Management Styles of Starbucks


In every organization, managers perform many different tasks, howthey handle different roles within the organization is determined bythe style of management they use. Schultz Howard, Starbuck former CEOand now global strategist and chairman of the company in describinghis management style one can say that he is a charismatic, exemplaryand transformational leader. This is because for a short span that hetook the leadership role, he had managed to transform the companyinto a multibillion dollar company and kept his employees highlymotivated and committed to the success of the company (Schultz &ampGordon, 2011 p3). So how do managers like Schultz Howard, Steve Jobsand many others manage to be successful? This study paper aims atdiscussing the management styles used by managers. In addition tothis, the paper will use Starbuck to conduct research on how it ismanaged. Moreover, the paper will identify defining traits ofmanagement styles used.

Management styles can be defined as the leadership method employed bya manager when running a business in terms of making decision and howhe or she relates with the employees (Elsa, 2014 p168). In otherwords, it is the manner used by organization to manage employee workactivities. Management styles vary depending on the followingfactors: organization culture, work activities` employees are engagedin and characteristics of the employees. Different organizationapplies different styles of management this is because what works inone organization might not be effective in another organization.Nevertheless, there are two common management styles used in MostCompany the autocratic and permissive management style (Sarien &ampUniversity of Rajasthan, Jaipur 1973 p 123). An autocratic managerunilaterally makes all the decisions in the company. Permissivemanagers encourage subordinate to play a role in decision making andfurther permit the employee autonomy when doing his or her work.

The company chosen for discussion in this study paper is Starbuckthis is one of the best-performing companies in the United States andowes its success to its former CEO Schultz whose management skillstransformed the company from being just a local firm to aninternational company.

The company was started in the 1970 by three friends, and becomepopular when the visionary leader Howard Schultz joined it as amanager Bussing-Burks, M. (2009). Starbucks. Santa Barbara,Calif: Greenwood Press.. Howard had a great vision for the companyand introduced the coffee mug idea whereby customers would be servedwith ready to drink coffee. He was to leave the company in 1985 to1987 to start his own company Gironale. However, his passion andvision for Starbuck were too big to resist the offer of buying thecompany when it was placed in the market. Under Howard Schultz,Starbuck rapidly grew and expanded to different cities. One of thegreatest quotes that mark out Howard as a great inspirational leaderis: if his employees had faith in him and his intentions, then theywould never need a union. Nevertheless, critics are of the view thatthis depicts Howard as an autocrat. After reading this paper thereader will be able to prove the validity of this accusation.

After buying the company, Schultz went on to provide a direction tohis subordinate and through motivation, he was able to get thecompany in the right direction. Starbuck becomes the first company tooffer benefits to part-time workers. As the company CEO Howard wasdevoted in creating a working relationship that was based on care andmutual respect. His motives as a leader were to treat his subordinatewith the respect they deserved and by doing this, he provided themwith an opportunity to prove their capabilities. It is for thisreason that he stepped down as the CEO to give Smith an opportunityto prove himself too as a leader.

Howard was of the opinion that by treating employees like a familythe manager earnt their loyalty. He ensured that the employees becomepart owners of the company in order to retain them and encourage themto be more productive (David &amp Edmund, 2010 p67). This he did byintroducing the bean stock plan which ensured that every employee gota share.

Using Howard to explain the style of management used in this companywe can say he was a charismatic leader. This is evidenced by the factthat he could persuade the subordinate through communicating hisideas to them in such a manner that gave them morale to achieve hisvision.

Transformational leader, as a transformational leader Schultzintroduced brand new strategies for his business and went on newstaff that helped the company grow and expand. Thus, we can say thatas a leader Howard developed a mutual stimulation relationship in thecompany that elevated his employees thereby converting them intofollowers and himself in a moral agent. By doing so, he was able tomotivate his followers to perform better than expected. Hisleadership vision for the company, passion for success, team buildingqualities and decision-making ability is what made him an outstandingleader.

Managers are leaders, and most of them fall under the followingapproaches: the trait approach this suggests that leaders are bornand consist of particular personality traits. The functional approachsuggests that the skills of leadership are developed or learned.Style approach suggests that leaders make an impact on thosefollowing them. Contingency models stress on the significance of thesituation whereby the leader reacts according to the situation athand (Givhan, 2014 p49). Looking at Howard Schultz`s management styleis more drawn towards style and functional approach as its evidencedby the fact that he gave his subordinate opportunities to exercisestheir leadership skill. Furthermore, the employees under him receivedtraining and development in order to polish their skill and attainthe company’s goals.

The management of Starbuck has a guiding principle that explains theyaim of bringing unique experience to every customer life through acoffee cup. It is for this reason that the management has always usedservant leadership in order to ensure that the customer’s needs aregiven a priority. According to the company current CEO the servantleadership demonstrated by the company goes beyond meeting thecustomer’s needs to serving the community as well. The company useslaissez faire style of management and thus places the employees firstby empowering them and developing them to full capacity. This way theemployees feel committed to achieving the company goals.

Challenge faced by management at Starbuck: the use of laissez fairestyle of management prevents the company from attaining efficiency indifferent levels (Kline, 2007 p263). This style of management oughtto be replaced by inspirational management style this will increaseefficiency and increase employee motivation. Laissez faire style ofmanagement is the kind of delegative leadership whereby the managerpermits a group of members to take decisions independently. Theproblem with this kind of management style is that it results in lowproductivity among employees. In addition, use of this style ofmanagement by the Starbuck management makes the managers appearwithdrawn and uninvolved which result to lack of cohesiveness.Inspirational style of management will motivate the employees to putmore efforts and be productive. Inspirational leaders are ethical,diligent and influential. Thus they take time to train employees andlead by example.

In the future, the management ought to improve on their management byadopting an innovative approach for dealing with all businessprocesses. By promoting the innovativeness, the company will increaseits competitive edge. Additionally, the management ought to encourageemployees at all levels on better methods of getting things done.

To sum up, management styles are not about good or bad, right orwrong they simply depend on situations, people and task at hand thuswe can never say that this management style is the best compared tothe others. However, the most exercised management styles areautocratic and permissive management style. The latter managers thatuse it allow the employees to take part in decision making andmandate them to act responsibly. While as in the former, the managermakes all the decisions companies such as Starbuck have managed to bewhere they are by having exemplary leaders who are able to predictfuture business trends and stay ahead of the competitors.


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