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Organizational Commitment and Communication

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    The leadership styles, power tactic, form of motivation and level of commitment all have a significant impact on the development of an organization. The way in which leaders communicate these methods plays a key role in the success of an organization (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Starbucks’ success has been accomplished to a great degree on how well the leaders and employees have communicated with each other as well as with their customers. Effect of Leadership Style on Group Communication There are many leadership theories, the most contemporary include charismatic, authentic, transformational, and transactional.

    The leadership style used will set the tone of the organization (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008). Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, has been described as having a charismatic leadership style. Charismatic leaders are more effective in their leadership style because they are willing to take personal risk to achieve the organization’s vision, are perceptive to the needs of the employees, and demonstrate emotional conviction to the vision. The charismatic leadership style of Howard Schultz has made Starbucks a leading retailer by conducting open and honest communication with employees to create a trusting relationship (Spector, 2010).

    The transformational leadership style has many similarities to the charismatic style. Transformational leaders provide a vision, seek high expectations, promote trust, and give personal attention to the employees. Transformational leaders focus on setting goals and articulating those goals to the employees, instilling commitment to the vision and creating mutual trust (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Starbucks believes that the key to company success is its employees, called partners.

    The transformational leadership style is apparent at Starbucks where leadership development is a core element of the business process, to ensure that the organizational culture of the company is maintained (Spector, 2010). The authentic leadership style encourages honesty, ethical behavior, integrity, loyalty, and promotes trust. Authentic leaders build trust in their employees by sharing information, communicating openly, and staying true to their ideals. These attributes fall right in line with Starbucks values, which include high standards, positive contributions, trust, and treating each other with respect and dignity (Wilsongroup, 2010).

    These characteristics are all desirable in a leader, but lack the persuasive and dynamic communication style to motivate employees to the levels of accomplishment that are seen with the charismatic and transformational leadership styles (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Transactional leadership promises rewards for good performance, recognizes employees’ accomplishments, takes corrective action instead of being proactive, and delegates responsibilities. This style does not encourage employees to perform and lacks the motivation to inspire exceptional performance.

    The transactional leadership style would stifle communication at Starbucks where the creative energy of all employees is necessary to produce innovative solutions to provide exceptional service (Wilsongroup, 2010). Sources of Power in Organization Power has an integral role within an organization’s culture. Power is the capacity or potential to influence others. Power exists when there is a perception of being dependent upon someone for resources or something of value. Legitimate, reward and coercive power are sources of formal power that are derived from the role assigned in an organization.

    Expert and referent sources of power come from the power holder’s individual characteristics (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Legitimate and reward power at Starbucks represents the formal authority its managers have to control and use organizational resources and distribute rewards. At Starbucks, non-financial rewards, such as recognition and promotions, are more desirable. Control of information flow can be a source of power, which increases an individual’s expert and referent power through relationship development within an organization.

    People increase their power when they use strategic control of information that is shared with others. Organizational decision-making is influenced by power. The various power sources can be used in ways that help the organization to achieve its objectives if those individuals using power are aligned with the organization’s goals (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Every phase of Starbucks employee development provides an example of how the organization’s culture influences communication.

    Starbucks uses leadership development programs as a core element of the business process at Starbucks, which ensures that the organizational goals and values of the company are maintained. In order for a power source to generate influence over others, there must be mutual agreement from the employees. Legitimate power has no real power unless there is mutual agreement that the authority exists (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Howard Schultz has the capacity to influence others with all five of the power sources, although it does not appear that he would use coercive power.

    His charismatic personality, knowledge, and skills have earned the respect of Starbucks’ employees giving him referent power. With his referent and legitimate power, Schultz effectively communicates the organizational goals and values of the company. Starbucks has partner relation mechanisms that promote open communication and innovative thinking, which has a positive effect on employee motivation. Starbucks treats employees as partners and provides generous benefits to ensure that employees stay motivated. Motivational Theories

    The motivation theories that are evident in the Starbucks culture include McClelland’s theory of needs, expectancy theory, reinforcement theory, and goal setting. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory would also apply, which portrays needs and motivation in a rigid setting, but the more contemporary theories address more specific assumptions. McClelland’s theory of needs focuses on the need for achievement, power, and affiliation all of which are present in Starbucks’ culture, which is dedicated to developing and motivating its employees by challenging them to be their best (Robbins & Judge, 2007).

    Expectancy theory states that employees will apply a high level of effort if they see that there is a strong relationship between their effort and recognition of performance with rewards, giving them the opportunity for the attainment of personal goals. Starbucks employees are motivated because they are involved in decision-making, which builds their commitment and makes better decisions in the process (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Reinforcement theory states that reinforcement conditions behavior. Starbucks benefits and stock programs are known as the best in the industry.

    Goal-setting theory is a counterpoint to reinforcement theory, where goal specificity, challenge, and feedback are part of working toward a goal that is a major source of work motivation. Starbuck’s motivational programs promote a work environment that is exciting and full of enthusiasm. Starbucks encourages employees to take advantage of their training and career development programs (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Commitment of Workforce to Organization There is reason to believe that the concept of commitment may be less important to employers and employees than it once was.

    Nowadays few employees are staying with the same company for most of their career. Thus, organizational commitment is not as important as it used to be thirty years ago for most companies. In today’s dynamic world and increased job insecurity, the constant fear of losing jobs affects employees’ motivation and commitment to organization and work. It is easy for organizations to state that people are the most valuable assets of the company but not many of them actually prove it to be true (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Starbucks is one of those few companies that highly value commitment of the workforce to the organization.

    One of the explanations why Starbucks employees are so enjoyable and caring is that Starbucks is a great organization to work for. It cares about employees and shows them respect. Starbucks’ leaders created an exclusive culture for employees in which confidence, excellence, and team work identify the values. An example of this commitment to employees can be seen in how the management team provided a two-week benefit of paid leave for adoptive parents upon the request of employees (Starbucks, 2010). Starbucks is dedicated to select the right employees from the beginning and keeps channels of communication open all through the company.

    It rewards and retains its employees with an above-minimum-wage salary and comprehensive health benefits for full and part-time employees. But it is important to understand that Starbucks’ commitment to being an employer of the choice doesn’t come from the goodness of its management team. By offering competitive wages, good benefits and an intense training program, the company implements a well designed strategy of company growth and increasing profits in the long term by strengthening the potential of its employees (Starbucks, 2010).

    Every new store employee in North America starts work with a 24-hour paid training module called “First Impressions. ” This is a standardized curriculum taught primarily by store managers. It focuses on coffee knowledge and how to create a positive customer experience. Managers and assistant store managers take a 10-week retail management course. Computer, leadership and coffee knowledge classes, as well as diversity training, also are available to partners. At the corporate level, many new employees start their Starbucks careers with immersion training (Starbucks, 2010).

    All these training programs, during which employees work in a Starbucks store and learn the core of the business, provide a real practice of interacting with customers and experiencing values of the company. This kind of commitment to communication among different segments of the company, along with the leadership styles, power tactics, and forms of motivation promoted throughout Starbucks, has allowed the company to continue to grow. The employees’ success is reflected in the company’s success.


    Kreitner, R., & Kinicki, A. (2008). Organizational Behavior (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Company. Robbins, S.P., & Judge, T.A. (2007). Organizational behavior (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall.` Spector, B. (2010). Implementing Organizational Change. Theory into Practice (2nd ed.). Pearson Education Starbucks (2010). A Brief History of Starbucks, Retrieved March 1, 2011 from Wilsongroup. (2010). Building a Unique Total Rewards and HR System for a Unique Company, Retrieved March 1, 2011 from

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