Ann Harris Example
Application of Cross-Cultural Psychology: Walmart
June 26, 2017
Discrimination, prejudice, sexism, and racism (etc.) are all issues that commonly take place within organizational cultures
Understanding organizational culture aids in the problem solving process
Establishment of core values helps a company by creating a standard of care to employees and customers alike
Evolving the overall work place to create a better and beneficial atmosphere for everyone
Power Distance Theory and Individualism vs. Collectivism Theory
Walmart is a prime example of an organizational culture that has had a great deal of success over the last few decades. However, like in any organizational culture, issues like discrimination, prejudice, sexism, and racism can arise due to the diversity of cultures that mix as a business spreads and increases into new areas over time. While these issues do tend to arise, prevention can take place by understanding the development of organizational culture as it aids in the problem solving process. Establishment of core values helps a company by creating a standard of care to employees and customers alike. By evolving the work place overall, it provides a better and beneficial atmosphere for everyone. Two theories that organizational cultures use to understand the structuring and efficiency process is the power distance theory and individualism versus collectivism theory.
The Creation of Walmart: Ideals in Mind
Retail store with affordable pricing by more easily satisfying financial and material needs and wants
Quality merchandise, food, and items for cheaper than most other stores
Enjoyable atmosphere with courteous and knowledgeable employment staff
Overall pleasant shopping experience
“The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want. And really, if you think about it from your point of view as a customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good-quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.“
– Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club (1918-1992)
Reference: Walmart. (2017). Walmart. Retrieved from http://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6/~/walmart.coms-history-and-mission
Walmart was created with the idea in mind of providing relief to customers in a financial sense. It is a retail store with affordable pricing as it easily helps customers feel satisfied in both a financial and materialistic sense by allowing them to afford their needs and wants. The chain offers quality merchandise, food, and items for much cheaper than other stores, and will even price match other stores in order to keep up with competition. The company strives for an enjoyable yet safe atmosphere with courteous and knowledgeable staff members. Overall, they wish nothing but a pleasant experience for their customers.
What is Organizational Culture?
Leadership is present by evidence and level of success
All employees are treated fair and equally
High performance and productivity
Employee participation in creation of values
All levels of staff share common vision of company and future
Ever changing environment to aid in growing of results
An organizational culture can be a company, community group, nonprofit organization, and so on. Walmart is a perfect, yet larger, example of a company organizational culture that is located and recognized internationally. While the first store was founded in the United States, it spread vastly to various areas, because the level of success it has had over the years with leadership, employee dynamics, and strategic planning. “The organizational culture represents a factor that is of a major influence to the company’s development or, conversely, a destructive factor to its future” (Sergiu, G., 2015, p. 142). Within an organizational culture, key features are leadership behaviors, employees being treated fair and equally, and high performance and productivity. The organization will also have a great deal of employee participation in the creation/execution of values, the entire staff with share a common vision of the company/future, and the ever changing environment will aid in the growing results and success.
Issues That Arise Within Organizational Cultures
Discrimination or prejudice through gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, culture, etc.
Lack of unity
Disrespect for peers
Lack of team work
Lack of quality or results
Unfortunately, organizational cultures may experience certain issues, such as discrimination or prejudice through gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, culture differences, and so on. In turn, this could lead to problematic occurrences that could result in set backs like lack of unity, disrespect for peers, miscommunications and misunderstandings. As a result, other areas it may affect are team work, quality or positive results, and a low level of commitments. Establishment of core values and model behavior helps to eliminate or prevent these issues as it guides employees by demonstrating correct versus incorrect behavior.
What Are Core Values?
Principles that helps guide wanted behavior and actions
These values vary from different organizations depending on their goals
They help decipher correct behavior from wrong behavior
Create an acronym surrounding the foundation of the company
Creates standards and demonstrates a sense of leadership
Core values are essentially principles that help guide wanted behavior and actions within an organization. While many companies may adopt similar values, they may vary from different organizations depending on their goals. They set an example for employees as they help decipher correct behavior from wrong behavior. Some companies or organizations may create an acronym surrounding the foundation of the company to either help members be more creative or to simply help those involved remember the values more easily. Either way, mapping out these values creates standards and demonstrates a sense of leadership. “By clearly laying them out, you’re reinforcing what you stand for, what you want your company to be, and what you expect from those who work for you” (Carlson, L., 2015, p. 65).
