Organizational Behavior

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Organizationalbehavior is the study of the effect of persons, groups as well asstructures on human behavior in an organization. It involves severalfields such as psychology, management, communication, economics,anthropology and sociology. It is mainly considered as an interfacebetween an organization and human behavior. It can be generallysubdivided into three features i.e.

  • Work groups or meso-level

  • Individuals within the organization or micro-level

  • Behavior of organizations or macro-level

Understandingorganizational behavior is an intricate issue that plays a huge rolein the success of a company. As shown above, it involves quite a widerange of fields that are interlinked to ensure high efficiency of theorganization. In that respect, conducting an organizational behavioranalysis on a company requires much care. It involves analyzing thecompany in the meso-level, micro-level as well as the macro-level. Tobetter understand this topic, this paper will analyze StarbucksCompany. This paper will outline the facts about the company invarying aspects. Firstly, providing an overview of the company isimportant so as to elaborate on emerging facts. Focus will also be onparticular concepts that assist the company achieve its objectivesi.e. motivational aspects, communication, organizational structure,political behavior among others. The paper will then dwell onrecommendations necessary to improve the company. Careful analysis ofthe company will outline the steps needed to improve the company.Providing the implementation criteria is also a major undertakingwithin this paper. The recommendations outlined need to be carefullyimplemented within the organization to boost any chances ofimprovement. Therefore, this paper will try to illustrate thedifferent implementation criteria that can be utilized to impactpositively on the organization. A communication model to back up theimplementation criteria is also vital in this research paper.


Starbucksis an American organization venturing in the coffee industry. It wasfounded in the year 1971 in Washington and operates in roughly 23,450different locations. It also traverses across different countriessuch as China, United States, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.The various locations also serve different kinds of delicaciesincluding whole bean coffee, hot and cold drinks, cafe latte, freshjuices, Frappuccino beverages and snacks among others. Apart from theconstant supplies, the locations also have seasonal offerings such aspumpkin spice latte. In addition to that, the company ventures inpre-packaged foods like sandwiches and drink ware. Some Starbucksevenings provide appetizers, wine and beer. Though the companystarted off in the early 1970s, it began being profitable in the1980s within the United States. Initial economic issues proved to bequite detrimental in the company’s growth. However, in the 1990s,it was revitalized after entering California. It then progressedswiftly and covered most areas within North America. Ventures outsideNorthern America began in 1996 in Tokyo Japan. At this point,Starbucks had grown both in products and services offered. Thelocations continued to widen and as research showed between 1987 and2007, it opened up roughly two new locations per day. Progress in thecompany can be mainly attributed to well organized administration andquality of service. For a company to grow at a rate, the quality ofservice and the products provided have to be of a high standard.Additionally, the company had to acclimatize to different situationsin different locations. For instance, operations in Japan differ fromUnited States. Therefore, the company has to be flexible enough tosucceed in such situations [ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].

Toillustrate the success story of Starbucks, it is appropriate to lookat the organizational behaviors of the corporation. How employees aremotivated, communication as well as the political aspects of thecompany. The scope of operation is quite wide making it a complexcompany to research on. However, the success story makes it anenticing aspect for one to understand organizational behaviors. Aswill be elaborated in my research, Starbucks uses some unique hiringmechanisms in the different locations in order to uphold companyvalues and satisfy the local as well. The quality of their service isalso highly appreciated in the different locations. The organizationalso tends to have effective motivational criteria to satisfy itsemployees. Starbucks also boasts of an intensive marketing criterionthat entails use of internet infrastructures to reach a wider rangeof consumers. What strikes most about Starbucks is there interactionwith its consumers. Each year the company comes up with a theme andstrives to educate its consumers on the same. For instance, the themefor a particular year was “Living Our Values”. In that respect,the company assumes corporate social responsibility to understandtheir customers, employees, communities, suppliers and shareholdersamong others [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].

Starbucksalso has special programs such as Caring Unites Partners (C.U.P)where partners provide funds and assist each other whenever there isan issue. CUP assists the partners in times hardships like when apartner loses a deer relative or someone is sick. The values adoptedby the company are of high standards thus providing a conduciveworking environment. However, as this research paper will relay, morecan be done to further improve sales and widen the markets [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].

Applicationof OB concepts


Motivationof an employee is an important aspect in any company. It entailsgiving a worker the desire to perform his/her task with enthusiasm,determination on a daily basis. The employees at Starbuck are highlymotivated. The company created a stock option whereby employees weremade partners. The employees are given ownership of the company andshare financial rewards. This criteria is quite fruitful since theemployees become intellectually and emotionally attached to thecompany’s success. As a matter of fact, a 2003 survey revealed thatthe company’s partners are highly engaged with the company.Whenever they market the company, they show great desire to do morethan is required of them indicating their desire to stick with thecompany [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].

