Starbucks Organizational Behavior

Topics: Organizational studies, Starbucks, Organizational culture Pages: 5 (1465 words) Published: August 20, 2007
Starbucks Organizational Behavior

A company's understanding and use of organizational behavior concepts can make or break it. Just as important, if a company ignores these same concepts, it can easily spell disaster. Starbucks intertwines and successfully uses three main organizational behavior concepts to increase the strength of the organization: organizational culture, organizational structure and motivation. The implementation of these concepts has definitely benefited the company, creating a monopoly in the United States as a coffee retailer and service company. Organizational Culture

In the text, Organizational Behavior, Stephen P. Robbins defines organizational culture as, "a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations" (2005). Starbucks has a very strong organizational culture and strives to maintain that it. Everything centers on the organizational culture within Starbucks. While being a customer service-based company and understanding that the customer satisfaction and loyalty are what will make the company profitable, Starbucks takes a different approach to customer service than other companies. By hiring employees that fit in the organizational culture (ICFAI, 2005) and treating their employees well (Lefevere, n.d.), Starbucks brings in and retains customers through their happy employees. The qualities that Starbucks hires for are "adaptability, dependability and the ability to work in a team" (ICFAI, 2005). The culture is supportive and laid back (Montana, 2005). Howard Shultz, Starbucks president and CEO, has the theory "that if you treat your employees well, they will treat your customers well" (Starbucks, 1997). In the excerpt from ‘Starbucks' Human Resource Management Policies and the Growth Challenge,' it is stated, "Starbucks was one of the few retail companies to invest considerably in employee training and provide comprehensive training to all classes of employees, including part-timers" (2005). This dedication to educating and training employees demonstrates the commitment to service that the company has. Having employees be able to answer customer questions is considered a part of reducing the cost to service each customer and also create customer loyalty and keep the customer returning time and again. Employees are trained for 24 hours and managers choose classes for another eight weeks (Nelson, 2000). The company culture really does overflow to the customers, as most patrons can attest. To maintain the culture, Starbucks has adamantly refused to start franchises and the company itself owns the majority of the locations. In the Frequently Asked Questions on the Starbucks website, the exception of franchising is answered as: "Starbucks may enter into licensing arrangements with companies who provide access to real estate which would otherwise be unavailable such as airport locations, national grocery chains, major food services corporations, college and university campuses and hospitals" (Frequently Asked, n.d.). As a Starbucks patron that has been to different Starbucks locations across the United States, I can attest that the locations that are open through "licensing arrangements" do not usually have the charm, culture or appeal that the company-owned locations do.

Organizational Structure
Organizational structure, as defined by Stephen P. Robbins, in Organizational Behavior, "defines how job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated" (2005). Starbucks is departmentalized in that there are various departments that have different functions such as the roasting, beverage service, and administrative. The organization attempts to be "flat" and a point has been made to avoid hierarchy and receive input from every person within the organization; its not a very formal organization because of this fact. This contributes to the atmosphere of being laid back and comfortable. It is also decentralized, with lower employees being...

References: Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2007, from
ICFAI Center for Management Research. (2005). Starbucks ' human resource management policies and the growth challenge. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from ICMR website:
Lefevere, Thomas. (n.d.). The relation between customer and employees. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from Thomas Lefevere website:
Montana, Tony. (2005, July 11). Case study/analysis of Starbucks corporation. Retrieved March 24, 2007, from eCheat website:
Nelson, Bob. (2000, March 13). How Starbucks energizes its employees. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from bizjournals website:
NYSE Group (2007). Starbucks Corp. Retrieved March 24, 2007, from NYSE Group website:
Robbins, Stephen P. (2005). Organizational behavior (11th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Pearson Education. Inc.
Starbucks case study: background 1971-87; private company 1987-92. (1997). McGraw-Hill Companies. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from the McGraw-Hill Companies website:
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