Wal-Mart recognizes that it has an image problem, but in order to begin to correct it, Wal-Mart needs to think beyond a mere public relations campaign. It needs to address the substantial issues upon which its image is based. No PR team, however skillful, can simply whitewash these serious allegations.
There are many barriers which Wal-Mart must overcome in order to enter the overseas marketplace:
. not discriminating against women with regard to promotion and pay,
. providing better health insurance coverage options
. not abusing employees with respect to breaks and time worked, and
. improving labor-management relations. Note that the changes may involve changes to Wal-Mart's human resource practices themselves, because, in some cases at least, it may be those practices which bring about the problems in attracting and maintaining a loyal, enthusiastic and energetic workforce.
I believe that unless Wal-Mart tackles these problems, it faces a grave risk of falling profits. The main reason is this. Even though customers are attracted by the chain's low prices, and even though in many locations, it might be the only game in town, a problem arises concerning its prospects for expanding its empire, and attracting employees. Given the army of workers it employs, word-of-mouth reports of their poor treatment will spread, making the development of yet another store in a new location less desirable because people would not view it as a good employment opportunity. Moreover, such practices may also alienate Wal-Mart customers. Bolman and Deal say as much in regard to discrimination against women. "It makes good business sense for companies to promote diversity. If a company devalues certain groups, word tends to get out and alienate customers" (p.158).
Once Wal-Mart puts such measures in place, it will be easier for it to recruit and select the right employees. Wo