Wal-Mart as a company employs several different levels of planning to ensure the completion of the many goals is put into motion each year. After the upper management members have attended the massive planning meetings that Wal-Mart holds in order to put projects in motion, they will relay the messages to the next layer of management. It is this level of management, better known as middle management, which we will concentrate on for this paper as they are the ones who will implement the tactical phase of any plan. An example of this would be the method that Wal-Mart devised to guarantee diversity in the management ranks. After "being sued for allegedly not paying employees for overtime, for alleged gender bias" Wal-Mart decided to start a plan of action to ensure diversity (usa today.

com, 2004). In this plan managers were required to hire the same percentage of minority managers as the percentage that applied for the job (usa today. com, 2004). If these numbers were not met, the bonuses of all managers involved were to be cut significantly. After receiving this message from upper management, it was up to the middle management team to pass it on to the operational managers and check on them to guarantee that changes were being made that would allow the company to reach the goal. By using this tactical level of management, the mid-tier managers were able to direct the lower managers and make a positive step towards accomplishing the objective that was put in front of them.

SWOTT Analysis (Strengths) Low prices, management strategies, and diversity are just some of Wal-Mart's strengths. Wal-Mart is known for being one of the largest retailers that's able to provide a wide range of quality products at a low price. Competitors such as K-Mart are unable to compete with Wal-Mart due to the lack of name brand products. K-Mart is able to provide non-name brand products at a reduced price, but cannot maintain the low prices of the name brand products Wal-Mart provides (Hayden, P. , Lee, S.

, McMahon, K. , & Perera, M. , 2002). SWOTT Analysis (Weaknesses) As a huge organization, Wal-Mart has a weakness in opening an expansion in Germany. The weaknesses in an organization need more development in order to become successful. As Wal-Mart continues to grow and expand into different countries, the diverse management now has to plan for the different regulations for each country.

It is found that the Wal-Mart chain in Germany may have been a huge risk that this organization was willing to take. Germany has labor costs that are unaffordable, which forces consumer shops to close earlier than usual (Fernie & Arnold 2002, p 95). The high cost of employees is the cause of closing early evenings, which will result in a lower profit margin for Wal-Mart. Fernie & Arnold stated, "Under German law, an 'every day low price' (EDLP) item must be sold at the same reduced level for two months to be classified as EDLP" (2002, p 96). This would be reasonable for any organization to gain more sales and consumers, but it also comes with consequences. German consumers are drawn to shopping centers with low priced products.

As each competitor lowered their prices, Wal-Mart continued to lower their own prices. "Wal-Mart has... fallen foul of the regulatory authorities and was fined $308, 000 for selling goods below cost" (Fernie & Arnold 2002, p 97). Wal-Mart may have gained many German consumers because of their continued low prices, but the consequences have cost them millions of dollars in the long run.

The management planning for Wal-Mart is on track in making more money, but the consequences have to be reviewed again because loosing money is not the idea. SWOTT Analysis (Opportunities) Based in a case study, Wal-Mart has an opportunity to continue their growth internationally and continue employment opportunities. Currently, Wal-Mart has stores in numerous locations around the world. According to Walmart facts. com, "the company employs 1. 6 million associates worldwide through more than 3, 600 facilities in the United States and more than 1, 570 units in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, China, Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom.

More than 138 million customers per week visit Wal-Mart stores worldwide." However, expanding into smaller rural areas and smaller countries pose a challenge due to the economic impact that is might have on smaller businesses. SWOTT Analysis (Threats) According to USA TODAY, Wal-Mart, which is the world's largest private employer with over 1. 3 million employees, is still susceptible to threats that today's society imposes. Stephanie Armour, a journalist of USA TODAY writes, "At the pinnacle of its success, the company is fending off critics who say Wal-Mart discriminates against women, underpays workers, and uses illegal tactics to kill unionization efforts." Not only does Wal-Mart face threats imposed from the employee reputation, but it also struggles to remains the world's largest non-union based organization.

With these two threats combined, Wal-Mart's all-American image has a tarnished future. Management will have to implement measures to protect the organization from its own employees. (Armour, 2003) Founded in 1962 as researched in USA Today, Wal-Mart has never been under such blistering attacks where now both money and reputation are at stake as Wal-Mart's own employees have filed roughly 40 lawsuits (Armour, 2003). "Overtime and sexual bias lawsuits could cost the company millions of dollars." , as stated by journalist Stephanie Armour.

In June 2001, a lawsuit filed in San Francisco, CA claiming discrimination against women. This lawsuit allowed claims backdated to December of 1998 that could potentially involve a tremendous number of current and former associates (Armour, 2003). According to USA Today's September, issue of 2003, found at web Wal-Mart has been a defendant to over 25 complaints brought by the National Labor Relations Board, which cites anti-union activities to include threats, interrogations, and / or disciplining? Research has been conduct by labor expert who say unions might be targeting Wal-Mart because they see the company's growth as a threat. While some Wal-Mart employees do not want a union, still others depend on a union to support their debate that benefits are no good, the insurance is too expensive, and women aren't treated equally. SWOTT Analysis (Trends) According to October's 2003 issue of Time & Trends magazine, Wal-Mart became a modern day trendsetter with the rapid expansion and replacement of many traditional discount centers to super centers. "Super-centers index higher on shopping trips among households with kids." , as quoted on web Parents are now able to enjoy the ease of one stop shopping trips with the kids instead of multiple stops throughout town.

Shopper spending amounts increased from those of the traditional discount store. Consumers now conveniently find themselves purchasing food products at the same time with other general purchases. Wal-Mart's super centers bring convenience to consumers by allowing all their shopping to be done at one time in one place. References: Albright, M. (2004, October 6).

St. Petersburg Times: Wal-Mart strategy: Squeeze in more stores. Retrieved Friday, June 24, 2005, from: web Mart strategy Sq. s html. Armour, Stephanie (2003). Wal-Mart takes hits on worker treatment: USA TODAY.

Retrieved on June 15 th, 2005 from: web x. htm Fernie, J. & Arnold, S. Wal-Mart in Europe: Prospects for Germany, the UK, and France. International Journal of Retail & Distribution. Bradford: 2002, Vol 30, Issue 2/3, P 92-103.

Retrieved on June 15, 2005 for Pro Quest. G. M. A. (2003, October). Wal-Mart Update: Supersizing the Supermarket.

Times & Trends. Retrieved on June 15 th, 2005 from: web P. , Lee, S. , McMahon, K. , & Pereira, M.

(2002). Wal-Mart: Staying on Top of the Fortune 500. Retrieved June 16, 2005, from: web (2004). The Associated Press.

Retrieved Wednesday 15, 2005, from: web.