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Workplace Ethics - Starbucks Case Study

1. 0 Introduction

What is workplace ethics? Workplace ethics is a group of moral principles, standards of behavior, or group of values regarding proper conduct at work. Workplace ethics 're normally related in decision making processes because it is the most crucial responsibilities that people place on the leaders of organization is upholding the highest standards of ethical behavior. Ethics at workplace refer to choosing the option that is set to be the moral or right choice.

Starbucks is one of the world's most ethical companies. Starbucks makes conscious efforts to be always a responsible company and conduct business in an ethical manner. In its business, Starbucks was pleased with it ethical ways in doing their business. They can be through community, sourcing, environment, diversity and wellness. Starbucks has openly display its commitment to being socially responsible and they want their customers to learn exactly how they doing.

In Starbucks, Business Ethics and Compliance is an application that supports their mission which is "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. " It can help to safeguard their culture and their reputation by giving resources that help partners make ethical decisions at the job. Starbucks has makes conscious efforts to fulfill its company's mission. The majority of reports received by Business Ethics and Compliance involve employee relations issue that provides alternative reporting mechanisms within a thorough ethics and compliance program. Starbucks believes that conducting business ethically and striving to do the right thing are vital to their success.

The program develops and distributes awareness materials, including the Standard of Business Conduct. In social responsibility, the Standard of Business Conduct is a statement of a few of the company's expectations of how they conduct Starbucks business, consistent with their mission and core value. In workplace, Starbucks has emphasis in three sectors of their workers. First, are global human rights, their commitment to basic human rights as a core component of just how they do business and how they engage with their partners. Second is equal employment opportunity, their non-discrimination policy help the large numbers of their employees have a reliable working situation. Third is health care, their support for healthcare reform that allows them to continue to offer affordable coverage to our partners.

3. 0 Case Study

Starbucks lead by its CEO Howard Schultz can be an international coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington, USA. It's the greatest coffeehouse company in the world with 16120 stores in 49 countries. Products of Starbucks include drip brewed coffee, espresso-based hot drinks, other hot and cold drinks, snacks and items such as mugs and coffee beans. Many products are specific to the location of the stores. Starbucks Italian styles coffee, espresso beverages, teas and confectionaries had managed to get one of the world's biggest specialty coffee chain.

With the intention of communicating to employees and customers of the values and principles that the business upholds, Starbucks Coffee Company has outlined its mission statements; "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one individual, one cup, and one neighborhood at the same time" ("Our Starbucks Mission", n. d ). Even though Starbucks has a unique style of combining both Mission Statement and Vision Statement ( Garfieldml, 2012) its meaning is clear and concise.

Viewing the statement in ethical perspective associated with its workplace it could be divided into 4 key principles: Ethical sourcing of coffee - meaning a holistic method of ethically source the best quality coffee carefully blending, roasting and packing fresh. Our partner - where Starbucks make reference to its employees will be treated with respect and dignity with safeguarded by health coverage. Ethical environment stewardship - are committed to the conservation of environmental resources.

3. 1 Critical and Main Issues

Starbucks commitment to ethical practices in the workplace environment is reflected in its establishing of a Standard of Conducts because of its partners. The main ethical issues addressed in the code of conduct can be broadly categorise as commitment of partners to provide quality service to customers, conducive workplace environment for the partners and focus on integrity and fairness on all dealings.

  1. Commitment to provide quality service

Partners should be committed never to harass or discriminate against customers, protect customers' health and safety by following all proper procedure associated with storage, handling, preparation and providing service for Starbucks products.

  1. Conducive working environment

Consistent with global human rights standard, Starbucks promote equal opportunity in its hiring and promotion practices make decision solely on job related criteria. Employment of partners under age of 18 will take under consideration legal dependence on age, hour task and ensure the partners' education, health, safety and mental or physical development is not affected.

Starbucks partners should respect each other's dignity. All partners are entitled to work within an environment that is free from harassment, bullying or discrimination.

Officers are assigned to enforce the rules and practices regarding workplace health, security and safety to guard the partners.

Starbucks is committed to comply with laws and regulation applicable to wages. It emphasizes that work performed should be compensated accordingly. Thus partners compensated on basis of hours must report accurately (Ali. , Haris, Arslan, Jan. , Asad-ud, Bashir. , Sufwan, Usman, & Ali, n. d).

