Management Reconnaissance: Target Stores

This management reconnaissance exercise was designed to determine whether there was good management or bad management at a . The local Target store was chosen as the store to be examined for this exercise because it was convenient to the researcher’s location and large enough to be able to easily study different levels of management.

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The purpose of a management reconnaissance mission such as this one is to determine whether the management at the selected store is doing the job that it is designed for, or whether it is lacking in areas that are obvious to observers and could be detrimental to the store in terms of lost customers or lost profits. For many reasons, this type of information is very important to the managers of both large and small stores, because they must be able to keep up with how customers are being treated and how middle managers are functioning when it comes to quality control, pricing, keeping items in stock, and many other issues.

Description of the Reconnaissance Site

The reconnaissance site is the local Target store. Other local stores could have been used, but this one was chosen because it is in an area of town that is both convenient to the researcher and highly populated. Due to this, there is a great deal of pedestrian traffic in and out of the store and many opportunities for interaction between management and customers, which is what the researcher seeks to observe. The store is large and brightly lit, making shopping more comfortable for most customers, and helping them to find what they need throughout the aisles. Managers and other workers are also clearly visible so that they can help customers that cannot find certain items or that have questions about merchandise or prices.

Goals of the Reconnaissance

The main goal of the reconnaissance is to determine how well the management interacts with customers and with workers as well. While the customers are highly important to the business, it is also very important to treat workers well. Workers that are mistreated will not often remain with the company, and a shortage of workers means problems waiting on customers, which will have a negative impact on customer happiness and . While most managers focus on the customer, they forget that their employees need to be treated well, and many of those same employees shop there, which means that they are also customers when they are not at work. By studying interactions between management and any others that they come in contact with, the researcher is able to determine where the problems, if any, lie, and therefore is able to make suggestions that would indicate what management needs to do in order to improve their management skills and the treatment of others, thus raising the satisfaction level of both customers and employees and as well.

Observation Details

This particular observation took place on a Saturday in the late morning, because this was a time when the store was generally crowded, and it therefore gave a good indication of how management would treat others – especially under times of higher stress and business volume, which would be the most logical time for management to treat people badly due to stressful situations and a loss of patience. The researcher, therefore, was expecting this to some degree and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of it.

The most obvious example of this was the store’s assistant manager, who happened to be talking to an associate behind the customer service counter about an unrelated matter when a woman approached with an obvious complaint. Not only did the associate and the assistant manager work together with the woman to right the wrong she believed had been done to her, but they were both helpful and courteous. The assistant manager even walked the woman to the door when their business was concluded and wished her a good day before returning to his post. The researcher expected to see the assistant manager complain to others about her after she was gone, but this did not appear to be the case. It could have happened later, but it did not happen while the researcher was observing the assistant manager. Although the research did see several areas where management techniques were not the best, the treatment of that customer by the assistant manager sticks out in the researcher’s mind as the most important example of what was seen during that observation time.

Management Principals Found

The idea of using basic management principles appears to be strong at Target. While the store looks to the future and works at being innovative as well, it also ensures that the management pays attention to what many would call ‘old fashioned values.’ The most important of these values being to treat others in the way that one would like to be treated. It seems so simple, yet many people have trouble doing it with any kind of seriousness or consistency, which is unfortunate for others that can treat people well and would like to see that in return. In addition to treating others appropriately, managers also delegated tasks, were respectful to employees, did their share of the work, and pitched in to help when necessary, which many managers today unfortunately seem to feel is ‘not in their job description.’

The Need for Improved Management Techniques

Because of what the researcher observed, it seems safe to say that the need for improved management techniques is not that strong at Target. There were a few problems with middle managers or section managers that did not seem as though they knew as much as they should or that were not as quick to help customers and associates as it seems as though they should have been, but this was the exception rather than the rule during the period of time that the researcher spent observing the store and the workers. This issue seems more related to the need for some stronger employees as opposed to the need for a change in the techniques that are used by the managers.

Promotional or Advertising Material

The main promotional or advertising material of the store is the flier that comes in the Sunday paper. This flier is also readily available in the store, on a of the front door. It is created by the home office, and applies to all Target stores throughout the country. The most important ‘advertisement,’ however, was not that circular, but the large poster behind the customer service desk with the names and phone numbers of management that could be contacted by customers for complaints and problems. This showed a true concern for others and a desire for a good experience for all that shop at the store.

Summary of the Reconnaissance

In sum, the reconnaissance of the Target store was a very positive experience and one that left the researcher feeling as though some stores really do care about their employees and customer beyond what they are required to do to keep their jobs. This is something that is seen all too often today, and the fact that it is still seen at Target bodes well for the future of that company.

Suggested Improvements

The only suggested improvements that the researcher could make would be that the section or department managers overall be more knowledgeable of their products and more willing to help customers and employees alike with whatever they need.