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Corporate Strategy Case Study

Case Title:

Trouble at Starbucks: Will the Visionary Founder Howard Schultz be Able to Transform the Company?

Publication Year : 2008

Authors: Sandhya Hotchandani, Joel Sarosh Thadamalla

Industry: Retailing


Case Code: COS0073A

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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US based Starbucks Corp. (Starbucks), world’s largest chain of coffee houses has become one of the most admired brands worldwide under the leadership of its visionary founder Howard Schultz (Schultz). However, after Schultz’s departure as CEO, Starbucks’ focus on rapid store expansion has wrought many troubles for the company. The company has experienced declining customer traffic and slow down in sales in their core domestic market. In an effort to cope up with the situation, Starbucks announced the return of Schultz as the CEO who laid out plans to transform the company and bring it back to its success path. The case study highlights the problems of Starbucks and facilitates discussion on whether Schultz’s return as a leader can take Starbucks towards recovery or not.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand entrepreneurial leadership
  • To analyse the hindrances of rapid expansion
  • To analyse leadership change in troubled time of the company.

Keywords : Starbucks Corp., Speciality Coffee Industry; Howard Schultz; Leadership Change; Turnaround; Transformation; Return of Founder; Managing in Troubled Times Case Study; International Expansion; McDonald’s; Dunkin' Donuts; Brand Building; The Starbucks Experience; Entrepreneurial Leadership; Transformational Plans; Transformational Initiatives

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