Wal-Mart Company Controversy
The articles under consideration dwell upon one of the major retail chains, Wal-Mart. One of the articles is entitled “ROB Ranks Wal-Mart among Canada’s Best Employers” (Marketnews.ca, 2008). The article highlights the success of Wal-Mart Canada which is among 50 best employers in this country. The author uses several approaches.
The major approach used is teleological. This approach presupposes focus on the final goals and outcomes of the action (McLachlan, 2008). The article dwells upon positive effects the retailer has on the Canadian society.
Thus, the author notes that “Wal-Mart has taken many steps to promote diversity and equal opportunity within its organization and… it has maintained one of the lowest staff turnover rates in the Canadian retail undustry” (Marketnews.ca, 2008, p. 287). Another passage that confirms the reliance on the teleological approach is as follows: “This year, our number-one corporate goal has been to become Canada’s favorite place to work” (as cited in Marketnews.ca, 2008, p. 287).
One more approach used in the article is virtue ethics. The article reveals the company’s ‘virtues’. It says that the “company works hard to attract, train, support, and retain the best people we can” (as cited in Marketnews.ca, 2008, p. 287). This remark depicts the best side of an employer who cares about its staff.
As far as the other article is concerned, it focuses on negative sides of the retailer and it is entitled “The Costs of ‘Walmartization’” (Ribeiro, 2008). The author uses similar approaches. In the first place, teleological approach is used. The author focuses on the impact the retailer has on the society.
For instance, Ribeiro (2008, p. 288) states that buying “today at Wal-Mart may mean losing one’s own job or contributing to the loss of somebody else’s in your family or community sometime down the line”. Another phrase that verifies the use of this approach is as follows: “The effect, nevertheless, is the same: the concentration of control and power in fewer and fewer hands” (Ribeiro, 2008, p. 289).
The author also utilizes a virtue ethics approach as it reveals inappropriate actions of the retailer, which in their turn negatively characterize Wal-Mart: “As if it was not enough to be such an economic power… Wal-Mart is beginning… to utilize new technologies to obtain information over people’s buying patterns” (Ribeiro, 2008, p. 290). Finally, the author also resorts to an absolutist approach. This approach presupposes that there can be no exceptions (McLachlan, 2008). The use of this approach is manifested in the following phrase: “these monopolies are of course intent on increasing their control” (Ribeiro, 2008, p. 288).
It is important to note that the two articles are quite different. Of course, it is not only about the different positions of the authors. The ‘styles’ are quite different. Thus, the first article depicts only the positive side of the matter. It is only about the success of the company which creates working places. There is nothing about numerous lawsuits and abuses of the one of the largest retail chains.
On the contrary, the article by Ribeiro (2008) notes some positive or, at least neutral facts, while focusing on negative effects. Ribeiro (2008) provides specific facts concerning the retailer. The author also notes that Wal-Mart is not the only villain in the business world. This makes the article more credible. The first article sounds like a kind of advertisement, whereas the second one is more like a critical overview of some practices which characterize Wal-Mart in a particular way.
One more point in favor of the second article is that it provides more specific facts and numbers. Again, this makes the article by Ribeiro (2008) more credible and more informative. The reader does not have to simply rely on the author’s words, but the author’s opinion is backed up by certain information.
It is necessary to state that the second article slightly changed my attitude towards Wal-Mart (as well as other giant retailers). I have shopped at these chains because it is convenient: one can buy everything without long search across the city. Of course, I have heard about numerous violations of the retailer. For instance, Mui (2012) reports about the cases when the retailer did not pay appropriate salaries to its staff. The reporter mentions really striking facts about the dark side of the retailer that, apparently, sees exploitation as a norm. Aridjis (2012) focuses on illegal operations (bribery) of the giant retail chain.
However, these facts do not have the same impact as the article by Ribeiro (2008) has. The author provides insights into the controversy concerning retail chains. The total control over people is the central theme of the article. One does not think that buying at Wal-Mart negatively affects smaller retailers and other businesses. One does not think that when shopping at Wal-Mart, he/she contributes to some kind of exploitation. Finally, the idea of specific chips in every product is simply disgraceful. I hate being marked (at least without my permission). I will definitely try to stop shopping at Wal-Mart (as well as other huge retail chains).
Aridjis, H. (2012). The Sun, the Moon and Walmart. The New York Times, p. A25.
Marketnews.ca. (2008). ROB ranks Wal-Mart among Canada’s best employers. In J.A. McLachlan (Ed.), The right choice: Making ethical decisions on the job (pp. 287-288). Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
McLachlan, J.A. (2008). The right choice: Making ethical decisions on the job. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
Mui, Y.Q. (2012). . The New York Times.
Ribeiro, S. (2008). The costs of ‘Walmartization.’ In J.A. McLachlan (Ed.), The right choice: Making ethical decisions on the job (pp. 288-290). Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.
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