Starbucks Organizational Culture: Focus on employees as the source of core competency

Starbucks Organizational CultureStarbucks organizational culture is based on values and principles of its former long-term CEO Howard Schultz.  It has been noted that “Starbucks’ culture is powerful because it is tightly linked to the company’s distinctive capabilities[1].”Starbucks organizational culture integrates the following four key elements:

1. Valuing employees and their contribution. At Starbucks employees are referred to as partners and they are taken care of by the company via competitive compensation packages. For example, the coffee chain offers stock options and health insurance even to part-time employees in the US. Moreover, “at the height of the global financial crisis, when other companies were cutting HR costs wherever they could, Starbucks invested in staff training, including coffee tastings and courses that ultimately qualified for credit at higher education institutions”[2]

2. Presence of close bonds among employees. The company firmly believes in relationship-driven approach to the business and encourages the formation of close bonds between employees in its stores. This contributes to the formation of relaxing and comfortable environment in Starbucks store, effectively strengthening its role as ‘third place’ away from work and home, where customers can spend good time alone or with their friends.

3. Culture of inclusion and diversity. The world’s largest coffee retailer runs eight diverse Partner Networks, representing the broad spectrum of employee backgrounds. Starbucks was chosen as the 2014 Disability Employer of the Year by the US Business Leadership Network. It has also received the maximum 100 score on Disability Equality Index in 2015and on The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2015 Corporate Equality Index.

4. Taking pride in providing exceptional customer service. The coffee chain giant has effectively adapted exceptional customer service is one of its solid bases of competitive advantage and this is reflected on Starbucks organizational culture to a great extent.  It is important to note that the other key elements of Starbucks organizational structure listed above such as valuing employee contribution, close bonds among employees, culture of inclusion and diversity play instrumental role in terms of motivating employees to provide exceptional customer service.

Starbucks Corporation Report contains a full analysis of Starbucks organizational culture. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis and McKinsey 7S Model on Starbucks. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Starbucks leadership, organizational structure and business strategy. The report also comprises discussions of Starbucks marketing strategy and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.

Starbucks Corporation Report

[1] Leinward P. & Davidson, V. (2016) “How Starbucks’s Culture Brings Its Strategy to Life” Harvard Business Review, Available at:

[2] Leinward P. & Davidson, V. (2016) “How Starbucks’s Culture Brings Its Strategy to Life” Harvard Business Review, Available at: