DECISION MAKING AT STARBUCKS organizational change processes: When discussing ALL THE MOVING PARTS of an organization and the change management of those parts during organizational change processes, we’ve talked frequently about the need for clarity in decision making processes so that all employees – management as well as rank and file – know what constitutes those processes.
As an organizational psychologist, I’m always analyzing and speculating about the places of business that I frequent. Starbucks is one of those. And I’ve long been concerned (or, rather, puzzled) about the lack of guidance for the non-paying or the malingering “customers” – where one simply comes in to “free-load” (spend some time and warm up/cool off or use the washrooms) or where a “malingering customer” purchases one drink and nurses it for hours while occupying a table and using the free internet. Because there’s often a large contingent of the latter in any given SB, it’s hard to distinguish the malingerers from the straight-up free-loaders. I realized a long time ago that the “business model” for SB was actually that of the university commons area where students often go to study, work and hang out with friends while sometimes purchasing food and drinks. In my mind, SB has been the “grown-ups'” version of their former university commons. When one walks in to any Starbucks across the U.S. and even internationally one has the strong sense of stepping back to one’s university days. However, while the commons areas at universities probably constitute a small revenue source, they are not relied upon to provide a vital stream of revenue. In other words, they instead provide a service to the students who have paid tuition, from whence the money supporting universities actually derives. In the Starbucks’ model, I’ve failed to see the advantage of allowing both free-loaders and malingerers on the premises. What business value do these 2 types of individuals have to offer the firm and provide contribution to its bottom line? Good will? Stores that seem busy with lots of patrons? Altruism? But when one balances this off against the annoyance that the paying customers experience (as do I) as a result of the malingerers who are occupying space while disallowing customers purchasing goods the opportunity to sit down and enjoy treats with friends or business associates. I realize the Starbucks company is a very profitable one [a consultant friend of mine describes them as a company that has done extremely well by selling expensive water]. But I absolutely fail to understand how the free-loaders and malingerers assist with that success. I’d think, rather, that they detract from it. After the recent Philadelphia debacle where the Starbucks’ manager called police to get assistance in removing free-loading, non-paying individuals from premises, it seems a vital need of the company that clear guidelines be set out for the company’s managers and employees to define what actions are to be undertaken when free-loading and/or malingering individuals clog the premises. This should be a quick and easy solution to the current dilemma faced by company managers, who operate in a no-man’s land lacking decision making policies on this matter. Perhaps Shultz is absolutely right about his intentions to step back from the management of the company – it’s time for more business-oriented/ less politically-correct individuals to take a turn at the helm.
DECISION MAKING AT STARBUCKS organizational change processes