Starbucks: Forty Years Strong

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Critical Thinking – Starbucks Case Study

"Whatever your culture, your values, your guiding principles, you have to take steps to inculcate them in the organization early in its life so that they can guide every decision, every hire, every strategic objective you set” (Schultz & Yang, 2007). That’s exactly what Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, did when he first started with the company in 1982 (“Our Heritage,” 2011). The company’s solid business model of providing more than just a cup of coffee allowed it to flourish for over two decades. Then in 2008, Starbucks’ stock had plummeted and the company’s aggressive growth strategy led to the commoditization of this popular coffeehouse and its products. When Schultz saw this company become a diluted version of what he dreamed it would be, he decided to step up again as CEO (Koehn et al., 2008). Starbucks successfully developed and implemented a strategic plan to recreate the intimate coffee shop feeling.

At the company’s 2008 annual meeting Schultz unveiled new initiatives to “get back to the core” and reignite the passion for the true Starbucks experience (Koehn et al., 2008). They employed the strategic management process and began by looking at their current mission, goals, and strategies (Robbins & Coulter, 2009). Starbucks had a firm tradition in providing generous employee benefits, outstanding customer service and also valued the importance of being socially responsible. The next steps of the process involved a SWOT analysis to examine the internal and external aspects of the company (Robbins & Coulter, 2009). An internal analysis would reveal that the company’s strengths included its commitment to its employees and customers. Also, Starbucks’ use of vertical integration allow...

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