Thecompany also has numerous ways of recognizing partners. It boasts ofover 30 recognition programs in which achievements of variouspartners are outlined i.e. acknowledgement of profound effects ofparticular partners on the organization as well as commendation fortasks well done. Recognition of particular acts of the partners tendsto boost morale and other partners may want to receive the same hencework harder to achieve the same. Whenever partners push each other interms of performance the company benefits accordingly due to improvedproductivity levels. Recognition is also a way of making partnersfeel they are valued and appreciated by the company. Anothermotivational idea utilized by Starbucks entails informal programs.This includes celebrating special occasions of the partners likebirthdays, anniversaries among other professional or personalmilestones. This acts tend to strengthen bonds thereby creating abetter working environment [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].


Communicationwithin the organization is quite vital. Communication generallyentails how information is relayed between employees and management.How they relate with each other for the benefit of the company.Starbucks puts immense emphasis on communication techniques. Thecommunication system is designed in such a manner that all partiesinvolved have a voice in the various features. This means that anyonecan participate in reviewing missions, company standards and businessconduct among others. Each and every person is also affordedrecognition. As their culture states, partners need to know eachother well and help one another whenever possible. A good example isthe Caring Unites Partners (CUP) program that tends to improvecommunication among partners as well as management [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].

Communicationis a core value in Starbucks. When a questions are raised by apartner, they are directed to the individual responsible and aresponse is given. To ensure transparency, the whole procedure ismonitored and the apprehensions are shared with the leaders.

Starbucksalso has a helpline vehicle which partners use to communicate.Standards of Business Conduct Helpline (SBCH), is a program that isutilized 24/7 in calling to have direct communication with impartialagents or non-company operatives. The information is treated asconfidential and incase of any issues, it can be investigated andsolve amicably [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].

Insome cases, partners opt to directly share their fears with thecompany’s CEO. The channel “ASK ORIN” is utilized for thispurposes. Partners use this vehicle to channel their fears whetherconfidential or not and expect to get responses within ten days.Additionally, this channel organizes informal meetings involving allthe partners in the organization [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].

OrganizationalDesign and Structure

Theorganizational structure exhibits a matrix one i.e. hybrid mixture ofvarious kinds of organizational structures. The main features of thestructure include

  • Functional structure

  • Geographical divisions

  • Product based divisions

  • Teams


Thismechanism entails formations depending on the business functions. Thecompany has a human resource department, marketing and financedepartments. These are the top most at the corporate headquarters.Generally, the basic structure involves executives who oversee theorganization’s activities from the headquarters in Washington.Within the country it is divided into regions whereby districtmanagers are tasked with overseeing its activities. The districtmanagers then directly report to Starbucks Corporation. Each storehas a manager who is the chief of that particular store. Each storealso has shift supervisors who can act as managers whenever themanager is not around. Under the supervisors they now have employeesalso regarded as baristas. The functional structure aspect enablestop-down control and monitoring of the firm, with the CEO as the topmost overseer [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].


Currently,the organization’s operations are divided into three regionsglobally i.e.

  • China and Asia-Pacific,

  • Europe, Russia, Africa and Middle East

  • Americas

Withinthe United States, the company structures itself depending on thegeographical location. Therefore, they have western, Northwest,Southeast and Northeast. A senior vice president is tasked withoverseeing activities within the geographical divisions. Hence, amanager at Starbuck is under two supervisors’ i.e. Functional headand a geographical head. This aspect of the company enables nearermanagerial support. It also ensures flexible adjustments in a mannersuitable to the particular market [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].

Productbased divisions

Productbased divisions are meant to suit product lines. For instance, thecompany has divisions based on coffee and its associated products,baked products, merchandise such as mugs. This aspect is quitefruitful since the firm can focus on particular products and ensureinnovation and development of products in line with the company’sstructure [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].


Teamsare mostly utilized at the lower ends of the organizationparticularly cafes. Within the cafes, teams are organized to providegoods and services to the consumers. This aspect enables theorganization to accord consumers with efficient and effectiveservices.

Powerand political behavior

Powerand politics are quite sensitive with regards to company operations.Any negative approach towards this aspect can derail a company’sprogress or even cause its downfall. In that respect, power ishandled with utmost care within the company and around the company.Though power tends to have negative consumers on consumers, it isquite essential in everyday life. In that regard, Starbuck exertsdominance and power with in cautious manner so as not to cause anynegative effect on their consumers. Whenever, the company is changinga manager or any other powerful leader within the company,transparent measures are followed. The chances are afforded allqualified personnel in a transparent manner to the satisfaction ofall the partners. The company also utilizes adequate communicationskills. To exert dominance, the company communicates well with itscustomers. Additionally, they exert power in a legitimate manner soas to counter any critics that may arise. One major feature thathelps Starbuck exert power legitimately is its visions and missions.It is easier to exert power when products and services offered are upto the prospected standards [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].


Thoughthe company is quite stable in its operations, it faces numerousaspects in various fields. In that respect, outlining some of thechallenges and mechanisms to evade them is essential.