Starbuck College Achiever Plan motivates all benefits eligible partners to complete a bachelor degree with full tuition reimbursement through Arizona University top-ranked degree programs, delivered online ('Working At Starbucks n. d ).

  1. Emphasis on integrity and fairness on all dealings
  • Partners must be focused on work fairly and honestly with government official and are not permitted to influence outcome by exchanging bribes.
  • Partners must be truthful and straightforward in their dealing with government in order to meet high ethical and legal standard.
  • Sales practice and advertising must compete on merit of product and services and communication with customers must be accurate and truthful.
  • Partners focused on fair and open competition and should never use unethical means to eliminate competitors or control market price.
  • Partners are prohibited from offering, giving, soliciting or recovering any form of bribe or inducement.
  • Partners must ensure accuracy and integrity of Starbucks corporate reports and honest in disclosure of information to the authority.

3. 2 Starbucks Application of Relevant Organizational Behaviour Principles and


To monitor and enforce the ethical conduct of its partners at the workplace Starbucks had developed asset of Standard of Business Conduct which really is a resource distributed to all or any partners to help them make appropriate decision at work. To further help the partners facing with ethical problems Starbucks had create a Business Ethics and Compliance unit headed by somebody resource. Considering partners who aren't comfortable facing an officer to report unethical practices, Starbucks Ethics and Compliance Helpline is an avenue to report issues through free phone call. This facility operates 24 hours every day. Ethics And Compliance Webline is another method for partners to require guidance which is often submitted anonymously and treated in confidential manner.

The above enforcement measures reflect Starbucks attempt to promote ethical behaviour at the workplace by applying the concept of motivation by rewarding partners through fair wages and benefits, interpersonal communication with the resource partner of the business enterprise Ethics and Compliance to assist in preventing and resolving problem and the most important is through establishing a structure standard code of behaviour to modify the behaviour of its partners.

All these efforts had resulted in the company being awarded one of the very most ethical companies by Ethisphere for the year 2007 to 2012 Allegra strategies had also voted Starbucks as the 'Most Ethical Company, European Coffee Industry for the entire year 200 to 2011 (Ali et. al n. d).

3. 3 Criticizes or Comments

First and foremost, we would like to involve some comments on the critical issues of Starbucks discovered by us inside our study. Those issues found by us will be the commitment of Starbucks to provide quality service to customers, the providing of your conducive working environment for employees and the focus on integrity and fairness on all dealings in the business.

It is very important for a business to own commitment to provide quality service to customers. It is because it will improve the satisfaction of customers towards the business. The quality service provided will become Starbucks's competitive advantage to set-up loyal customers. Starbucks's reputation may also be enhanced through the spreading of news about the nice service provided by the company through weblogs and social media. This will attract more customers and raise the income of Starbucks.

A working environment which is conducive is a key component to the performance of the employees and is one of the individual rights for the employees. The work environment creates behavioural patterns in human development and has both physical and psychological influences on employees in the business. A harmonized and comfortable environment will raise the productivity and job satisfaction of employees. Once the employees are in a peaceful environment without any disturbance or unethical problems created by others in the company, they could be more focused in their work and put more effort in it as well as have a better performance.

The focus on integrity and fairness on all dealings by Starbucks is a key factor to aid the ethical principles which are individual rights and distributive justice. Managers that are being fair and integral can avoid conflicts happen between employees and a peaceful as well as friendly working environment will be created in the company. This will likely also enhance employees trust on Starbucks and enhance their loyalty to the business.

In conclusion, we have positive comments on the key issues in Starbucks and they're quite important to aid the ethical principles.

4. 0 Recommendations

After studying about this issue that we chose that is ethics at workplace, we discovered that there are numerous ethical practices practised by employers as well as employees in Starbucks which is the business that people chose. We have some suggestions about how they can further improve practising ethics in Starbucks.

First of all, we suggest Starbucks to make use of ethical screening for job people during interview. Ethical screening is the procedure of checking these job applicants against certain moral standards and removing those who do not conform. This can be done by checking the resumes of these applicants that have the behavioural information that reflects the attitude of the applicants. The interviewers should also interview them about how precisely they managed the ethical issues faced by them at their previous workplace and how they are going to solve the ethical problems cases when they face them in the future. Besides, they should also make sure the job seekers share the same ethical values with the business and can maintain them face to face. This can prevent one unethical employee to truly have a bad influence on others in the company which may ruin the good image of an ethical company.

