Corporate Communication- Starbucks Research Paper

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Communication, Coffee, Workplace, Employee, Starbucks, Organization, Company, Discrimination

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/26


Starbucks started off in 1971 in Seattle when it opened its first retail outlet after which till date there have been over 17000 retail chains around the world. The strong coffee network is spread through 55 countries of the world where they have been making billions of cups of coffee per day. The company despite of being on the epitome of success has been faced with various issues that have been the cause of public condemnation of Starbucks.

The report will provide strategies to overcome such issues through internal and external communication.

Communication Context:
The expansion by Starbucks is one of the good examples of globalization. The company has gone global and started sourcing things from different parts of the world. This has been a win-win situation for both, Starbucks and the supplier too. The supplier being mostly from the under developed countries, considers it to be an opportunity for them to help their underdeveloped economy boom.
However, this win – win situation does not always looks like a win to everyone. Starbucks has been alleged to being unfair to their farmers by exploiting them. They have been accused of deceiving the farmers by paying them less. The return that Starbucks earns from these farmer’s efforts is way higher than what is paid to them. Moreover, the company has also been involved in fighting a battle with the Ethiopian government where they were vandalized as giving the Ethiopian farmers an unfair advantage by paying them less and not trademarking the coffee that was sourced from Ethiopia. (Welch, 2011)
Starbucks has always claimed to an ethically conscious company, however, the current scenarios have depicted the story otherwise. This has previously not only shaken the confidence of the consumer who is a loyal customer of Starbucks but also has questioned the employees’ faith over the company who has served Starbucks for a long period of time.

The need to communicate

The past few years have transformed a common consumer into an “ethically conscious consumer” who is aware of his responsibility to be ethical at all aspects in his life. Consumers are now adopting products and services only after they are ensured that what they are using has been sourced right from the beginning till the end in a completely ethical manner. With the advancement of technology, consumers are more aware and they are able to get all sorts of information about the company through the web.
This ethical awakening is not only limited to the consumers only, but some of these consumers are also the employees for such multinational. The employees are also ethically awakened and they expect their employer to be ethical and especially in the case where they claim globally to be the Ethical.
Starbucks has been doing a lot of PR campaigns around being ethical in terms of sourcing coffee. In such a scenario the employees and the consumer does not want to feel cheated as they have a belief in the company that they are working for or buying products from. Hence, it becomes very important for Starbucks to communicate, both, internally and externally, in order to ensure that all the stakeholders can rely on the organization and have a complete faith on the organization. (Corporate Social Responsibility/ Fiscal 2006 Annual Report, 2006)

Communicating Internally:

Internal communication refers to effectively communicating within the organization. Employees are the major stake holders in any organization and it is the responsibility of the senior management to ensure that each and every employee of the organization is well versed with the company’s policies and beliefs.
The strategy that will be used in the paper will be persuasive communication which is a form of communication which is used when the objective of the communication is to influence the other party of something or change one’s old belief. In this scenario, Persuasive communication would be the best fit because there have been quite a few allegations on Starbucks for exploiting the farmers and the company has to persuade the internal stake holders that it is a fair trade organization which is not involved in any illegal activities.

Target audience:

Considering the condition that has been described in the scenario, the target audience for internal communication would include each and every employee right from those who work at the corporate office to those who are serving coffees in various retail outlet. Since the situation is about ethics so it is important to be communicated to each and every employee who is concerned with the organization. As already mentioned in the beginning, employees want to work for an ethical organization who is not cheating them with hoax mission and vision. This could lead to utter disappointment from the employee and he may leave his job.

Draft Communication:

A sample of the communication that could be sent over to all the employees is given below:
Starbucks is committed to promoting fair trade for its partners and ensures ethical sourcing by ensuring responsible farming practices and purchasing activities. The company has introduced a fair trade coffee in 2,300 stores where the coffee is sold with the trade mark of the purchasing country.

Starbucks is dedicated to providing all its stakeholders equal opportunity to grow and prosper in their lives and business

External communication
Similar approach would be taken in terms of external communication as well where persuasive communication would be used for the aforementioned condition. Since this is an issue where the media has already discussed this against the company so now the strategy will be a defensive strategy where we will try to negate all the previous allegations that have been there against Starbucks for being unethical.
The reason for using persuasive communication in this case would be because there is a lot of negative information available against Starbucks and in order to overcome that the company has to take the persuasive approach in order to influence people that what they are saying is right.

Target Audience:

Customers will be the core target audience in this case because as already mentioned customers are now becoming ethically responsible. They are more informed about all the products that they buy hence making informed decisions. So it is very important for Starbucks to communicate about being ethically responsible in terms of sourcing material.

