Any organization, whether old or new, big or small, needs certain plans, methods, and procedures in place for its effective functioning. For this to take place, they must develop as well as implement management concepts that assist them implement their visions for the organization future. Therefore, an individual who holds an administration position in any organization should think conceptually and strategically in order to accomplish the organizational goals. There are different levels of associates and managers, who operate in a company. Nonetheless, none of these companies will succeed unless they stick to the management guidelines that consist of four functions including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (Bateman & Snell, 2009). For this reason, this report examines the management concepts at the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. by assessing how the overall management team of this company performed in terms of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc is an American global retail corporation, which runs chains of big discount warehouse stores and department stores. According to the Fortune Global 500 list, Wal-Mart is the second largest public corporation in the world, the largest retailer, and the largest private employer throughout the world with above two million employees. The company is among the world’s most valuable companies, and it remains a family-owned business as Walton family controls it. Sam Walton started this company in 1962. It was in 1972 when the company went public on the NYSE. It grew steadily across United States, and in 1991 and 1994, it moved into Mexico and Canada correspondingly (Foley et al., 2002). At present, Wal-Mart continues to advance, and their success does not only result from their sound strategic management but also from its implementation of the strategic plans.
Planning is essentially the foundation pillar of Wal-Mart’s management. It is the base upon which this company builds its other management areas. The company’s administration assesses where it is presently and where it is going in the future. This enables Wal-Mart’s administration to determine a suitable course of action and implement it to attain the company’s objectives and goals. It is worth mentioning that, from its conception, the company has mainly been devoted to creating a difference in its customers’ lives. It is the result of Walton’s visionary leadership, together with generations of acquaintances dedicated on helping the customers whereas building the community, and saving cash (Roberts & Berg, 2012). This heritage defines this company and its current goals.
The company has a reputation for caring for its employees, clients, and the prospective public. For this reason, this company can essentially be an industrial frontrunner for the shopper’s world with an eye for lower and affordable prices. The company’s founder believed in three administrative principles in his strategy planning. These principles were to provide the company’s customers with good service and value, to be involved with the community, and to have a good link with its associates. Wal-Mart’s efficiency in logistics is among the reasons why it leads the way as the biggest marketing business. The use of inventory and technology management systems helps to keep the prices of its products at a discount, and this helps to maintain their customer’s wallet.
The company’s management incorporated Cross-docking inventory system as an operational plan. Under this plan, the company moves its products from their receiving docks to the shipping docks hence evading the storage. This operational plan reduces the transportation costs, inventory-carrying costs, and the costs that are associated with material handling and order fulfillment. With this plan in place, the company transports its goods to the stores quickly bypassing the stock count. This plan gives the managers a little more convenience.
In addition, the management of this company takes careful planning to know the products they should sell. Planning needs the management to evaluate the current position of the company. Currently, the company is clearly more aggressive in providing low prices than brilliant services. The low prices resulted from planning including the use of the automated data collection as well as analysis (Roberts & Berg, 2012). The management divides workers into various sections inside the store to keep things in order.
The organizing function of administration in any organization corresponds with the activities that usually results within the power of authority, an organization of effort, and responsibilities. The managers normally deal with the existing workforce, obtain resources, instruct personnel, and motivate the workforce into a prolific team. The company’s managers organize all the resources in advance. This allows the company to follow the course of action that the managers decide during the process of planning. These managers ensure staff harmonization and try to learn the best way to handle the crucial tasks and reduce the unnecessary expenditure in the company.
Defining jobs as well as activities is the initial step that managers at Wal-Mart undertake. They identify job profiles according to various departmental needs. These managers define jobs in every department of Wal-Mart Company and the activities that workers in these departments perform (Foley et al., 2002). The managers then organize diverse jobs into manageable units. The next step involves distributing the authority where the senior management specifies the range as well as breadth of powers to various junior managers working in various departments. For instance, the management assigns managers who govern the workers in various departmental stores. The last step under organization function involves the senior managers balancing the responsibility and authority.
Through proper leading/directing, the managers at Wal-Mart supervise as well as control the actions of the employees. This also enables these managers to render assistance to the staff through guiding them in the correct direction, to accomplish the company’s goals. Through appropriate leading, managers at Wal-Mart motivate their employees and this leads them toward the planned objectives of the company. Thus, they leading function is always inspirational. In addition, they delegate tasks to the subordinates in the right way, and this is the reason why there has been an increasing productivity in the company for a long time. It is worth mentioning that all the levels of management at Wal-Mart undertake this function where a senior manager leads his/her subordinates who in turn delegate tasks to the staff he/she manages and this process continues in a categorized order.
Nonetheless, ethnical diversity plays a part, which affects and changes the way the management of Wal-Mart leads their staff. For instance, there may exist a manager who understands and easy going, conversely, managers find themselves leading employees who are not cooperative, are lazy, and who do not care about their work, they might discover another way to lead the staff (Foley et al., 2002). This might cause the managers to micromanage the team for the job to be done. In terms of the leading function, the managers at Wal-Mart need to improve on this area.
Controlling as a management function helps to bring the entire company together. Controlling is a very imperative aspect of Wal-Mart Company’s goal of upholding ethical accounting practices. Wal-Mart accounting is the most crucial part of the control mechanism. The company management has set forth that all the documents should conform to all the applicable regulations, laws and should comply with all the internal directives and retention policies. The managers instruct all the staff not to suppress or withhold any information that is relevant to the financial accounting matters.
The management’s main objective is essentially safeguarding against the internal controls. Wal-Mart believes in protocol, and thus it has a clear procedure of handling the accounting ethics concerns. Moreover, the management at Wal-Mart has established the performance standards that are associated with the overall objectives of the company (Roberts & Berg, 2012). All the managers check whether the tasks they allot to their staff are according to all the standards that the quality department has set.
Most of the company’s employees feel that the monitoring of all the activities, which the company management has put in place to monitor the performance of all the employees and company performance has contributed the success of the company. In fact, the controls that the management has put in place have a meaningful impact on the overall performance of the company. For instance, the accounting procedures in the company are mostly positive because the management has put in place controls that state everything clearly from ethics to the inventory, as well as the company assets. In fact, the accounting department at Wal-Mart uses all the four functions of management in their day-to-day activities, and the impact of this is that the entire company is so organized.
In a nutshell, the four functions of management described above have helped the managers at Wal-Mart build positive interpersonal relationships and maintain productive working environment. This has greatly contributed to the overall success of the company. Nonetheless, the managers need to improve on the extensive labor relations problems. Generally, the management is opposed to the unionized labor. Shift scheduling, workplace rights abuses, and wage issues are some of the problems that the company experienced. This goes against the company founding principles of respect for its employees. For this reason, through the four functions of management, Wal-Mart managers should improve on this area.
Bateman & Snell (2009) Management: Leading and Collaborating in a Competitive World. (8th Edition) McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Foley, S., Bradley, S. P., Ghemawat, P., & Harvard Business School. (2002). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Pub.
Roberts, B. R., & Berg, N. (2012). Wal-Mart: Key insights and practical lessons from the world's largest retailer. London: Kogan Page.