Wal-Mart Bribery Case in Mexico
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Cultural values are respected in the business world. The article “Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed up by Wal-Mart after Top-Level Struggle” deals with the event of corruption among top executives. David Barstow wrote about Wal-Mart incident in Mexico.
Although there are many articles about corruption today, this is a unique one that covers crime. It is divided into some paragraphs, showing different aspects of the case and demonstrating critical thinking.
Wal-Mart de Mexico was a successful company, observed by investors as a model for prospective growth. Unfortunately, bribery tarnished its reputation. It was not a first sign of corruption at Wal-Mart; therefore, it was noted as an extremely serious incident.
The article reveals how the company often gave bribes to government officials to obtain permits that were needed for opening of new stores. Senior executives were involved in the bribery, and when the inquiry started, they tried to hide it. The cover-up was made by the top management of the parent company. David Barstow of The New York Times truthfully describes this unbelievable cover-up and every step of the firm aimed to obstruct the investigation. His reporting is astounding, and every part of it reads absorbingly.
The examination of The Times exposed a protracted struggle at the highest levels of Wal-Mart. These efforts rutted promulgated obligations to the highest ethical and moral standards of the company against its enlargement.
A former executive, Sergio Cicero Zapata, stands at the center of this scandal. In fact, he directed most of the transactions between stores and the company. Hence, he is supposed to be the main organizer for bribes. It is a shocking fact what senior management did when the bribery was disclosed. Instead of protecting and saving company’s reputation, they chose to work according to the plan and stop the internal investigation. They thought it would be better to “kill” the investigation, but it was a rash action.
Only after press critics Wal-Mart managers realized that the claims could have destructive consequences in interviews shows and articles. It was a reputational as well as legal harm.
After The Times’s reportage in Mexico, Wal-Mart informed that the firm had made a conclusion from its problem, but the newspaper found that corruption played a significant and persistent role in company’s rapid development in Mexico. Leaders had put “very aggressive growth goals”, and, therefore, executives were under pressure to achieve them (Barstow). Wal-Mart has become the largest private employer in the country. Nevertheless, the company assured that those matters had no material effect on business.
It was recommended by a law firm of Willkie Farr to hold independent investigation, but the leaders of Wal-Mart discarded this approach. However, the company conducted a “full investigation”. It meant great responsibility for controlling the process of investigation lay with the senior executives. The chief executive, Mr. Scott, agreed that Corporate Investigations would regulate all assertions of senior management. As a result, it became a wide-known fact that the company had systematically increased profits by helping VIP customers avoid sales taxes.
The article is worth attention and time spent on its reading. At the end, the major figures of inquiry, in spite of their criminal actions, were not punished, because of “not strong case” and the case was closed (Barstow).
Analyzing the company’s achievements, one can conclude that Wal-Mart provides enormous profits to its shareholders, employment to many people and goods to customers. It is the biggest retailer in the world, but, on the other hand, it pays men more than women, forces employees to work over and above the plan, and has crashed a large number of small retailers. According to the principles of ethics, it is a criminal enterprise. Business operations are running on wrong moral practices there. Thus, it is significant to find out the right solution and secure the market dealings.
To conclude, the company can be a financially progressing but morally bankrupt business. Nevertheless it cannot last forever. Ethical behavior is connected with profit making. Wal-Mart was associated with many scandals, and it undermined its reputation. The described situation shows also that an independent investigation should be in effect in every country for avoiding such incidents and their just solving. One must agree with Maritza I. Munich words that investigation has to be completed including independent and professional investigative capital. A strict anticorruption policy should be adopted, and every employee ought to point out the first sign of bribery.
The corporate management must be strongly disciplined, too. Wal-Mart is going to work hard in order to renew its solid reputation. Leaders have to be very careful on how they deal with all their stakeholders and ensure that they have an excellent reputation.
Actually, basic morality is an essential element of business dealings. Principals at different levels must comply with the ethical and cultural norms. If the company does not solve the problem at the right time, the situation can become vulnerable in the nearest future. Thereafter, the company will gain much more public support and respect.
It is a brutal fact that cultural and ethical differences are present everywhere. No wonder that these disparities vary from country to country and culture to culture, but there is accepted international business ethics. Amenably to its rules, healthy and safe working environment is provided by taking care of personal human rights and following moral ethics.
Mexicans say that their culture tolerates corruption. Bribery cases are a part of the whole business culture, and many companies are involved in it. Hence, it is not a single incident with Wal-Mart Company where bribery is considered a matter of routine. Barstow explains that corruption becomes possible because the country operates in such way. That is why it is necessary to change the whole system – attitudes of top-leaders, employees, consumers, and government officials.