Management Structures Case of Walmart

The City and State where it is located

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Company Size and Management Structures
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Firms today are facing fierce and strong competition and this has brought with it many challenges. To ensure their survival, companies must continually improve in both efficiency and effectiveness (Buble, Juras and Matic, 2014). Because of this, every organization must seek to exploit its workforce’s potential, and the place of leadership in this can’t be understated. Everyone knows that leadership is central in helping an organization achieve its goals and in aiding information sharing in the organization (Buble, Juras and Matic, 2014). Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is U.S.’s largest retail company and has been placed first by Fortune Magazine on Fortune 500 Index (Hayden et al., n.d.). The corporate strategy at Wal-Mart is constituted of dominating retail market, expanding in the United States as well as international markets, creating a positive brand and Company Recognition as well as branching out into new retail sectors (Hayden et al., n.d.).

Motivational Theories

Maslow Theory

Definition of Maslow Theory

Abraham Maslow is one of the most popular 20th century psychologists and its diagram of hierarchy of needs and the pyramid representation of the ranking of human needs is known by almost all managers and students (Saylor, 2011). The theory presented by Maslow is grounded on the premise that humans do have needs which are hierarchical. Some needs are basic to everyone and without them, there is nothing else that matters. The satisfaction of these needs sets us on another path to satisfy other needs that are higher-order. A lower need already satisfied ceases to be a motivating factor (Saylor, 2011).

Physiological needs are the most basic of human needs. They are water, food and air. At a point where one is hungry, all the behavior of the person is trained at getting food; as soon as food is found, that ceases to be a motivator (Saylor, 2011). Safety becomes the next need following the satisfaction of physiological needs. After safety there are social needs which are need to receive love, to form attachments and to bond with others. In fact, the absence of attachments has serious psychological effects on a person’s well-being and health. After meeting social needs, one seeks esteem needs (Saylor, 2011). These are the needs to be held in high regard by peers and to be appreciated. At the peak of it all is self-actualization. This is reaching the peak of achievement and “being all you can be.” This is shown by a need to acquire new skills, take new challenges and behave in a way that advances you towards the attainment of your life goals (Saylor, 2011).


A man must be all he can be. This argument is the basis of self-actualization. This level of need refers to a person’s capability and potential and the realization of that potential. Maslow gave a description of this need as a person wanting to be more and more of what he/she really is – becoming all that they can become (College of Redwoods, 2010). This definition is broad but its application to needs of individuals is specific (College of Redwoods, 2010). For instance, a person may desire being a good parent; another individual might pursue excellence in athletics while in another person the need could be expressed in art. As earlier mentioned, reaching this level requires one to have attained the lower hierarchy needs first (College of the Redwoods, 2010).


All people desire to win the respect of other people and to be people of self-respect and self-esteem. This is called the need to belong. Esteem is shown in a person’s need to be valued and accepted by other people (College of Redwoods, 20100. Engagement helps individuals get recognition. A person’s participation in various activities gives them a sense of contribution and they feel valued and accepted in their hobby or profession. Where imbalances exist at this level, low self-esteem might result and a person might develop inferiority complex. Individuals having low self-esteem need others’ respect. They might seek glory and fame, which is dependent on other people. One other factor that can contribute to low self-esteem is psychological imbalances like depression (Colege of the Redwoods, 2010).

Safety needs

The need to feel safe takes precedence following the satisfaction of physical needs (College of the Redwoods, 2010). The individuals yearn for predictability and orderliness in a world that is predominantly inconsistent and unfair (College of the Redwoods, 2010). At work, the needs are manifested in areas like a need for job security, having grievance channels for the protection of the person from authority, having a savings account, taking up insurance, etc. Needs in this category include: financial security, health, well-being, safety net against illness and accidents as well as the impacts they might have (College of the Redwoods, 2010).

Physiological needs

These needs are obvious. Humans literally need them to survive. The human body will be dysfunctional if the needs are not met, save for sexual activity, shelter and clothing. Metabolism requires food, water and air. Needs like shelter and clothing are for protective purposes. Human sexual instinct intensity is determined by competition and not always necessarily for the maintenance of a birth rate needed for survival of the species (College of the Redwoods, 2010).

