Walmart Inc. (formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.), as one of the largest retailers in the world, exhibits operational success in applying its corporate vision and mission statements. Also, with millions of employees worldwide, Walmart is an example of effective human resource management. From its beginnings in Arkansas in 1962, the company developed its retail business with sound financial strategies to achieve its current global position in the industry. Walmart’s corporate mission and vision statements define the fundamental guiding principles of the business. In this regard, the company’s success is linked to its effectiveness in fulfilling its vision and mission for retail operations. Such fulfillment involves implementing an appropriate generic competitive strategy (Porter’s model) and related intensive growth strategies (Ansoff Matrix). The generic strategy for competitive advantage and strategies for intensive growth develop Walmart’s business, ensuring competitive advantages to achieve goals based on the corporate mission statement and corporate vision statement.
Walmart follows its corporate vision statement and mission statement through the cost leadership generic strategy (based on Porter’s model) that builds competitive advantage in dealing with competitors, such as Amazon.com Inc. and its subsidiary Whole Foods Market, as well as Costco Wholesale, eBay, and Home Depot. Also, various intensive growth strategies like market penetration and market development contribute to Walmart’s success in following its corporate mission and vision statements.
Walmart’s Mission Statement
Walmart Inc.’s corporate mission is “to save people money so they can live better.” This statement reflects the ideals of the company’s founder, Sam Walton. Strategic decisions in the business are a direct manifestation of this mission statement, which is synonymous to the retail company’s slogan, “Save money. Live better.” Based on this corporate mission statement, it is clear that Walmart’s business strategies and purpose involve using price as a selling point to attract target consumers. The significance of such a selling point is noticeable in many of the retail company’s strategies. For example, Walmart Inc.’s marketing mix or 4P involves low prices as a strategy. Other areas of the company are determined by the need to minimize selling prices as a way to achieve competitiveness to support the corporate mission statement and the corporate vision statement.
Walmart fulfills the “save people money” component of the mission statement through its low selling prices. For example, consumers save money by spending less in buying goods from the company’s stores, compared to buying the same or similar goods from midscale and high-end stores. However, it is not yet clear if the retail firm satisfies the “live better” component of this corporate mission. Low wages pose challenges for Walmart’s employees in improving their lives, pointing to possible human resource management issues in the organization. In addition, the corporate mission statement’s “live better” component remains uncertain, as critics argue that the retail company’s large-scale sales of cheap imported goods have long-term negative economic effects on communities and small local businesses.
Walmart’s Vision Statement
Walmart Inc.’s corporate vision is to “Be THE destination for customers to save money, no matter how they want to shop.” This vision statement was officially articulated in the company’s 2017 investment community meeting. The company’s previous vision statement was “To be the best retailer in the hearts and minds of consumers and employees.” The change in the corporate vision reflects strategic changes that Walmart implements in response to changes in the competitive landscape and the overall condition of the global retail industry.
In the past, the company’s corporate vision was to become the top player in the retail industry. At present, Walmart’s vision statement includes a similar aim, but with emphasis on business flexibility in accommodating customers. For example, the “no matter how they want to shop” component indicates the company’s strategic objective of achieving leadership in traditional brick-and-mortar transactions and in online retail or e-commerce transactions. The same change, however, removes “employees” as a component of Walmart’s vision statement. This shift represents a possible reduction of strategic support for the retail giant’s employees. Also, the shift in the corporate vision could reflect human resource management issues, considering that employees are a major stakeholder group relevant to Walmart’s corporate social responsibility strategy and stakeholder management.
Walmart’s Generic Competitive Strategy and Intensive Growth Strategies
Considering Michael Porter’s model for generic strategies for competitive advantage, Walmart Inc. uses the cost leadership generic strategy. This strategy requires that the company strive to minimize costs as a way of achieving financial advantages, which translate to competitive advantage against other retail firms. These advantages include attractive low selling prices and profit maximization, which contribute to fulfilling the market leadership objectives based on Walmart’s corporate mission statement and corporate vision statement. The retail business implements stringent measures that reduce costs to effectively apply this generic strategy for competitive advantage. Thus, Walmart’s generic competitive strategy directly relates to the corporate mission and vision statements in terms of using low prices to make the company the shopping destination of target consumers.
