Can be answered as three short essays
INSTRUCTIONS TO CANDIDATES: This paper has 4 pages and 3 questions.
1. This exam consists of three (3) questions.
2. Students are required to do ALL questions. Answer each question separately.
3. Use the assignment rubric provided as a guide in structuring responses.
Case: Navigating the Pandemic at Starbucks
It was March 11th, 2020, and Kevin Johnson, the president and chief operating officer of Starbucks, a Washington-based multinational chain of coffee houses and roastery reserves, faced with a dilemma. The Covid-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). This announcement required quick action by the company’s leadership to navigate the uncertain times ahead. Good leadership is what societies in crisis need most.
Message to Stakeholders
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Mr Johnson penned a message to Starbucks customers and employees on May 22 entitled, ‘A Time for Resilience’:
This moment in time, as the world is united in an effort to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, requires coordinated action by governments, health care providers, businesses, and people in every community. Working together, we are making a difference and, together, we will overcome this unprecedented challenge.
I am inspired by our Starbucks store partners around the world who proudly wear the green apron and who are rising to the occasion. They demonstrate our resilience and our commitment to the communities we serve.
On Friday evening, we made the decision to close customer access to the cafes of all company-operated Starbucks stores across the United States (U.S.) and Canada and shifted to a drive-thru operating model. In cooperation with and guided by local government officials, our drive-thru and delivery continue to be available so that we can provide communities a range of food and beverage offerings.
We also committed to pay all Starbucks U.S. and Canada retail partners for the next 30 days whether or not their store is closed, or they are otherwise unable, or even uncomfortable, coming to work. We believe no partner should be asked to choose between work and their health.
On Saturday morning, something incredible happened. Our partners in every region around the U.S. and Canada showed up before dawn to open drive-thru-only experiences at their stores. They filled in for each other at short-staffed nearby stores. Our stores that could open, did. Our partners showed up. They showed up for their communities.
Cameron Melcher, a store manager and Starbucks partner since 2008 who took over a new location in Manassas, Virginia, just this month, said it was never a question for him. “I’m thankful to have a store still functioning and still serving our community, a majority of which are now hospital workers and first responders,” Cameron said. “I know what we represent to people in our area, especially right now, and I didn’t want to see that falter.”
The experience we have gained by navigating the virus in China, also gives me confidence in our approach. Though the situation remains fluid, Starbucks stores in China are now on a solid path to recovery. The key takeaway is that we will continue to exceed public health requirements, where it comes to increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols and social distancing operating models, to create the safest possible environment in our stores.
Starbucks continues to act based on three simple principles: ensuring the health and well-being of our partners and customers, supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain and mitigate this virus, and showing up as a responsible member of the 32,000 communities in which we are the Third Place.
It is the responsibility of every business to care for its employees during this time of uncertainty, shared sacrifice, and common cause. I hope to see many business leaders across this country doing all they can to retain jobs, pay employees, continue benefits, and demonstrate compassion as they make critical decisions. Not every decision is a financial one.
At Starbucks, we have also been doing more than ever in caring for our partners, extending childcare benefits, offering a new mental health benefit, and introducing catastrophe pay. Partners are the heartbeat of Starbucks, and we will continue to do whatever we can to support them.
I want to extend a special thank you to our store managers – like Cameron—for their tireless efforts to lead our stores and recognize our baristas for going above and beyond during this time.
To our customers, I thank you for your continued understanding. These store adjustments create a temporary disruption to your Starbucks Experience. You can count on Starbucks to do our part, act on principle, and stay true to our mission and values.
I am optimistic that together we can overcome this challenge. The human experience is about overcoming adversity by being resilient, and that is certainly on display across the nation. We will overcome this. Our resilience will be rewarded.
About Starbucks Founded in 1971 as a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea and spices with a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, today, the company has expanded to connect with millions of customers every day with exceptional products and more than 30,000 retail stores in 80 markets.
Mission and Values
At Starbucks, operations are guided by the company’s mission and values.
Mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
Values: With our partners, our coffee and our customers at our core, we live these values:
• Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
• Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
• Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
• Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.
Starbucks has been referred to as a servant leadership company. Under the leadership of Howard Schultz, in May 2017 the company took a huge step in continuing its servant leadership principles by offering free college education to their partners (a term used to describe their employees). Starbucks says the tuition reimbursement program is aimed at helping its staff, particularly underprivileged young workers, afford the education they need to succeed. In addition to helping employees get ahead, the then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the economy will benefit from having more educated workers in the labor force. “By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition reimbursement, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity,” said Schultz.
Social Impact efforts during extraordinary times
As the company continues navigating COVID-19, Starbucks is focused on ensuring the health and well-being of their partners and customers and doing its part to support the more than 32,000 communities it serves. The Starbucks Foundation announced it will donate more than $3 million to support global COVID-19 relief efforts around the world, designed to partner with key organizations in order to ensure those who need the most help get it.
The donations include:
o $1M contribution to the UN Foundation
o $1M contribution to Give2Asia
o More than $1M in local grants to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Canada and U.S. communities like Seattle and New York.
1. Do you think resilience matter in times of crises? Why or why not? (12 marks)
2. Analyse Mr. Johnson’s message to stakeholders. As a leader, what advice would you offer Mr. Johnson when communicating with stakeholders during a crisis. Critically evaluate the key areas he must consider. (13 marks)
3. Leaders have a responsibility to demonstrate the beliefs of the company and reinforce behaviours that reflect those values. Critically analyse whether Mr. Johnson is shaping, influencing, and reinforcing Starbuck’s organizational culture during the pandemic. (15 marks)
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