Starbucks' Human Resource Management Policies and the Growth Challenge

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB068 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1987 - 2005
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Starbucks
Industry : Coffee Retailing
Countries : USA


Starbucks is one of the best known and fastest growing companies in the world. Set up in 1971, in Seattle, the company grew slowly initially, but expanded rapidly in the late 1980s and the 1990s. By the early 2000s, there were nearly 9,000 Starbucks outlets across the world and the company's eventual retail target was to open 30,000 outlets. It was widely believed that the company's success and rapid growth could be attributed largely to its committed and motivated workforce.

This case discusses the human resource management polices and work culture at Starbucks. Starbucks cared about its employees and was one of the few companies in the retail sector to provide generous benefits to both full time workers as well as part timers.

This ensured that employees remained motivated, and Starbucks had a relatively low employee turnover. However, in the early 2000s, the company faced the challenge of finding and retaining the right number and kind of employees to man its future growth.


To study the human resource management policies of a large service-oriented retail company

To appreciate the value of motivated and committed employees in service-based industries

To understand the relationship between positive human resource management policies and work culture and employee motivation

To analyze the importance of employee retention vis--vis rising human resource costs

To examine the human resource challenges faced by the company as it embarked on its expansion plans


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background 2
Human Resources Management at Starbucks 3
The Human Resources' Challenge 7
Exhibits 10

Key Words:

Starbucks Human Resource Management Competitive advantage Organization Culture Howard Schultz Recruitment Training and Development 'Star Skills' The Bean Stock Plan Stock Options Employee Cost Employee Retention Employee Welfare

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