For more than half a century, Walmart has prided itself on providing value to customers by being


For more than half a century, Walmart has prided itself on providing value to customers by being a low-price leader. But the consumer mindset is changing. Now “value” also means convenience, ease of finding what you want, and the ability to get exactly what you want when you want it. Nationwide dollar-store chains often have lower prices than Walmart, so that point of competitive advantage is fading. And thanks to and other online retailers, consumers can shop from home whenever they like, compare prices, and know immediately what is available. Contrast this with the experience many Walmart shoppers previously had when they entered a store—low inventory, disorganized aisles, unhelpful staff, and an overall depressing atmosphere. The company’s online presence was about the same. The site was difficult to navigate, and attempts to search for products were frustrating at best and more often fruitless.

Named Walmart’s CEO in 2014, Doug McMillon set out to change this situation. “What people think about the company is important,” he noted. And at the moment, people weren’t thinking about value and low prices when they thought about Walmart. McMillon enacted a number of changes. First, the company had earned a reputation of treating its store employees poorly—low wages, few benefits—while profits were in the billions of dollars, so Walmart announced it would increase its minimum wage.

Second, the company asked for and paid more attention to employee feedback. Recurring issues included the dress code, store music, and even store temperatures. So clothing rules were relaxed, more variety in music was introduced, and thermostats were adjusted. The company hopes improving employee morale will translate into a better experience for customers, thereby changing some of the negative images.


1. What key factors do you think prompted Walmart to change? Do these factors exemplify the change pressures discussed in the chapter? Why or why not? 

2. What results from Walmart’s changes do you predict? 

3. Describe how McMillon acted as a change agent in this situation.

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Organizational Behavior

ISBN: 9780134729329

18th Edition

Authors: Stephen RobbinsTimothy JudgeTimothy Judge, Timothy Judge

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