Organizational Ecosystem Case Study, management assignment help

Save your time - order a paper!

Get your paper written from scratch within the tight deadline. Our service is a reliable solution to all your troubles. Place an order on any task and we will take care of it. You won’t have to worry about the quality and deadlines

Order Paper Now

of Phoenix Material

Ecosystem Case Study

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is a leading company in its
industry and a widely recognized name, both domestically and internationally.
Additionally, Wal-Mart has taken steps to ensure the success of not only its
company but also their business ecosystem.

Wal-Mart Stores, established in 1969, is the
largest retail company in the world, with over 4,000 stores in 12 countries.
Wal-Mart has three types of retail stores: discount stores, supercenters, and
neighborhood markets, as well as Sam’s Club warehouse stores. Between the
various types of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. offers
merchandise and services that range for grocery goods and household supplies to
tire and lube service, clothing, and vision centers. Additionally, Wal-Mart has
an online music store, a private label cosmetics brand, and pre-paid debit
cards for low-income US
customers. Some of the company’s private-label brands are Sam’s Choice, Equate,
No Boundaries, Mainstays, and Parent’s Choice. Wal-Mart also stocks several
licensed brands, including General Electric, Disney, McDonalds, and Mary-Kate
and Ashley. For the fiscal year ending in January 2008, Wal-Mart reported over $375
billion in revenue (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Company Profile, 2008).

Wal-Mart has dominated its market, in part, due
to the way it approached its business ecosystem (Iansiti & Levien, 2004).
There are many examples of Wal-Mart’s ecosystem approach, including their
procurement system and their recent focus on more specialized stores.

Keeping its ecosystem in mind, Wal-Mart has built
a procurement system that not only enhances its performance, but the
performance and operation of businesses within its ecosystem. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. requires that all of its suppliers operate the RetailLink®
system (Requirements, 2008). RetailLink® is a one-of-a-kind system
that allows suppliers to receive real-time data regarding their product in
individual stores. Such real-time data allows suppliers to effectively plan for
and execute distribution, while also personalizing their product supply by
store. According to Iansiti & Levien (2004), “Wal-Mart’s procurement system
offers it’s suppliers invalueable real-time information on customer demand and
preferences, while providing the retailer with a significant cost advantage
over its competitiors” (p. 69).

Stankevich (2002) noted the success of Wal-Mart’s
system in terms of micromarketing and efficiency. Jon Ragsdale, vice president of
marketing at Dickies, discussed with Stankevich the way RetailLink®
brought to light the differences in demand for different sizes and colors of
products in different markets. Ragsdale noted, “Before RetailLink®, we were using pretty
much a cookie cutter approach to stores” (para. 10).

In recent years, Wal-Mart has begun to take a
more specialized approach by offering different goods and adjusting the layout
of the stores based on location demographics. Once a one shop fits all store, Wal-Mart now has several stores that cater
to the needs of a specific location. One store in Plano, TX
has been adapted to appeal to the higher number of affluent customers in that
area. The store now offers consumer-electronic specialists, that are more
versed in the specifics of electronics than a typical sales associate. Also,
that particular store adapted the sporting goods section to have more of a
child focus, based on the notion that more affluent individuals purchase their
sporting goods from country clubs (Zimmerman, 2006).

In terms of
competition, Wal-Mart plays an interesting role. While the most obvious
conclusion is that Wal-Mart is the biggest competition for small businesses and
retailers, it is apparent that their approach to a business ecosystem is also
positive for small business owners. “For small manufacturers and small consumer-goods
companies, Wal-Mart is the customer they pray for and the one that can propel
their company into big-time sales. Wal-Mart is the ‘elephant’ they dream of
bagging” (Campbell,
2005, para. 5).


After reading the case study on Wal-Mart, use the
case study and information from your weekly readings to answer the following
questions in 200 to 300 words each.

What is a business ecosystem? Do all businesses function within an
ecosystem? Why or why not?

What potential role does the ecosystem play in Wal-Mart’s
innovation efforts? Provide examples.

In terms of innovation and creativity, what are the advantages and
disadvantages of functioning within an ecosystem?


A. (September 19, 2005).
On Wal-Mart, small businesses and business ecosystems. Small Business Trends. Retrieved June 13, 2008 from

Iansiti, M. and Levien, R. (March 2004).
Strategy as ecology. Harvard Business
. 82(3). 68-78. Retrieved on June 13, 2008 from Ebscohost database.

Requirements. (2008). Wal-Mart. Retrieved on June 16, 2008

Stankevich, D. (March
1, 2002). Sizing
the market:
Wal-Mart masters the micromarketing of clothing. Velocity Company. Retrieved on June 16,
2008 from

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Company Profile. (May
2008). Datamonitor Business
Information Center
Retrieved on May 30 from Marketline
Business Information

Zimmerman, A. (2006, September
7). Thinking local: To boost sales, Wal-Mart drops
one-size-fits-all approach. The Wall
Street Journal
. p. A1.
Retrieved on June 13, 2008 from
ProQuest database.