The Julie Roehm Saga at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB108 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Organizational Culture/Hiring/Firing/Employee misconduct/ disciplinary action/office politics/change management/managerial ethics/ business ethics/ employee monitoring/employee surveillance
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 2006-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Hindustan Unilever Ltd; Axis Bank; Vodafone Plc.
Industry : Retail
Countries : USA


This case is about the high profile firing of Julie Roehm (Roehm) from the world's largest retail chain Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Wal-Mart) and the ugly aftermath that saw both the parties engage in legal (as well as public) battle.

Roehm was a highflier in the automotive industry who had earned a name for herself due to her edgy advertising tactics. In early 2006, she was hired by Wal-Mart in the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Marketing Communication. This was viewed by some analysts as the retail giant's move to shake up its marketing department. However, in late2006, Roehm was fired from the company amidst rumors of her violating Wal-Mart's ethics and gratuity policy.

Shortly afterwards, Roehm filed a civil suit against Wal-Mart for unlawfully terminating her employment, infringing compensation agreements, and for slandering her in the press. In reply Wal-Mart accused her of violating its employment policies. The public battle between Roehm and Wal-Mart became murkier by the day with Roehm accusing Wal-Mart's top brass including the CEO of violating its ethics code.

Analysts felt that this episode brought to the fore various issues which could provide vital learning on organization culture, organizational change, office politics, organizational communication, managerial ethics, employee misconduct, employee surveillance, etc.


Understand important concepts related to organizational culture, organizational change, organizational communication, etc., from the employee's as well as employer's perspective.

Understand key concepts in managerial ethics (types of managers, factors effecting ethical behavior, etc.) and also explore ways in which an organization can deal with employee misconduct.

Explore ways in which an organization can ensure that the employees comply with the ethics code; also, discuss and debate the controversial issues such as employee monitoring and employee surveillance both from the business as well as ethical perspective.


  Page No.
Burying the Hatchet 1
Background Note 2
Changes at Wal-Mart? 3
Roehm & Her Work 3
Life at Wal-Mart 4
Wal-Mart Fires Roehm 5
Wal-Mart's Counterclaim 7
Roehm's Response 8
Roehm Blinks First 9
Discussion 9
Exhibits 12

Key Words:

organizational change, office politics, organizational communication, managerial ethics, employee misconduct, employee surveillance, ethics, organization culture, corporate culture, cultural misfit, employment policies, change agent, teamwork, legal, Julie Roehm, retail, Wal-Mart

Burying The Hatchet - Next Page>>


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