Influencing Group Communication
Leadership Styles and Group Communication
Before discussing leadership styles and their affects on group communications of a specific company, it is important to first identify the organizational structure of that company. Different organizational structures may lend themselves more toward specific leadership styles then others. “A company’s individual organizational structure is a formal composition of task reporting relationships that allows the company to control, coordinate, and motivate employees so a common goal can be achieved” (George & Jones, 2005, p. 505). Coordinate in this context refers to the communication efforts made between upper management, middle management, site management, and line employees. The Starbucks Corporation is well known for its strong positive culture and a willingness to adapt and change. “Starbucks has rearranged their organizational structure to better accommodate customer satisfaction. The CEO of Starbucks announced expansion of their matrix organizational structure last month, They will operate under four U.S. divisions including Western/Pacific, Northwest/Mountain, Southeast/Plains and Northeast/Atlantic” (Starbucks Corporation, 2008). This decision was made when Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, returned to the helm as President, CEO, and Chairman. His enthusiasm to bring Starbucks back to its core – all things coffee – and a renewed focus on the customer experience was the driving force behind this reorganization. In one of many e-mails sent to all Starbucks partners, Schultz said, “I pledge to communicate with you about our efforts to improve the currents state of our U.S. Business, reignite the emotional attachment with our customers and make foundational changes to our business; and I have done so in six previous emails” (Schultz, 2008). “Beginning February 28, 2008, the U.S field organization began transitioning from two divisions to four, with full implementation completed by March 24, 2008 (Schultz, 2008). “One of the major advantages to having this kind of organizational structure is the maximization of communication channels” (George & Jones, 2005, pg. 515). Because this will create field teams with greater capacity, it will allow the company to align the upper management closer to the customers and the partners. The closer the field teams and upper management are in their ability to communicate, the stronger the support for partner development, coaching, and accountability. “The second portion of Starbucks organizational structure is the continuation of support functions operating as their own department and supporting the shared goals and visions of each of the U.S. divisions as well as the international circuit (Shultz, 2008). Starbucks revamped organizational structure is paired with Howard Shultz personal philosophy about people. “More than most managers, I rely heavily on my instincts about people. Whether I’m hiring a key executive, selecting an investment banker, or assessing a partner in a joint venture, I look for the same qualities most look for in choosing a spouse: integrity and passion. To me, they’re just as important as experience and abilities” (Schultz & Yang, 1997). What does all this information about organizational structure have to do with management styles and communication? Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks Coffee Company North America and Starbucks Coffee International sums it up best. In his book, “It’s Not About the Coffee: Leadership Lessons From a Life at Starbucks” Behar lists The 10 Principles of Personal Leadership, which are actively in use at the Starbucks Corporation to this date. They are: 1) Know Who You Are: Wear One Hat, 2) Know Why You’re Here: Do It Because It’s Right, Not Because It’s Right for Your Resume, 3) Think Independently: The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom, 4) Build Trust: Care, Like You Really Mean It, 5)...
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