You are on page 1of 14


Motivational strategies at Starbucks

Students Name

Institutional Affiliation

Motivational strategies at Starbucks

Starbucks Corporation is a coffee company besides being a coffeehouse chain

geographically situated in America. It was initially founded in the year 1971 in Seattle,

Washington and as of November 2016, it has extended branches and thus operates in 23,768

locations worldwide. Having been considered as a significant representative of second wave

coffee, Starbucks mainly distinguish itself from different venues serving coffee in the United

States by taste, customer experience and, most significantly taste. While other coffee serving

venues target quality minded coffee drinkers with handmade coffee, Starbucks on the other hand

use automated machines and, as thus, enhancing safety and efficiency. The Starbucks became

more profitable in the 1980s despite its initial economic degradation and therefore led to its

expansion in the British Columbia and the Midwest in the late 1980s (Schultz & Gordon, 2011).

The company, further, experienced reenergized profits with its initialization in California.

Research by Schultz and Gordon states that the Starbucks opened averagely two new locations

daily between 1987 and 2007, (2011).

The Starbucks has a well-perceived job motivation strategy that enables the company to

be positively highlighted (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). It has, therefore, achieved success

throughout history not because it offers quality products and services but as a result of the

ambiance atmosphere of teamwork effectiveness and cooperation. Equally, Starbucks has always

practiced three essential things. They include motivation of employees, proper communication,

excellent relationships and continued teamwork. This has, therefore, enabled Starbucks

continued accomplishments of its goals. Moreover, Starbucks promotes shared goals

understanding as well as supporting task relevance understanding. Also, it manages good

relationships between its managers and employers, ensures equal treatment of employees,

Favorable welfare measures and, more so, allows equality in opinion giving by both employers

and employees.

Starbucks management remains committed to particular aspects to empower its

employees (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). These points include: competency development, task

delegation, information sharing, and, most importantly reward giving. Starbucks has actively

changed the viewpoints of global coffee consumers, a fact that has caught the world attention.

This has, therefore, been achievable through teamwork and employees motivation playing as the

critical factors of the companys policy contrary to the elements of traditional management

which only lays focus on the production and ignores the employees idea.

Influencing and Communication

At the heart of an organizations effort to develop a startup culture is ensuring an effective

barrier less communication (Certo & Trevis, 2016). To achieve this, employees are assigned

work to a smaller team to provide ease in connection. Moreover, they organize for weekly

meetings to discuss new ideas at the company. Open communication is an excellent means of

improving employees' innovation and commitment. Influencing is the appropriate guiding of an

organizations members activities in the desired directions which lead to the attainment of the

management's objectives. Influencing, therefore, focuses on organization members and deals

with issues such as the development of excellent working relationships, arbitration of conflicts

and most importantly the morale towards achieving. Therefore, it is an important constituent of a

manager's job; as a matter of fact, the potential to influence others is a core determinant of a

successful manager. The influencing process involves the implementation of various

management activities including leading, communicating, encouraging creativity and innovation


as well as establishing a corporate culture (Certo & Trevis, 2016). These various activities are

interrelated to each other as each is accomplished solely through communication with the

organization members. For instance, managers can select the kind of leader members that they

need after analyzing the characteristics of the different group and again determine the best

strategies to motive them. Moreover, despite the leadership ways they adopt, their working with

groups, their leading and they're motivating, for instance, will only be accomplished through

communication with the organization members. This thus makes the ability of communication to

be the basic management skill. Influence is not tied to managers' positions in an organization.

Preferably, the employees are the most influential people in a group. Managers build on

influence and prepare employees to take instrumental roles such like assisting their coworkers in

adapting to change.

Communication on the other hand is the process through which organizational information

transfer is enabled in a company. Research by Certo and Trevis states that communication is also

an ordinary management skill and is mostly perceived to be the most responsible skill

contributing to a manager's success (2016). Communication ways of managers often involve

interpersonal communication which is the sharing of information with other members. For a

manager to be a successful interpersonal communicator, he must understand how the

interpersonal communication performs, the significance of both nonverbal and verbal

interpersonal communication and finally, the relationship exhibited between interpersonal

communication and the feedback. With good communication skills as well as excellent

interpersonal communication in the Starbucks, the workers keep one another accountable.

