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Competitive Advantage (Wal Mart) Essay

2780 words - 12 pages

For most companies, identifying what a learning organization should be and actually becoming one is tricky at best, impossible at worst. One way that manager's and companies can promote the concept of being a learning organization is to assess whether the company is in need of a short-term fix or whether it is more focused on long-term results. Organizational learning is a long-term activity that will build competitive advantage over time and requires sustained management attention, commitment, and effort. Learning organizations maximize their competitive positions during strong economic times and they prudently train their employees and prepare for change even in turbulent times. As a ...view middle of the document...

Sam's philosophy that associates treat customers the way management treats associates is an example of the second aspect of corporate culture, internal integration. Internal integration deals with employees feeling a sense of collective identity within the company. Sam went to great lengths to make sure that his associates were happy and that any ideas and concerns associates had could be taken to management and Wal-Mart still follows this philosophy today (Berg, 2001).Not only is a strong corporate culture good for business by increasing customer satisfaction, it also can help to decrease turnover and save on human resources expenditures. Internal integration should start the minute a new employee enters a company. Training of new employees should include some way of helping them to understand the company's culture. The new hire training program currently in use at Wal-Mart stores includes videos and other information about the founding of the company as well as other general and specific information about the company's culture as well as expectations related to this culture. This is important because a company's culture is not always easily apparent to newcomers and this is what keeps Wal-mart's culture strong (Berg, 2001).The first primary characteristic, which Wal-mart embodies, is innovation and risk taking. Wal-Mart has many policies in place to ensure that employee ideas and concerns can be openly expressed to management. Sam felt it was important that associates feel like they can go to management at any time to express any problems or ideas they may have. Another important characteristic of the Wal-Mart's culture is the use of team orientation. Wal-Mart uses different types of teams to accomplish different purposes, from natural work teams made up of associates who work together in the same area and usually share the same manager and work goals to problem solving teams put together to solve a specific problem that disband immediately after the problem is solved. People orientation is created by managers who can use management philosophy as way to do this. Management philosophy is a philosophy that links key goal related issues with key collaboration issues to come up with general ways by which the firm will manage its affairs. Sam created the Store within a Store policy as a way to push responsibility downward to associates at store level. This policy was created to help give associates a feeling of empowerment, allow them to feel like more than just another employee (Berg, 2001).Wal-mart has a customer-responsive culture. One of the first things involved in the culture of a company is how the company adapts to external factors, how it will reach its goals and deal with outsiders. Corporate culture filters through to customers and vendors, an unhappy employee will project their feelings onto customers and coworkers in the company. Sam believed that the way management treated associates was the way associates would then treat customers...

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