Walmart’s Core Values
Reference: Walmart Company. (2017). Walmart. Retrieved from http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/working-at-walmart
Walmart has adopted four primary values, with sub-values under each one. Their four main values are: service to the customer, respect for the individual, strive for excellence, and act with integrity. As you can see, it cultivates model behavior by explaining how employees should proceed when working. This includes how they should act at all times, whether it be with customers or other employees.
Research-Based Model: Power Distance Theory
Based on vertical or hierarchical relationships
Creates a sense of status as it assigns roles, functions, and positions
Has a “chain of command” structure within an organization
Benefits, rights and privileges are given to certain positions
This can be beneficial for certain cultures
Reference: Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L. (2013). Culture and psychology (5th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
One research-based model is the power distance theory. “Power Distance refers to the degree to which different cultures encourage or maintain power and status differences between interactants” (Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L., 2013, p. 404). Essentially, organizational cultures with power distance are based on hierarchical relationships. This creates a sense of status as it assigns roles, functions, and positions and gives a chain-of-command structure within an organization. Certain individuals may have benefits, rights or privileges over others as they are given to certain positions. “Organizations (and cultures) high on Power Distance develop rules, mechanisms, and rituals that serve to maintain and strengthen the status relationships among their members. Cultures low on Power Distance minimize those rules and customs” (Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L., 2013, p. 404).
Research-Based Model: Individualism vs. Collectivism Theory
Individualism is individuals making choices on their own within an organization
Collectivism is where individuals work together as they view themselves as a group in an organization
Many professionals believe that collectivism is more beneficial in comparison
Each approach has pros and cons to them
One approach simply may be more beneficial than the other in certain cultures
Another research-based model is the individualism versus collectivism theory. “This dimension refers to the degree to which individuals will sacrifice personal goals for the sake of their ingroup” (Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L., 2013, p. 405). Individualism is when individuals tend to make choices more so on their own within an organizational culture and do not often rely on others in the decision making process. Collectivism is where individuals work together as they view themselves as a group in an organization and have a greater degree of reliance on group work in comparison. There are many professionals who believe that collectivism is more beneficial than individualism, because it helps individuals development problem solving skills more easily and leadership as well cooperation is practiced more often. However, while one approach seems to be more beneficial than the other, each one has pros and cons. Collectivism and individualism are simply more beneficial in certain areas and cultures. “While individualistic groups may at times appear to be divisive and even unruly, such a cultural orientation may actually help groups meet the requirements of innovation in the workplace” (Goncalo, J. A., & Staw, B. M., 2006, p. 107).
Walmart created with certain ideals in mind for the company
The breakdown and understanding what an organizational culture really is
Acknowledging issues that could arise in organizational cultures and proactive to prevent them
Understanding what core values are and what core values Walmart conveys for the company
Understanding two organizational culture theories including power distance and individualism versus collectivism
In conclusion, Walmart is a perfect example of a an organizational culture that has grown vastly from its success. It began with the founder of Walmart having certain ideals and goals in mind that related to the core values it holds true to the company. We have gone over the breakdown and understanding of what an organizational culture really is, which helps to correlate how Walmart in itself is one. We have gone over how acknowledging issues that could arise in organizational cultures is crucial and can be a proactive step in preventing them. Understanding what core values are also plays a strong role in companies, because they model how employees should behave at all times within the work place. Lastly, we even went over two organizational culture theories that many organizations have adopted, and how they play a role within companies. Overall, while issues may arise within organizations, there are always a way to solve them so long as you understand the structure and reasoning behind them.
Carlson, L. (2015). leading through core values. Leader to Leader, 2015(77), 61-66. doi:10.1002/ltl.20193
Goncalo, J. A., & Staw, B. M. (2006). Individualism–collectivism and group creativity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 100(1), 96-109. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.11.003
Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L. (2013). Culture and psychology (5th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Sergiu, G. (2015). Developing the organizational culture. Revista De Management Comparat International, 16(1), 137.
Founder quote: Walmart. (2017). Walmart. Retrieved from http://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6/~/walmart.coms-history-and-mission
Walmart’s Values Screen Shots: Walmart Company. (2017). Walmart. Retrieved from http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/working-at-walmart