Moreover, it helps its employee to know what is expected of them is. This, thus, assists in

improving accountability which in turn yields high produce in Starbucks.



Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Every individual is capable of moving up the rank towards achieving a specific

recognizable level of self-actualization (Seeley, 1988). However, this progress is mostly

prevented by failure to satisfy lower level needs. Maslows hierarchy of needs is a motivational

theory that comprises of a model of human needs mostly portrayed as ranking levels within a

pyramid. It is affirmed that motivation of people is essential for the achievement of individual

requirements and that some particular needs take preference over others (Seeley, 1988). This

theory further expounds on the need to satisfy lower deficient needs before meeting high-level

growth needs initially.

Starbucks and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow constructed a hierarchy of needs consisting of five levels outlining the

requirements of a person working within a company. The lowest level entails psychological

needs needed by every employer and includes water, food, pay and job security. Starbucks

successfully fulfills this level successfully by offering steady pay rate as well as issuing

employees with breaks so as satisfy the hunger need (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). Moreover, the

company also offers discounts on the products it provides to its employees. The second level in

the Maslows hierarchy is safety needs, which ensures safe employees working environment in

regards to both safety and health. Starbucks also fulfill this stage by offering safe and clean

environments.This is exhibited via the organizations meeting safety standards and general health.

Additionally, Starbucks offers a variety of health-related benefits to its employees including

dental and vision care, life insurance, dependency and most importantly medical insurance.

Maslows third hierarchical level outlines the social needs such as respect among

employers and employees, affection extended by employers toward employees. Regarding this,

Starbucks employees are treated with respect. This is exhibited by the way the employees are

addressed regarding job title partners rather than labeling them as workers by the managerial.

Esteem needs such as promotion and job status are exhibited in the fourth level. Starbuck keenly

follows this by promotions to baristas presenting outright performances in the organization

(Schultz & Gordon, 2011). Starbucks solely strives to offer support to individual worker to move

from being baristas to being store managers and eventually assume more prominent positions

and roles in the company. Besides the barista position appearing simple, the Starbucks do not

limit employees regarding promotion and capabilities. Finally, the last top hierarchical level

outlines self-actualization on an individual job role whereby an individual attains a sense of

achievement within their job title. Starbucks, therefore, puts its employees through training

systems thus enhancing their choice of career and enables them to meet particular results.

Maslows system, as a fact, is hierarchical that initially focuses on satisfying lower needs

before the motivation affects the higher level needs. Nonetheless, with personal developments

exhibited by an individual potential, the need for self-actualization can never be fully satisfied.

Thus, the motivating process through the requirements is endless. This, consequently,

encourages the continued motivational process by the Starbucks which continues to uplift its

status besides that of its employees.

McClellands Acquired Needs Theory

The McClellands theory lays focus on power, affiliation and achievement and how it

affects individuals from a managerial view (French & Torres, 2010). An individuals

effectiveness and motivation in a specific job is strongly influenced by these three needs.

Regarding achievement, people with high demands for achievement seek to prosper and

therefore avoid both high risk and low-risk situations. On the other hand, achievers avert low-

risk circumstances and thus ventures into high-risk projects as the view the outcome of these

projects to be one of chance instead of ones effort (French & Torres, 2010). Individual with high

needs for affiliation focus on mending harmonious relationships with others, They, therefore,

incline to suit or instead fit in their work group and, as thus, opt for work that enhances personal

interaction. On the other hand, people in high need for power are often viewed to be undesirable

for they always express the want to direct other people.

McClellands Acquired Needs Theory and Starbucks

The need for achievement is addressed by the Starbucks via exclusively intense training,

and the stock options use to connect its employees and the organizational success. On the

contrary, Starbucks addresses the need for affiliation by working through life and work programs

that links employees with shared hobbies and interest and the need for power via the numerous

partner relation programs. The social relationships exhibited between the Starbucks and its

employees are based on the unique demands and the substantial private contributions of the

partners (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). The organization demands perfect performance from its

employees besides a positive despondence to humanistic values as well as a grand excellence

vision. This, in turn, compels the companys pursuit of persistent growth and profitability. On the

other hand, the Starbucks provides a beautiful working environment, respect, and dignity to its

employees. The employees, often referred to as the partners, on the contrary, demand satisfaction

of their needs via the organization's motivational program. The partners, in turn, offer their

exceptional knowledge, skills, loyalty and customer service (French & Torres, 2010). This

enhances performance by increased productivity which, as thus, leads to transcending

profitability thus enabling Starbucks to maintain its status and popularity.

Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and theory Y are two differing theories, regarding the Starbucks that explain

how the organizational perception can affect managerial style. Theory X refers to authoritarian

management while theory Y, on the contrary, refers to participative management (Leonard &

Hilgert, 2004). The autocratic administration exhibits little employee motivation and involves

micromanaging of employees work to ensure proper delivery. On the other hand, participative

management presents high motivation whereby managers entrust their employees to take

ownership of their work and perform it marvelously by themselves. Significantly, any

management approach assumed has significant effects on the ability to motivate the staff. It, is,

therefore essential to understand the employees perceptions toward the management as well as

their view on what drives them. Moreover, theory X type of control assumes that employees

dislike work, avoid their work responsibility and need supervision in all instances. Organizations

using this kind of control, thus, tend to employ several tiers of supervisors and managers who are

always authoritative to direct workers. On the contrary, theory Y maintains an optimistic opinion

on their people besides using participative, decentralized management style. This, thereby,

motivates and encourages a trust-based and collaborative relationship between team members

and their employers. Moreover, unlike theory X organizations, appraisals and remunerations are


Theory X and Theory Y and Starbucks

Starbucks employs theory Y type of management which assumes that their

employers are self-motivated towards performing their tasks. Starbucks regularly offer appraisal

and remunerations to its partners as well as allow them to view their work as challenging but

fulfilling (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). This therefore increases the employers desire for more

desirable careers that provide them with more critical factors besides money. Starbucks

management encourages its employees to frankly state their opinions as well as more

communication with the administration. Therefore, the employees enjoy a very high satisfaction

as well as the formation of a stable bond amongst themselves. Moreover, the employees develop

pride as a result of working for a preeminent successful organization that acts according to their

values of interest. As a result, maximum productivity and profitability are acquired from the

employees, thus enhancing performance and catapulting Starbucks to stay in the lead.

Managerial Communication

Managerial communication is a factor that assists managers in the communication

with each other besides employees within a company (Overton, 2008). It helps in information

transfer. Moreover, it helps in the flow of vital information among managers working towards

achieving a common goal. An organizational successful culture needs consistency (Overton,

2008). Starbucks mission of internal communication is to effectively manage the flow of their

information via defined communication channels for the effective initiative execution of the

organization. Starbucks improves their consistency through excellent communication. All

Starbucks employees are often referred to as partners, and this enables ease of communication

between each other (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). The managerial team organizes weekly meetings

regarding the operational challenges in communication. Additionally, Starbucks engages new

employees on training seeking to improve their communication skills. Besides, they also provide

special kind of cards referred to as thank cards to the employees which enable the staff to express

their gratitude. This card however small it seems, therefore, acts as a communication tool for the

employees. With all these steps undertaken to improve communication, the Starbucks

management becomes able to manage the business with a lot of ease.

Job Design-Flextime

Flextime is a schedule that exhibits flexibility in the hours that employees are

needed to be at their work places. It allows workers to determine their working hours. Starbucks

employees are encouraged to work at different times so long as they maintain their production

level (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). Flextime job design attracts more qualified workers in an

organization. Also, it helps in boosting an organizations productivity. This is achieved through

having different workers in different hours of the day, for instance, having some of the

employees in the morning, different ones in the afternoon and others for night shifts. This means

that the Starbucks organization works based on a 24 hours setup and, as thus, increasing

productivity and hence high profitability. In this work set up the employees exercise a great

sense of life-work balance. Therefore, this acts as a motivation to the employees for they are

proud to work for a company that allows them to decide or choose the time intervals that they are

required to work, and that is convenient for them.

