The Battle of the Discount Retailer

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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. T... ... middle of paper ... ...ilt to Last: successful Habits of Visionary Companies. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. New York. Heller, L. (2001). Discount Contribution Keeps Expansion on Target. DSN Retailing Today. V 40 i23, p. 20. Johns-Treat, C. V. (1994). More than ever, companies need visionary leaders and highly motivated workers. The Business Journal, V11 n40, p 19. City Business/USA Inc. Lafemina, L. (1995). Visionary companies are us. LI Business News, V2 n4 p 24. Long Island Commercial Review Inc. Lisanti, T. (1990). Ulrich: Target’s strong silent leader. Discount Store, V29 n18, p 105. Lebhar-Friedman Inc. Mayer, M. L. (1989). 1949-1989: retail reflections. Journal of Retailing, V65 n3, p 396. JAI press, Inc. MMR. (2001). The Torch Is Passed at Wal-Mart as Scott Succeeds Glass as CEO. MMR. V18 iL p.4. Racher Press, Inc. Qualls, R. L., Sheppard, S., Walton, S. (1986). Entrepreneurial Wit and Wisdom. Conway: University-of-Central Arkansas press. Walton, S., Huey, J. (1993). Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story. Bantam Books.

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