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Critical Discussion On Starbucks Organizational Structure


Task: This assignment requires you to choose a small- to medium-sized business as a Case Study (perhaps your own, if appropriate), and produce a concise, fully researched and referenced business report discussing one of the following three options:
The similarities and differences between ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ in your chosen organisation
Your report should include:
• An introduction to the organisation and its management structure
• Definitions and roles of both managers and leaders, highlighting the differences between management and leadership
• Conclusions as to the interrelation of these business functions for this organisation (this should draw on theories of management as covered in the module)
The concept of marketing and its role, within your chosen organisation, in relation to theories of marketing covered in this module
Your report should include:
• A brief introduction to the organisation and to the concept of marketing, with relevance to the business context
• An overview of different marketing processes the organisation is particularly engaged with and an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of a marketing function in the context of the organisation
• An explanation of how marketing influences and interrelates with other functional departments of the organisation
• Conclusions as to the value and importance of the marketing role in the context of the organisation
The concept of globalisation and its impact on your chosen organisation
Your report should include:
• a brief introduction to the organisation in relation to its exposure to global contexts
• a discussion of the ways in which globalisation has an impact on the internal environment of the company (e.g., on its management structure and strategic priorities)
• a discussion of the ways the organisation’s management functions are embedding strategies for understanding and responding to changes caused by external global exposure
• conclusions as to the importance of globalisation in relation to this organisation


The study is focused on discussing the Starbucks organizational structure and various concepts related to it. Leaders and managers both form an integral part of the organization in the 21st century with the rising needs to manage and leading staff. Since the start of humanity, the organization and management of people have considered being important for the development and growth of the business. Both the business functions of leaders and managers are confused to be similar or different from one another (Liphadzi, Aigbavboa, and Thwala 2017). However, there are several characteristics that are similar to these roles and creates further confusion such as intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline.

The report analyzes the roles and functions of a manager and a leader with similarities and differences between them. Further, the report analyzes the way these business functions interrelate for an organization such as Starbucks Café.

Background of the Starbucks organizational structure
Starbucks Café is one of the global corporations in the coffee industry and the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. The brand is known to maintain its leadership in the industry by operating in huge geographical areas around the world. The company was a single store in Seattle and has now expanded to become one of the world’s finest fresh-roasted coffee company. The company has been able to achieve the success of the world leader in the industry due to its corporate structure that has a high influence on management and leadership (Starbucks 2020). The brand is known to adjust the corporate structure according to their needs, as they expand their business by acquiring other firms such as Ethos Water and the Seattle Coffee House.

The Starbucks organizational structure is known to be a matrix organizational structure, which is a mixture of both hierarchical and non-hierarchical structures. There is a functional hierarchy in Starbucks organizational structure which means that structure is grouped based on different business functions such as HR department, finance, and marketing. It facilitates top-down monitoring where the managers and leaders take a decision and monitor control on the lower divisions of employees. There are teams in Starbucks organizational structure; however, the teams are visible at the lowest level. The managers at a higher level take the decision and it is followed in all the cafes of the company. Most of the organization is controlled by the board, which is located in headquarter in Seattle. Moreover, there are regional managers in each country that take care of regional stores (Mason, Cole and Goza 2017). However, the brand does run the policy of inclusion in which staffs are asked about their concern to be included in decision making.

Definition and Roles of Managers and Leaders
Leaders are a person that aims at producing a change in the organization and create future viability and vision. This makes the leaders take buy-in from various stakeholders of the business and then inspire the staff to achieve that vision. The major roles of the leaders include providing direction, aligning people to work, and motivating their staff. This means that it is the leader that strategically positions the business and its staff to achieve the highest value. On the contrary, it is seen that the manager deal with complex situations (Liphadzi, Aigbavboa, and Thwala 2017). The major role of managers include planning, organizing, controlling, and coordinating. This means that managers are responsible to get operational results in the business by bringing different systems together.

Azad et al. (2017) define leadership as an ability that a person has that helps them to reach the goals and complete the set tasks in the organization. There are many organizations that differentiate their leadership with the management because management is about organizing and ensuring that the things are in place for accomplishing a task, whereas, leadership is the ability to achieve the planned tasks. Based on this Starbucks organizational structure is defined as an management process that involves activities such as strategic planning, setting goals, managing human and monetary resources, and deploying the resources to help achieve the planned goals. Moreover, it is seen that every person in the organization is considered to implement managing functions in the organization, however, everyone cannot be a leader (Sobratee and Bodhanya 2018). Thus, this shows that there are differences between these two roles even though they both complement each other.

