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Walmart's Wage Issues

Misty103 is a pen name for a psychology graduate, freelance researcher, reviewer, and writer.

Diagnosis

The first Wal-Mart store opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, as a result of Sam Walton's visionary leadership (Wal-Mart Corporate, n.d.). Since then Wal-Mart has expanded from a few small stores to the 4,756 stores, which now exist in 2020 (Statista Research Department, 2020). The large increase in stores has led to Wal-Mart having to adapt and alter its leadership from the leadership through service that was promoted by Sam Walton to a more formal leadership style (Wal-Mart Corporate, n.d.). Wal-Mart’s slogan of “save more live better” is based upon Sam Walton's wish to provide an opportunity for the world to see what it’s like to save and for people to have better lives (Wal-Mart Corporate, n.d.).

Wal-Mart’s leadership strategy makes use of both transactional and transformational approaches, however the leadership style utilized by store managers differ based on the manager’s own leadership style. This has led to certain stores experiencing authoritarian leadership while other stores experience charismatic leadership. The diverse range of leadership styles utilized by store managers has likely contributed to employee dissatisfaction. The low wages and discrimination practices are an organization issue, which is based upon the chain’s corporate policies and organizational culture.

Sam Walton's idealistic view has remained present in Wal-Mart’s leadership strategy for business and for dealing with customers. However, Wal-Mart’s use of Sam Walton vision ends with the customers and is not carried over to the organization’s treatment of their employees. The low cost that is used to attract customers has likely led to the decline in Wal-Mart’s care for their employees as rising costs likely contributed to low wages, employee dissatisfaction, and discrimination. Employees responsible for stocking shelves earn a wage of about $9 an hour, cashiers, sale associates, and personal shoppers earn about $10 per hour, and managers approximately $12 per hour (PayScale, 2020a). These wages are considered to be low when the living wage in the United States is $16.54 per hour for a family of four is taken into consideration (Nadeau, 2020). A level of discrimination can also be seen in Wal-Mart’s pay structure as female employees are often paid less than their male counterparts even though female employees make up a significant part of Wal-Mart’s workforce (Lichtenstein, 2011). The divide between Wal-Mart’s pay structure and the living wage in the US in 2020 is a significant organizational issue, especially when combined with the gender wage and discrimination, both of which has likely contributed to employee dissatisfaction.

Measurements

Different organizational consulting measurements will be needed to adequately assess Wal-Mart’s two main organizational problems. The two main problems, which require the use of organizational consulting measurements, are leadership dissatisfaction and the pay scale. These two problems will both necessitate the use of a 360-degree feedback system and compensation analysis respectively.

Leadership Dissatisfaction

The leadership dissatisfaction that affects Wal-Mart is likely a result of the fact that Wal-Mart corporate uses transactional and transformational approaches (Wal-Mart Corporate, n.d.). Yet, the leadership styles utilized by store managers differ based on each manager’s own leadership style, which has led to a diverse range of leadership styles being used in different stores. An ideal organizational consulting measurement for assessing this problem is the implementation of a 360-degree feedback system that would offer an anonymous method for employees to evaluate subordinates, colleagues and supervisors (Kokemuller, n.d.). A 360-degree feedback system is a multi-resource feedback method, which contains the opinions of plural evaluators as well as they evaluate themselves (Wang & Lin, 2011). The use of a 360- degree feedback method will allow a multi-perspective evaluation of the leadership of the Wal-Mart stores from the perspective of Wal-Mart’s various stakeholders. The 360- degree feedback method would include questions like a mix of rating and open ended questions. One question might ask for a rating to be given in regards to a certain employee’s ability to tailor communication to the needs of the audience with the options of: never, rarely, occasionally, often, always, or no opportunity to observe (Qualtrics, n.d.). Then, after the rating question, there might be an open-ended follow up question asking for ways the person could improve (Qualtrics, n.d.). The 360- degree feedback method would result in objective measurements of the leadership being collected.