Behavior modification

Behavior modification is an approach that focuses on changing behavior (Clark,

2016). It involves the replacement of undesirable behavior with the accepted and the desirable

ones. Behavior should be modified through reinforcement and by consequences. The common

element used in behavior modification is a reward system or positive reinforcement. Starbucks

offer reward exclusively on ethical behavior of its employees. This motives its employees to

continue behaving in the organization's code of conduct. On the other hand, Starbucks employs

negative reinforcement to take the undesirable results away and, as thus, reinforcing good

behavior. The rule of behavior modification explains the code of behavior that is supposed to be

emulated. However, to certainly achieve a long-lasting behavior modification, the Starbucks

devotes more time to ensure the emulation of meaningful guidance regarding behavior

modification. This guidance offers an excellent explanation on when to inflict a penalty and

more so pays attention to the employees development concerning their code of conduct. On the

contrary, behavior modification in Starbucks discourages unwanted behavior by applying

punishments (Schultz & Gordon, 2011). This can be negative as well as positive. In Starbucks,

the term positive refers to a consequence added. This means that the employee under the

punishment will perform some extra duties thereby extra results. This, therefore, will encourage

the employee to behave correctly to avert the extra consequence in the future. On the other hand,

Negative punishment refers to withdrawal of something. In Starbucks case, it may include salary

deduction as a penalty. This, in turn, will encourage the employees under this kind of punishment

to stay in the right lane concerning their behavioral mode to avoid more salary deductions. With

the right behaviors emulated in the Starbucks, an increase in its productivity is recorded within

the organization.

Monetary and Nonmonetary incentives

Monetary and Nonmonetary incentives are both effective within Starbucks. However,

financial motivations seem to be more efficient when the employees are motivated by hard cash

or any additional payments that lead to increasing in their total enough compensation. A

monetary incentive in Starbucks is a reward based on the money offered to an employee to

appreciate their exceeded expectations (Clark, 2016. They can include stock options, profit

sharing, and cash bonuses increasing an employee's compensation. On the contrary, non-

monetary incentives refer to the rewards that exhibit the promise of an opportunity. Starbucks

offer opportunities to employees who excellently meet their expectations (Schultz & Gordon,

2011). These opportunities include flexible schedule at work, time off from work and even

desirable changes in the working environment. Both monetary and nonmonetary incentives act as

a motivational tool to employees as it expresses a sense of appreciation from their employer.

This therefore encourages the employees to work efficiently to earn extra shillings. As thus, with

the increase in the productivity of each employee, the general productivity of the organization

also improves thus high profits in the Starbucks.


Starbucks is the leading coffee retailer that produces and sells a wide variety of drinks,

confections as well as pastries globally. It has changed the viewpoints and the behaviors of its

global coffee consumers. Its success has attracted worldwide attention. Moreover, it is the fastest

growing corporation as well as the exceptional business design with the lowest employee

turnover rate and an excellent profit performance. The teamwork acquired through excellent

communication besides the motivation of its employees forms the key factors of the Starbucks

policy and, most importantly, has led to its success. Several theories that the Starbucks uses to

motivate its employees are viewed to be motivational behaviors that attempt to satisfy needs.

These different theories are not complete on their own. However, each theory gives the

framework that Starbucks uses in analyzing, interpreting and managing of its employee's

behaviors in the working environment within the organization.



Certo, S. C, & Trevis. S. C. (2016). Modern Management: Concepts and Skills, 14th Edition.


Clark, P. (2016). Business management. Oxford : OSC Publishing

French, S. L., & Torres, R. M. (2010). Motivation for enrolling in school-based agricultural

education expressed by CAFNR freshmen students. Columbia, Mo: University of


Leonard, E. C., & Hilgert, R. L. (2004). Supervision: Concepts and practices of management.

Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.

Overton, R. (2008). Business communication. Boat Harbour, N.S.W: Martin Books.

Schultz, H., & Gordon, J. (2011). Onward: How Starbucks fought for its life without losing its

soul. New York, NY: Rodale.

Seeley, E. S. (1988). The implications of Maslow's theory of motivation for consumer behavior:

An hierarchical consumption theory. (Dissertation Abstracts International, 49-6.)