Wal-Mart Company Functions of Management

Introduction

Managers are tasked with four major roles organizations, viz. organizing, planning, leading, and controlling. This paper will analyze the four major roles of managers using Wal-Mart to illustrate the major themes. The paper will also analyze the effect of the internal and external factors to the aforementioned roles of managers.

Planning

Planning involves the assessment of the market that a company operates in by outlining the firm’s objectives, determining the necessary resources needed to accomplish the plan and coming up with a strategy that best suits the organization’s needs (Bateman & Snell, 2011). Planning function in Wal-Mart is highly dependent on the company’s pricing policy. The company’s managers have to come up with plans to reduce the cost of inputs in a bid to achieve low prices for the company’s products (Fishman, 2006). During planning, Wal-Mart must thus consider prices by competitors and assess the profits it stands to earn by selling its products at the set price.

Organizing

The organizing stage comes right after the planning stage. It involves assembling and synchronizing human and financial resources as set in the planning phase. Managers are accountable for organizing human and financial resources of a corporation (Fishman, 2006). In addition, managers determine the number of employees required to accomplish a certain task coupled with availing the necessary resources for the group in order to facilitate their working. In Wal-Mart, jobs are assigned according to the employees’ skills and experience. Resources are shared to each branch according to the different needs.

Leading

Leading involves organizing and motivating employees in order to achieve the organization’s goals (Bateman & Snell, 2011). In Wal-Mart, the leadership allows inputs from workers in the decision-making process. Communication between managers and employees is paramount in Wal-Mart and every stakeholder must be engaged. Such communication allows employees to contribute in the decision-making process, thus leading to increased morale since they work towards achieving goals that they have set for themselves. In addition, the company offers its employees development opportunities through online training, which ensures that employees remain efficient and productive.

Controlling

The main aim of controlling is to ensure that a company does not deviate from its objectives. Without control, organizations could easily deviate from its goals, mission, and vision. Therefore, controlling ensures that deviations are detected in time and corrective measures adopted in case such incidences are detected. Wal-Mart takes into account both the internal and the external factors during the process of dispensing this duty. The management of the company uses an inventory tracking system and cameras coupled with conducting regular work performance reviews as part of the internal controls. In addition, the company appraises the financial accounts, turnover ledgers, production records, and market changes regularly.

Explain how the selected organization is affected by the following internal and external factors

Globalization

Globalization is a major factor influencing performance of big companies (Bateman & Snell, 2011). Globalization has resulted in stiff competition, and thus companies must be innovative in order to remain relevant in the contemporary marketplace. Wal-Mart started its globalization process in the 1990s and since then it has penetrated the global market successfully (Fishman, 2006). Globalization has opened the market for the Wal-Mart’s products and it has led to increased sales for the company. The company’s records indicate that a great portion of its revenue come from the international market. The company has managed to reach many customers by globalizing its operations. For example, the company has opened branches in India and Mexico, thus increasing its global market share. The management of the company identified an opportunity to expand its territories to South Korea following the enactment of the Foreign Investment Promotion Act in 1998 (Fishman, 2006). The Act provided incentives for foreign investors and the company, through its management, sought to take advantage of the new legislature. Globalization affects the company both positively and negatively.

Technology

The use of technology by the company has been a key factor that has led to its success. Wal-Mart has introduced an online training program for its managers and employees in foreign branches (Fishman, 2006). Technology enables the company to interact with its customers from all over the world, thus enabling the managers to understand the customers’ likes and preferences and their attitude towards the company’s products. Technology has also led to successful globalization since the company’s managers at the headquarters can issue directions to branches located overseas. Technology also influences the company’s decision-making process since it facilitates swift communication amongst managers, thus facilitating the process.

Innovation

Innovation affects management functions and it determines a firm’s competitive advantage. In most cases, innovation leads to the introduction of new or improved products in the market, thus increasing a firm’s competitive advantage (Bateman & Snell, 2011). Wal-Mart is leading in innovation and it has driven away retailers from the market. The company is innovative as it uses novel ways in order to reduce its operational costs, thus leading to low prices of its products. The company does not just study the market treads, but it also introduces products that are fit for consumers. The company is credited for being the largest retailer in the global market. Wal-Mart has been innovative and it has been taking advantage of the new technology to boost its sales. The company has innovatively developed the universal bar code. In addition, the company uses the radio frequency identification technology (RFID), which has resulted in more production coupled with reducing the operating costs (Fishman, 2006). The company has also introduced the hybrid diesel-electric trucks, thus resulting in reduced carbon emission and minimal environment pollution.

Diversity

Diversity in the workforce is essential in a firm since people from different cultural and religious backgrounds help an organization to understand the nature of the market (Bateman & Snell, 2011). In addition, it brings in new ideas, hence leading to improved quality of goods. Wal-Mart is committed to ensuring that its workforce reflects diversity. Diversity affects the managements’ roles for managers have to make good plans ahead of the recruitment exercise. The company has a diversity and ethics office. The company’s diversity and ethics office is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the company maintains a diverse and ethical workforce (Fishman, 2006).

Ethics

As companies expand and establish foreign branches, ethical issues arise due to differences in laws in different countries. A stringent ethical code is thus necessary if companies are to benefit from globalization. Wal-Mart, as an organization, values ethics (Fishman, 2006). The company has a code of ethics that ensures that all employees act ethically. However, the company has faced ethical issues in the recent past. It has been accused of discriminating female workers together with subjecting its employees to hard tasks and forcing them to work extra time without pay (Bateman & Snell, 2011). The company quickly responded to the allegations by creating a diversity office to ensure that female workers are incorporated in its workforce. In addition, the company also established a global ethics office to ensure compliance with ethical provisions.

Conclusion

Managers are responsible of ensuring that their firms are run profitably. Managers have four major roles, viz. organizing, planning, leading, and controlling. The four roles are influenced by internal and external factors that include globalization, technology, innovation, diversity, and ethics. From the above discussion, it is evident that the four major roles of managers are subject to external factors.

References

Bateman, S., & Snell, S. (2011). Management: leading & collaborating in a competitive world. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Fishman, C. (2006). The Wal-Mart effect: how the world’s most powerful company really works–and how it’s transforming the American economy. New York, NY: Penguin.