Pay Scale

The pay scale that Wal-Mart utilizes for employees is an organizational issue, which requires the use of an organizational consulting measurement to adequately assess the problem. The living wage in the United States of America was recorded as $16.54 per hour for a family of four in 2020 (Nadeau, 2020). Depending upon employment positions Wal-Mart employees on average earn $9-$12 per hour (PayScale, 2020a). This is significantly lower than the living wage with even the high end of Wal-Mart’s pay scale falling below the living wage. Additionally, it has been noted that female employees are paid less than their male counterparts (Lichtenstein, 2011). This issue should be assessed with the organizational consulting measurement known as a compensation analysis.

The compensation analysis can use company sourced data and third-party market data in order to accurately measure and assess Wal-Mart’s current pay scale at the different stores (PayScale, 2020b). The compensation analysis will allow Wal-Mart’s leadership to use the data to make defensible decisions with dependable data (Toman, 2021). The dependability of the data collected from the compensation analysis is ensured by its unbiased objective measurement by a third party. The compensation analysis will allow for an unbiased objective measurement of the pay scale in regards to factors like: age, gender, race, education, and experience. The accounting for such measurements will allow for the compensation analysis to measure if there is any form of discrimination in Wal-Mart’s pay scale and to compare the pay scale to the current living wage.

Assessments

The potential results of each consulting measurement will provide an objective overview of Wal-Mart’s organizational problems in regards to leadership dissatisfaction and pay scale. The 360-degree feedback system will likely show a diverse range of leadership styles being used with varying results of effectiveness at the different Wal-Mart locations. These results will likely be interpreted to indicate that the use of a consistent leadership style in Wal-Mart stores would improve employee satisfaction and in turn improve the bottom line.

The 360-degree feedback system will likely show the situational leadership style is one of the most utilized leadership styles in the Wal-Mart stores. The situational leadership style proposes that different situations require different types of leadership and that the utilized leadership style should be based upon an assessment of their employees’ skills so that the leader can provide the right amount of support to ensure success (Northouse, 2013). This is likely the most utilized style of leadership as it allows Wal-Mart’s managers to adapt their leadership approach based on situational factors. It is also likely that an authoritarian leadership style will also be seen to be utilized by numerous store managers. Leaders who make decisions without any room for democracy or negotiation are considered authoritarian leaders (Lewin, Lippitt, & White, 1939).

The compensation analysis will likely show that the difference between the living wage and Wal-Mart’s salary range is approximately $4.54-7.54 per hour (PayScale, 2020a; PayScale, 2020b). It is also likely that the compensation analysis will show a gender pay gap of 4.5% to 5.6% or higher (Girion, 2013). The main form of discrimination in pay will likely be the difference in pay between female and male employees, though it is also possible that a pay difference will be noted based on age or race. The compensation analysis might also show that some of the difference in pay between the genders might be based on factors like education or experience, which could lower the perceived percent of the gender pay gap.

Tactics

The suggested tactics for the organizational consulting diagnosis were chosen based on their ability for diagnosing Wal-Mart’s suspected organizational issues. The 360-degree feedback system was selected due to its ability to provide an anonymous method for employees to evaluate subordinates, colleagues and supervisors (Kokemuller, n.d.). The fact that this method of diagnoses is a multi-resource feedback method that contains the opinions of plural evaluators as well as they evaluate themselves, makes it ideal for data collection in regards to the perceived leadership dissatisfaction issue (Wang & Lin, 2011). The relatively anonymous nature of the 360-degree feedback system would allow the employees to candidly express levels of satisfaction with the leadership without worry about the effect their opinions could have on their own work-balance (Stone et al., 2018). The consulting process will benefit from the employees being able to express their candid opinions as it will expedite the process of diagnosing leadership issues and styles in the different stores (Stone et al., 2018). This particular method is well suited for the organizational consulting diagnosis as the data collected from the 360-degree feedback system can be used to show the leadership satisfaction levels at the various Walmart stores, understand the different types of leadership being used, and gain feedback directly for those experiencing leadership dissatisfaction.

