Corporate Culture at Starbucks

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At its most basic, corporate culture is the personality of an organization or simply how things are done around there. However, in a broader sense it refers to 'the moral, social and behavioral norms of an organization based on the beliefs, attitudes and priorities of its members.' It determines how employees think, act and feel. Every organization has a different concept about the kind of culture that it should have, therefore cultures across organizations may differ despite of having certain common elements1. However common to all organizations is the essential need of fostering a sense of family so that employees do not feel that their work is isolated from other parts of their lives. In fact the culture of an organization should be able to provide its employees with a feeling that their work and personal lives are integrated and this fact is considered and understood by their organization. The culture of a corporation is known to affect it's employee's sense of well being and health along with motivating them to go to work. It is in the best interests of employers, in fact it is their responsibility, to ensure that their employees are being provided with a healthy atmosphere to work in. In the words of Michael Duffy, CEO of OpenPages, it is extremely important to first 'capture people's hearts2. Similarly when any Starbucks' executive is questioned about the key to Starbucks' success, they unequivocally say it's their employees. According to Dave Pave, the company's executive vice president, Starbucks is not about selling just a cup of coffee but it's about selling an entire experience which would make their customers want to come back. This Starbucks experience, as they believe, is heavily dependent on their frontline employees. It is the attitudes and abilities of these people, who greet and serve more than 30 million customers per week globally, that actually makes Starbucks a success3. In 1971, three atypical business men founded Starbuck whose main reason for starting the organization was their love of coffee. In the next couple of years Starbucks went through enormous changes and started to grow at a dizzying pace both in terms of store development and new enterprises. What intrigued many was that Starbucks developed its brand recognition in every house, by word of mouth having spent very little money on advertising. In 1990 a mission statement laying out the guiding principles behind the company was finally drafted. Today Starbucks is known to all of us as the exquisite retailer of specialty coffee providing a variety of hot and cold beverages, complementary food items and coffee related accessories and equipment. Starbucks has established retail stores in approximately 39 countries worldwide, with headquarters in U.S and employs about 146,000 people. In 2006 the organization reported revenues of $7787 million. Howard Schultz, CEO of the company has ample to reason to be proud of what Starbucks has accomplished. Having enjoyed phenomenal growth, Starbucks has become one of the greatest retailing stories ever13. It is mandatory, not just an intriguing option, for every organization to respect its employees, to inspire them, and to share the fruits of its success with those who have contributed to the long-term value and success of the organization. However, it is easy said than done. Ensuring that each and every employee of such an enormous and diverse workforce is provided with and motivated well enough to keep him or her satisfied and filled up with passion is not an easy task. This paper discusses different aspects of the corporate culture at Starbucks and how it contributes in keeping their employees satisfied and motivated enough to show up every single day with the same smile on their face which they pass on to their customers.

The Attitude of Senior Management
Probably one of the first things an employee observes, when judging the kind of culture and values an...
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