Draft Communication:

Starbucks is committed to bringing you the best coffee through best practices. We consider it our responsibility to help our farmers grow and prosper. We help them in flourishing their crops and their lives by giving them the rightful compensations.
We consider it our moral responsibility to promote fair trade. We are dedicated to making your cup of coffee ethical.


Considering the scenario that has been mentioned above, it is believed that persuasive communication suites best in this case as there have been a lot of discussions about such scenarios for Starbucks. As this topic has already been discussed a lot on social media, hence, our response will be more of a defensive strategy rather than a proactive. The tone that would be required will be persuasive in order to answer all sorts of doubts that the stake holder might have due to the negative information available.


It is essential that your correspondences destinations ought to be seen to add to the accomplishment of the general goals of the association. Thusly they will be perceived not as an "extra", yet something as basic as operational or approach targets to attaining to the association's general mission otherwise a particular company can face the various issues regarding the communication strategy in both internal and external way. Same in the case of Star Bucks which challenged the issue of discrimination in strategic communication.

Context and need of communication

Discrimination in communication can also cause discrimination in employees which can result in highly failure and ineffective organization scenario throughout the current market structure. Star bucks’ executives must impart unmistakably that neither segregation nor provocation will be endured in the work environment. Directors have an obligation of imparting this strategy obviously to all representatives. Activities are critical and regularly talk louder than words. Along these lines, a chief's non-verbal activities must impart to all workers that segregation won't go on without serious consequences. This can be accomplished by relating to representatives and by showing appreciation for all workers, paying little mind to their experiences, experience, and restrictions or accomplishments. A business ought to give steady correspondence and criticism to all workers to help stop separation.

Internal communication

Interior correspondence is an extension that joins the administration, its approaches and reasoning to the representatives, and the other way around. In the event that you are a director or an entrepreneur looking to execute powerful inner correspondence systems, how about we see what driving Indian organizations are up to and how you can actualize these tips in your own inward correspondence methodology. The problem which star bucks faced was the internal discrimination of strategic communication which caused the formal structure of an organization.
The strategy that would be used in this scenario would be persuasive where the organization would ensure their employees that there are no discriminations within the organization. Since Starbucks has been blamed for discriminating employees on the basis if their genders, so now it has to persuade it employees that now they have policies to overcome such issues.

Target Audience

The target audiences are the employees who face these on regular basis. In order to ensure the employees who are working for Starbucks around the world it is very important for the organization to ensure them that the company does not promote any sort of discrimination at any level.

Draft Communication

The module scenario which Star Bucks has implemented to overcome this internal communication barrier to grab the target market is to adopt some structural tools and instruments:
Initially, Star Bucks established a systematic designed approach where every single employee of an organization share their creative & innovative ideas for the betterment of the particular organization and so that they can communicate effectively & equally without any racial and gender discrimination.
Next implementation was the technology dimensional usage. It was the smart move by Star Bucks to use the screen savers, desktop background and the technical tools to convey the management messages effectively to over all the employees without any discrimination. This method was also use to appreciate all the employees equally and to avoid the discrimination & negativity.


All our employees are equal for us and what makes them stand out is only their commitment and dedication towards the company’s goal. We have always encouraged employees who are committed towards fulfilling the vision of the company.

External Communication

External discrimination in strategic communication badly caused the particular organization Star Bucks’ structure in the current market scenario which resulted in bad organizational reputation, sales turnover, Service or product quality & material.
The company should opt for offensive strategies where it will proactively tell the designated authority about how it overcomes any sorts of discriminating issues. The tone would be educational where the aim is to communicate to the authority about how they avoid any discrimination within the organization.

Target Audience

The audience in this scenario would be the Labor law department of the government who ensures that none of the organization practices any sorts of discriminations. Since this is the official authority that penalizes organizations if the rules are not followed so t is very important for the organization to communicate it to the labor law department.

Draft Communication

Starbucks is an equal opportunity employer who respects the quality of work that is provided by the employee. We have strict policies in place in order to ensure that there is gender discrimination at Starbucks.


Or In discrimination scenario two different approaches would be used for internal and external communication. As the employees would need assurance of no discrimination within the organization so a convincing tone would be required for an effective internal communication.
While for the external stakeholder, which is the labor law department in the government, and educating tone would work as the organization would keep informing the authorities about how they evade any sorts of discrimination within the company.

Works Cited

Corporate Social Responsibility/ Fiscal 2006 Annual Report. (2006). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Global Assets:
Welch, D. (2011, February 28). Fairtrade beans do not mean a cup of coffee is entirely ethical. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from The Guardian:

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