Moreover, Starbucks can expose new employees to the business's code of ethics, code of conducts and ethical decision making process through the orientation to enhance the ethics in the business. The business's codes of ethics and conducts act as its conscience and provide one common ethical reference point for employees. By reviewing these conducts, employees will know about what they must do and what they shouldn't do in the company. In addition they know whether the issues appear in the future are believed ethical or not ethical in line with the company's code of ethics and code of conducts and solve it with the best and necessary solution.

Furthermore, Starbucks can improve ethics in the company by giving ethics training workshops for many employees annually to supplement ethics codes. The managers that organise these training workshops should provide some real cases with ethical violations of Starbucks' ethics code and let them think carefully and discuss among themselves in what they must do for those scenarios. From then on, the managers should teach them the right and best answers to solve these types of ethical problems. Through these workshops, the employees will know what to do when they face these varieties of ethical issues in the foreseeable future and the relationship between employees will also be improved through the interaction in the workshop as well as build trust between one another.

We also recommend Starbucks to fortify the ethics which are individual rights and distributive justice of the work unit by rewarding those employees with ethical behaviours equally and punish those with unethical behaviours through work goals and performance appraisals. The managers should praise those employees that achieve the goals within an ethical way or even provide them with a certificate for being an ethical employee to encourage them. This may also become a motivation for other employees. At the same time, they should give the same punishment to those employees with unethical behaviour by giving them a warning letter in order that they will not repeat in the future. This may also become a good example for other employees so that they will not make the same mistake as these unethical employees. Using this method can avoid developing moral confusion in the business.

The next suggestion for Starbucks is the managers or the direct supervisors of the employees should model appropriate behaviours in themselves as they are actually the most important ethics reference point for the employees. Ethical behaviours in a corporation start at top management because the employees have a tendency to follow the behaviour and action of the managers towards an ethical issue. They have a greater influence on employees compared to the explained policies of the company. Therefore, the words and actions of the managers should be aligned with the business's code of ethics and code of conducts. They need to act with integrity constantly in order to maintain an ethical workplace.

In conclusion, there are a great many other techniques Starbucks can further improve ethics in the business other than that which you suggest here. Improving ethics at workplace is very important in order to be a famous company with good image and quality as well as employees and employers could work together harmoniously without creating any unethical issues with respect to the company and the clients.

5. 0 Conclusion

Starbucks is one of the very most ethical companies in the world. Starbucks was proud of it ethical ways such as community, sourcing, environment, diversity and wellness in doing their business. It offers openly display its commitment to being social responsibility. The program of Business Ethics and Compliance is to aid their mission and help protect their culture and reputation. Starbucks has emphasis their workers into three sectors which is global human rights, equal employment opportunity and health care.

In Starbucks, they are employing three principles in workplace ethics. First is utilitarianism, it can divide into two types that are act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. Second is distributive justice who means sharing of the benefits and burdens of the lives among people. Third are rights, rights played a central role in ethics and it is important to ensure that the freedom and well-being of each individual will be protected when others threaten that freedom or well-being. There are 3 key principles in Starbucks. (1) Ethical sourcing of coffee, (2) Our partner and (3) Ethical environmental resources.

The main ethical issues addressed in Starbucks's code of conduct because of its partners can be categories as commitment of partners to provide quality service to customers, build a workplace environment which is conducive for the partners and focus on integrity and fairness on all dealings.

After study, we discovered that there are numerous ethical practices practiced by employers as well as employees in Starbucks. Starbucks should use ethical screening for job applicants during interview. Starbucks can also expose new employees to the company's code of ethics, code of conducts and ethical decision making process during the orientation to increase the ethics in the business. Besides that, Starbucks can improve ethics in the company by providing ethics training workshops for many employees annually to supplement ethics codes. Moreover, Starbucks also need to strengthen the ethics that are individual rights and distributive justice of the work unit by rewarding those employees with ethical behaviours equally and punish those with unethical behaviours through work goals and performance appraisals. Last however, not lease, Starbucks should model appropriate behaviours in themselves as they are actually the most crucial ethics reference point for the employees.

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