Motivationis one major aspect where the company has done most to ensureemployees are satisfied. For instance, at a certain period thecompany announced they would concern themselves more with the healthwelfare of their employees more than it does on coffee. Thismotivational statement is quite positive towards employees makingthem feel valued. However, it can also be detrimental to its profitlevels. This is because concentrating less with coffee products seemsto get a negative response from the consumers who may feelundervalued. It is a misleading concept since a customer may have afeeling they are not well regarded. Generally, the company’sturnovers are quite low due to the rewarding system. Considerationsof performance are not constantly considered when rewarding itsemployees. Therefore, the company needs to adopt a performance basedapproach to ensure employees are rewarded based on their personalwork [ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].

Organizationalaspects of the company poses a great challenge especially due to theever growing market size. The company tends to alter itsorganizational structure to suit current environment. It is a noblecause that brings about challenges as well. Alterations means newroles are assigned to the different personnel. With a well-designedorganizational structure, Starbucks needs to further broaden it toaccommodate the international markets. Ventures in countries such asChina broaden their marketability. In that respect, divisions shouldbe added in such countries where the products are quite popular. Themanagers should also have more direct access to the organization’shead. Closer management means better supervision thus highproductivity levels [ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].

Organizationand communication challenges can also be portrayed in aspects ofmarketing. Starbuck did its first television advert campaign 15 yearsafter its inception. This quite a long period and though the companyis growing at an alarming rate, there is need to maximize oncommunication with all its partners. Growth comes along with numerouschallenges hence demands more responsibility. There is a feeling thatStarbuck can achieve more with effective communication and venturinginto broader markets [ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].

Itsinternational strategy also needs to adopt newer mechanisms totraverse many areas. Core capabilities and competencies should betransferred from nation to nation and then slowly shape in accordanceto the profit divers to attain global growth in an organic manner [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].

Organizationalimprovements can also boost the company on provision of coffee.Coffee beans are a considerable input area for the company. Over theyears, prices of coffee have been fluctuating to a great extent thusaffecting the company negatively. In that respect, the company canmitigate volatility of prices by considering a hedging strategy suchas contracts to maintain their quantity inputs at minimum swingprices to manage future costs [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].


Theimplementation phase is always the trickiest since it needs muchcare. This is because any wrong introduction of the new feature maybe detrimental to the company’s operations.

Hedgingstrategy like offering contracts tend to tie down suppliers of coffeebeans. The company can begin offering long term contracts tosuppliers so as to ensure stable prices or rather lower swing costswhenever prices fluctuate upwards. The decision to apply thiscriterion lies with the top management and once the partners approveto it, it can be implemented immediately or after the current fiscalyear [ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].

Internationalmarkets have not yet been maximized. The organization needs to addmore market strategies or rather market managers across the globe.Communication among the marketers should also be enhanced so thatsharing on market strategies can be easily achieved. Addition of amarket strategist needs the consent of partners who can push forfurther expansion into new countries when meeting with the topmanagement [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].

Starbucksturnover rates tend to be quite low due to their rewarding system. Itattracts a huge number of employees. The company ought to change itsrewarding mechanism to adopt a performance based approach. This hasto start from the employee level i.e. they employees need tounderstand the importance of being productive. With managers at thevarious coffee bases adopting this mechanism, top management couldchip in to make it permanent i.e. rewarding is performance based [ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].


Starbuckis one of the leading companies globally with a wide range ofproducts and services. It boasts of great organizational,motivational and communication procedures that work well with itsgrowth. One thing that is quite catching is its idea to make itsemployees partners. This idea is quite noble since it motivatesemployees to perform well knowing they are incorporated in theprofits gained [ CITATION Sta04 l 1033 ].

Anotherimportant thing note concerns management techniques. Once the topmanagement realized the company was growing tremendously, theychanged organizational structure to accommodate new ventures. Theychanged to a matric kind of structure to accommodate new markets. Itis therefore vital to know your company well enough to realize itspotential [ CITATION Pau15 l 1033 ].

Fromthe Starbuck success story, one can realize no particular business isunpopular if proper mechanisms are put into place. As consumers wenever realize we need something until its supply is made. In thatrespect, Starbuck ventured into a somehow common business butrevitalized it in a unique manner thereby gaining substantial success[ CITATION Nit10 l 1033 ].

Flexibilityis a crucial feature when coming up with a business. Venturing intodifferent countries is not that easy, but due to its flexible nature,Starbuck was able to traverse across different continents with thegrowth still continuing.

Organizationalbehavior is a mandatory feature that incorporates different fields.The key facets being employee motivation, communication andorganizational structure. Power and politics also plays a tremendousrole and has to be well maintained. Successful implementation orrather behavioral adherence of these facets leads to a successfulbusiness venture. Like Starbucks, which has maintained substantialgrowth over the years and attained stability as well, any upcomingentrepreneurs need to uphold the behavioral facets of the company tobe successful.


Geereddy, N. (2010). Strategic Analysis of Starbucks Corporation. Strategic Analysis of Starbucks Corporation, 1-17.

Meyer, P. (2015, September 13). Starbuck`s Coffee Company Organizational Structure. Retrieved from Starbuck`s Coffee Company Organizational Structure:

Starbuck . (2004). Living Our Value: Corporate Social Responsibility. Washington.

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