Starbuck Incident Case Analysis - Free Paper Sample

Published: 2024-01-20
Starbuck Incident Case Analysis - Free Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Society Starbucks
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1286 words
11 min read


An incident occurred on Thursday 12, April 2018, at a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia involving two African-American men named Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson. The two men walked into the store and sat down to wait for a real estate investor with whom they had planned a business meeting. Earlier, Rashon and Donte had enquired from a store worker whether to use the restroom but were informed that it was only allowed for paying clients. Regardless, Rashon and his colleague settled at a table without making any buying. The act was associated with similar incidences at other franchise locations. After several minutes, the Starbucks supervisor phoned the police after the two men who apparently had refused to vacate the premises. The following incidents were recorded in a video circulated across various social platforms, such as twittTwitterre it was viewed more than eight million times. Details from the authorities regarding the case received a lot of criticism online, which triggered an investigation. The video circulating online entailed the awaited real estate investor inquiring whether the police were called on the basis of his friends’ race. However, the clip also shows a four-minute conversation between the police and the two men before their white colleague arrived.

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Ethical Issues from the Case

Ethical issues are involved when a given scenario, decision, or activity occurs that is questionable based on society’s moral code. In business, ethics is regarded as the study of just and unjust, evil and good, and right and wrong actions. Various ethical issues arose in relation to the Starbucks incident involving two African-American males. The incident was associated with racial discrimination by the majority of people who came across the viral clip. The Starbucks manager who was responsible for calling the police on the two men was criticized for discrimination based on color. In addition, from a legal perspective, offering products for sale is an indication of an invite for a business transaction, which entails display and market, all of which require the presence of interested parties. However, store owners are allowed to deny people entry if they are suspected shoplifters or troublemakers. The major reason that the Starbucks manager act is unjustifiable is associated with the majority’s opinion that such an occurrence would have been different if it involved white individuals.

Another ethical issue that was evident during Starbuck’s incident involves the police officers’ code of conduct. The public questioned why Rashon and Donte were arrested regardless of confirmation from the real estate investor that they were there for a meeting with him. However, the police Commissioner justified the actions of his officers on the scene. According to Commissioner Ross, the officers adhered to the policy, which allowed them to make an arrest of individuals who disobeyed their warnings. However, there was no explanation from the police why the two African-Americans were being asked to leave, whereas Starbucks has had no companywide policy of asking people to vacate for idle sitting.

Stakeholder Analysis

Starbucks Coffee Company incorporates various parties that meet the inclusion criteria based on different aspects of the business enterprise. Concerning the incident involving two African-American men, several stakeholders were affected including the employees, investors, customers, trade associations, and the governments. These stakeholders are vital to the growth and sustenance of the company in question of racial discrimination. Based on these parties’ stakeholder power, they are an essential part of Starbucks ’ daily operations.

The customers and investors are associated with the economic power of the coffee company. An incident concerning racial discrimination can influence their decisions and opinions by making them second-guess their support for the organization. A bigger percentage of the organization’s customer base was involved in online discussions concerning the viral video of Nelson and Robinson’s arrest. The occurrence can trigger reactions that result in less support for their product, which in turn scares investors involved with the business operation in question.

The governments that involve both independent and state-dependent public communities, such as religious parties and taxpayers, hold political power over Starbucks. These parties can all get involved in legislative processes regarding the issues of racial discrimination and police misconduct that arose during the occurrence. Laws can be imposed through voters and state governments that might result in lawsuits against the Company.

With respect to the incident in question, the victims, who include the two African-American men, and Private organizations such as NGOs have the capability to take legal action concerning the incident in question. In addition, the witnesses, such as the individual who took the video, among others, are also viable to take legal action regarding the matter or be involved in the legal process as witnesses.

All the shareholders involved hold voting power over the incident in question. The aspect is based on the ability of these parties to cast a vote regarding the issue of racial discrimination. The employees have the right to advocate for laws affecting their working environment, especially concerning safety and other laws that affect them considering their manager’s situation. All the other parties have the freedom to vote against policies that affect their society.

Stakeholders Involved in Solving the Issue

Outrage regarding the occurrence spread rapidly across media platforms, triggering reactions from various stakeholders. The public community led by Philadelphia activist Asa Khalif led protests demanding justice, which involved laying off the responsible manager. However, faith leaders and other representatives led by a community group (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild) held a meeting in-store, focusing on the protestors’ incidents and grievances. Through their CEO Kevin Jonson, Starbucks’s management responded to the matter where he owned the mistake and apologized to the victims. The Government also addressed the issue through Philadelphia’s Mayor Kenney through a request for policy revision concerning discrimination as there were other discriminatory cases allegedly associated with the company.

Ethical Theories and Principles

The government applied the categorical imperative ethical approach through Mayor Kenny based on their store’s racial discrimination allegation. The principle involves making a universal law regarding the issue in question. The mayor asked Starbucks Company to revise their policies to ensure they align with the policies of other retail establishments that require equal treatment for every person. In addition, the rights ethic principle was applicable in response to the incident. According to Starbucks’s CEO, 8000 stores would be closed across the U.S. on May 29 for all employees to receive racial-bias education. The principle states that all individuals have entitlements and protections that others have an obligation to respect.

Plan for Action

It is recommended that Starbuck coffee company revise its policies to incorporate those addressing the issue of discrimination across their stores. Such policies that address issues that influence their consumers’ daily activities and well-being should be put on public display to help avoid similar occurrences. It is also essential that the mayor emphasizes matters concerning discrimination both from the public and the police department. The company should install more serious consequences for employees involved with racial discrimination across their stores.


After analyzing the incident case of racial discrimination allegations on a Philadelphia-based Starbucks store, various topics were addressed including identification of ethical issues, stakeholders’ stock power, stakeholders involved in solving the problem, and recommended an action plan. It is ideal to affirm that there are clear indications of racial discrimination based on the occurrence. However, it is essential and promising that the CEO took responsibility for the mistake and focused on solving it and preventing similar situations. There is a need for the implementation of strict policies that discourage discrimination and enhance equal treatment for every person.

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