Wal-Mart: SWOT Analysis Essay Example

            Wal-Mart is one of the biggest companies receiving a large revenue and number of loyal customers in numerous stores located in different countries around the globe. The company is known as the leading grocery retailer, and is recognized by the Fortune Global 500 as the largest public corporation in terms of revenue. Today, Wal-Mart is still able to maintain the recognitions continuing to grow and stay at the top of the competition.

Internal Analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

            Wal-Mart can be considered as one of the strengths of the company. Basically, Wal-Mart was able to dominate the retail industry by gaining the loyalty of its customers. Wal-Mart also controls most of the consumer goods from different prominent product manufacturers. Moreover, the company was able to hold the top rank in the marketplace by restructuring their business plans and operations. They remodeled their stores, invested more on technology, replaced warehouses, and eliminated irrelevant job positions. The actions were done in order to execute another plan for a more expanded and successful business. (Bianco, et al. 2007)

            Aside from shifting the focus to products and customers, Wal-Mart focuses on bridging the cultural diversities among the workers of the company. Hispanic and African- American women were added to the company to create more effective relationships despite cultural differences and make the company have a representative from other countries.

            The success of Wal-Mart in the marketplace has been very transparent for both the customers and competitors alike. In fact, the company’s competitors cannot easily beat or even reach Wal-Mart’s revenue. In thousands of Wal-Mart’s stores located in different countries, the customers are able to enter and purchase in at least one of those retail stores. Wal-Mart was also able to dominate the suppliers and build good business relationships with them. The pricing pressure of Wal-Mart serves as a blessing for the suppliers of products in the market.

            Moreover, the construction of more super centers in the future is included in the marketing plan of the company. Although many Wal-Mart stores will be relocated as part of the company’s business operation, the company will still be as eager to build more stores in order to accomplish their goals and objectives (Economist). However, the stores built will be smaller than the existing Wal-Mart stores (Graff, 2004).

            Unfortunately, the idea of relocating the stores and constructing new super centers somehow became complicated especially for the company’s growth. Many stores already exist, and the company often observes that Wal-Mart competes with itself. The company continuously builds new stores, which in turn becomes a threat for its competitors. However, such bold move may cause the business to deplete in growth. Wal-Mart, on the other hand, was able to penetrate other markets by making the business grow globally and gaining more customers from different countries.

In addition to this, the company’s entry to Germany’s market was the opposite of what Wal-Mart expected. Price controls, tough zoning regulations, and rigid labor laws made it difficult to control and dominate the market. In other words, the company lacked strategies in penetrating the said market.  The marketing plan of the company has always been put in question because of the unending issues that are being thrown toward them. Some of these issues talk about the labor policy and violation of laws of the company. A company on its highest level of success, like Wal-Mart often fails to recognize the small problems that always end up to the biggest threats for growth (The Economist, n.d.).

External Analysis: Opportunities and Threats

            Building value from the external networks is one of the greatest activities that the company can do to expand the business. The company should look for other alternatives, at the same time, improve the supply chain. This should be done in order to make the communications with the supplier and customers healthier than how the company anticipated it would be. The connection with the external networks will definitely boost the company’s business to a more successful and highly-profited one (McPhee, 2006).

            In this aspect, Wal-Mart was able to build good relationships with the manufacturers. Today, more companies are trying to penetrate the market and introduce new products for their target market. As a matter of fact, many suppliers believe that Wal-Mart is advantageous in penetrating the market, both inside and outside the country, and in strengthening the market positions (Bloom & Perry, 1999). In so doing, the constant penetration of manufacturers and development of products in the market could definitely boost the business of Wal-Mart.

            However, the success of Wal-Mart is also viewed as threat to the company. Regardless of the recognition and large revenue, Wal-Mart is still criticized in the market. Regardless of having the largest number of loyal customers, many of them still remain skeptical towards the objective of the company. This factor can be considered as a threat to the company, for the customers are the primary targets in the business world. In this regard, the good reputation set by the company is slowly being damaged because of the numerous accusations thrown against them.

            Furthermore, the rising legal and labor compliance problems of the company have greatly affected the business. Aside from the bad reputation that these law suits can bring to the company, Wal-Mart also needs to allot time to fix these problems, greatly affecting their business plan. Thus, the lawsuits have become the very core of damaging the quality of products and services that Wal-Mart can provide to its customers (Bianco,2003).

            Three important clusters that have a strong impact for business growth are influenced by this kind of problem. First is the good relationship with the suppliers of the products that company offers to the market. The existence of other retail companies in the world may encourage the manufacturers to find for other alternatives of distributing the products and reaching their target markets. Just like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Best Buy have been recognized as credible distributors of goods and gained established positions in the marketplace. Apparently, the weaknesses of Wal-Mart can be taken as the strengths of its competitors. The competitors of the company have been continuing to grow, finding ways to expand their businesses, and dominate the market. The reputation Wal-Mart created for its manufacturers may provide good opportunities for the competitors to achieve their company’s goals and objectives.