The compensation analysis was selected due to the belief that one of Wal-Mart’s organizational issues is their pay scale. The compensation analysis was selected due to its ability to offer an unbiased objective measurement of the pay scale that will provide statistical data on pay in reference to factors like age, gender, race, education, and experience. The compensation analysis allows for not only the measurement of such data, but also for the comparison of the statistical data to the current living wage in the United States of America (PayScale, 2020a; PayScale, 2020b). The comparison of the collected figures with the living wage will allow for the organizational problem of pay scale to be diagnosed.

Problem Causes

The data collected from the 360-degree feedback system and the compensation analysis will be utilized to identify internal causes of the organizational problems. The 360-degree feedback system will provide the information needed to identify the internal problems related to leadership dissatisfaction. The answers collected using the 360-degree feedback system will serve to display the employees’ perception of the leadership and their level of satisfaction with the leadership. It is also possible that the 360-degree feedback system will bring to light other organizational issues like organizational culture, management practices, organizational structure, employee motivation, and other internal problems (Stone et al., 2018). The compensation analysis will provide the information needed to identify the internal organizational issues related to Wal-Mart’s current pay scale. The data collected from the compensation analysis will show an unbiased report of the employee salaries which can then be compared to the living wage. The wages of the male and female employees can also be compared in order to diagnose any gender pay discrimination that has occurred.

Strategy Development

In order to fully address the organizational problems related to leadership dissatisfaction and pay scale, multiple strategies will need to be utilized. The leadership dissatisfaction should be addressed using two strategies. The first strategy is that the leadership in the stores should be converted to solely transactional leadership, which focuses on exchanges between the leadership and employees (Aarons, 2006). The second strategy would call for the implementation of a yearly 360-degree feedback system to provide evaluations of employees by employees (Kokemuller, n.d.). The strategy for handling the pay scale would be twofold: the salary structure would need to be updated to account for living wage for at least full time employees and the newly developed pay scale needs to be transparent in order to promote equal pay for all (Day,2011).

Theories

Theoretical Rationale

The development of the strategies for resolving the organizational issues related to leadership dissatisfaction and pay scale were both developed with the aid of psychological theories. An understanding of these theories is essential to understanding the reasoning behind the developed strategies. The leadership dissatisfaction strategies were developed based on Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory. While the pay scale strategy was chosen based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and Adams’s equity theory.

Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory.

Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory was one of the key theories utilized as it is focuses on the two sets of factors that govern job satisfaction and dissatisfaction known as hygiene factors and motivation factors (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). The hygiene factors are extrinsic motivators which represent an employee’s basic needs, such as: employment security, salary, and benefits (Sachau, 2007). The motivation factors are intrinsic factors that can affect an employee’s motivation such as: work challenges, recognition, work relationships, and an employee’s ability to grow (Sachau, 2007). These two factors have an inverse relationship in that the motivation factors tend to increase motivation when they are present, while the hygiene factors tend to reduce motivation if they are not present (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). This theory served to highlight the need for the universal use of transactional leadership in the Wal-Mart stores as the leadership style focuses on the exchanges between the leadership and employees (Aarons, 2006).

Pay Scale Theories.

Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs theory, which was based on Maslow’s perception of basic needs, was one of the main theories utilized in the development of the pay scale strategy. Maslow’s (1954) organized the basic needs people have into five categories: physiological, safety and security, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. These categories make up a pyramid of human needs with the needs at the base of the pyramid being considered more powerful than the higher needs, as the more the base needs are satisfied, the better the upper needs cans be satisfied, and the better the psychological health of the individual (Lester, 2013). The need for a new pay scale that is closer to the living wage is made apparent by Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs theory, which has the bottom most tier of physiological need including needs like: food, water, shelter, and clothing, all of which require financial resources in order for the needs to be met. A salary that is below the living wage means that some of the required needs are likely not being met, which in turn could be negatively affecting the work performance of the employees.

