The data analysis above is suggestive that Wal-Mart needs to re-orient itself in the line of a synthesis of the organizational theories, which stresses upon the human resource angle and the socio-environmental angle of organizational success…
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The largest retailing company of the world, Walmart has been facing a decline in sales in the US, continuously for “nine straight quarters”, according to The Wall Street Journal. This has been partially due to the economic recession and partially owing to the negative image that has been there for this company. In order to suggest a package of solutions to get over with this “sales slump”, this paper invisages synthesizing different organizational theories, with a focus on three- the neoclassical theory put forth by Roethlisberger and Dickson (1943), the socio-technical theory proposed by Pasmore and the contingency theory evolved by Hellriegel and Slocum (1973). This project will put forth innovative and creative solutions to rectify the sales slouch in Wal-mart, using the problem-solving tools provided by these three theories.
Access has been gained into the facts about the organizational design of Wal-Mart by conducting interviews with three senior level managers in charge of organizational structure. Basically, the design of Wal-Mart, as an organization, is that of a divisional structure. It has different divisions like, Wal-Mart Realty, Wal-Mart International, Wal-Mart Specialty Stores, Sam's Clubs, and Supercenters which are separate and partially autonomous units. Each division has its own specific set of goals.
The three theoretical frame works selected for this paper are chosen based on the advantages they have in addressing the specific issue in focus. For example, most of the complaints against Wal-Mart that have led to legal litigations and negative publicity has been regarding labor issues and hence a worker-centered approach put forward by Roethlisberger and Dickson (1943) can help re-model the organization’s functioning in such a way as to avert this criticism. Similarly, the socio-technical theory of Pasmore ((1988, p.87-109) and the contingency theory by Hellriegel and Slocum (1973) have their focus on the environmental aspects of an organization, which can be applied in the case of Wal-Mart which is haunted by many a social conflicts. Neoclassical theory of Roethlisberger and Dickson (1943) has as its core focus, the relationship between “working conditions” and “employee efficiency” (p.1). Through an experiment, Roethlisberger and Dickson (1943) had proven that there was a connection between better working conditions and better performance. In this way, this theory had changed the essence of organizational theories evolved thus far by replacing the mechanistic views by a more humanistic worker-oriented view. This theory had asserted that: An individual is not a mechanical tool but a distinct social being, with aspirations beyond mere fulfilment of a few economic and security works. Individuals differ from each other in pursuing these desires. Thus, an individual should be recognized as interacting with social and economic factors (NRMED-FAO, n.d.). Participative management has been another aspect of this theory, whereby employees are given an appropriate role in the decision making process (NRMED-FAO, n.d.). Any application of the neoclassical theory has to be by keeping in mind, the existence of an informal organization within any formal organization, the socio-psychological factors that influence workers, the inherent illogicality of human mind, the two-way flow of communication within the hierarchy, and the need of teamwork (Pradeep, p.295). Socio-technical theory of Pasmore (1988) has based all its assumptions on the fact that “every organization consists of the people, the technical system and the environment” (NRMED-FAO, n.d.). In this theory also, the importance of considering workers a human beings and all the more, social beings, is stressed (Pasmore, p.5). It has been observed that what is meant by an organization is actually an agreement, a contract between and among people and “changes in the organization will affect this agreement and vice versa”
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