            Aside from the competitors, the people also play an important role in this problem. People willing to work for the company may have negative impressions because of the labor problems. This may be attributed to the fact that Wal-Mart employees are said to be underpaid but still work beyond their work hours. The services that Wal-Mart renders for the customers establish not only a good relationship with them but also credibility in having the best workplace for their employees. Lastly, the negative feedbacks of the company would also affect the buying behavior of the customers.

            Wal-Mart has gained the loyalty of their customers because of the low cost of products for the market. Unfortunately, the company fails to recognize the other factors that affect the behavior of the customers in purchasing the goods found in store shelves. Many customers buy products because of their affordability, while some still consider the style, quality, and services before purchasing. Apparently, Wal-Mart focuses on the prices of their

their products, which hinders the fast growth of the company.

            The competition in the marketplace has always been the biggest threat for the companies. Whether the company has just started the business or already established a position in the market, the intense competition often becomes one of the most important factors to be considered. Since the market continues to discover new ways of selling and purchasing the products, companies like Wal-Mart should develop strategic plans to persuade their customers into patronizing their products allowing them to gain more in the future.

Undeniably, Wal-Mart has dominated the market with its thousands of locations and wide variety of consumers’ products. However, large companies, such as Wal-Mart, should also consider all the aspects of marketing in order to grow and gain more revenue without being criticized by its primary target market.

References

Bianco, A., Der Hovanesian, M., Young, L., & Gogoi, P. (2007). Wal-Mart’s Midlife Crisis; Declining growth, increasing competition, and not an easy fix in site. Business Week. New York, April 30, 2007, Issue 4032, page 46.

Bianco, A., Zellner, W., Brady, D., France, M., Lowry, T., Byrnes, N., ; Zegel, S., Arndt, M., Berner, R., ; Palmer, T., A. (2003). Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful? Business Week. New York: Oct 6, 2003., Iss. 3852;  pg. 100

Bloom, P. ; Perry, V. (1999). Retailer Power and Supplier Welfare: The Case of Wal-Mart. Journal of Retailing. USA: Elsevier Science Inc. Vol. 77, Issue 3 pp.379-396

Graff, T. (2004). The Locations of Wal-Mart and K-Mart Supercenters: Contrasting Corporate Strategies. The Professional Geographer. USA: Association of American Geographers. Vol. 50 Issue 1, pp. 46-57

McPhee, Wayne ; Wheeler, David (2006). Making the case for the added-value chain. Strategy and Leadership. Chicago Vol 34, Issue 4

Special Report: How big can it grow? – Wal-Mart. The Economist. London Apr 17, 2004.Vol.371, Iss. 8371;  pg. 74

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External And Internal Barriers To Treatment Of Substance Abuse

Abstract:

The treatment of substance abusers can either be successful or a failure because of different factors surrounding the programs that have been put in place. These barriers can either be internal, that is coming from the substance abuser, or external. External barriers are the outside forces that have a hand in the efficiency of any treatment or rehabilitation program. This paper seeks to elucidate on these barriers in a more comprehensive manner.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse is a social problem that is taking toll amongst all age groups from teenagers, young adults, mature adults and even the seniors or those in their prime ages. Abuse of these substances can be linked or associated with many factors and also has many far reaching effects including the placing of the victims at a risk of mental retardation. It has been seen to fuel many criminal activities and anti-social behaviors especially in the attempt to finance the habit. Treatment is thus very important as it can improve the addicts’ qualities of life as well as lessen the incidences of criminal activities. There are many institutions that have come up with programs that are meant to mitigate these problems through such interventions as rehabilitation. The efficiency of these programs is of utmost importance because it dictates the number of people that will benefit from them. One of the factors that can hamper the efficiency is the existence of barriers. These can either be external or internal barriers.

Barriers are any obstacles to the effective treatment of alcohol and substance abusers. Internal barriers are those that emanate from within the patient himself. They have a lot to do with their attitudes towards treatment, their beliefs and inclinations (Allen, 1995). Some people feel like they do not need the treatment for various reasons like age whereby they view themselves as too old and living in their last days such that treatment becomes an unnecessary cost. The seniors perceive the treatment process as expensive and prefer to save up for their children’s futures other than spend those funds on treatment programs. Others feel like they have controlled intake of the substance they are abusing e.g. alcohol or cocaine and consider themselves on the safe side since they feel that they are not controlled by the substance. There is also the aspect of denial where the substance abusers feel like they really don’t have a problem and that it can end with the reduction of their stressors. Internal barriers can also be manifested as fear of what entails treatment.  Previous treatment experience can make a patient to be apprehensive about attending a rehabilitation center. Usually the patients have no specific reasons for their fears but it can be noted that some are more concerned with what the significant others will think about them. Those whose thoughts matter are for instance children and other family members as well as friends. Stigma plays a big part in the decision making of patients and makes them not opt for treatment for fear of disclosure of their state of affairs. The privacy of their treatment program becomes very important and most often than not they find themselves shying away from treatment (Jessup, Humphreys, Brindis and Lee, 2003). According to Grant, 1997, internal barriers are more influential than external ones. Internal factors have been found to hamper treatment programs at a higher rate as compared to external factors.

