Walmart: Recalibrating a Corporate Culture Can Be Painful

As firms look to recalibrate the mission of a firm, many believe that it will be external stakeholder that are the primary barrier.  That suppliers won’t be willing to adhere to new expectations, or that consumers won’t pay the premium that may be required.

It is a belief that in many cases turns out to be secondary to the fact that internal stakeholders may actually provide the greatest barrier. As the recent article, describing the departure of one of Walmart China senior manager ‘for personal reasons’, highlights:

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has confirmed that Walmart China’s senior vice president Wang Pei has resigned for personal reasons […] Feng Yi, Walmart China’s vice president in charge of purchasing and consumer goods, has also resigned, with HQ saying he also left for personal reasons

[…] Ding said he takes a pessimistic view of Walmart’s outlook in China,because the company is bent on strengthening internal management at a time when shopping malls and supermarket are all seeking innovation as their models have reached saturation in the Chinese market and the impact of e-commerce rivals is being felt.

Just another chapter in Walmart’s story where it has committed to a new way of doing businesses, and as the framework has been developed, it has required that the firm make personnel changes.  Particularly when a clear violation of the new vision  occurs, or the firm needs to separate itself from practices of individuals that have surfaced.

It is a difficult process, but when I see that executives are leaving firms because of a culture shift, I do see that as a long term positive for the firm as their replacements are brought online.  Replacements that should be aligned to the new culture versus being vested in maintaining business as usual practices.

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