Walmart's search for ethics

Essay by kimquyen888University, Master'sA+, May 2008

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Wal-Mart's Current Search for Ethics



In life and in business, people want to be seen in a positive way; after all, perception is reality. Many companies wish to be seen as an ethical and forthright organization, but do not have the commitment to put in the time and effort to earn those titles. This paper will address the dilemma of ethics, fraud, violations, social responsibility, and hopefully, cause one to think before he/she acts hastily in making their decisions. It will provide a discussion about the ethical struggles of one of America's largest companies.


In recent years, corporate America has been taking some rather tough ethical hits. Everyone is aware of the major scandals like Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Anderson. However, all companies are trying to navigate their way through ethical waters that have become very muddled. They are trying to restore not only the trust of American consumers, but also, maybe even more importantly, the trust of their employees.

In the article, Wal-Mart's latest ethics controversy: an employee who scrupulously followed the company's own ethics guidelines may find herself out of a job reported by Pallavi Gogoi, one might wonder if Wal-Mart is headed in the wrong ethical direction.

Searching for Ethics

Wal-Mart is the largest corporation and private employer in the United States. Wal-Mart is consistently listed among America's most admired companies by Fortune magazine. At the same time, it is frequently the target of criticism for its employment practices. (Seglin & Brownstein, 2004)

While Wal-Mart publicly prides itself on having strict ethics policies, the company has been fighting for years to get its ethical house in order. The company's ethical issues come with such frequency that the company's investors are frustrated at the stagnant returns of Wal-Mart stock (Ferrell,