Motivation at Starbuck

Motivation at Starbuck




The breakthrough in technology over the decades is a good business boost for many firms. However, more efficiency and productivity are achieved with motivated workers. This study looks into Starbuck as a case study to unravel some of the underlying ideologies behind employee motivation in organizational success.

This study also analyses management techniques, theories and practices of motivation, and the basic management issues that may have heavy impacts to an organization. The knowledge of organizational behavior helps managers to understand employees, and thus adopts ways that can improve their efficiency and effectiveness, thereby helping a firm to adopt favorably to the changing business situations (Sanzotta, 2007). The paper discusses some of the motivational theories and practices as practiced at Starbucks and tries to answer the following possible questions;

What motivates the employees?

What are some of the psychological motivational theories that explain how they are motivated?

The current global business require more than leadership and team building to enhance great success through direction and control. It also needs the efficiency and effectiveness of employees through utilization of their intellectual prowess and commitment to the organizational goals and objectives. This is only possible if they take participatory roles in the organization.


According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, humanity is driven by the following needs where satisfaction of each needs level motivates another higher need: Psychological, which relates to survival basic needs, safety, social needs, esteem, and self-actualization. Herzberg’s factor is another motivational theory which relates to factors that increase or decrease worker’s satisfaction (Mcreynolds, 2012). Expectancy theory is also another motivational theory and concept which assumes that quality of employee’s efforts is influenced by the outcome they receive for their efforts. These theories and concepts together with their critics are discussed in this paper in order to fully understand the aspects of organizational behavior.

Understanding the changing behaviors of the employees facilitates better working relationships between managers and the employees. Starbuck is one of the retail coffee business models that do not only provide quality coffee to its worldwide customers, but also provide a suitable working environment for its employees. Its employee motivational strategies, customer satisfaction, and cooperation of teamwork make it become ranked among the rapidly growing companies in the world (Dessler, 2010). Just like Starbucks, it is paramount for organizations to realize that they can reap full benefits of efficiency and higher productivity if they involve their employees in the active and participatory roles in the organization. The company enhances active participation through training, freedom of opinion expression, equal treatment, and proper welfare measures as well as offering employees a listening ear to their complaints.

With globalization pace over the recent years, the intensity of competition among related and unrelated businesses necessitates different perspectives of strategies. Success is not only achieved though quality production of services and goods, but can also be achieved through team work and provision of favorable working atmosphere in the Starback’s pursuance of completion and high production (Christopher, 2007). In order to realize this, management needs to define goals clearly, organize working structures, and should motivate its employees. This calls for interpersonal, decisional, and informational roles in performing this management process in the case of managers. Managers should use their conceptual and technical skills to change the attributes of the organizational behavior to conversely change productivity and efficiency of the organization.

Motivation is one of the basic drivers of Starback’s capital and human efficiency in an organization. It blesses the organization with more than quality production, efficiency, and high productivity. It also enhances human compatibility, commitments, participation and responsibility. Motivated employees are like well-oiled machine that performs with increased momentum. The company’s behavior can be shaped by motivated employees since they have the biggest influence on the organization.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains that individual’s needs rises to higher levels as they move higher in the corporate hierarchy. However, irrespective of this fact, certain organizational cultures values social endeavors over psychological ones. Maslow advocates for critical understanding of the employees’ needs and conceptualize employees motivational factors in the management’s efforts to direct organization’s behavior. Hertzberg’s concept of hygiene and motivational factors suggest that, one, working conditions should be environmentally favorable (Simon, 2006). This attribute looks into the organizational policies, job status, security, salary, relationships as well as working condition. Two, it also job satisfaction elements like recognition, responsibility, achievements, growth, and self advancements.

Employees are motivated when they feel their efforts results into acceptable performance worth recognition and reward. According to expectancy theory, the quality of employees is directly related to outcome and therefore their efforts are influenced by those outcomes. Communication works better for this purpose through training, whereby they are informed of what they should do to get rewarded. To enhance further understanding, compatibility, and responsibility, fairness and equity is obligatory (Christopher, 2007). According to Equity theory employees are motivated when their compensation is fair in comparison to coworkers, and any otherwise situation will demoralize them.


As Starbuck’s do it, shaping and directing organization’s behavior is a direct effect of employee motivation and should be aimed at satisfying their needs, compensating them, and rewarding them. The insight got from the motivational theories, concepts and Starbuck’s case is instrumental in assessing the employee needs, both from psychological, social, and economical perspectives in the process of motivating them. With an organization’s objectives, goals and activities, the core important participant is the worker. Their efficiency and commitments are very crucial in the achievement of these attributes. Organizations are undergoing through revolutionary changes of making decisions, technological growth, competitive changes, and shifting demands to motivational aspects of management. One of the tasks of management is to manage individuals, groups, and processes in the process of achieving the set goals and objectives.

Starbuck’s employees can be seen as formal team as opposed to an informal team. Differentiate between formal and informal teams.

Formal teams are well-structured teams that have clear purpose for every member of the team. The presence of the manager (leader or supervisor) shows how distinctively roles are given. Every employee in this case has a participatory chance for the company. In Starbucks, equal treatment of employees makes them have a chance to participate in the growth and success of the company. Other than being referred to as ‘partners’, both managers and employees co-work at the basic level staff in the front line staff, an indication that employee freely socialize, work, respect and embrace team work.

As opposed to formal team, informal team on the other hand is a structure less team with no clear roles of each member of the team. The team may share a common purpose, but everybody in the team has a chance to take any opportunity that come by. It is formed on interpersonal relationships.

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

The wish of every organization’s management is to have a spirited team that can help the organizations to achieve its goals and objectives, and by margin of success. Togetherness in the team always raises responsiveness of every member of the team and therefore works harder and smart. The following characteristics are portrayed by teams that have stuck together for the common purpose of ensuring the organizational goals are achieved:

Cooperative spirit

Members of the team have the right attitude of achieving a common goal. A successful teamwork, as witnessed in Starbuck’s employees , have a spirit of corporation, and the presence of strong and capable managers who keeps them on the same page, while at the same time minimizing instances of petty misunderstandings within the team.


Communication is a vital characteristic of a successful team for purposes of open issues and agendas of the organization. Starbuck has an open communication channel and listen to employees’ ideas, issues, suggestions as well as complaints. The company‘s policies and principles are communicated between all staff creating no limitation in employee’s opinions.


A successful team is goal driven and committed to achieving the set goals and objectives. What defines teamwork is commitment to goals, with the togetherness in ideologies to complete the task. According to Starbucks, the free working relationship between the managers and employees is a perfect strategy that has enhanced commitments, since every employee feels part and parcel of the company.


The essentiality of every member of the team in enhancing success enables a task to be effectively performed since every member knows his or her work and sets out their efforts in the task. In Starbuck as the case study, the set tasks, principles, policies, and any other emerging issues of the organization and communicate them well to employees. In addition to that, every opinion of employees is taken into keen consideration, thereby proving active participation. More than that, at the tasks (activities) levels, the reduced bureaucratic gap between management and employees ensures active participation in the company’s activities for all.


Top of Form

Christopher, E. E. (2007). Behavioral Theory for Managers: Practical Interpretation of Basic Motivational Theories. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.

Dessler, G. (2010). Organization Theory: Integrating Structure and Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Mcreynolds, J. (2012). Motivational Theories & Psychology. Delhi: English Press.

Sanzotta, D. (2007). Motivational Theories & Applications for Managers. New York: AMACOM.

Simon, H. A. (2006). Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organization (3d ed.). New York: Free Press.

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