Organization culture has been defined and studied in many and varied ways. Culture is defined as the set of key values, beliefs, understandings, and norms shared by members of an organization (Daft, 2012). The culture of an organization is going to play a big role in the success of the company. No matter how big or how small the company is, maintaining a culture that all employees can live by. Having all employees on board with the company’s mission will pay off a great deal in the long run.
Starbucks is one of the premier coffee shops in the United States and their mission tell consumers what they do to maintain a huge customer base, to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time (www. starbucks. com). This paper will help consumers understand Starbucks’ organizational culture and the key leadership and management traits used to execute the business strategy. When people think coffee, they think Starbucks.
Starbucks has become a hot commodity when it comes to consumers and their coffee. When people go to a Starbucks, they already know what they are getting, specialty coffee, great customer service and a nice cozy place to relax and just kick back. From the CEO on down to the baristas, Starbucks has developed a culture that sets them apart from other coffee shops around the world. Their success can be credited to the customer service. Anyone in a business knows that customer service is very important and can determine the success of a company.
Starbucks thrives on ensuring that the baristas develop positive relationships with all customers. By doing this, customers will start to become loyal to the company. Loyal customers will keep Starbucks competitive in a market that a lot of people seem to be fond of because when people get up in the morning, nothing may be more refreshing then a cup of coffee. The Starbucks organization wants all its customers to feel like they are part of something special when they purchase a cup of Starbucks coffee.
To help strengthen the culture, Starbucks focuses on being active in communities, in addition to their environmental responsibility, business ethics, open door policy, and their concern for the employees, customers, and stockholders, all these things make a strong positive organizational culture (Campbell, 2009). Within the organization, from the Starbucks executives down to the baristas, when it comes to maintaining the positive organizational culture that has been laid out for all employees, Starbucks separates themselves from many other coffee shops.
The Starbucks management team has not based their success off of several things. Within the company the stores offer things that not many restaurants offer, such as Wi-Fi, exotic styles of coffee and a comfortable place to relax and enjoy a hot or cold coffee beverage. These things differ from other coffee spots in the world, so it makes Starbucks very unique. The innovative coffee styles that Starbucks uses attract the traditional coffee fanatic, as well as a new customer base. The styles of coffee will maintain customer loyalty and loyalty is one of Starbucks main focuses.
The dedicated customers consist of business professionals and students. These are the individuals that Starbucks employees will see the most. The environment is made for them as well. For example, business men and women may go to Starbucks for lunch. It is comforting, quiet, and the store gives off a positive vibe. For students, it gives them a chance to indulge in a good beverage as well as take time out of their day to kick back and read a book or even catch up on a few homework assignments, whatever the case may be Starbucks offers an environment that others do not.
To some consumers, having the coffee may just be a bonus; they really enjoy the environment Starbucks offers. According to brand expert Priya Raghubir, “Starbucks stands for coffee; it’s converted that into an experience, “People really have gotten to know Starbucks as the quintessential coffee shop, where they can sit and be welcome over a cup of coffee” (Shayon, 2013). As discussed previously, customer satisfaction is very important to the brand and company. Making customers feel at home by making Starbucks a cozy environment and providing free Wi-Fi keeps customers happy and keeps customers coming back.
The management team coming up with these concepts really puts what they are trying to do as a company in prospective and also gives consumers an idea of what their company culture is. Throughout the company there are different management positions. It is the job of this team to attain organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organizing, leading, and controlling organizational resources (Daft, 2012). Within the Starbucks culture one of the main focuses is the customers.
With that being said a good management competency to have is communication. This is a very important skill to have because at Starbucks employees are constantly dealing with customers. Even at the executive level of management, communication is even more important because these are the individuals that are making the decisions that could affect the entire company as a whole. When those decisions are made they need to get communicated down to the baristas and everyone else in between. Communication fits perfectly within this company’s culture.
Communicating things from the top to bottom tells all the employees what the main purpose of the company is. Communication helps maintain the culture throughout the whole company as well. For an organization like Starbucks were the focus is to keep customers coming back, the employees must communicate with them at a level that employees from other coffee shops just are not use to. With how Starbucks operates as a whole, they have made themselves the place to buy coffee, which they are not really known for.
They are recognized for their great communication with the customers, with other employees, and the management team, and the goal is maintain this level of professionalism so the new and existing customers re-enter a Starbucks and always get the same exact experience no matter the location. “We’re not in the coffee business. It’s what we sell as a product but we’re in the people business hiring hundreds of employees a week, serving sixty million customers a week, it’s all human connection” (Gallo, 2012). Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz is the man behind how this culture was developed; he is the one that drives the bus today.
Back in the 1980’s Schultz had a vision to enhance the way people drink their coffee and he did just that. Starbucks coffee speaks for itself; it is the culture Schultz put in place that makes Starbucks unique and a nice environment to be in. Starbucks opened its first store March 30, 1971 with more than 17, 000 locations around the world (Gallo, 2012). Without Schultz, this company would not be what it is today. Since the early 70s the company has managed to emerge as a premier coffee in the world, and in the 80s with Schultz at the helm.
In 2000, with Schultz not in the mix, things did not go as well as expected when he resigned. Eight years after his resignation; he was appointed as CEO again to help the company from the downward spiral they were on. Schultz stressed that is was going to take a lot to get Starbucks back to where they needed to be. It is clear that Schultz made a big impact on Starbucks when he was CEO, and when he was not CEO, the company took a bit of a plunge. Without Schultz, over time it seems like Starbucks may have not lasted.
Answering the question, would Starbucks achieve long-term sustainability as a global leader in the coffee industry without Howard Shultz, the answer would have to be no. Just in a short period of time, the company managed to get away from the culture Shultz brought to the company. As an organization, it is their job to live up to the culture that was put in front of them. There have been many times in business where new leaders are appointed and they just do not live up to the expectations. This is a problem that can be fixed if communication is sustained as well.
All companies develop or have a culture set in place already. Management plays a key role in developing and ensures that the culture is maintained. Starbucks is an organization that thrives off their culture and this is the reason why they are successful in the business world. They have set themselves apart from other coffee shops by focusing on things other than just the coffee, like the customers, the environment, and for business professionals and students, the Wi-Fi. The organizational culture at Starbucks may not be the best, but they are making a strong case for the organization.
References Campbell, A. (2009, November 09). Organizational culture. EZine Articles, Retrieved from http://ezinearticles. com/? Organizational-Culture&id=3203513 July 23, 2013 Daft. (2012). Management. (10th ed. ). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. Gallo, C. (2012). Starbucks ceo: Lesson in communication skills. Forbes, Retrieved from http://www. success. com/articles/1272-rekindling-the-heart-soul-of-starbucks? page=2 July 23, 2013 Shayon, S. (2013, March 08). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www. brandchannel. com/home/post/Starbucks-Customer-Loyalty-030813. aspx July 23, 2013 .
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