The second theory which was used in the development of the pay scale strategy was Adams’ (1965) equity theory which focuses on the perception people have in regards to how they have been treated in comparison with the treatment received by others. Adams’ (1965) equity theory is based on the idea that employees are motivated to maintain a balance between their contributions and their rewards. This theory highlights the importance of a transparent pay scale and such a pay scale would promote a feeling of openness and fairness and decrease perception of gender pay discrimination.

Rationale

Research-based Rationale

The strategy development of both the leadership dissatisfaction strategies and the pay scale strategy were both based upon organizational psychology research results. The utilization of organizational psychology research results ensures that the developed strategies are grounded in research and that they are predicted to be effective based upon such research. The strategies basis in empirical research results offers a certain predictability of effectiveness.

Leadership Dissatisfaction Research-based Rationale.

The leadership dissatisfaction strategy of converting to solely transactional leadership will have the main benefit of providing employees with rewards for meeting specific goals or performance criteria (Aarons, 2006). This would be beneficial as it would help raise leadership satisfaction through rewards, which would help to improve productivity, motivation, and morale upon successful implementation. The rationale for this strategy is the fact that it is a proven effective method for motivating employees, providing a set organizational structure, and setting clear obtainable goals for employees (Aarons, 2006).

The leadership dissatisfaction strategy that calls for the implementation of a yearly 360-degree feedback system will not only benefit the leadership satisfaction levels of Wal-Mart, but will likely provide the means to increase employee productivity, motivation, and morale in other ways. The strategy of providing evaluations of employees by employees would allow leadership dissatisfaction to be caught before it can compound into larger issues (Kokemuller, n.d.). The use of the multi-perspective yearly evaluations would offer a yearly measurement of leadership satisfaction that would allow the leadership to make needed leadership changes on a consistent basis (Wang & Lin, 2011). This would allow for this strategy to not only benefit Wal-Mart for years to come in terms of maintaining and increasing leadership satisfaction levels, but also to diagnose other organizational problems that occur in the future.

Pay Scale Research-based Rationale.

The two-fold pay scale strategy calls for the updating of the salary structure to account for living wage for at least full time employees and the development and implementation of a transparent pay scale to promote equal pay for all (Day,2011). This strategy will have the benefit of increasing employee motivation, morale, productivity, and satisfaction due to a updated salary structure (Day, 2011). The transparency of the new pay structure will benefit Wal-Mart by promoting employee awareness of factors that affect pay to ensure fairness for all employees and an open lack of discrimination. The main rationale for this strategy is the fact that an increase in salary will increase employee retention and hiring which will reduce long term training costs (Sammer, 2013). Additionally, it has been found that positive outcomes occur when workers understand pay determination factors (Day, 2011). This understanding will help prevent misconceptions and the development of tension from perceived pay discrimination. Instead, any factors which result in different pay structures like education or experience would be transparent for all employees to know and understand.

Strategy Implications

While it is impossible to know the exact effects of the implementation of the organization consulting strategies, it is possible to predict the likely outcome of such an implementation. The effects of the implementing the consulting strategies in regards to the psychological well-being of others and in regards to the overall organization can be predicted through a utilization of research. The three consulting strategies of converting to solely transactional leadership, the implementation of a yearly 360-degree feedback system, and the development of an updated transparent pay scale will all likely have an impact on the psychological well-being of others and the organization as a whole.

Conversion to Solely Transactional Leadership

The leadership dissatisfaction strategy of converting to solely transactional leadership would be predicted to increase employee motivation, morale, and productivity as it has the benefit of providing employees with rewards for meeting specific goals or performance criteria (Aarons, 2006). The fact that the employees would be rewarded for meeting goals would likely make them more inclined to strive to reach those goals. An example of this would be if the stores set a goal of attaining 20 positive reviews from customers within 5 days with a reward of a team party if the goal were to be met. The employees would likely feel motivated to provide better customer service and request reviews from customers so as to meet the goal and obtain the party. The employees’ attempts to gain the reward would likely results in them being more motivated and productive during their shifts.

