Starbucks Supervisory Case Study

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1) Starbucks’ employees can be seen as a formal team as opposed to an informal team. Differentiate between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ teams.

2) The employees of Starbucks retail shops clearly work together well as a team. List four characteristics of teams that have ‘gelled’ together.

3) “… the numbers of employees are usually from three to six.” a. Why is the size of team an important factor?
b. What are the benefits to Starbucks of having small teams of staff in each branch?

4) Starbucks achieve success and adhere to the criteria of planning, execution and review.

a. Explain three issues that need to be addressed in the planning process. b. Reviewing is an ongoing process. Explain three things Starbucks can do continually to ensure goals are being accomplished. (HINT: apply your facts on the review process to the Starbucks situation).

5) How does Starbucks manage to keep good relationships between their managers and employees?

6) Name the five issues that teams should take note of and address if necessary, before these issues become a crisis.

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7) The staff at Starbucks are empowered and motivated employees. Briefly explain, in your own words, the three principles that Starbucks implement in motivating their employees.

8) Management needs to commit to certain aspects in order to empower employees. List four of these aspects.


1. Formal Team

A formal team is a structured team, created for a specific purpose. It will have a leader and everybody within the team will have a distinct role. At Starbucks the Formal Group has a formal organizational structure and involves a flat structure that is Board of Directors, Managers and staff.

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At the Branches the Formal Team was made up of Managers and Subordinates which both shared common specialties.

Informal Team

An informal team is similar to a formal team, but does not have a rank structure as in; having a leader or someone who co-ordinates as task. All team members in an informal team are equal in every task given to that team. At Starbucks Informal Teams where developed to ensure that communication was effective. They used the groups to deal with matters arising in the company and communicate the information to the rest of the workers.

They differ also in the form of origin, purpose, size, authority, behavior and communication.

2. a. Starbucks managers and supervisors co-work with line staff on the front line which creates a closer and familiar atmosphere. b. Number of employees at Starbuck are usually from 3-6 so that helps staff to know each other well and quicker. Any ideas and objectives are treated equally. c. The CEO believes the spirit of Starbuck is the employees and offer a structure of interaction to make them put out all the best into their jobs. d. Managers treat employees equally and give them status of ‘partners’. This lessen the gap between managers and employees.

3. A. Team size of an organization is derived from Task, Goals and processes. Large teams are harder to manage and sometimes bias to some individuals than others, large teams also pose difficulties in knowing each member well. Smaller teams most times gives better work quality and outcomes, less conflict, stronger communication and more cohesion. Size is always important to a manager or supervisor so they can exercise ‘Span of Control’ which the amount of persons an individual can manage given a task.
Theoretically 4-7 persons.

1. Lessens the gap of politics in the organization
2. Stronger communication amongst staff
3. Better quality work and outcome
4. Treat employees of equal importance
5. Creates a bridge between organization strategies and staffing development
6. Remove gaps between different positions

4. Three Issues:

Equal Treatment – This means employer may not treat anyone differently. Starbucks managers rely on treating each employee equally to which all staff are call partners. Managers should treat employees with fairness, respect and equality; this will create a friendlier workplace. Starbucks narrowed the gap between managers and employees by addressing equal treatment in their planning processes which helped the organization maintain a good system and created better work environment.

Listen to Employee – Starbucks allow employees to join in to make and develop plans and work together in achieving goals. This also needs to be addressed in the planning processes by communicating policies principles between all staffs, giving them importance which will motivate and encourage them to concentrate on their task.

Good Welfare – Starbucks offer employees (Formal or In-formal) great deals in welfare policies eg. Partners who work long hours per week are entitled to certain benefits. Good Welfare Policies include: Medical Insurance, Commodity discounts etc. Addressing this in the planning process will motivate employees and give better work environment. 4b.

Three Things:

1. Motivate Employees – For Starbucks to keep being a rapidly growing organization, management will have to keep staff motivated properly. By doing so, goals will be achieved and business will expand.

2. Communication and Teamwork – Communication channels will have to be effective and efficient, also proper between management and staff. This also foster good team work leading to organization accomplishing it goals.

3. Maintain Good Relationships – Customers along with employees are the most important entities of any Business Corporation. Starbucks try hard to maintain those good relations in-order to ensure that the organization objectives are fulfilled.

5. Starbucks managers treat employees equally and called them partners to bring out a good relationship between staff. Here are some factors: 1. Promote the understanding of goals and objectives

Employees were made to understand roles and functions; groups and individual goals. If they are not defined and clarified then there will be mis-identity and performance issues. Also employees will play blame games, more conflict and an increase in turn-overs. Starbucks alleviated those issues by promoting a clear understanding through sharing of goals to its managers and employees.

2. Promote understanding of task

Starbucks management and employees have a great understanding of task so they focus on problem solving, removing performance barrier and delivering outcomes which will cut out finger pointing due to persons knowing their relevance.

3. Access in giving opinions

Manager and employees get the chance to present their views and opinions.

4. Equal Treatment
5. Flexible Work Hours
6. Good Welfare
7. Treat as important assets

6. A. Strong Customer Values

Starbucks mission is that of providing good workplace atmosphere and treat workers with respect. Also good relationships with supplier. These will improve customer values.

B. Value-based Service Brand

Brand is very important, it can improve or damage a company. Starbucks marketed its Brands along with creating a warm and comfortable environment.

C. Value-based Leadership Service

Starbucks engages in empowerment, corporation and communication of culture and value.

D. Value-based Service Experience

Starbucks offer a great environment for customers to be comfortable while shopping and provide necessary commodities which are needed by customers.

E. Strategy to sustain in the business

Starbucks have a good relationship with the suppliers to control qualities and prices. They focus on social and environmental points and engage in Business Ethics, Mission and Code of Conduct.

7. Three principles that Starbucks implement in motivating their employee are: 1. Good Welfare – Offer Health insurance and other incentives to their employees. Make sure they are well taken care of. 2. Equal Treatment- All employees are treated equally, they are called partners. No one employee is treated differently to other employees, it help to create friendly working environment. Communication is good, not misleading. 3. Listen to Employees – When employees are involved in developing plans, goals are achieved easier.

8. In order to empower employees there are a few practices that will need implementing that help them to feel confident, capable and in control of the outcome of their work. 1. Give Rewards – Reward employees for their productivity. This will encourage them to do better work. 2. Develop competence – Train employees properly to improve on their competence 3. Delegate Task – Make employee aware that it’s up to them to get job done in other-words give important tasks 4. Sharing Information – Managers need to share organizational plans with the employees for them to be effective and also have a sense of purpose within the organization.

Cite this page

Starbucks Supervisory Case Study. (2016, May 05). Retrieved from

Starbucks Supervisory  Case Study

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