walmart-organizational-structure

What is Walmart’s Organizational Structure? The Walmart Organizational Structure In A Nutshell

Walmart has a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure, otherwise referred to as a matrix structure that combines multiple approaches. On the one hand, Walmart follows a hierarchical structure, where the current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior, and directives are sent from top-level management. On the other hand, the function-based structure of Walmart’s business model is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience.

Understanding Walmart’s organizational structure

Walmart has an organizational structure characterized by the presence of a hierarchy and function-based groups. Since the company combines two different organizational structures, it can be said that Walmart utilizes a matrix organizational structure.

This allows Walmart to operate its vast retail presence in the United States and around the world, with approximately 10,500 stores under 46 banners in 24 countries. In fact, many similar multinational companies use this approach to deal with multiple divisions and functional structures at the same time.

In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at Walmart’s organizational structure.

Hierarchical structure

Walmart utilizes the hierarchical structure which means that current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior.

Directives are sent from top-level management to regional managers, district managers, middle managers, store managers, and store team members as required. This allows executives to easily exert their influence on the organization and monitor the impacts of decisions. What’s more, the hierarchical structure allows the company to effectively manage its more than 2.3 million associates.

Walmart has a 12-member Board of Directors with members of the founding Walton family and other individuals. Under the Board of Directors is the Executive Committee comprised of executives in roles such as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. 

On the next level down is Senior Leadership consisting of 39 executives across a diverse range of roles in technology, merchandising, compliance, ethics, health & wellness, and international strategy, to name just a few.

Function-based structure

The function-based structure of Walmart is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience.

For example, function-based groups may include human resources, marketing, customer care, and production. Each group is headed by a manager who liaises with individual store managers to meet company objectives.

Furthermore, different Walmart store formats will be comprised of different departments. The member-only retail warehouse Sam’s Club, for example, will possess some functional groups that are not present in a Walmart Discount Store. Walmart Supercentres that incorporate banks, hairdressers, nail salons, pharmacists, restaurants, and optometrists will also incorporate several departments that are not relevant to a standard Walmart Discount Store.

Key takeaways:

  • Walmart has a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure, otherwise referred to as a matrix structure that combines multiple approaches.
  • Walmart utilizes the hierarchical structure which means that current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior. Directives are sent from top-level management to regional managers, district managers, middle managers, store managers, and store team members when required.
  • The function-based structure of Walmart is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience. Examples include sales, marketing, human resources, customer care, and production.

Read Next: Organizational Structure, Walmart business model.

Read Also: Walmart Business ModelWalmart Mission Statement Analysis, Walmart SWOT AnalysisWho Owns Walmart

Organizational Structure Case Studies

Airbnb Organizational Structure

airbnb-organizational-structure
Airbnb follows a holacracy model, or a sort of flat organizational structure, where teams are organized for projects, to move quickly and iterate fast, thus keeping a lean and flexible approach. Airbnb also moved to a hybrid model where employees can work from anywhere and meet on a quarterly basis to plan ahead, and connect to each other.

eBay Organizational Structure

ebay-organizational-structure
eBay was until recently a multi-divisional (M-form) organization with semi-autonomous units grouped according to the services they provided. Today, eBay has a single division called Marketplace, which includes eBay and its international iterations.

IBM Organizational Structure

ibm-organizational-structure
IBM has an organizational structure characterized by product-based divisions, enabling its strategy to develop innovative and competitive products in multiple markets. IBM is also characterized by function-based segments that support product development and innovation for each product-based division, which include Global Markets, Integrated Supply Chain, Research, Development, and Intellectual Property.

Sony Organizational Structure

sony-organizational-structure
Sony has a matrix organizational structure primarily based on function-based groups and product/business divisions. The structure also incorporates geographical divisions. In 2021, Sony announced the overhauling of its organizational structure, changing its name from Sony Corporation to Sony Group Corporation to better identify itself as the headquarters of the Sony group of companies skewing the company toward product divisions.

Facebook Organizational Structure

facebook-organizational-structure
Facebook is characterized by a multi-faceted matrix organizational structure. The company utilizes a flat organizational structure in combination with corporate function-based teams and product-based or geographic divisions. The flat organization structure is organized around the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, and the key executives around him. On the other hand, the function-based teams based on the main corporate functions (like HR, product management, investor relations, and so on).

Google Organizational Structure

google-organizational-structure
Google (Alphabet) has a cross-functional (team-based) organizational structure known as a matrix structure with some degree of flatness. Over the years, as the company scaled and it became a tech giant, its organizational structure is morphing more into a centralized organization.

Tesla Organizational Structure

tesla-organizational-structure
Tesla is characterized by a functional organizational structure with aspects of a hierarchical structure. Tesla does employ functional centers that cover all business activities, including finance, sales, marketing, technology, engineering, design, and the offices of the CEO and chairperson. Tesla’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, decide the strategic direction of the company, with international operations given little autonomy.

McDonald’s Organizational Structure

mcdonald-organizational-structure
McDonald’s has a divisional organizational structure where each division – based on geographical location – is assigned operational responsibilities and strategic objectives. The main geographical divisions are the US, internationally operated markets, and international developmental licensed markets. And on the other hand, the hierarchical leadership structure is organized around regional and functional divisions.

Walmart Organizational Structure

walmart-organizational-structure
Walmart has a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure, otherwise referred to as a matrix structure that combines multiple approaches. On the one hand, Walmart follows a hierarchical structure, where the current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior, and directives are sent from top-level management. On the other hand, the function-based structure of Walmart is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience.

Microsoft Organizational Structure

microsoft-organizational-structure
Microsoft has a product-type divisional organizational structure based on functions and engineering groups. As the company scaled over time it also became more hierarchical, however still keeping its hybrid approach between functions, engineering groups, and management.

Read Next: Organizational Structure

Read Also: Business Model

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