Sociology: Wal-Mart – Research Paper Example

In the middle of the decade, Wal-Mart drew criticism from large section of the society, on various accounts. Critics argued that the company followedunethical business practices; underpays to its employees, denying them healthcare benefits; treats its product suppliers badly, destroys the environment selling cheap products with toxic materials; and ruining communities by undercutting small local businesses.
However, these criticisms do not hold steam anymore. The company has made tremendous improvement in the sustainability of areas it is operating. This can be seen from the example that it has stopped using illegal timber in its products, and use reusable wood. It has established strict sustainability standards.
As regards, its HR policies, the company has incorporated a benefit plan that shortens the waiting time for part-time employees to obtain coverage by a year. The annual report of Wal-Mart indicates fewer safety, labor, and environmental violations than the year. In this financial crisis, the company created a total of 63,000 jobs (Wal-Mart, 2009).
My town has witnessed the ‘Wal-Mart Effect’. The opening of a Wal-Mart leads to the following effects on the neighborhood, it is operating: Lowering of prices, reshaping of shopping habits, downward pressure on wages of employees of stores competing with Wal-Mart, creation of employment, and the suburbanization of shopping (Fishman, 2006).
After the opening of a Wal-Mart store in my neighborhood, people have started buying from the retail giant thereby throwing many small retailer shops out of business. People now but at low prices. The store has also led to decrease in unemployment by providing almost 500 jobs to the neighborhoods. Another thing that can be seen is families going out together on a weekend for shopping at the retail giant. Truly, Wal-Mart had a large impact on the society.
References
Wal-Mart (2009). 2009 Annual Report of Wal-Mart. [Online]. Available at:
Fisherman, Charles. 2006. The Wal-Mart effect: how the worlds most powerful company really works, and how its transforming the American economy. New York: Penguin Group.