Target first began operating in 1962. By 2016, Target was the second biggest discount chain store in the United States. In 2011, Target expanded to Canada, but in 2016 Target closed its locations in Canada due to poor performance. Target currently operates only inside the US and continues to seek to differentiate itself from its main competitor, Wal-Mart.
Target has a reputation for being an LGBT-friendly company, winning multiple awards and positive ratings from LGBT groups. In 2010, however, the company donated to MN [Minnesota] Forward. The political candidate who gained most of the money raised by MN Forward was Tom Emmer. It was later found that Emmer had donated money to a ministry that promoted violence towards members of the LGBT community. Many LGBT activists believed Target’s actions to be an endorsement of anti-LGBT rhetoric. Target was boycotted by LGBT groups that sought to bring attention to LGBT issues and corporate intervention in politics. Target lost some of its reputation for LGBT community support and had to work hard to regain its reputation over the next several years.
In 2016, North Carolina passed a bill (HB 2) that nullified any city ordinance allowing a person to use a restroom based on their gender identity rather than sex assigned at birth. The bill required individuals using public restrooms on state property to use restrooms corresponding to the sex printed on their birth certificate. This bill did not affect a private business’s ability to make restroom policies of its own. Some companies threatened to leave the state in response to the law since it could cause legal issues for their employees, and these companies did not want to contribute financially to discriminatory practices. Target did not threaten to leave the state. There were 49 Target stores in North Carolina at that time.
Instead, as a response to HB 2, executives at Target posted a memo on the company’s blog reaffirming their restroom policy, which permits transgender individuals to use the facilities that best align with their gender identity. Other companies, such as Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, affirmed similar policies. A conservative group, the American Family Association (AFA), took note of this policy and began a boycott of Target, demanding restrictions on bathroom usage for transgender individuals. Target stores in the South did see some decline in patronage by customers, so this boycott was problematic, but Target could not simply retract the memo published on its blog without risking its reputation as it had in 2010.
Brian Cornell, Target’s CEO, regarded the posting of the memo as an unnecessary risk to a company whose sales had not yet rebounded from the recession in 2007. The memo had been developed by Target’s risk committee and sent to the company’s Chief Risk Officer and Chief External Engagement Officer for approval. However, Cornell had not seen the memo until after it was published. Therefore, the publication of the document blind-sided and frustrated the CEO, not because of its content, but because it dragged Target into a political argument the company could ill afford at that time due to its weak financial standing.
Prompt: You are one of the business analysts for Target Corporation, and Brian Cornell has asked you to analyze the case recommending a policy for Target that will not alienate both communities; your recommendation should also include steps to improve the process for vetting (reviewing) statements on politically charged issues before they are publicized to avoid similar problems in the future. Do not use 1st or 2nd person and remember to use all necessary parts of Case Analysis.
Assessment: All submissions will be evaluated using the CLASS Rubric, graded on a 100-point scale. This assignment is worth 10% of your overall grade.
Format the document using 1” margins, proper font style and size.
Submission should be one page, typed and submitted on a Word document.
Do not plagiarize the case language.
Use appropriate tone and strategies.
Include all parts necessary for a case analysis.
Your case submission is due at end of the 75-minute timed exam. There are no extensions.
Do not use notes, books, internet, phone, or any other outside help on this assignment. Doing so will result in a zero on this assignment and possible other penalties
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