While such a positive outcome is the most likely outcome of the implementation of this strategy, it is also possible that the change in leadership styles will cause confusion and/or negative reactions from the employees that preferred the leadership style that was being utilized previously. For example, if a store used to use a Laissez-Faire leadership style where the leader tended to remain non-participatory unless they are asked to provide assistance to the decision making process, then the employees might object to transactional leadership which has more leadership involvement (Lewin, Lippitt, & White, 1939). In such a situation, the employees might be confused by the sudden change or react negatively if the change was implemented suddenly.

Research-Based Rationale.

The prediction that the leadership conversion will lead to increased employee motivation, morale, and productivity, is backed by a research based rationale. Transactional leadership emphasizes the significance of the mutually beneficial relationship between leaders and followers (Bolden, Gosling, Marturano, & Dennison, 2003). It has been proven that a good relationship between leaders and followers can lead to increased motivation, morale, and productivity among both followers and leaders (Peyton, Zigarmi, & Fowler, 2019). The potential negative outcome is also backed by a research-based rationale in that the potential negative reactions and confusion could be considered change resistance (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). While in many cases the response of the employees depend primarily on the change itself, their perception of the change, and the method in which they learn about the change, can affect the level of resistance and confusion experienced by the employees (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). The potential negative reactions to the strategy all stem from the way in which the change would be introduced, as they are based upon the employees understanding and interest in the strategy.

Implementation of a Yearly 360-Degree Feedback System

The implementation of an annually conducted 360-degree feedback system is predicted to have an impact on the psychological well-being of others and the organization as a whole. In regards to the organization as a whole, it would allow for organizational issues to be caught and handled before they have time to compound into bigger issues. This system would offer a way for such issues to be communicated so that they do not go more than one year without being known.

In regards to the predicted impact on the psychological well-being of others, the most likely impact is positive. It is likely that such an implementation would increase employee morale as the system would help all employees to have a voice in the organization in regards to those that they work with. For example, if an employee was feeling underappreciated or badly treated by his or her co-workers or superiors, the 360-degree feedback system would offer a way to communicate such issues without the person having to have a direct conversation with the leadership. This method would likely make the employees feel more comfortable about expressing themselves in regards to their co-workers. Additionally, it would also ensure that the employees not only have an acceptable venue for sharing issues, but also show that the leadership values the feedback of the employees. While the predicted positive outcome is more likely to occur, it is also possible that not all employees will view the new system in a positive light. When the system is initially implemented, employees might at first resent the system for the extra work it will give them due to the time needed to fill out the feedback. Employees might also feel like they might be unfairly judged due to employees who have personal issues with them.

Research-Based Rationale.

The prediction that the implementation of the 360-degree feedback system would increase employee morale as the system would help all employees to have a voice in the organization in regards to those that they work with, is backed by a research based rationale. The fact that the 360-degree appraisal is a performance evaluation that is carried out by different people who interact with the employees, such as supervisors, peers, subordinates, and customers, provides each employee with an avenue for expressing their views about their co-workers (Bohlander, Snell, & Morris, 2013). Providing employees with a way to have a voice within an organization has been proven to be an effective method for increasing employee morale (Novotney, 2010). The reason this is such an effective method is the fact that it gives employees some control over their work environment, which can not only improve morale, but also decrease employee burnout (Novotney, 2010). The potential for a negative reaction is primarily grounded upon the fact that the employees may experience change resistance based on the way in which the change is communicated to them (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003).

Updated Transparent Pay Scale

The development of a pay scale that is transparent and updated to account for the living wage is predicted to have an impact on the psychological well-being of others and the organization as a whole. In regards to the organization as a whole, a transparent pay scale that accounts for the living wage would likely help to improve Wal-Mart’s overall reputation. In regards to the predicted impact on the psychological well-being of others, the outcome is likely to be positive. An overhaul of the pay scale to account for the living wage is likely to mean a pay increase for most, if not all of the employees, which will contribute to an improved level of psychological well-being among the employees. The transparency element will ensure that any differences in pay between employees of different jobs is untestable to employees, which will help decrease feeling of gender discrimination. For example, if a male and female employee both work the same job but are paid differently, the transparency aspect would allow for an understanding in the difference in pay. They could then understand that the difference could be from factors like education or experience rather than racial or gender factors. While the outlook of the strategy should be mostly positive, it is possible to have some level of confusion among the employees when the change is first rolled out in regards to understanding the new pay scale.

