Essay Sample about Starbucks Corporation and Its Organizational Culture

Published: 2022-03-29
Essay Sample about Starbucks Corporation and Its Organizational Culture
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Starbucks Organizational culture Conflict management
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1721 words
15 min read

Starbucks Corporation is a roaster and retailer of specialty coffee, among other beverages and food items. It was founded in 1971 in Seattle Washington. The company has grown and now operates stores in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East, China and the Asia Pacific. Starbucks operated 27,339 stores in 75 countries as of November 2, 2017 (, 2017). Apart from coffee, Starbucks offers products such as tea beverages, juice, fresh food, snacks and bottled water, among other related products. It sells the products under different brand names such as Starbucks, Teavana, Seattle's Best Coffee, Tazo, Frappuccino and Starbucks Refreshers, among other brand names. The company dominates the coffee industry with about 40% of the market share in the US (Statista, 2016). According to (2016), Starbucks controls 75% of the US ready to drink coffee market.

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Starbucks Organizational Culture

According to Ansoff (2016), organizational culture refers to the norms and special values of a group that influences its behavior. The culture of an organization determines the behavior of people and its success in the market (Griffin, Phillips & Gully, 2013). Starbucks success has been attributed to its strong and effective organizational culture. This section analyses the key elements of Starbucks organizational structure that have contributed to its success.

Diversity and Inclusion

Starbucks has a diverse workforce and treats every employee or customer without any discrimination. Since its inception, the company has worked hard to create an inclusive environment across all its stores (, 2018). It employs people from all backgrounds and cultures. Starbucks has eight different partner networks indicating the diverse partner backgrounds (, 2018). The networks include Starbucks Access Alliance Partner Network, Pride Alliance Partner Network, Women's Development Partner Network, China & Asia Pacific Partner Network, Black Partner Network, India Partner Network, among other networks (, 2018). It was honored as the Disability Employer of the Year in 2014 (, 2018). Besides, the company's remuneration packages are not discriminative. It provides healthcare benefits to all its employees, both full-time and part-time.

Environmental Awareness and Community Service

As a company relying on agricultural products for its raw materials, Starbucks takes environmental protection seriously. It is committed to reducing the environmental impact by introducing sustainable business practices. The company introduced reusable cups to reduce the pollution of the environment by cups and other packaging materials (, 2018). It is striving to ensure that 100% of its cups are recycled. Other environmental initiatives include green stores, green energy and mitigating the impact of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (, 2018). It has also established a code of ethical and environmental standards that all its suppliers and employees have to adhere to.

Relationship-Driven Approach

Starbucks has embraced the culture of building and enhancing relationships with employees and customers. It considers employees as partners, and they are involved in certain decisions on matters facing the company. Partners contribute ideas to improve products and services of the company. The relationship approach is key to the warm treatment of employees and customers at the firm's stores. The company also invests heavily in training its employees, (baristas), to enhance their understanding of the product and service standards. One popular technique Starbucks employees are taught the LATTE Method of handling customers' complaints. A barista is trained to listen to the complaints by the employee, acknowledge the client's complaint, take action and solve the problem. The employee should then thank the customer and explain why the problem occurred. This is important in achieving the Starbucks Experience. Employees are trained on how to connect and get deeper with the customers. It also encourages its employees to further education and improve their skills. It reimburses full college tuition to employees under the College Achievement Plan.

The relationship approach to managing employees has enabled employees to create a culture of warmth at Starbucks. The baristas are welcoming and make an effort to connect with the customers. In most cases, baristas not only know customers by name but also by their specific tastes. The personalized approach has enabled it to create a unique experience that every customer wants to enjoy. This culture started with the founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. He considered Starbucks a people business that is offering coffee and not a coffee business. It is enhanced by the five principles communicated to all employees through the Green Apron Book. The principles include being welcoming, genuine, considerate, knowledgeable and involved.

To enhance customer loyalty, Starbucks has maintained the culture of occasionally surprising its customers with gifts, among other surprises. Many businesses always avoid surprising their customers for fear of the possible backlash if they go wrong. However, Starbucks has maintained this culture, and it has been paying off.