External barriers are those factors that are from ‘without’ the person. They come about as a result of outside forces such as the financial state of individual, environmental factors as well as social and cultural factors. An example of an external barrier is the lack of finances to enter treatment programs. Such barriers are not very influential because the patient may be willing to undergo treatment but is rendered incapable because of external forces. African- Americans who abuse cocaine can be said to be among the ethnic minority in this demographic region. Most of them lack the resources to seek treatment even though they are willing to change (Grant, 1997). Some feel like the fact that they are black they may not get the treatment that is supposed to be given them. Another example of an external barrier is challenges in getting transport to and from the rehabilitation centers, a factor that can contribute to the lack of completion of treatment. Some institutions do not give comprehensive services at one site and have branches that are separated. This means that for one to be through with the treatment, he would have to travel to different places which can clearly lead to inefficiency in treatment because the client may be challenged to make all the required trips.

 There are also structural problems like insufficient competent staff such that a few professionals have to attend to a large number of clients meaning that one member of staff has to take care of many people. This means that patients cannot get quality treatment. Lack of political support is also another external barrier because this would mean that the institution will not get funding from for instance the government. Many laws and by-laws are made by politicians and without political back-up an institution can not be in a position to perform to its optimal level. In gender specific institutions such as that which has female substance abusers, the use of male-oriented treatment techniques can be one barrier to the reformation of these female clients while female-based treatment has the same if effect for male clients (Ashley, O. S., Marsden, M. E., & Brady, T. M., 2003). Lack of funds also leads to a shortage in very important facilities such as those that are specifically for childcare. Shortage of such facilities makes treatment of children impossible. They are thus left out unwillingly because the available facilities may not be very useful and effective in their treatment since they may have to use the facilities used by adults.

Barriers will remain in the treatment or rehabilitation of alcohol and substance abusers but a lot can be done especially for external barriers whereby fundraising activities can be adopted because this will lead to recruitment and thorough training of more staff as well as give solutions for other problems. Internal barriers can also be overcome through proper pre-treatment of substance abusers. Internal barriers are more intense that external barriers because the latter can be changed or rectified by external factors whereas internal barriers can only be undone by the substance abuser himself.

References:

 Allen K.(1995). Barriers to treatment for addicted African-American women. Journal of            the American Medical Association.87:751–756.

Ashley, O. S., Marsden, M. E., & Brady, T. M. (2003). Effectiveness of substance abuse treatment programming for women: A review. American Journal of Drug and          Alcohol Abuse 29(1):19-53;

Grant BF.(1997). Barriers to alcoholism treatment: Reasons for not seeking treatment in             a general population sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 58:365–371.     [PubMed]

Jessup MA, Humphreys JC, Brindis CD, Lee KA.(2003). Extrinsic barriers to substance            abuse             treatment among pregnant drug dependent women. Journal of Drug Issues.          33(2):285–304.

 

External And Internal Validity

Babbie refers to internal and external validity as the two indispensable issues in any sociological research design. In general terms, “internal validity refers specifically to whether an experimental treatment, condition makes a difference or not, and whether there is sufficient evidence to support the claim” (Campbell & Stanley 40). Furthermore, external validity is directly linked to statistical generalizations; external validity determines the applicability of the research results to more general social groups.

Babbie is extremely accurate with the choice of sociological terms: in his book, internal and external validity issues are expressed through “external and internal invalidity”, which threaten the relevance of any sociological research results. Babbie’s list of the internal invalidity sources includes history, maturation, testing, and instrumentation (238). Statistical regression is another internal validity problem. Rooted in the wrong choice of subjects, statistical regression threatens the internal validity. The choice of subjects with extreme characteristics initially distorts the design and objectives of any sociological research. The list of external validity threats includes “multiple treatment interference, reactive effects of experimental arrangements and interaction effects of selection biases and the experimental variable” (Campbell & Stanley 41).

Internal invalidity issues in sociology can be resolved by means of probability statistics. The methods of selecting the research subjects, the problems of maturation and regression are easily solvable within the boundaries of the probabilistic logic. In contrast, logic will not help eliminate external validity threats: we cannot logically evaluate the impact and the essence of all external conditions. We can improve the external validity by using concept mapping and the principles of proximal similarity (Trochim). Replication of the study will substantially facilitate generalization of the research results.

Works Cited

  1. Babbie, E. The Basic of Social Research, 4th edition. Wadsworth Publishing, 2007.
  2. Campbell, D. & Stanley, J. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Research. Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1996.
  3. Trochim, W.K. “External Validity.” 2006. Research Methods. 02 June 2008.
  4. http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/external.php