theme analysis. Some scientific studies done on customer reviews and the company’s management policies were used to arrive at the conclusions and findings. Thus, it was estimated that approximately 45% of Walmart employees are satisfied with their job. Furthermore, in a survey conducted by Ministry of Labor of the United States, around 25% of these employees are willing to stay and work even more. This positive note clearly indicates that as a whole, Walmart treats their employees in a positive manner. However, it is only a half of them and the rest 55% either refused to participate or stated the direct opposite. As of 2005, Walmart has seen an interesting dynamic, where employee satisfaction rate very high or very low. In order to fully apprehend the whole issue, it is vital to stress out that the survey was conducted during holidays. In essence, the data would vary dramatically if the aggregation process took place on a regular day. Clearly, during holiday seasons, people are more likely to spend their money more often, which in turn, generates more pressure for employees that are working in these particular hours. Another vital characteristic is that Walmart's customer policy never changed and, all employees were asked to work extra hours for minimum pay. This fact leads to one logical conclusion, workers were exhausted and the constant flow of customers only contributed to the low level of morale.

Another interesting issue is the fact that Walmart, despite the promised compensation, refused to pay funds for extra hours. This lead to several strikes and have resulted in numerous lawsuits against the company. Combining these two factors, it is clear that Walmart executed poor management decisions and broke several laws. Indeed, the issue is rooted in the managerial structure of the company. Moreover, if the management system is suffering from poor decisions, sales will most likely drop down as well. It is worth mentioning that while bigger stores did not have such issues, the amount of smaller was not only bigger, but they generated more issues. Putting this into perspective, the fact that smaller stores generated more losses than bigger once, clearly indicates that the company gained little to no profit. All money that was earned during the holiday season, was allocated to compensate losses, as well as pay off extra money to employees that issued a suite case. Clearly, the results are poor, but they do not end here due to the fact that managerial staff neglected employees from other countries. Indeed, employees that came from different places were often neglected and many of them just left due to the fact that there was no communication. In certain cases, employees that managed to make a contact were treated as children and all of their recommendations were not only neglected, but made them look weird in the eyes of natives. The environment was not established, which forced them to move on from the company. If that reserve of employees would have been intact, the issue could have been avoided completely.


Walmart is considering to be a giant on the market. However, this seemingly small issue resulted in a massive backlash from customers and employees alike (Seiner 2013, n. p). There were several options available and, the process of establishing a good inner communication require little to no expenses. It is obvious that it does require time and efforts, but for such a huge company as Walmart, it would safe to state that they have the necessary resources to execute the above-mentioned strategy. Moreover, the more resources are allocated towards employees, who in given case play a critical role since they are technically stakeholders. Another issue that will most likely arise if the current problem is not addressed properly, is the fact that the company will find it hard to gain new employees. To be specific, immigrants might as well pick Walmart as their temporary job, although native once will find it hard to work there. In essence, the company will lose valuable workforce. Another issue is the fact that highly educated people will avoid Walmart since they will most likely see the issues surrounding it. Losing potential employee is equivalent to losing potential innovators. Innovation as a whole drives the company towards success. Innovation will eventually give them a competitive edge on the market. Companies such as Microsoft do not layoff their employees if they are not able to perfectly fulfill their responsibilities. They educate them and give freedom to do their job the way they want it. It is a risky move, although if it succeeds, the amount of potential revenue will not only increase but will most likely form a positive image about the company. There are several examples such as Microsoft and, Walmart is not a new player on the market.

Reich (2016, p.75) performed an analysis of over 35,000 Yelp reviews about the multinational Walmart found out that in areas where Latino and Blacks were more (or concentrated), there were less reviews on complaints of the company’s performance. The analysis found that customers were complaining about the store characteristics and not about the staff or their races. There was a worrying pattern about customers who seemed to drive racial discrimination in addition to the sex discrimination performed by the management. Some words from customers on the reviews were “slow,” “unorganized,” and “worst” among other negative words on their shopping experiences. The comments pointed to the need of Walmart organizing its staff, ensuring uniformity across its stores in the US and abroad. Reich (2016, p.76) held conclusion that Walmart also had systematically understaffed majority of stores in communities of color, a practice he defined as “consumer redlining” as discovered from evidence collected from Florida, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. It was through the study that the Walmart responded to the Reich’s study through investing $2.7 billion on educating, training and improving the wages of the staff across the stores in the US (Joseph 2016, para. 3-6).