Artifacts refer to the physical and visible aspects of an organization culture (Griffin, Phillips & Gully, 2013). Starbuck's design of its stores and cups is a culture that has enhanced the customer experience it is renowned for. This is based on its principle of 'everything matters' where it focuses on all aspects of the business. The design of the firm's stores has differentiated itself from the competition and enabled it to offer great customer experience. The company established an in-house group of architects that design its stores. The team oversees the design of the stores including lighting, artwork, fixtures, furniture, and colors, among other aspects. Starbucks uses different designs to suit various locations.

Starbucks cups and other packaging also help it in branding. The cups are carefully designed to attract customers and are part of the unique experience at the company's stores. It has maintained the tradition of creating unique holiday cups during every Christmas.

Openness and Communication

The company has also developed a strong culture of open communication between partners and executives as well as among the employees. The firm's president introduced forums where employees and managers can discuss and speak up ideas that can improve the firm's operations and products as well as air their issues and concerns. This has been important in enhancing the relationship between employees and superiors. Besides, openness has improved innovation since partners have opportunities to convey their ideas to the management.

Communication is critical to the success of any organization. It is critical in handling conflicts and sharing innovative ideas. Conflicts escalate and last long in businesses with poor communication structures. Communication also helps the company to get feedback from customers regarding the quality of products and services as well as addressing their complaints.

Starbucks' Mission and Vision Statements

According to Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson (2011), vision outlines an organizations' desired future while the mission statement highlights the goals and strategies to achieve them. Vision and mission statements are important in strategic management and influence the organization's culture. They influence the nature of strategies formulated, the implementation as well as evaluation and control of such strategies.

Starbucks' mission is "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time (, 2018)". Nurturing the human spirit highlights Starbucks focus on people, including employees and customers. Starbucks strategy is to create a unique experience for both customers and employees. It has developed a culture of warmth for everyone. It is committed to satisfying the needs of customers by providing the 'Starbucks Experience.' It also denotes its relationship-approach to managing its employees. Starbucks treats its employees as partners and engages them in managerial decisions affecting them. It has invested in training and development to improve employees' skills. Besides, its motivation strategies such as competitive compensation, healthcare benefits and education programs such as the College Achievement Plan, have enabled it to maintain a pool of motivated workforce. It understands that a motivated workforce is essential to creating a culture of warmth and experience for the customers.

One person implies its focus on creating a personalized experience for employees and customers. Starbucks baristas are trained to offer customers a personalized experience by establishing a connection with the customers. They try to know customers by name as well as the products they frequently order. One cup sows its focus on delivering high quality products and creating an impact on every employee or customer. One neighborhood at a time indicates its strategy of gradual expansion. In executing the global expansion strategy, Starbucks carefully evaluates a location before opening a store.

How Starbucks Culture Compare to its Vision

Starbucks culture and vision are related. The company has established and maintained an organizational culture that helps it achieve its mission and strategic goals. Its values of creating a warmth culture where everyone is welcome resonates well with its vision to nurture the human spirit. Its culture of embracing diversity and inclusion, relationship-approach to managing people, openness and communication, among other aspects, help it to achieve the vision of nurturing the human spirit. The culture has improved the motivation and skills of employees thereby enabling them to offer customers a unique experience.

Starbucks' values communicated through its mission statement are the same values indicated by the organization's culture. Thus, the firm has aligned its culture to its vision. Its culture has been instrumental in the global success. With more than 27,000 stores in 75 countries, Starbucks has to a large extent achieved its mission. Aligning the organizational culture with the vision is important. Jack & Robinson (2013) argue that the mission and vision are at the apex of strategic management. The vision leads to strategies, goals, objectives, and activities, which lie on the guiding path. Culture lies on the driving path and creates values, practices, and behaviors. The guiding path and the driving path must be aligned to achieve results (Jack & Robinson, 2013).

Starbucks Conflict Management

Conflict management is a critical aspect of strategic management (Champoux, 2016). Organizations will always have conflicts due to the differing interests of the many groups of stakeholders involved (Champoux, 2016). Effective conflict management ensures smooth organizational operations and enhances motivation. The most common form of conflict is that between employees and the management. The interest of employees and that of shareholders may often conflict.

Despite its substantial global success and strong corporate culture, Starbucks still faces conflict situations that can affect its operations. The company's strong culture of openness and communication have enabled it to resolve employee and customer issues thereby avoiding serious conflicts. It enables employees to share freely their concerns with the management. In 2015, Starbucks received several complaints from employees about long working hours and irregular work schedules. Store managers had restricted budgets and...

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