The Battle Of The Discount Retailer

2870 words - 11 pages

BATTLE OF THE DISCOUNT RETAILER: The Visionary’s Secret Weapon
A Comparative Case Analysis

A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements of

Abstract
The recognized giants in today’s discount retail market are Wal-Mart, Sears, Roebuck and Company, and Target, and this paper compares Wal-Mart and Target. As the competition stiffens to capture market niches, these two organizations are heading for a showdown. This work demonstrates distinctive differences in company culture, promotion within the organization, lofty goal setting, and leadership styles between these two organizations. Although this paper shows a definite competitive advantage for the Wal-Mart organization, it will also demonstrate that Target Corporation has taken some innovative steps to secure itself in the discount retail market.

Battle of the Discount Retailer: The Visionary’s Secret Weapon
     What makes a company great? This is one of those pithy questions--like "What is great art?" or "What is great leadership?" that defy a simple response. Are companies deemed great because they have made buckets of money, or because they have made their employees happy? Are companies great when they make an impact on Wall Street or when they make an impact on the world? As a general rule all-visionary companies jealously preserve strong, and sometimes fanatical, corporate cultures even as companies adapt to rapidly changing times. Visionary companies heavily promote executives from within, constantly set lofty goals, and surprisingly, CEO’s are rarely charismatic. Moreover, visionary companies drive to make an impact on society, not just to make profits. This research project will serve two objectives: first to define what constitutes a visionary company, and then to show a comparison between a visionary company and a non-visionary company.
     To demonstrate the above stated principles this researcher chose two companies. I chose Wal-Mart as my visionary company within the mass-market discount retailing industry. I chose Target Corporation as my comparison company since it serves the same market as Wal-Mart and has been doing business for a similarly long time. Based on the research presented, Wal-Mart has clearly out performed Target in all categories that lead an organization toward visionary status.
The Visionary Organization
     Visionary companies are premier organizations within their industries, highly admired for their accomplishments and their ability to teach other organizations while giving back to their society in general (Lafemina, 1995). They are greater than any one man or idea; they are a living organization that adapts to change and emerges along with its environment. Visionary companies are the survivalists of the industry.
     Little can be said about visionary companies without citing the works of James C. Collins and...

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