It is clear that Walmart is in desperate need of a diversity and retention strategy. These two approaches would significantly increase their KPI, as well as it would address employee rotation. Certainly, applying a training program is a must. A good approach would the ADDIE training framework. The framework focuses on all kind of issues and can be planned from start to end, including unexpected outcomes. The basic idea behind this model is to divide each process into a phase (i.e Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). These phases allow managers to picture the whole process and potential outcome, as well as prepare for future follow-ups (i.e unwanted outcomes). In essence, the amount of money and human resources can be determined by the managers themselves since the majority of tasks can be done without additional expenses. Lastly, the model is very flexible and can be adjusted to any kind of audience. Thus, it is clear that the model will eventually make a difference and once it is implemented into a weekly routine, the outcomes will be visible shortly. In addition, the program can be used as a marketing tool due to the fact that it does not prohibit creativity and unique techniques of execution. In essence, it is a viable method that has proven numerous times that it is indeed functional. Managing workers through instituting work-life balance is recommended at Walmart, as well as structural reorganization to enable redress of the issues related to understaffing, sex and other forms of discrimination (Ruetschlin and Traub 2014. P.1).


All in all, Walmart has put itself in a damaging financial pit. Both employees and managers are struggling to keep it up together and as a result, the company experiences massive losses in terms of customers and human resources. Three major challenges affecting staff include understaffing, discrimination (sex), underpayment which put the working environment of workers unconducive provoking the need for Walmart to institute managerial measures to address the challenges. There are several solutions, although the most applicable to given case would be the ADDIE model. It is a simple framework that will have a dramatic impact on the end performance. It will increase their potential and, it will secure that future incidents such as these will not occur. The more time managers will spend on the program, the better since it would form a public image, which in turn will soften the overall image of the company.


Coulter, K., 2014. Retail Detail: The Work and The Workers. In Revolutionizing Retail (pp. 19 53). Palgrave Macmillan US.

Hagman, M., n.d. Kindred Tools: An Interview with Nomi Stone.

Joseph, G., 2016. Does Walmart Understaff Its Stores in Minority Communities? Retrieved from stores-in-minority-communities/498479/

Llopis, G., 2005. The global public management revolution. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Mattke, S., Liu, H., Caloyeras, J., Huang, C.Y., Van Busum, K.R., Khodyakov, D. and Shier, V., 2013. Workplace wellness programs study. Rand health quarterly, 3(2).

Parker, D. and Burke, D., 2016. From Hot to Lukewarm: Union Strength and Worker Rights. W. St. UL Rev., 44, p.29.

Reed, T., Harding, J. and Kelly, W., 2015. Employee Class Actions Four Years After Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Defense Counsel Journal, 82(3), pp.255-281.

Reich, A., 2016. Walmart’s Consumer Redlining. Contexts, 15(4), pp.74-77.

Ruetschlin, C. and Traub, A., 2014. A Higher Wage is Possible at Walmart (2014 Update). Mayer, S. and Noiseux, Y., 2015. Organizing at Walmart: Lessons from Quebec's Women. Global Labour Journal, 6(1).

Seiner, J., 2013. Weathering Wal-Mart.

Sterling, E.W., Silke, A., Tucker, S., Fricks, L. and Druss, B.G., 2010. Integrating wellness, recovery, and self-management for mental health consumers. Community mental health journal, 46(2), pp.130-138.

Valdez, A., 2014. Who's Really Determining Our Social Policy; Revisiting the Relationship between Congress and the Courts in Workplace Gender Discrimination. Hastings Women's LJ, 25, p.327.

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