The Meta-Cultural Constraints Facing Wal-Mart
SMC Working Paper Series No. 01/2009
12 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2009
Date Written: January 1, 2009
Culture is the life blood of an organization and it can be the determining factor in the successes and the failures that an organization will experience. Each organization has a specific culture and the organization goes to great lengths to build the exact culture that they believe will be best in helping to achieve the ultimate corporate goal of increased shareholder value.
However, few understand that the organization itself exists and is determined by a larger environmental culture - the meta-culture and it can be the determining factor in the successes and the failures that an organization will experience. This meta-culture essentially provides the company its "license to operate".
The paper traces the evolution of Wal-Mart with respect to its dominant cultural values. It addresses the new found geo-political power that Wal-Mart enjoys and how that power may create a clash with the dominant American value of liberty. In addressing the future of Wal-Mart the author shows that with great power comes great responsibility and that Wal-Mart may be forced to do business in a radically different way as it expands internationally. That may mean "Not Always Low Prices" - a radical departure from its present ethos and corporate history.
Keywords: Wal-Mart, culture, meta-culture, Zaibatsu, Keiretsu, power, responsibility, corporate size
JEL Classification: L29, L81, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation