Corporate culture of Starbucks

Analysis of approaches to corporate culture, its features and characteristics. The essence of corporate culture and its impact on the organizational life of the company. The role of corporate etiquette for positive development and business success

Рубрика Этика и эстетика
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 01.03.2017
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Corporate culture of Starbucks


What is the corporate culture and what does it need for? How long time ago has appeared this definition? What is the main idea of this concept? There are lots of questions and issues, what are need to be disclosed and answered.

Corporate culture isn't about food that your company prefers or a baseball team that it is cheered by. It is about values, world view, attitudes, beliefs, goals what does the company have at the moment of its existence, about dreams, which company tries to come true every day, every week, every year.

The first mention about a term of corporate culture was in 19 century. It was formulated applied by German Field Marshal Helmuth Moltke, who used it characterizing relations in officer's sphere. Rules as written as unwritten have developed within the professional community even in medieval guilds; the violation of these rules could lead to the exclusion of members of the community. Professional and not professional communities already had such kind of the trappings.

Usually they have been associated with the cut and color of the clothes, accessories, toiletries secret symbols, behavioral signs, by which members of the communities were able to distinguish "us" from "them". Until now, the students of Oxford and Cambridge universities are ties of certain colors, and the students of the University of Tartu - special caps.

The new term "corporate culture" only seems to be like this at the first sight. In the early days of monopoly, when the founder of the largest automobile corporation Ford greets with his workers and congratulated them with some family celebrations, he was creating in its factories exactly this type of culture - overall a good atmosphere among staff at all levels - a phenomenon that cannot be touched literally, but whose results are quite tangible, because of directly contribution of increasing the company's revenue.

Ergo, in the following essay are going to be uncovered such vastly important issues as the general meaning of the term “corporate culture”, the composition of it, significance of corporate culture in a company and practical direction of it.

1. The general definition of corporate culture

Numerous sources usually use two terms: corporate and organizational culture. In some sources these terms are given a completely different meaning, in others - almost the same. Each author wants to give their own definition of this concept. There is a very narrow and very broad interpretation of what is a culture of the organization. Today, there are a lot of publications, which highlight the problem of a corporate culture, but in spite of this we cannot say which of them truth is and which is false. This is due primarily to the lack of conceptual development of corporate culture phenomenon.

It can be argued that in most of the studies dedicated to this topic are not clearly divorced the concepts such as a corporate culture and an organizational culture. Nevertheless, the very existence of these definitions involves the distinction phenomenology behind each of them.

According to experts, if the decisive criterion is the time, the organizational culture is the past of the company, and corporate its future.

Every organization has its own history, which affects its way of life, traditions, norms, and rules of engagement. Formed at one time, such culture strongly influences on people in the organization and the organization as a whole. Frequently, a common organizational culture focused on the management of the organization, and its influence can hinder the development, expansion of the company. For instance, the existing relationship between the founders and employees do not allow building an efficient management system. To some extent, this image of the world, built on the basis of basic unconditionally accepted by all employees of the principles.

The bases of the corporate and organizational culture are those ideas, insights, fundamental values ??that are shared by members of the organization. They may be completely different, including in terms of what is the basis of: organizing interests generally interests or its individual members.

Corporate culture is one of the most effective means of attracting and motivating employees. Once the person satisfied the material needs, he will have a need for something else: the situation in the team, a community of values, non-material motivation. Onwards, here comes to the fore the corporate culture.

2. Different models of corporate culture

Considering the existence of a great amount of theories, definitions, means, there are 5 main models, describing certain points in corporate culture in its own way.

The first one is the model of Edgar Schein, who is a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In former times he has made a notable mark on the field of organizational development in many areas, including career development, group process consultation, and organizational culture. According to the model E. Shane, corporate culture consists of three levels:

1. The level of the artifacts - the most superficial, externally visible level of corporate culture, which includes all the external manifestations of culture that a person is able to perceive (technology, architecture, logos, organizational folklore, uniforms, etc...). Artifacts require further elaboration, because they can be interpreted in different ways.

2. The level of beliefs and values ??- a deeper, implicitly shown by the level of corporate culture, which is found either through interaction with the physical environment, either through social consensus. Valuable orientations determine the direction of development of the organization, define the trajectory of its development and contribute to improving business efficiency.

3. The level of basic assumptions, which are five basic guiding the vital functions of the organization.

The nature of the relationship with the internal and external environment, which can vary in the following range:

- Subordination relations in the external environment;

- Submission management of the environment to its interests;

- The relationship with the environment;

- Relationship with nature, as well as absolute truth;

- Assumptions, mental models and beliefs of management with respect to subordinates;

- Attitude to work, which determines that the organization is more important: a person's status or actions (to be or to do), that is dominated by the status or evaluation approach based on the results;

- Relationships within the organization (the basis on which they are based - on the relationship of cooperation or competitive).

National peculiarities of doing business and management, leading to differences in the types of corporate cultures, are, in all probability, in the following areas of concern:

- The general nature of the relationship between staff and organization;

- The nature of the relationship "manager - subordinate";

- Representation of employees on the role of the organization, its goals and perspectives.

The second model is called “Eiffel Tower”. It has a distinct role orientation with the maximum detailed prescription of functional responsibilities for an each employee. This is closely monitored to exclude spontaneous redistribution of functions and areas of responsibility. There shall be no uncoordinated initiatives in the prescribed manner, and other deviations from the course leader.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is a symbol of strength, stability, stiffness, soars upward, symmetrical, wide at the base and taper upward designs. The head acts as a carrier of a particular role, which instructs subordinates, bring them to the goal of the corporation requires the performance of official duties according to the signed contract. To do this, it must possess certain powers, and legitimize. Power in the "Eiffel Tower" is directly related to the position, but not the status of the individual, and the status of the role. So powerful head just as much as it is prescribed by the rules, sanctioned authority to perform its functions.

The model of "Eiffel Tower" structure is identified with the strategy, the objectives of which are set are achieved thanks to the structure itself, the relatively rigid and able to move only in certain areas, particularly in repetitive, easily formalized and structured situations. If the set targets are not consistent with the hierarchical coordination functions, such as those associated with the invention of new products, "tower" itself will hinder their achievement.

But in the absence of a new organigram "Eiffel Tower" is not able to change. By virtue of this model of organizational culture of this type is poorly adapted to the turbulent environment, it resists to possible changes, as they inevitably disrupt the work according to the rules and lead to failures in the system.

Conflicts are seen as organizational pathology, threat to the efficiency, something irrational and defiant. Staff is likened to "a physical unity" - capital or cash. Like other resources, human painted in time, estimated, planned.

The third model is “Family” and it can be described as rigidly hierarchical and oriented to execute instructions of supervisors. The whole system is based on a paternalistic installation: the initiative and efforts of subordinates to match the settings the leader. Decisions, abilities and even the mood of the leader determine everything. Frequently, the head has a policy "approach to oneself". It is mean carefully looking after the employees and giving them more authority after they will prove their personal loyalty. The language of the "Family" is the language of ethical approval or disapproval ratings by the "father".

Family culture - the nature of relational and hierarchical simultaneously. "The father of the family" has not only experience, but also the considerable power that allows him, as is assumed in this culture-oriented power, subordinates know better what is good for them or bad, and what they should do. Family culture can also be found in various non-verbal signals: position the head, his tone and expectations of a well-defined behavior of their subordinates.

Moreover, the power of such organizations not only exists on employees, as realized through them and relies on their support. The main threat to them is not so much a legal or financial sanctions, as "loss of face" and its place in the family.

As a rule, the "family" culture to a greater extent by countries, not so long ago passed the stage of industrialization and preserving traditional feudal vestiges. The most tend to be a model father-manager as opposed to a model head-leader of the national cultures of the East and South of Europe (Italy, Spain, southern France, Greece, and Cyprus).

Adherence to the model-head father, the study found, correlated with the highest level of the hierarchy of the organization and the slope of the pyramid in it. Delegation of authority in a given culture is complicated and is carried out only in the absence of a "parent". The responsibility is on the "father."

In theory, the following characteristics stand out culture of "family" type:

- Focus on the prosperity of the "family" shall be equivalent to the prosperity of its members;

- Hierarchy-oriented personality, the informality;

- "Father" - not so much a manager as a leader (for knowledge, experience, age, and communication);

- Tasks are chosen by the people and not vice versa;

- Responsibilities do not work;

- High context with the apparent simplicity of relations;

- Separation from the family is difficult and only possible with the support of the "father" for particularly outstanding "big brothers";

- Stimulating both material and through the approval of the head;

- The purpose (task) plus financial incentives without the "father" and control - is absurd.

The fourth one is “Incubator”. The culture of such kind of model generally focused on the development of creative personality of self-realization in a non-hierarchical relations and the minimum degree of formalization relations.

"Incubator" - a personalized and elite type of culture has almost no structure and eliminates the formalization. The decisive role in this type of culture belongs to the people who put forward the idea, finding resources, developing a new product or service. These models of culture accumulate new ideas and react to all the initiatives. It belongs to the cultures of the entrepreneurial type. It perfectly coexists as small innovative firms, and various consultants, university professors, and any creative group of professionals working on an innovative idea, where the main incentive is the innovation and creativity.

"Incubator" sizes are usually limited to "clan control," or head of the norm of controllability. All members are "on the same wavelength," sympathize with each other and are interested in finding the best solutions joint problems, and the problem itself can always be reformulated. "Incubators" rarely survive to maturity of the product; they are ill-equipped to survive in the conditions of variable demand. Motivation is internal and is usually associated with intensive work.

In contrast to the "family" culture of leadership in the "incubator" is not prescribed, and achieved. People follow the leader, whose ideas are most impressive and who achieves the most progress. Conflicts are resolved either or seek the best alternative to solve the problem. "Incubator" model type of organizational culture focused on personal development, motivation is the most important aspect for the employee and acts the opportunity for professional growth and self-realization, and self-improvement. Change management takes place without tension, because the need for constant changes inherent in the paradigm of existence. The functions are delegated and easily accepted in a group of like-minded professionals.

The last model is “Guided Missile”, which is focuses on the "command" solve a particular problem and on achievement a certain result by a certain date. This type of culture after the definition of the problem involves the joint elaboration of its setting. The collective by itself tends to gather around a specific project and at the time of its implementation. Language "guided missile" is a language strategy and focus on the goal.

"Guided missile" model has more similarities with the "Eiffel Tower". However, first of all significant results for her are the maximum practical implementation strategies and the achievement of this goal. For this purpose, there is no typical for a "family" and "tower" cultural methods of work in teams and project groups. Initially, it is not known who, what and what methods will do. During the same address the following questions:

- The composition of staff should be numerous and varied professionally;

- They must interact in harmony with each other;

- Workers should be at least equal to the potential in the status with regard, as each part in achieving the final result, but the relative contribution of any of the participants is not yet defined.

With the known ultimate goal of the direction of movement it is not defined and can be changed, so it may need the help of any of the work of experts. However, each member of the team involved in the resolution of problems, and the ultimate measure of the work appears in the individual contribution of each co-achieved results.

"Guided missile" - type of cyber culture, as focus on the task performed by the feedback signals and has a cyclical rather than linear. This culture is susceptible to changes, but they belong rather to the methods of execution than goals. Corporate culture model "guided missile" in value against the culture is expensive, because it brings together the forces of highly qualified professionals and experts.

Ergo, now let's distract a little bit from the theoretical material and consider to a real example of the well-known company Starbucks, which is specializes on the coffee and different snacks. It is possible to assume that this company has got quite unusual and attractive corporative culture in contrast with other companies, which were had already seen.

Starbucks Coffee Company's organizational culture is one of the most distinct characteristics of the firm. A company's organizational culture widely influences employees and business performance. The way cafe employees work with each other and how they interact with customers are indicators of Starbucks Coffee's organizational culture. The warm and friendly ambiance in these cafes is a part of the company's distinction from competitors. Starbucks has an organizational culture that relates with the company's strategies for successful brand development and global expansion.

The most famous and perfectly describing this company quote were said by its CEO Howard Schultz: “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.” The soul of this company is widely opened for everyone, who wants to become its part and this is the one of main basis of the corporative culture of Starbucks.

Consequently, Starbucks Coffee's organizational culture has a number of key characteristics. The combination of these characteristics is unique to the firm. The company describes its organizational culture as a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity. In this regard, the main features of Starbucks' organizational culture are:

Servant Leadership

Relationship-driven approach

Collaboration and communication


Inclusion and diversity

Let's start with the Servant Leadership. Starbucks has a servant leadership approach, which significantly characterizes the company's corporative culture. In this key, leaders, managers and supervisors emphasize support for subordinates to assure that everyone grows in the company. This feature of Starbucks' organizational culture translates to the employees-first approach. The company emphasizes the importance of caring for employees. Former Starbucks President Howard Behar developed this feature of the firm's organizational culture because he believed that employees who are cared for are the ones who care about customers.

The second feature of Starbucks' organizational culture is the Relationship-driven approach. Starbucks also has an organizational culture that keeps joint and friendly relationships. For example, the baristas put forward warm friendly bonds with each other. This feature of the company's organizational culture extends to customers, who are also treated with warmth. Starbucks evolves the coffee culture that drives consumer demand for the company's specialty coffee products.

Furthermore, the third feature, describing interindividual relationships as inside as outside the company is Collaboration and Communication. The organizational culture of Starbucks encourages collaborative efforts through effective communication. At the cafйs, baristas clearly communicate with each other to fulfill orders. Also, they collaborate as teams to make the order fulfillment process efficient. Thus, Starbucks' organizational culture supports efficiency in business processes, which contributes to quality of service, customer experience, and business cost-effectiveness.

The fourth feature, created by Howard Behar, the former Starbucks' president is Openness. Openness is another major characteristic of Starbucks Coffee's organizational culture. Originally, employees had a culture of fear to speak up to their superiors. A culture of openness developed. Through this feature of its organizational culture, Starbucks empowers employees and facilitates innovation.

Inclusion and Diversity. Starbucks has an anti-discrimination policy that shapes its corporative culture. This policy prohibits any form of discrimination based on age, gender, race, nationality, religion, life experiences, thoughts, ideas, ideology, and world's outlook and so on. Through this feature of the corporative culture, Starbucks facilitates sharing and connection amid employees, as well as innovation based on diverse ideas. This aspect of the company's organizational culture also makes customers feel greet at Starbucks Coffee Company.

One more feature, which Howard Behar tells in his book "It's not about the coffee" is “10 principles of personal leadership”, what is reflects the personal part of corporative culture of Starbucks. These principles, which are described in The Green Apron book, are created for the people working in this company, such as managers, baristas, supervisors and leaders. As the company was developed, this book and its contents was the way for employees to capture significant moments relating to their mission and to create the exactly type of the company. "You can trust it as a reliable guide that helps pave the right course in the turbulent world of business, commerce, and their life at all". Now let's review these principles more carefully.

The first one is “Know Who You Are: Wear One Hat”. The main point of this feature is that if you are always faithful to your principles, ideas and beliefs, all the partnerships will be successful, because people do love sincerity, nevertheless sometimes they tell about reverse.

The second principle is “Know Why you're here: Do It Because It's Right, Not Because It's Right for Your Resume”. It is impossible to be successful if you don't know what you're trying to accomplish and without everyone being aligned with the goal. Just look for the purpose and passion in yourself and the people you lead. If they're not there, do something.

The third one tells us that people are not just stuff, but a human being, who have their own life, sights, opinion and rights. That is why they are able to choose a process of the working activity and to express their opinion. This feature has a denotation “Think Independently: The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom”.

The fourth principle is “Build Trust: Care, like You Really Mean It” and it has designation of the real emotions and feelings, that are needed to be shown to people, with whom you are work and deal with. This feature is quite significant, as long as without trust and care it is hard to know the verity and establish trusting relationships.

Moving on we switched to the fifth principle “Listen for the Truth: The Walls Talk”. Put the time into listening, even to what's not said, and amazing results will follow. You'll know what your customers want, you'll know why the passion is missing from your organization, and you'll learn solutions to problems that have been sitting there waiting to be picked.

The sixth feature is about frankness and candor. “No secrets, no lies of omission, no hedging and dodging. Take responsibility and say what needs to be said, with care and respect,” said Howard Behar in “The Green Apron book”.

“Take Action: Think like a Person of Action, and Act like a Person of Thought.” This is the sevenths principle, disclosing the essence of the sweet spot of passion, purpose, and persistence.

Even in most difficult times we should follow the same principles as usual, and be true to yourself; this is said in the eighth feature “Face Challenge: We Are Human Beings First.”

The ninth principle is about the style of leading. Leading can be the noisy, “I'm here!” kind of thing. But don't ever forget that leaders are just ordinary human beings. Listen to your voice and let quiet be your guide.

The last principle is “Dare to Dream: Say “Yes,” the Most Powerful Word in the World”. Brave dreams are the great aims, big hopes and joyfulnesses. Be respectful and faithful for them and try to help to do this others.

corporate culture organizational etiquette


It is known that the company with a strong corporate culture is much more efficient use of human resources. This is what we have seen, consider the example of Starbucks company.

In summary, corporate culture is a set of behavioral characteristics required for organizations within the corporate structure. Corporate culture directly affects the efficiency of organizations. Based on the studied materials, it can be concluded that the organizational (corporate) culture - is:

- Implicit, invisible and informal "consciousness" of the organization - the mindset, the management, which determines the organization's policy towards employees, partners and customers;

- A set of supported organization of the most important ideas, views, fundamental values and standards, beliefs, ethics, beliefs and expectations, which are accepted by the majority of employees, asking people orientation of their activities and determine the way of association and consistency of management, departments and individual employees;

- "Style" of the organization, a feeling that is transmitted through the arrangement of the physical space and the way the interaction of members with each other, with customers or other external to the organization of the people.

Corporate culture exists in any organization regardless of its size and scope. This is due to the fact that any community has its own principles, norms, rules, orders and rituals that govern members of the group. In other words, under the organizational culture can be understood as a set of principles, values and rules of the organization, which are shared by the majority of its members and passed on from generation to generation.


1. Бехар Г. Дело не в кофе. Москва: Альпина Паблишер, 2015.

2. Шейн Э. Х. Организационная культура и лидерство. Санкт-Петербург: Питер, 2002.

3. Демин Д. Корпоративная культура. 10 самых распространенных заблуждений. Москва: Альпина Паблишер, 2010







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