The Weakness of the Theory

Bridgewell and Wahba carried out extensive research on the ideas given by Maslow but not much evidence was found that supported ranking of human needs let alone a definite hierarchical ranking (College of the Redwoods, 2010). Manfred Max-Neef, a philosopher and economist from Chile also makes an argument against ranking of human needs. Maslow’s theory has been criticized as well, as being too individualistic given the value and position sex is given on the pyramid. Sex is classified alongside food and breathing. It is an individualistic perspective – that sexual needs must first be satisfied before a person seeks to satisfy other needs. This perspective ignores the place of emotions, family as well as evolution as far as sex is concerned within any community (Colege of Redwoods, 2010).

The Strength of the Theory

Maslow presents a systematic means of viewing human needs and the needs employees might have at any particular time and gives explanations to the reactions they might have to various treatments (Saylor, 2011). Praise to an employee who wants to satisfy esteem needs will be accepted better than the same praise to an employee that wants to meet social needs when given in front of their peers as it separates him from the park (Saylor, 2011).

The paycheck might satisfy a person’s physiological needs but it’s necessary that the other needs are not forgotten. The provision of good benefits like health insurance and retirement plans will satisfy an employee’s safety needs (Saylor, 2011).

Social needs will most likely be satisfied by having an easy and friendly workplace environment and providing conditions that allow communication and collaboration (Saylor, 2011). The provision of chances for promotion and recognizing the work and accomplishments of employees verbally or formally, and giving job titles that signify high achievement in the organization are some of the ways that esteem needs can be met (Saylor, 2011).

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory

Definition of the Theory

The theory proposes that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are influenced by two separate groups of factors (Stello, 2010). The two cannot therefore be measured in the same way. Herzberg hypothesized that a reliable measure of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction could not be done on the same continuum. He then carried out an empirical study in order to test his hypothesis (Stello, 2010). The hypothesis was developed further after some programs had been piloted. The initial hypothesis was that factors leading to positive attitudes and those leading to negative attitudes will differ. The new hypothesis was that factors and effects involved in long-range sequences of events would differ from those in short-range sequences (Stello, 2010).

According to the theory, Extrinsic factors contribute very little to the motivation of an employee. These factors just prevent dissatisfaction from arising at the workplace. These factors are also referred to as job context factors; they are given to the employees by some other individuals (Faunziah, Shen and Talha, 2013).

Motivational Factors

Motivation Factors are intrinsic and will lead to an increase in job satisfaction among employees. Extrinsic factors like Hygiene Factors are availed to guard against dissatisfaction. To ensure that productivity and motivation of employees is increased, management must address motivation factors (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013). The factors that actually make a contribution to an employee’s job satisfaction level are the intrinsic factors. They have been popularly referred to as job content factors and their aim is providing employees with meaningful work that can satisfy their needs at an intrinsic level. Intrinsic factors are quite valuable if you want to create lasting effect on performance of employees as they feed the human’s need for growth psychologically. There will be an increase in productivity when the motivational needs of employees have been met (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013).

The theory further made a proposal that Extrinsic and Intrinsic Factors are interdependent (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013). Having Extrinsic Factors around will guard against dissatisfaction but no job satisfaction will be achieved by having them. Supplying Intrinsic Factors cultivates inner development and growth among employees and this will lead to an increased performance and productivity. Their absence is neutral and will neither dissatisfy nor satisfy employees. Extrinsic Factors allow employees to work while the Intrinsic Factors influence the quality of the work done. The two factors do not oppose one another (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013).


Herzberg theorized that two sets of factors decided the working attitudes and performance levels of employees, i.e. Motivation and Hygiene Factors (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013). Organizations would have to deal with the fact that meeting the hygiene or extrinsic factors shall only guard against dissatisfaction but will not contribute towards improved performance (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013). For organizations to motivate their employees, they ought to channel their energies at giving intrinsic factors. Failure to give extrinsic factors will increase employee dissatisfaction (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013).

The Weaknesses of the Theory

The theory seems to have many criticisms. Some are: (a) the theory seems to be limited by the critical incident method; (b) there is confusion as regards events that cause satisfaction/dissatisfaction feelings and the event triggers; (c) data could be unreliable due to employee’s ego or defensiveness; (d) sources of dissatisfaction and satisfaction overlap; (e) the factors’ weight vary with the employee’s occupational level; and (f) it does not pay attention to the differences that exist between individual employees (Stello, 2010).

The Strength of the theory

The Two-Factors Theory is based on the job satisfaction of employees. Job satisfaction is how much employees like the jobs they do (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013). It has been noted to positively impact the performance of organizations and the commitment of employees (Levy, 2003). Given the definition of job satisfaction, assumption can be made that if employees were to place higher value on extrinsic factors then those factors will positively affect job satisfaction instead of just guarding against dissatisfaction or having neural effects (Fauziah, Shen and Talha, 2013).

