The development of an organization is greatly influenced by leadership styles, power tactics, forms of motivation, and level of commitment. Effective communication of these methods by leaders plays a crucial role in the success of the organization (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Starbucks’ success can be largely attributed to the effective communication between leaders, employees, and customers. Leadership style has a significant impact on group communication, with theories such as charismatic, authentic, transformational, and transactional being the most contemporary.
According to Kreitner & Kinicki (2008), the leadership style employed in an organization sets the overall tone. One notable example is Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, who is renowned for his charismatic leadership style. Charismatic leaders are more effective because they are willing to take personal risks to achieve the organization’s vision, show perceptiveness towards employee needs, and exhibit emotional conviction in their vision. Schultz’s charismatic leadership has played a crucial role in Starbucks becoming a leading retailer. This is achieved through transparent and sincere communication with employees, fostering a trusting relationship (Spector, 2010).
The transformational leadership style is similar to the charismatic style as it involves providing a vision, setting high expectations, fostering trust, and giving personalized attention to employees. Transformational leaders prioritize goal-setting and effectively communicate these goals to instill commitment and mutual trust among employees (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Starbucks recognizes the significance of its employees, referred to as partners, in achieving company success.
The leadership style at Starbucks is characterized by transformational and authentic approaches. The company recognizes the importance of leadership development in order to uphold its organizational culture. This includes encouraging honesty, ethical behavior, integrity, loyalty, and trust. Authentic leaders at Starbucks build trust by openly communicating, sharing information, and remaining true to their ideals. These attributes align with the company’s values, which emphasize high standards, positive contributions, trust, and respect for one another.
Although these qualities are desirable in a leader, they do not possess the persuasive and dynamic communication style needed to motivate employees to reach the same levels of achievement as charismatic and transformational leaders (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Transactional leadership, on the other hand, offers rewards for good performance, acknowledges employees’ achievements, takes corrective action rather than being proactive, and delegates responsibilities. However, this style fails to encourage employee performance and lacks the motivation necessary to inspire exceptional results.
The transactional leadership style at Starbucks would hinder communication, which is crucial for fostering the creative energy of all employees and generating innovative solutions to deliver outstanding service (Wilsongroup, 2010). Sources of power within an organization play a vital role in its culture, representing the capacity to influence others. Power becomes apparent when there is a perception of dependence on someone for valuable resources. Legitimate, reward, and coercive power are types of formal power derived from assigned roles in the organization.
According to Robbins & Judge (2007), both expert and referent power derive from the personal qualities of the power holder. In the context of Starbucks, managers possess legitimate and reward power as a result of their formal authority to manage organizational resources and distribute rewards. Starbucks prioritizes non-financial rewards like recognition and promotions. Additionally, controlling the flow of information can enhance an individual’s expert and referent power by fostering relationships within the organization.
People can enhance their power by strategically controlling the information they share with others, and this power can influence organizational decision-making. If individuals who possess power are aligned with the goals of the organization, the different sources of power can be utilized in ways that assist the organization in achieving its objectives (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Starbucks employee development serves as an illustration of how the organization’s culture impacts communication at every stage.
Starbucks incorporates leadership development programs as a fundamental component of its business process, effectively upholding the company’s organizational goals and values. Mutual agreement from employees is a prerequisite for a power source to exert influence over others. Legitimate power holds no true authority unless there is collective acknowledgment of its existence (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Howard Schultz possesses the capability to influence others through all five power sources, although it seems unlikely that he would resort to coercive power.
Schultz’s charisma, expertise, and abilities have garnered him referent power within Starbucks, earning the respect of employees. He effectively communicates the company’s objectives and values thanks to his referent and legitimate power. Starbucks employs partner relation mechanisms that encourage open communication and innovative thinking, leading to enhanced employee motivation. By treating employees as partners and offering generous benefits, Starbucks ensures continuous motivation among its workforce. This aligns with motivational theories.
The motivation theories observed in the Starbucks culture comprise McClelland’s theory of needs, expectancy theory, reinforcement theory, and goal setting. Additionally, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, which presents needs and motivation within a strict framework, is applicable. However, the more modern theories tackle more detailed assumptions. McClelland’s theory of needs emphasizes the presence of achievement, power, and affiliation needs in the Starbucks culture. Starbucks is committed to encouraging its employees to strive for excellence, thereby fostering their development and motivation (Robbins & Judge, 2007).
According to expectancy theory, employees will exert more effort if they believe their performance will be recognized and rewarded, allowing them to achieve their personal goals. Starbucks workers are motivated because they are included in decision-making, which enhances their dedication and leads to better decision-making (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Reinforcement theory suggests that behavior is influenced by reinforcement. Starbucks is renowned for offering excellent benefits and stock programs, which are considered the top in the industry.
Starbucks employs motivational programs that cultivate an exciting and enthusiastic work environment, aligning with the goal-setting theory. This theory emphasizes the significance of goal specificity, challenge, and feedback in motivating work. The company actively encourages its employees to take advantage of training and career development opportunities (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Nevertheless, there is a growing perception that commitment may be diminishing in importance for both employers and employees.
In today’s fast-paced world and increased job insecurity, employees are less likely to remain with one company for their entire career. This implies that the significance of organizational commitment, which was highly esteemed by most companies three decades ago, has diminished. The constant fear of job loss can have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and dedication to both the organization and their work. While many organizations assert that people are their most valuable assets, few actually demonstrate this to be accurate (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Nevertheless, there are certain companies like Starbucks that highly prioritize the commitment of their workforce towards the organization.
Starbucks has a reputation for having friendly and compassionate employees, which is because it is a great place to work. The company prioritizes taking care of its employees and treating them respectfully. Starbucks’ leaders have created an exceptional employee culture that focuses on confidence, excellence, and teamwork. A clear example of this commitment to employees is the management team’s introduction of a policy granting two weeks of paid leave for adoptive parents, which was suggested by employees (Starbucks, 2010). From the beginning, Starbucks is dedicated to selecting the right people for the job and maintaining open communication throughout the organization.
Starbucks ensures employee satisfaction and retention through competitive wages, comprehensive health benefits, and an intensive training program. The company’s commitment to being an employer of choice goes beyond mere kindness as it strategically implements a growth strategy aimed at long-term profitability (Starbucks, 2010).
Every new store employee in North America begins their job with a 24-hour paid training module called “First Impressions,” which is taught by store managers. This module focuses on coffee knowledge and creating a positive customer experience. Managers and assistant store managers also undergo a 10-week retail management course. Additionally, partners have the option to participate in computer, leadership, and coffee knowledge classes, as well as diversity training. At the corporate level, new Starbucks employees often begin their careers with immersion training (Starbucks, 2010).
Starbucks provides training programs in which employees gain hands-on experience and knowledge of the company’s core aspects by working in a store. This training helps them understand the company’s values and improve their customer interaction skills. Starbucks has successfully fueled its growth by promoting communication across different parts of the organization, utilizing various leadership styles, power tactics, and forms of motivation. The success of Starbucks as a company directly reflects the success of its employees.
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 http://www.starbucks.co.uk/en-GB/_About+Starbucks
Wilsongroup. (2010). Building a Unique Total Rewards and HR System for a Unique Company, Retrieved March 1, 2011 from http://www.wilsongroup.com/ecr/case/Starbucks.pdf