Research-Based Rationale.

The prediction of positive psychological results being caused by the updated transparent pay scale is based in a research-based rationale. Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs theory states the importance of the physiological needs of employees being met, which required a living wage level of financial resources in order to be adequately met. Once such bottom tier needs are met, the better the upper needs cans be satisfied and the better the psychological health of the individual (Lester, 2013). The potential negative impact would be most likely be caused by a level of change resistance and/or an improperly handled discovery phase (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003).

Modifications.

The majority of predicted outcomes of the organizational consulting strategies are likely to be positive in regards to the possible implications for the psychological well-being of others. However, the fact that each strategy has at least one way in which it could have a negative implication to the possible implications for the psychological well-being of others, necessitates the development of a way in which each possible negative outcome can be addressed in a positive manner. The potential negative outcomes can be managed with the creation of proactive strategies designed to properly address each negative implication.

Conversion to Solely Transactional Leadership.

The main implication of the conversion to a transactional leadership style which needs to be addressed is the potential negative reactions from the employees that preferred the leadership style that was being utilized in the store that employees them. When it comes to change in the workplace, employees often respond with resistance, acceptance, or indifference (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). The outcome of having employees react with resistance would primarily depend on how the employees perceive the of change and the method in which they learn about the change (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). Taking this into account, the strategy can be modified to include a method for communicating the change in order to manage employee perception. The first step would be to ensure that the discovery phase is handled carefully as employees should not just find out about changes by word of mouth, but instead through a specialized communication plan (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). The employees should also be provided with detailed information about the change, a method in which they can communicate difficulties with the change, and a way for the employees to get all their questions answered (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003).

Implementation of a Yearly 360-Degree Feedback System.

The implication that the employees might at first resent the system for the extra work it will give them and the fact that they might feel that they could be unfairly judged due to employees who have personal issues with them, needs to be addressed with a strategy. The policy for addressing such implications should be a communication strategy to ensure employees understand that they will not be unfairly judged and that they understand the benefits of the 360-degree feedback system. McGregor’s (1960) Y theory would be an effective choice for the communication strategy as the theory suggests that people like to work and have a desire to excel in their efforts. Using a theory Y communication orientation will show the employees that the leadership wishes to support them in their work and that the 360-degree feedback system is not designed with the intent of adding extra work or resulting in employees being unfairly judged, but rather a method of ensuring all employees have a voice in the organization. The theory Y approach will avoid insulting the employees with the assumption that they are only working out of necessity and that they are doing so grudgingly (McGregor, 1960). This approach will also work to increase the employee morale by sharing a method for allowing the leadership to work on resolving the issues faced by the employees in the Wal-Mart stores.

The strategy could be further modified to avoid and counteract any feelings of resentment of employees by having all the respondent’s appraisals reviewed to ensure that if any employee receives numerous negative appraisals that they can be spoken to and encouraged to improve instead of wallowing in resentment. Unfair judging due to employees colluding the system by rating each other unfairly could be handled by having the appraisals reviewed by an outside third party, such as a consultant.

Updated Transparent Pay Scale.

The main potential implication of an updated transparent pay scale, which needs to be addressed with a strategy, is the possible confusion that could occur among the employees when the change is initially rolled out. The strategy for handling this confusion would be to ensure that the discovery phase is handled carefully so that the employees find out about the new transparent pay scale from an intentional announcement or in a meeting and not by word of mouth or from rumors (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). The employees should be provided with detailed information about the new pay scale so that they understand the changes and the employees should be provided with a method that would allow them to communicate any difficulties or confusion about the change (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). Additionally, the communication plan should also account for the different learning styles by including a lecture element and a visual element in the explanation of the new pay scale (Gallos, 2006).

