Wal-Mart Nonmarket Pressure and Reputation Risk (A)

By David Baron
2006 | Case No. P52A
In 2002, when Wal-Mart became the largest U.S. company in sales, it began to attract considerable attention. Its expansion into the grocery business seemed to ignite a firestorm of contention and bad press. Wal-Mart was criticized for providing low wages and inadequate health care benefits, driving small merchants out of business, damaging the culture in small towns, harming the environment, and violating workers rights. The company realized that its practice of focusing solely on customers and employees was no longer sufficient—it needed a nonmarket strategy to address the criticism and repair its deteriorating reputation. This case explores the opposition that organized around Wal-Mart’s practices and the issues raised. It sets the stage for developing and analyzing a successful non-market strategy for Wal-Mart.
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