Westcliff University CEO Signals Potential Actions to Stakeholders Case Study

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Westcliff University CEO Signals Potential Actions to Stakeholders Case Study


Case Study:

The choice of a CEO signals potential actions to stakeholders about a firm’s potential actions. Howard Schultz served as Starbucks CEO for many years; the firm achieved multiple successes during his service. As of April 2017, Schulz became executive chairman of Starbucks’s board while Kevin Johnson, a former CEO of Juniper Networks and a 16 year veteran of Microsoft, assumed the CEO position for the coffee giant. Johnson’s background may find him concentrating on the firm’s digital operations, information technology practices and supply chain operations as a means of increasing Starbucks’s effectiveness and efficiency.

Many brick and mortar stores have experienced decreasing sales in the United States as online traffic has increased. Interestingly, 2014 Starbucks sales store operations increased 5 percent in the fourth quarter; this 5 percent uptick in revenue came from increased traffic (2 percent from growth in sales and 3 percent in increased ticket size).

Additional and more sophisticated technology applications may be the driver of this increase in revenues. To stimulate sales, Starbucks is ramping up its digital tools such as mobile payment platforms. Customers now can place online orders and pick them up in about 150 Starbucks outlets in the Portland, OR area. Besides leadership and a focus on technology, Starbucks receives suggestions, ideas, and experimentation from its employees. Starbucks views its employees, called baristas, as partners who blend, steam, and brew the brand’s specialty coffee in over 21,000 stores worldwide. Schultz credits the employees as a dominant force in helping it to build its revenue gains.

To incentivize employees further, Starbucks is among the first companies to provide comprehensive health benefits and stock option ownership opportunities to part-time employees. Currently, employees have received more than $1 billion worth of financial gain through the stock option program. An additional benefit for U.S. employees is the firm’s program that pays 100 percent of workers’ tuition to finish their degrees through Arizona State University. To date, one thousand workers have enrolled in this program. In mid-2018, Walmart offered subsidized college tuition to its employees as a means of attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market. Walmart’s actions may demonstrate the value of Starbucks’s approach to sup-porting employees’ efforts to earn a college degree.

When developing new storefront concepts, Starbucks innovates. For instance, it is testing smaller express stores in New York City that reduce client wait times. Today, Starbucks emphasizes online payments as a means of increasing the speed of customer transactions. It now gives Starbucks rewards for mobile payment applications to its 12 million active users. Interestingly, this puts it ahead of iTunes and American Express Serve with its Starbucks mobile payment app in terms of the number of users.

To put its innovation on display, Starbucks opened its first “Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.” This is a 15,000 square foot coffee roasting facility and a consumer retail outlet. According to Schultz, it is a retail theater where “you can watch beans being roasted, talk to master grinders, have your drink brewed in front of you in multiple ways, lounge in a coffee library, order a selection of gourmet brews and locally prepared foods.” Schultz calls this store in New York the “Willie Wonka Factory of coffee.” Based on this concept, Starbucks opened small “reserve” stores inspired by this flagship roastery concept across New York in 2015. To attract customers in the afternoon, the firm is “rolling out new cold coffee and tea drinks and is introducing happy hour promotions featuring cold beverages.”

These technological advances and different store offerings are also taking place internationally. For example, Starbucks is expanding a new store concept in India in smaller towns and suburbs. These new outlets are about half the size of existing Starbucks cafes in India. In China, Starbucks is opening roughly one store daily and is rolling out its Roastery and Reserve brands to penetrate the country further.

Please write a minimum of four pages APA formatted paper. Please provide at least six (6) peer-reviewed resources in support of your arguments. Please also write a brief summary of each peer-reviewed resource.

● What competitive advantages do you believe Starbucks seeks to establish? What are the main challenges the firm faces as it tries to maintain the advantage or advantages you identified?

● Please research about Starbucks Inc. and identify three or four capabilities you believe Starbucks possesses. Please explain your opinion if any of these capabilities are considered as core competence and justify your reasoning.

● Starbucks’ mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” According to your research and (may be personal experience as well) what actions do you recommend the firm take to reach this mission?

● Please read about Starbucks new chief executive officer Kevin Johnson. Do you believe he is a strategic leader? What would be your recommendations to the CEO in terms of challenges he is facing in strategic management?