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Conference to examine success, criticism of Wal-Mart corporation

Author: Arts and Letters


A conference titled “Thriving in a Wal-Mart World” will take place from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. Oct. 29 (Saturday) in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Although Wal-Mart, with nearly $1 trillion in sales worldwide, is recognized each year as one of Fortune magazine’s “most admired” companies, it also is the most-frequently sued corporation in America. The conference will use Wal-Mart as a case study to focus on the major issues surrounding the company’s successes and criticisms, and will provide a forum to discuss the tension people face in reconciling their roles as consumers, workers, business people and responsible citizens.

Three sessions, which will focus on business, labor and community as they relate to Wal-Mart, are as follows:

10 a.m. — Susan Soisson of the Mendoza College of Business will present the Wal-Mart business model during the first session, which will highlight the corporation’s efficiency, innovations and sustainability.

11:15 a.m. — Steven Ashby, who teaches a course titled “Wal-Mart” in the Division of Labor Studies at Indiana University, will offer insight on the company’s labor policies and the impact they have on domestic and international labor markets.

2:30p.m. — Providing analysis of the impact Wal-Mart has on communities, Kenneth Stone, professor of economics at Iowa State University, will discuss the effects the company has on local labor markets, tax revenues and small businesses. The author of “Competing with the Retail Giants,” Stone also published the first report on Wal-Mart’s impact on local retail in 1988.

The conference will conclude with a roundtable composed of members of the local business community, politicians, labor union representatives and academicians. Brief presentations by select panelists, including Mayor Steven Luecke of South Bend and Charles Craypo, emeritus professor of economics at Notre Dame, will be followed by discussion.

In conjunction with the conference, the film “Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town,” will be shown at 4:30p.m. Oct. 24 (Monday) in the Hesburgh Center auditorium. The film, which chronicles the debate of neighbors in a small Virginia town about the American dream, is part of the Higgins Center Labor Film Series.

Both the conference and film are open to the public. The conference is sponsored by the University’s Department of Economics and Policy Studies and Student International Business Council.

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on October 17, 2005.