Organizational culture and behavior are strongly interrelated. The culture represents the unique combination of values, norms & behavior that guide the way at which the company performs internally & externally. It’s believed to be the best path at which operations & processes have to be performed. On the other hand, organizational behavior may be considered part of the culture. It is represented in how the company performs at the levels of individuals, groups and the organization in general. In fact, both organizational culture & behavior work harmoniously in tandem to achieve organizational effectiveness. This latter term has also been interpreted differently in the literature. One of the definitions is “to do the right things”. Three approaches for organizational effectiveness were stated in (Organizations – Behavior, Structure & Processes 2012 ) Book (14th Edition), which is the 4th book in the 1st Year Program within the service of Global English Management & Leadership Books in your Channel (Management with Merits – Manage to Prosper). This book has been introduced before in a previous session. The three effectiveness approaches stated in the book are Goal, Systems Theory and Stakeholder Approaches. However, personally speaking, I believe that these three approaches shouldn’t be dealt with as mutually exclusive. In reality, companies actually explicitly or implicitly seek organizational effectiveness within these three approaches together, depending on their own situation & environment. This session starts the book’s discussion. As usual, we will take 3 months to discuss the book (June, July & Aug 2020). We start today with the 1st part in the book (Introduction), which contains three chapters. The 1st one is (Managing Effective Organizations), whose topics have been mostly taken in the book’s introductory session. The 2nd one is (Organizational Culture) which was taken in the previous 3rd book (Organizational Theory, Design & Change 2013). Finally, the 3rd chapter is (Managing Globally), which will be discussed in a future book in the channel (International Business 2017). You can view all the sessions of this book from its dedicated category here. To download the associated presentation in PDF with this session, as well as access our related sessions, kindly go to the video at our YouTube Channel and click on the required link in the description section below the video.
Organizational Culture & Behavior : Starbucks Case
Organizational culture & behavior of Starbucks can be observed from their official mission & values, as well as their actual behavior with various stakeholders. Starbucks, the huge American beverage & food company, states that its mission is “to inspire & nurture the human spirit”. Besides, they affirm that they are “performance driven, through the lens of humanity”, as per the 1st picture below. With respect to their actual behavior, their response and reaction to the tragic death of George Floyd (End of May 2020) and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Social Movement prove that they actually perform as per their culture through the “lens of humanity”. Starbucks has officially announced its support for the case and shown the practical actions taken (2nd picture below).
Boycotting Starbucks Due to BLM
As long as Starbucks performs through their “lens of humanity”, which was demonstrated in their Floyd’s case reaction & BLM practical support, why has the company faced serious boycott calls due to this matter? An internal decision made by the company was the reason.
According to (Buzzfeed) Website, an internal bulletin was made by Starbucks to reply at the employees’ & baristas’ concern regarding wearing pins or shirts that show support for BLM while on the job. The bulletin refused this attire because it was against the Dress Code of Starbucks, which prohibited wearing pins that might advocate political or personal issues. Besides, Starbucks vice president (VP) of inclusion & diversity stated in the bulletin that such clothing could be against Starbucks’ inclusive culture because it might be misinterpreted by others to denote divisiveness. Therefore, this decision caused the boycott calls.
Despite the boycott calls and the blurred public picture of Starbucks due to the bulletin, we have exclusively highlighted two issues with respect to the matter in general. The first one was about the person who made the decision in the bulletin, which was the VP of Inclusion & Diversity, as stated above. Having this key position within their organizational structure reflects strong indication that Starbucks gives serious and genuine concern regarding the matters of inclusion, diversity, social responsibility, sustainability and all humanity aspects. The 2nd point was about the dress code and its purpose. Like all Starbucks operations and actions, the dress code was made within the guidance of their organizational culture of inclusion & humanity. Therefore, its purpose was to represent Starbucks brand and affirm its welcoming environment. Therefore, upon comparing the BLM attire with Starbucks dress code, guided by the company’s organizational culture, it was concluded that such clothing was against the code and not in accordance with their inclusive organizational culture.
Starbucks Navigates Safely Through Boycott Problem Because of Their Strong Organizational Culture & Behavior :
The strong humanitarian & inclusion organizational culture & behavior of Starbucks allowed the company to safely navigate through the boycotting problem. Starbucks closely monitored the public reactions and trends caused by their initial banning decision and listened carefully to people’s concerns and voice. Therefore, it didn’t take Starbucks long time to overcome this problem, guided by their strong organizational culture. On Jun 12, the company issued an official public statement (not internal bulletin as before) addressed to their employees, who were called (partners) because of Starbucks belief that all employees partner for success with the company. They started the statement with highlighting their guiding organizational culture (Mission & Values). They took two important decisions to overcome this problem. First, they would make and distribute 250 thousand shirts that showed a unique supportive design for the BLM to their stores to allow employees to wear them to express their support for the social movement. Second, until these shirts arrive in stores, employees were permitted to wear their own BLM supportive pins & shirts while on the job.
Organizational Culture & Behavior Final Thoughts
Although these two terms are extremely controversial in the literature, it is important that companies build and sustain strong values and norms which guide their behavior and all their operations. Therefore, getting an idea about organizational culture and behavior is subject to both companies’ official written statements in their business models, such as mission and values, and the actual performance and behavior of the organizations. In conclusion, organizational effectiveness can’t be reached and sustained without strong, interrelated and collaborative organizational culture & behavior. The below model shows the relationship between these two concepts and organizational effectiveness. The aspect of organizational culture is expanded in the next picture after the model, as per our book. Due to the fact that we highlighted organizational culture before in a previous session, we won’t here discuss all of these four building bricks of organizational culture & their sub-points. However, by applying them to Starbucks in general and its case with BLM in specific, we can see that there is a prefect match. In the 1st point (Historical Foundation), Starbucks is honored with its (Heritage) from its existence in 1971 until now. Moving to the 2nd point (An Understanding of What is Expected), Starbucks highlighted case in this session regarding compliance with the dress code, as guided by their inclusive & humanitarian culture, demonstrates this point. In the 3rd point (Being a Part of a Group), we noted how Starbucks deals with their employees and calls them as their (partners) because they believe that the whole organizational staff members are partners in success. Finally, the 4th point (Encourage Interpersonal & Inter-group relationships), this is indeed one of the key competitive advantages of Starbucks because it brings and provides a “feeling of connection” throughout their stores as per their inclusive culture.
That was our session for today guys. Thank you so much for being with us. We have finished discussing part one of our book. Next session, we will move to the 2nd part which is (Individual Behavior in Organizations). Please support the channel strongly so we can continue our glorious mission. Our production is every Thursday. Please subscribe to the channel at YouTube and activate the notifications bell there. Please stay with us; Watch us; Follow us; Participate with us, and widely share the channel and all its electronic contact platforms.