I have several; one in particular with Wal-Mart. Being a middle-aged southern woman raised by depression-era parents, shopping there is practically in my DNA. I do like to save money. But the service is usually so awful, I want to scream. About five years ago, a bad experience with an employee forced me to boycott Wal-Mart for two years. I even wrote a letter to Bentonville and spoke to the district manager.
On the other hand, Wal-Mart provides great examples of organization behavior on such an incredible scale it can boggle the mind. Sam Walton’s Made in America combined with the CNBC documentary The Age of Wal-Mart illustrates most of the topics in an Intro to Org Behavior textbook.
You can find a news story about Wal-Mart nearly every day. Some are good and some are bad. It is fascinating. The alleged Mexican bribery scandal is one of the latest. Years ago Wal-Mart really botched their decisions about employee health care and the message they shared about it. But, demanding reduced packaging from their vendors has had a huge environmental impact. And I’ll never forget the post-Katrina Fortune Magazine cover: Government Broke Down. Business Stepped Up. How Wal-Mart, FedEx and Home Depot got the job done after Katrina (October 3, 2005).
A few weeks back, on the same day the news reported Wal-Mart going into crisis mode because of the bribery scandal, I saw a story about Wal-Mart giving $2 billion to end hunger in America. I’m sure that was orchestrated but again, really big, amazing examples of organization behavior.
I don’t think Wal-Mart is completely terrible or entirely wonderful but I do believe it is important to look at all sides of an issue or an entity. The world is too complex nowadays to see things as flat or either black/white or purely good/bad.
Other love/hate relationships of mine:
What do you think?