Implication of Maslow and Herzberg

Herzberg wrote an article to lay out his theory’s practical implications (Stello, 2010). In the article, he asserted the difference that exists between management through motivation and “kick in the pants” (KITA) management (Stello, 2010). KITA management still does emphasize on hygiene factors which do not have long-term effects; while the other option, management through motivation, emphasizes tapping into the employees’ potential and to giving them opportunities to derive great satisfaction from the jobs they do and so . This was one of his articles that proposed job enrichment (Stello, 2010).

Maslow’s hierarchy is a structured way of looking at employees’ needs at any particular time in their career and gives an explanation to the varied reactions that employees might have to the same treatment (Saylor, 2011). Employees seeking to meet esteem needs and those seeking to meet social needs may react differently to the same praise given by a superior as earlier illustrated (Saylor, 2011).

Implication and Evaluation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Wal-Mart Case Study

Wal-Mart should clarify the reasons why they are opposed to unionization. Their public affairs strategy should also take care of the negative feelings that some groups harbor as Wal-Mart is encroaching into several other retail sectors than is necessary. Maslow Hierarchy of Needs can be applied by Wal-Mart here (Hayden et al., n.d.).

Implication and Evaluation of Hezberg’s Two-Factor Theory: Wal-Mart Case Study

Hezberg made the argument that having rewards increased shall only give the employees temporary motivation. Their “batteries should be recharged” once they are demotivated again – with another raise. “Installing a generator” seems to be the best option here since they will have the capacity to recharge the batteries on their own (ACCA, 2013). In Wal-Mart’s case, the retailer has been facing criticisms over their position against unionization. The company should explain why they are taking such a stance so that their employees do not get demotivated as a result of feeling unappreciated by their employer (Hayden et al., n.d.).

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Implemented Motivational Theories

One function of leadership is having the ability to make people do certain things in a manner that positively impacts the vision of the organization and this can be achieved by influencing the attitudes of people (Nwagbara, 2010). This is almost the same as a leader having instilled in his/her subordinates a sense of shared motivation and vision. This also brings forth motivation among the people in a way that results in leadership by consent instead of coercion (Nwagbara, 2010).


While the public affairs strategy of well with the corporate strategy, a few recommendations could improve its standing. The retailer has received wide criticisms concerning their position against unionism of their workers. These need to be addressed so as to instill in their employees a sense of appreciation as well as belonging. This will not only improve productivity but will also enhance its image among the general population. Wal-Mart must pay attention to these issues if it is to continue enjoying the success it has been having (Hayden et al., n.d.).


Ultimately, depending on the intensity and direction of forces being exerted by different environmental factors and the decisions managers make, the work that an organization commits to shall be targeted at meeting its goals (Tran and Tian, 2013). This is the reason why studying the factors that influence organizational structure is a way of bettering organizational effects on various firms (Tran and Tian, 2013).

Wal-Mart should consider the feelings and needs of its employees before taking such a hard stance as outrightly opposing unionization. When employees feel that they are not appreciated or valued at their place of work, performance dips. Wal-Mart should help its employees meet the need for esteem. Also, unionization will give the employees a sense of belonging and meeting these intrinsic needs will not only help Wal-Mart improve the productivity of their employees, but their image will also be enhanced in the eyes of the public.


ACCA, (2013). Reward Schemes. Relevant To ACCA Qualification Paper P5, pp.3-12.

Buble, M., Juras, A. And Mati?, I. (2014). The Relationship between Managers’ Leadership Styles And Motivation. Management, 19(1), pp.161-193.

College of the Redwoods, (2010).Maslow’s Hierarchy.pp.1-4.

Fauziah, W., Shen, T. And Talha, M. (2013).Herzberg’s Two Factors Theory on Work Motivation: Does Its Work for Today’s Environment?.Global Journal of Commerce & Management Perspective, 2(5), pp.18-22.

Hayden, P., Lee, S., McMahon, K. And Pereira, M. (n.d.). A Case Study on Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Wal-Mart: Staying on Top of the Fortune 500, pp.2-23.

Nwagbara, U. (2010). Leadership, Tesco and Leahy’s Resignation. Managing Organizational Change, 8(2), pp.1-5.

Saylor, (2011).Motivating Employees. Management Principles.

Stello, C. (2010). Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Job Satisfaction: An Integrative Literature Review. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, pp.2-26.

Tran, Q. And Tian, Y. (2013). Organizational Structure: Influencing Factors and Impact on a Firm. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 3, pp.229-236.