Walmart Business Ethics Case Study

Ethics Case of WalMart

Jingwen Jiao

MBA 535 Managerial Accounting

May, 8, 2016

Mark Hoover

City University of Seattle


This paper will mainly discuss the business ethics, because the managerial accounting is heavily related to business ethics. The company’s manager and leader always meet a circumstance what they need to make a decision or judgment to do the “right ” things. This case study will analyze the Wal-Mart ethics case what the corporation treats their employees in an inappropriate and unethical method. And this paper will also provide a solution and some recommendations about how to operate a business more ethically.


Business ethics is the moral principles which guide the direction and method of  business behaviors. The business ethics is always guided by law, and on the other hand, companies will also provide a basic social security to enhance public receiving and support. At the same time, the ethics principles both identify personal actions and business behaviors.  

The most significant part of ethics business is that people need to learn how to distinguish the “right” and “wrong” of the business behaviors and then making the “right” choice. Sometimes that is hard to explain what is ethical business behaviors, but relatively, It is easier to identify the unethical business practices. For instance, the companies should not hire or use child labors. They should not use copyrighted materials or intellectual property without authorization. They should not engage in bribery (Gavai, 2009).

In addition, the companies also have broad corporate social responsibilities. They should minimize the damage to the environment when the corporation operates its business. Nevertheless, there is no clear moral compass to guide leaders through complex dilemmas about what is right or wrong, but at least, they must abide by the law.

Brief Introduction of Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc is an American biggest public corporation, and it is the largest grocery retail company throughout the world. The Wal-Mart corporation was established by Sam Walton in 1962, and it was incorporated in 1969. Wal-Mart operates its business of the retail stores in various countries. Wal-Mart uses a low-price strategy to operate its business. They provide the low prices of diverse products to increase their market competitiveness (Walmart, 2012).

Wal-Mart Unethical Case Background

The Wal-Mart corporation has the biggest revenue of grocery retail industry in worldwide. However, the company has a controversy of an ethical issue,  because the Wal-Mart corporation presents an unethical and inapplicable business policy of their employees.

The most famous and influence incident is the Deborah Shank’s brain damaged case. Deborah Shank was a Wal-Mart employee, who suffered a miserable collision with a truck in many years ago, and after that accident, she got a permanent brain damage. Since she already involved in the Wal-Mart health-care plan, she got her initial medical payment from Wal-Mart. Nevertheless, Wal-Mart wanted to withdraw the expenses, because Shank family won 1 million dollars from the trucking company in a lawsuit. Finally, the Shank family received $417,000. Wal-Mart sued the Shank family was sued by Wal-Mart, and the company requested the couple to pay back $470,000 for her medical care cost. The U.S. Supreme Court judged Shanks needs to return about $275,000 to Wal-Mart. And then, CNN reported the Shank family’s story. A large number of citizens were indignant about the Wal-Mart inappropriate behavior and tried to boycott the company. The company can't afford the pressure from the Shank’s supports. They announced that Wal-Mart would modify their health-care plan, and they will not seek the refund anymore (WalMart, 2005).


Case Study: Ethical Issues Facing Wal-Mart

Review the attached Case Study "Wal-Mart: But We Do Give Them a 10 Percent Employee Discount."

Summarize the overall viewpoint of the author. Discuss ethical issues facing Wal-Mart dealing with, "off-the-clock-work," sexual discrimination, health benefits, the role of unions, the use of undocumented workers, as well as issues relating to child and labor laws. Review the Questions for Thought. Answer these four questions using the business ethics principles.

Your discussion of the ethical issues facing Wal-Mart must be in paragraph form. However, your responses to the four Questions for Thought can be answered either in paragraph form or as a numbered list. There is no minimum word count requirement for this case study. I need an answer to the discussion of the ethical issues facing Wal-Mart and a response to the questions.


Solution Preview

The viewpoint of the author is that Wal-Mart has pursued its low cost strategy by regularly violating the rights of employees. The view point of the author is that Wal-Mart has mistreated its employees by off the clock work, sexual discrimination, low health benefits, undocumented workers, and violation of child and labor laws. Even when law suits have been brought against Wal-Mart for each of these violations, Wal-Mart has not shown any genuine respect for its employees. Wal-Mart has taken actions such as receiving employee feed-back, giving a special polo shirt to certain employees, giving a premium holiday to some employees, and allowing employees to purchase one item that would be discounted by 20 percent. These reactions show the tokenism of Wal-Mart.

From the deontological ethical point of view, once the workers have punched out their time cards the company has the duty to let its employees go. Wal-Mart is not ethical because it did not allow its employees to go. It is the duty of Wal-Mart not to lock in its workers. It is the duty of Wal-Mart not to discriminate against women. It had committed an unethical act because it has discriminated ...

Solution Summary

The answer to this problem explains Ethical issues facing Wal-Mart. The references related to the answer are also included.

Related BrainMass Content

Business Case Study on Ethical Conduct

Business Case Study on Ethical Conduct. ... In the case example, the Wal-Mart business
entity must ... is from own expert knowledge and academic studies, thus, the ...

Wal-Mart and its practices; ethical and moral?

... wonder exactly which side of the issue is the ...Wal-Mart is confronted by several moral
and ethical issues. ... of "off-clock" work is mentioned in the case study. ...

Ethical Issues Facing Wal-Mart

... and not just operational or strategic issue because it is ... gives 443 words on a case
study on Wal-Mart's employee policy and the ethical issues and possible ...

Answer to Question One: Case Study Wal-Mart and Business Ethics

... Business Ethics: Ethical decision making and cases. ... will provide the student with
the answer to question one of the case study: Wal-Mart and Business ...

Wal-Mart: Women's Pay

... In case of current employees because of confidentiality issues... I will ensure that
the data is studies in a ... financial reward is generated from the study, I will ...

Wadesville Community Ethics Case Study

... of five ethical violations in the Wadesville Case Study. ... our interventions with child
abuse cases, my colleagues ... type of agency, working with case managers and ...

Business Ethics and Principles Case Study

... Dealing with ethical issues and social responsibility issues in an open manner can
help to ... The expert examines a business ethics and principle case study. ...

Research: Wal-Mart

... The method is to select extreme cases and then to ... 3.2.8. Typical Case Sampling In
typical case sampling, the ... several experts in the field of study in order to ...

Case Study: Collecting and Analyzing Marketing Information

... The solution discusses the case study regarding collecting and ... a customer segment
(to study the heavy ... always possible, in many cases converting noncustomers is ...


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *