A friend of mine has an icon that scrolls “One does not simply walk into Wal-Mart. There is an evil there that does not sleep.” It’s a play on a scene from the “Lord of the Rings,” where Boromir is talking about how they can’t just walk into the home territory of Sauron.
But, when I see things like this article from the Wall Street Journal. I begin to believe it more and more.
I was in a Wal-Mart this weekend and every time I’m there, I can’t get out of my head everything I’ve read about Wal-Mart’s business practices. By the time I’m done thinking, I can’t bring myself to spend money there, because it feels too much like I’m compromising my business ethics. Coming up in a couple of weeks, I’ve got a series about how to be a good manager. In the last part of the series, I do a bit of a twist and talk about how to utterly fail as a manager.
In all honesty, if you’d like to see how you can skirt the lines of unacceptable business ethics and even drift occasionally into the sort of area that will (and should) get you sued, do an examination of Wal-Mart. I used to really like Wal-Mart, but ever since the death of Sam Walton the company has completely forgotten the business ethics that it was founded on. This particular story is about Wal-Mart trying to strongarm its employees into voting Republican to avoid the oncoming unionization of Wal-Mart, and the entire argument is based in half-truths.
Sam Walton’s philosophy was to keep unions out of Wal-Mart, but his was one of active, positive engagement with the employees. Basically, you keep the unions out by making sure that your employees have what they need to be happy and productive. The new executives at Wal-Mart have taken Walton’s philosophy and turned it on its ear, bastardizing it into a mantra to use the sleaziest tactics possible.