Both the functions of management and leadership do complement each other in one way or the other. The similarity between these two business functions is that all leaders are considered to be managers, however, all managers cannot be leaders. In addition to this, it is seen that both managers and leaders are seen to supervise the team in an organization and are known to evaluate employees (Liphadzi, Aigbavboa, and Thwala 2017). Moreover, in every business, both these roles are made accountable for the performance of the employees and the final result of a project or work. A leader and a manager rely on effective communication in business to achieve their functions successfully. However, the roles and responsibilities of the two are very different because if a leader only manages the business then it will not be able to unlock the true potential of the people. This shows that the role of managing is very different from that of leading (Sobratee and Bodhanya 2018). This means that both the business functions cannot be delegated effectively by using any one responsibility.

The interrelation of these Functions for Starbucks Café
These two functions of leadership and management exist in Starbucks organizational structure in which both the roles interact to meet the overall objectives. The company operates a hierarchical structure in which the leaders mostly from the top line of the structure and look after the entire organization and its decisions. Most of the managers are divided into different departments such as the financial, marketing, and manufacturing department. Starbucks organizational structure is known for using servant leadership theory in which the leaders encourage the involvement of the team (Morais et al. 2014). This means that the leaders in the brand are known to lead the decision making in the organization in an inclusive manner so that there are no gaps in the decision and the efforts by the employees. The leaders in Starbucks make sure that the employees are happy and they give their best effort towards their goals. This aligns with the leadership theory in which leaders are known to lead the way and ensure that the goals and tasks of the organization are met (Liu and Zhang 2019). The leaders are majorly transformational in Starbucks where they believe in innovation and encourage the employees to develop and calibrate with the team so that the organizational goals are met.

On the other hand, the Starbucks organizational structure is seen to maintain a bureaucratic structure in which there are high ranks board members in headquarter and lower rank employees in the cafes. Bureaucracy management theory is the one in which the managers are formal authority and they are the ones to manage people and actions (Starbucks 2020). Moreover, such a system ensures that the tasks and authority are clear depending on their positions for managers, leaders, and workers. The management team majorly comprise of the board members in Starbucks that manage and arrange top to bottom of a system and control the overall function. Based on these two factors it is seen that leadership and management in the company differ in their functions and roles (Mason, Cole and Goza 2017). The leaders in Starbucks are the one that handles different departments and they are supervised by the board, which is the major management team of the brand.

Moreover, it is seen that there are also store managers that supervise the staff in storefronts as well as manages the entire store. The store supervisors are seen to play both the functions together, however, there are differences in his roles as a leader in which he examines the task is being done and as a manager in which he organizes the entire store effectively. These types of roles that are seen in the stores of Starbucks are known as managerial leaders.

Overall it is seen that the roles of leaders and management differ significantly in Starbucks organizational structure where the management makes sure that the leaders in the stores as well as in department activity make the staffs achieve organizational goals. However, in various instances, it is seen that leaders also play the roles of a manager and manage the overall works personally such as in stores and regional divisions of the brand. This is because the company largely believes in partnership as the best way to achieve their goals. The partnership can only come when the top board of directors, the regional managers, store managers as well as the staffs all act like partners and managers and lead each other efficiently.

From the above analysis on Starbucks organizational structure, it can be concluded that even though managers and leaders are seen to implement each other’s roles as and when needed to achieve organizational goals, yet both the functions differ from each other effectively. Leaders are seen to create vision such as set a direction and inspire, while managers are seen to build plans, organize, and coordinate the activities. However, both the functions work towards achieving organizational goals. Moreover, in Starbucks, it is seen that there is a huge interaction in the roles of managers and leaders where they mostly use bureaucratic management theory and transformative and servant leadership style.

Azad, N., Anderson, H.G., Brooks, A., Garza, O., O’Neil, C., Stutz, M.M. and Sobotka, J.L., 2017. Leadership and management are one and the same. Starbucks organizational structure American journal of pharmaceutical education, 81(6).

Liphadzi, M., Aigbavboa, C.O. and Thwala, W.D., 2017. A theoretical perspective on the difference between leadership and management. Procedia engineering, 196, pp.478-482.

Liu, Y. and Zhang, J., 2019, May. The Influence of Employees’ Motivation Management on Teamwork: Taking Starbucks as an Example. In 2019 International Conference on Management, Education Technology and Economics (ICMETE 2019). Atlantis Press.

Mason, A., Cole, T. and Goza, N., 2017. STARBUCKS: A CASE STUDY OF EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT IN THE COFFEE INDUSTRY. Journal of International Management Studies, 17(1).

Morais, U.P., Pena, J., Shacket, K., Sintilus, L., Ruiz, R., Rivera, Y. and Mujtaba, B.G., 2014. Managing diverse employees at Starbucks: Focusing on ethics and inclusion. International Journal of Learning and Development, 4(3), p.35.

Sobratee, N. and Bodhanya, S., 2018. Leading in a global context: The balancing act between leadership and management. Journal of Business and Retail Management Research, 12(4).

Starbucks, 2020. Company Information. [online] starbucks. Starbucks organizational structure Available at: <> [Accessed 16 May 2020].


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