In the context of Igor Ansoff’s Growth Matrix, Walmart Inc.’s main intensive growth strategy is market penetration. To achieve intensive growth, this strategy involves selling more products to consumers in the company’s current markets. For example, Walmart’s strategic objectives include selling more goods to American consumers who shop online. The company grows its revenues through online sales, as the e-commerce environment continues to grow. This growth fuels the attainment of Walmart’s corporate mission statement and corporate vision statement. Other intensive growth strategies are involved in the business, although market penetration has the most significant influence on the company’s growth as a global retailer. These strategies for intensive growth relate to Walmart’s corporate vision and mission statements in terms of reaching more customers to achieve leadership as the primary shopping destination.
Key Points and Recommendations – Walmart’s Corporate Mission and Corporate Vision
In view of ideal conventions for developing corporate mission statements, Walmart Inc.’s mission statement satisfies only some of the conventional ideal qualities. For example, the retail company’s mission statement is specific with regard to financial savings for customers. However, the lack of other details, such as information about types of products, types of target customers, target markets, and business self-concept, makes for a challenging implementation of the corporate mission in the retail business. Thus, a recommendation is to improve Walmart’s corporate mission by integrating information about products, customers, markets, and business self-concept into the statement.
In creating ideal corporate vision statements, the conventions are satisfied in this case of Walmart Inc. The retail company’s vision statement is concise and clear. It is also abstract enough to encompass the business, and creates a beneficial challenge to motivate human resources, such as employees at the company’s stores. In addition, it is future-oriented, especially in considering the e-commerce environment. A possible way of improving Walmart’s corporate vision is to explicitly include information about other stakeholders, such as employees, who influence the actual performance of the retail business. This recommendation aims to make the vision statement encompassing with regard to Walmart’s operations and management.
- Alegre, I., Berbegal-Mirabent, J., Guerrero, A., & Mas-Machuca, M. (2018). The real mission of the mission statement: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Management & Organization, 24(4), 456-473.
- Dong, F., Xie, Y., & Cao, L. (2019). Board power hierarchy, corporate mission, and green performance. Sustainability, 11(18), 4826.
- Haris, A., Rahman, A., Yusriadi, Y., & Farida, U. (2021). Analysis of determinant factors affecting retail business customer loyalty. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S3), 310-318.
- Jindal, R. P., Gauri, D. K., Li, W., & Ma, Y. (2021). Omnichannel battle between Amazon and Walmart: Is the focus on delivery the best strategy? Journal of business research, 122, 270-280.
- Kirkpatrick, S. A. (2017). Toward a grounded theory: A qualitative study of vision statement development. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 18(1), 87-101.
- Martinčić, S. G. (2018). Identification of the Elements for the Creation of Corporate Vision. International Journal Vallis Aurea, 4(1), 49-58.
- Mendly-Zambo, Z., Raphael, D., & Taman, A. (2021). Take the money and run: How food banks became complicit with Walmart Canada’s hunger producing employment practices. Critical Public Health, 1-12.
- Mostaghel, R., Oghazi, P., Parida, V., & Sohrabpour, V. (2022). Digitalization driven retail business model innovation: Evaluation of past and avenues for future research trends. Journal of Business Research, 146, 134-145.
- Pace, S. (2017). Shaping corporate brands: From product features to corporate mission. International Studies of Management & Organization, 47(2), 197-205.
- Scott, J. (2016). What is a thirteener? Empowering your teams will help you successfully implement your corporate vision. Strategic Finance, 98(5), 12-13.
- Suranga, J. M. (2017, March). Importance of corporate vision. In Proceedings of International HR Conference (Vol. 1, No. 1), 34-40.
- Toh, S. Y., Tehseen, S., Mahmoud, A. B., Cheok, J., Grigoriou, N., & Opute, J. (2022). Mission statement effectiveness: Investigating managers’ sensemaking role. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 27(2), 329-345.
- U.S. Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration – Retail Trade Industry.
- U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics – Industries at a Glance – Retail Trade.
- Walmart Inc. – 2017 Investment Community Meeting.
- Walmart Inc. – Form 10-K.
- Walmart Inc. – History.
- Walmart Inc.’s E-commerce Website.