Target Corporation is a sumptuous discount retailer that has 1,834 stores and 39 distribution centers in the United States. Target also has a global presence with locations in India as well as an online presence with target.com. Target employs over 350,000 people including brick and mortar stores as well as the corporate office ("Corporate Fact Sheet", 2018). Each of those 1,834 stores has one store team leader or store manager. They oversee anywhere from three to twelve executive team leaders or assistant managers in addition to all supporting employees. Target is made up of two separate pyramids; the first is corporate and the second is brick and mortar stores. The corporate pyramid is made up of the CEO Brian Cornell as well as his other chief officers and vice presidents. This pyramid also includes all the buyers, merchandisers, marketing teams, and research and development teams, etc. The second pyramid is the brick and mortar stores which encompasses all employees within a Target store, both salary and hourly as well as distribution centers. On top of this pyramid includes district team leaders as well as regional team leaders. All of the business partners such as human resource business partners act as a liaison between the two pyramids.
The video “What is Organizational Communication?” gives a glimpse into two theories of organizational communication. The first theory is viewing communication as informative and that communication is a separate entity that takes place within an organization. This is a more common thought when we consider organizational communication. The second theory is a constitutive view of communication and that we can view organizations as communication. Both of these theories have a purpose, and both are important, however it is vital to understand both of these concepts to fully grasp organizational communication. Any time information is communicated it is interpreted differently by everyone and of course we all know the saying it isn't what you say, it is how you say it.
Informational communication is the view of simply transmitting information within an organization. The information must be sent to the right people, at the right time or else chaos will break out. This is crucial for daily operations of any organization and effective communication within organizations is fundamental for their survival. As time goes on and we as humans are creating and given more technologically advanced ways of communicating you would think that our communication would only improve. However, it has not, and it has actually worsened, but why is that? It is because communication is not only to simply transmit information, but it has a much more complex notion. This theory can be viewed as a “flat earth view” meaning that with the average humans' day-to-day activities they can get by with the assumption that the earth is flat. However, when it comes to doing larger tasks such as flying around the world, you must acknowledge the earth is indeed an oblate spheroid.
Constitutive communication views communication as “a complex process of continually creating and negotiating meanings and interpretations to shape our lives” (Koschmann et al., 2012). It is the idea that without communication an organization would not exist. Yes, the buildings and material items might be there but the meaning behind the organization wouldn't. Therefore, organizations are the visible manifestations of humanity. When it comes to dealing with more multifaceted issues regarding power, ethnicity, gender, ideology, identity and culture this view of communication is required. This view is that organizations are sites of power, resources and strategies that are grouped into buildings in which we have named organizations (Koschmann et al., 2012).
I know from personal experience working at Target, that the communication flow from the corporate pyramid to the brick and mortar pyramid is slow and often the message is lost in translation. From the video “What is Organizational Communication?” and from our own personal experience we have seen that even though our technological advances in communication has skyrocketed our level of communication has not. In my opinion this is due to the sheer lack of face to face communication. Most communication is sent through email and because we can't hear how it is being said, our mind interprets it however it sees fit and the way we interpret it could change based on our current mood and situation. The next issue is that Target does not need have two separate pyramids, this simply makes communication easier to get misconstrued.
My suggestion to Target is to implement a new pyramid with less levels from top to bottom. The one pyramid will be all inclusive and while yes, it isn't that communication can only stay within the single pyramid, but when there is not a liaison to go between the two, less pertinent information will be lost. While I understand the business is easily split up, it is not helping the business at any rate. In fact, it is harming it by keeping communication within each separate pyramid when it should view the organization as communication. I also believe that adding Skype conferencing instead of emails and phone calls would be extremely beneficial as each person wouldn't have to guess on how to interpret the meaning of every word.
By taking unnecessary levels out of each pyramid and making one big pyramid it will make the corporation run a lot smoother. Having less levels means a smaller chain of command which is helpful in eliminating the telephone effect. The one big pyramid means all information is available, and a liaison couldn't hold or forget to give pertinent information to either. It completely eliminates the need for the liaison all together. By utilizing skype and face-to-face meetings, it allows for less room for error of interpretation and ensures that everyone will be on the same page. I believe this will improve the company culture and leadership leaving both ends happy about these changes. Managers from both pyramids are unhappy with the set up as is, due to the issues that arise when it comes to effectively communicating. By changing this, it will improve morale and make the overall flow of the company easier.
Corporate Fact Sheet. (2018). Retrieved from https://corporate.target.com/press/corporate
Koschmann, M., Ashcraft, K., Deetz, S., Jackson, M., Taylor, B., & Kuhn, T. (2012). What is Organizational Communication? [Video]. Hero Time Productions.
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