A great example of a company run to maximize stakeholder value is Starbucks. Their entire mission is centered around the experience of the customer. Everything from the friendliness of the barista to the comfy feeling of their stores is tailored around the customer experience. In their eyes, distributing coffee – and their other delicious items – is not what drives their sales. Though it may be the excuse used to enter their cafes, the Starbucks customer returns for more than the coffee or tea. They return for the experience of sipping a freshly brewed and custom created coffee in the comfort of the Starbucks cafe. The Starbucks experience is, however, just one example of Starbucks’ commitment to their stakeholder-oriented management. From their partnerships with other institutions (like Barnes and Noble or Bucknell) to their detailed work with suppliers, Starbucks exemplifies what it means to care about its product and its stakeholders. They apply their unique vision of what being a premium cafe should be like, in part, by incorporating new technologies that apply to their premium customer base while making the experience friendly and homey. This can be seen in their partnership with Apple – often giving out free music – or their integration of mobile payments (where you can simply scan a barcode on your iPhone to pay for their products). – I’ve done it, it’s great. I highly, highly recommend doing this at every opportunity you get. (doesn’t work at non-Starbucks Starbucks (like Barnes and Noble and the Library…, i’ve tried. Doesn’t work.)


In his book, Dr. Michelli examines the Starbucks experience and what he claims are Starbucks’ 5 principles for turning ordinary into extraordinary. They are:

1. Make it your own
2. Everything matters
3. Surprise and delight
4. Embrace resistance
5. Leave your mark

In my extensive experience buying and drinking Starbucks coffee, I’ve found this to be true. From writing in their comfy cafe’s seats to grabbing a quick cup to go, Starbucks has proven to lead the coffee industry in more ways than just the quality of their coffee.

In fact, if it were not for Starbucks, I’d have just slightly over zero chance of finishing my important 10 page paper throughout the course of tonight! Thank god for Starbucks.


6 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    Add a featured image!

  2. Jordi says:

    Awesomenessissity?? 🙂

  3. Lindsey F. says:

    I also came across Starbucks when thinking about a company that exemplifies stakeholder theory. I personally don’t enjoy Starbucks coffee, it’s too bitter for me, but I agree that they excel in the customer experience. Most people who drink coffee at Starbucks are completely devoted to Starbucks. They only drink Starbucks coffee. I think this is a testament to how well they take into consideration the customer when developing products, designing shops, and creating promotions. Although I am not one of these customers, I can attest to their stakeholderism.

  4. Loukas T says:

    When I thought about companies that were “stakeholder driven”, I immediately thought about sustainability efforts and working conditions. I liked how Starbucks can still be considered stakeholder driven by focusing on customers. It can be argued that Starbucks coffee is really not much better than Dunkin Donuts or other competitors, yet their prices are so much higher. People will still pay these prices because of how the company focusing on giving the customers the best possible experience. It is a great company and an interesting business model.

  5. Jordi says:

    Starbucks is also well known for trying to create better pay and health care in what is traditionally a low wage sector- fast food.

    I am not sure if that drives prices. But it rounds out the stakeholder case you make.

    Also, how much to they try to bring more value to the coffee suppliers through fairer pricing?

  6. Matt says:

    Sweet company, bro. Wonder where that idea came from? Trolling the comments section under the prompt perhaps?
    Personal vendettas and revenge plots aside, Starbucks is an awesome company. It’s amazing how they’ve changed the entire landscape of the coffee industry, from the way their stores are designed to their commitment to quality, the environment, and fair labor practices, all at a global scale. Maybe it’s not THE most active company in the world, but considering its size I’d say it does a great job. It certainly is an impressive example of a mainstream, highly-renowned and very community-minded business. I liked how you referenced all their sponsorships too, I think that is a fact many people take for granted. Not only is it great for business, but I think it shows that they care to get involved wherever they can.
    The only thing I’ve found about Starbucks is that some people really, really hate them. It might just be the effects of being as big as they are, but I know a good amount of people that won’t go near their coffee. Then again, there are probably 5x as many people who swear by it. Maybe they’re just hipsters who are so hipster-ish that they’ve vowed it’s too mainstream to drink high quality coffee in an artsy, green coffee shop. Either that or I’m too caught up in the Starbucks craze that I missed some really bad facts?

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