Performance Initiatives

The organizational issue of leadership dissatisfaction should be addressed not only with organizational strategies, but also with performance initiatives designed to measure the way in which leadership satisfaction changes over time. The performance initiatives would ensure that the leadership is behaving in accordance with the transactional leadership strategy and that the leadership is performing their role as leaders to a satisfactory level. After the intervention strategies are implemented, it is vital that the results of the intervention can be measured effectively to ascertain the success of the strategy. For this reason, the recommended performance initiatives are one of measurement as it is vital to ensure that the leaders are being held accountable for implementing the transactional leadership style and that leadership satisfaction levels increase over time.

Performance appraisals would be the first recommended performance initiative as they are well suited for the purpose of measuring and documenting employee performance (Schraeder & Jordan, 2011). While the yearly 360-degree feedback system is in itself a form of performance appraisal, it would be advisable to utilize a performance appraisal which could be conducted more often and involve less work for the employees, especially during the first year of the new leadership style. Instead, a rating survey should be created with questions derived from the Minnesota Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (Weiss, Dawis, England, & Lofquist, 1967). The questions should draw inspiration from the MSQ, but it should be shortened and only involve questions related to job and leadership satisfaction with one open ended question that asks employees if there is anything else that they would like to share about the leadership. This developed questionnaire should be given to all employees prior to the leadership transition in order to provide a base line for a before and after comparison.

While such a performance appraisal will serve as a method of measuring the levels of leadership satisfaction among the employees, it will also assist in ensuring that leadership is held accountable. Further, it has been found that providing employees with feedback can have a positive impact on performance in regards to organizational outcomes like improved work performance, increased job satisfaction, and greater job involvement (DeNisi & Murphy, 2017; Pettijohn, Pettijohn, Taylor, & Keillor, 2001). This in turn will help ensure managers are accountable for being a "good" manager and performing their role in transitioning to a solely transactional leadership style and working to improve leadership satisfaction among the employees.

A second performance initiative could be utilized in conjecture with the performance appraisal in order to further motivate managers to perform their roles during the transition to transactional leadership and to want to make the new leadership style effective in improving leadership satisfaction among employees. This initiative is known as rewards and recognition as this initiative makes use of rewards to positively influence employee behavior and performance (Schraeder & Jordan, 2011). Leadership that scores a set score or higher on their performance appraisals could be given a monetary or non-monetary reward to serve as a motivator for acting as a good manager.

Training Initiatives

In order to address the organizational issue of leadership dissatisfaction, certain training initiatives should be implemented to work on raising the level of leadership satisfaction levels. There are a few different training initiatives, which could be utilized to assist the leadership in raising leadership satisfaction levels, but there might be factors that could make certain initiatives more or less favorable such as cost, location, and/or time. For this reason, there should be three different training initiatives to allow for the flexibility of choice. The three training initiatives that could be utilized are: simu-real workshop intervention, small group workshops, or a multi-day learning course.

Simu-Real Workshop

The simu-real workshop intervention is a training initiative that results in organizational members working on real problems in simulated settings that has the members not only learning how the organization is approaching tasks, but also to determine needed changes (Austin & Bartunek, 2006). The simu-real workshop intervention is effective, in that the focus is not just on analysis sessions, but also action periods which follow such sessions (Klein, 1992). The combination of analysis sessions and action periods assist in the exploration of differences, the solving of complex problems, redesign, creation of goals, and engagement in future planning (Klein, 1992). Additionally, this particular intervention involves people who might not typically witness the steps in the decision making process; with this intervention these people also become involved in the process to identify issues and create possible improvements (Jemstone Consultancy Ltd, 2014).

