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Starbucks – Inspiring the Human Spirit of its Consumers as Well as its Partners

Starbucks – Inspiring the Human Spirit of its Consumers as Well as its Partners

This paper will discuss the corporate governance style of the Starbucks organization; an organization who many consider is the standard setter for its treatment of employees and goes as far as to refer to their employees as partners.


Over the past decade, Starbucks has had three CEO’s - each with different leadership styles. Our textbook refers to Orin Smith, the Starbucks CEO from 2000 to his retirement in 2005 as a Level 5 Leader. He was followed by Jim Donald, who led the organization till 2008. As Howard Schultz describes the two, "Orin's style was more through the lens of an administrator, and Jim's style is through the lens of an operator," Schultz said. "Jim is more hands-on and field-driven, whereas I think Orin did a lot of work through others” (Bolt, 2005). Howard Schultz returned to his CEO post in 2008 following a period of slow sales. In short, Schultz is to Starbucks as Steve Jobs is to Apple. I will focus mainly Smith and Schultz in this paper on corporate governance.

Orin Smith is the template for a great managerial executive. As a Level 5 Leader he is a fiercely ambitious leader who directed his energy to the success of the organization instead of himself. He was able to generate results without much attention while giving credit where credit was due and accepting responsibility for poor results. He possesses the five leadership qualities of a Level 5 Leader - individual capability, team skills, managerial competence, and the ability to stimulate others to high performance and a blend of personal humility and professional will (Robbins & Judge, 2007).

Schultz on the other hand is influential in another way; he is a powerful, dynamic leader - a charismatic leader. His vision and insight back when the organization was still in its infancy made the company what it...