Considering that employees working with Starbucks form the vital core of the company’s success in terms of selling the company’s image to the general public and performing the day-to-day operations, there is the need for the company to hire people who can maintain positive interactions with customers.
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This can be achieved through a rigorous process entailing job analysis, job specification, and job description by the human resource department. For instance, for Baristas (bar persons), the following should form part of their job specifications and descriptions: Job Specifications; Candidates eligible for the position of baristas will possess the following skills, knowledge, and abilities;
- Knowledge of different brands of coffee,
- Be eager to learn new concepts,
- Ability to learn the art of coffee brewing,
- Be self-motivated, creative, adaptable, team-players, and passionate, and
- Ability to maintain a large array of regular customers
Job Descriptions: Baristas will be charged with the following duties and responsibilities;
- Brewing and serving coffee to the customers in real-time,
- Receiving and responding to customer needs/orders quickly,
- Reporting to their immediate supervisors on issues regarding customer complaints and preferences, and
- Helping in designing strategies to address customer issues particularly complaints and customer preferences.
In a functional organization, work should be delegated to different departments in order to reduce confusion and ensure that work efficiency is maintained. This forms the essence of organizational departmentalization. Therefore, the most appropriate form of departmentalization suitable for Starbucks is product-service departmentalization.
Under this form of sub-dividing work into respective departments, different products or services are assigned to specific departments and personnel. As a result, products or services with unique demands and customer preferences are given the maximum attention (Robins & Coulter, 1999).
Product-service departmentalization is very important for Starbucks considering the range of products the company offers including different brands of coffees such as coffee mocha, espresso, and cappuccino among others. The wide product range is coupled with unique customer services such as interior designs, which encourage different customer behaviors and conduct (Reilly, Minnick, & Baack, 2011).
Besides, Starbucks’ cafes are located in different areas, and thus it is difficult to adopt other forms of departmentalization. Hence, in order for the products and services offered by Starbucks to grow and prosper relative to customer needs and preferences, there is the need to give more attention to each product or service independently.
As for stores offering food products and lunch, it is imperative for such stores to adopt the same form of departmentalization. As noted in the above discussions, unique products and services require more attention in order to maintain growth and prosperity among customers.
It is also to be expected that stores offering food products and lunch have a variety of products and services some of which are universal while others are unique in many aspects.
Therefore, it is important to organize such stores into product-specific departments to ensure timely response to customer needs and preferences (Robins & Coulter, 1999).
From the look of things, it is apparent that Starbucks’ Howard Schultz has been practicing a centralized or bureaucratic system of organizational management. With the vast number of Starbucks’ coffee joints, it is no doubt that a bureaucratic organization will face many challenges.
The situation can also worsen when a manager/CEO concentrates on business expansion while overlooking other market dynamics such as business competition. Therefore, when an organization begins to experience financial problems of the kind experienced by Starbucks, it is important for the top management to encourage decentralization of power and decision-making processes within the organization.
The beauty of such a system is that the top management makes enough time to concentrate on formulating strategies while delegating the day-to-day operations and other decision-making responsibilities to their juniors (Robins & Coulter, 1999). Accordingly, with decentralization, there is rapid responsiveness to customer needs and preferences, employee motivation, and cultivation of new businesses processes.
As noted earlier, Starbucks can be regarded to as a bureaucratic organization in which business processes, techniques, and regulations are systematically defined and handed down the management line.
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However, due to the inherent disadvantages associated with such an organizational structure, there is the need for Starbucks to modify its organization to include flat structures, downsizing, and outsourcing. By reducing the number of layers through which information travels from the baristas to the CEO, workers are given the opportunity to report directly to the top management.
This is the essence of flat organizational structures. Coupled with downsizing which in essence refers to cutting down on low-value activities, a flat structure will enable Starbucks’ top management to respond to customer needs and preferences by getting first-hand information from its personnel on the ground (Robins & Coulter, 1999).
Furthermore, considering that Starbucks has embarked on increased business expansion over the years, there is the need to outsource the services of other organizations to try and reduce the number of its operational assets and employees if necessary. The idea behind outsourcing is that the company will be able to identify certain tasks where its employees and business processes perform best and maintain them while delegating other tasks to organizations with the relevant expertise and personnel.
For instance, Starbucks can adopt ‘home-shoring’ whereby workers are encouraged to help with customer service from the comfort of their homes. Overall, Starbucks stands a better chance of getting back to its previous status through initiating the right business strategies and processes.
Reilly, M., Minnick, C., & Baack, D. (2011). The five functions of effective management. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
Robins, S.P., & Coulter, M. (1999). Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.