The simu-real workshop intervention training initiative would call for the Wal-Mart employees to work on real problems in simulated workshop settings in order to allow them to not only learn how the organization is approaching the task, but also to determine needed changes (Austin & Bartunek, 2006). The simu-real workshop would be well suited for helping the leadership to become used to working with the transactional leadership style and help the individual leaders to come up with new and improved ways for handling problems. The simu-real workshop would help empower the employees to work together on tasks and issues while also becoming more aware of and skilled in dealing with the new organizational dynamics (Klein, 1992). The simu-real workshop intervention would be effective in that the focus would not be just on analysis sessions, but also action periods which follow such sessions (Klein, 1992). This would allow for the employees to get experience with the transactional leadership style and practice using it in regards to issues that they will likely face in their current positions.

Small Group Workshops

A small group workshop is a type of training imitative utilized to with the goal of honing professional skills, learning new skills, and learning about new developments in the field (University of Kansas, 2020). Small group training workshops differ from training courses in that they use interactive learning methods, which require active participation rather than the passive attention required by lectures or presentations (University of Kansas, 2020). Small group workshops have the benefit of smaller numbers, which contributes to their cost-efficiency in regards to both environment and materials needed (Howey, 2017). Additionally, unlike seminars small group workshops allow for a more comfortable informal atmosphere that encourages the formation of personal relationships and a willingness to share questions and concerns (Howey, 2017).

The use of small group workshops on leadership satisfaction would allow for those in leadership positions to receive training on how to become better leaders while not taking too many employees away from their jobs at a time. It would also allow for the gathering of information about the changes from the employees in an organized manner (Gravina & Austin, 2018). The small group design would allow each person to receive some individualized personal attention and the chance to be heard (University of Kansas, 2020). The environment that is cultivated in a small group workshop would assist in making those involved comfortable to voice their thoughts and feelings without feeling judged. This would help the participants to feel more relaxed when asking questions and getting advice during the training, which in turn would help them when they return to their jobs to increase the levels of leadership satisfaction among their co-workers.

Multi-Day Learning Course

A multi-day learning course differs from other training initiatives in that it takes place over the course of multiple days. It has been found that people adapt faster when they have previously been exposed to the same stimulus (Ruitenberg et al., 2018). The use of a multi-day learning course assists in promoting the changes in motor representations after adaptation causing the learned information and behaviors to better outlast the training session (Ruitenberg et al., 2018). Ideally, such a course would take place over at least four days as it has been found that people exhibit reliable savings of adaptation after four training courses which means that those who participate in a multi-learning, that are at least four days long, are better able to engage cognitive processes (Ruitenberg et al., 2018).

The use of a multi-day learning course would be effective in training the Wal-Mart employees in not just leadership satisfaction improvement and transactional leadership approaches, but also in feedback delivery communication and/or training focused on areas that the leaders have been struggling. For this reason, the training program should be designed by consultants who are considered experts in their field to ensure that they have the knowledge and experienced needed to develop an efficient training design for the company’s goals (Gallos, 2006). The program should include a feedback report compiled for each participant based on feedback from their co-workers to provide the motivation and specific focus each participant needs to improve their leadership skills and performance (SHRM, 2021). The rest of the program could spend anywhere from half a day to a full day focusing on a different training topics as long as the different sessions account for multiple learning styles so that all participants have an efficient learning experience (Gallos, 2006).

Best Practices

Regardless of which training initiative is selected there are three best practices, which needs to be utilized in the initiative to ensure effectiveness and efficiency. These three practices are: having a clear sense of purpose, using a 360 degree feedback system that is personalized for the training, and accounting for the different learning methods. The most important practice is to have a clear sense of purpose to ensure that the training initiative has a clear mission, goal, purpose, or task, for which the initiative exists to ensure that those being taught know why the training exists and the end goal of the training (Gallos,2006). The second most important practice is accounting for the different learning methods in the training initiatives as it has been found that people have different learning styles from which they are able to learn from better (Gallos,2006). The third most important practice is that of a personalized 360-degree training feedback system as it has been observed that the better-designed training initiatives typically make use of more comprehensive forms of feedback, which are based upon input provided by colleagues (Gallos, 2006).

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