Sunday, December 2, 2007
Starbucks Standards of Business Conduct
For my blog this week I decided to go through the Starbucks Standards of Business Conduct that was included in my new partner information when I was hired on as a barista. I thought it might be interesting to read through and identify the different values that are emphasized within Starbucks. The twenty page document begins with a short letter from chairman and chief global strategist Howard Schultz. In this letter Schultz emphasizes that "How we conduct our business and how we treat others will continue to determine how the world views Starbucks (stewardship)" and that Starbucks has a "longstanding commitment to follow the law and to act ethically in all situations." The letter ends with a request for partners to "At all times, please remember, do the right thing." The following pages outline various ethical hurtles including everything from partner privacy (freedom) to securities. I was surprised to see that Starbucks appears to value many of the core ethical values present within a more communitarian organization. Starbucks appears to value humaneness, truth and freedom more than justice and stewardship. But I use the word appears for a reason, what Starbucks corporate officials put into print and what they actually do on a daily basis may very likely be in conflict. Often corporations appear ethical on paper but are not actually so in reality. But still...it was nice to read that Starbucks is committed to being honest. "In all sales and advertising, Starbucks competes on the merits of our products and services. Our communications without customers or potential customers must be truthful and accurate. When we say something about our products and services, we must be able to substantiate it. We sell the quality of what we do; we do not disparage or take shots at our competitors." They also put in that "we treat our customers as we treat one another, with respect and dignity (humaneness)." I think this are both great goals for a company to have. I have to say I was impressed with the Standards of Business Conduct. This is the first job I've had where I was given such a document. Never have I worked for a company where ethical standards were emphasized among all employees. I'm glad that Starbucks finds it necessary to provide every new partner with these standards. It puts everyone on the same page and holds every employee to the same standards. This is a great policy for a company to have. Informed employees are valued employees.