'An authoritative report by the University of Bremen highlighted the problems caused by the blinkered attitude of Walmart's US managers that they refer to as 'hubris and clash of cultures'. Walmart's American senior executives who were assigned to manage the operation in Germany had little or no knowledge of German business culture, refused to learn German and ignored the advice of the German senior managers they had taken on board as part of their acquisition process.
Walmart quickly lost large numbers of their German store managers and supervisory staff who took jobs elsewhere because they were unhappy with the American company's management style. These key staff cited low wages and alleged poor quality produce as their primary reasons for leaving. Managers were also unhappy with the US practice of moving managers on to another store every year or two.
The approach by which Walmart had achieved success in the United States and elsewhere did not fit in with the culture of Germany. Industry and commerce in Germany, like much of continental Europe, is highly-unionised. German trades unions exercise enormous power both in the workplace and in the political sphere. However, Walmart, in common with many American companies, is a strictly non-union employer.
When faced with mounting employee costs in Germany Walmart's answer, as it would be in the US, was to start laying-off staff. However, they were taken by surprise by the heavy cost of making employees redundant in the highly-regulated German economy and their financial difficulties were exacerbated.