Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Starbucks


Workplace diversity is one of the greatest challenges faced by managers in almost all sectors worldwide. As a central variable in the determination of organizational environments, it defines the aspects of multiplicity in human attributes including age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class, and other characteristics which distinguish one individual from the other. Effective management of organizations requires a comprehensive understanding of the value of equality, diversity, and inclusion in all departments. Competent managers need to recognize and appreciate the principles of comprising people from different backgrounds, valuing their dissimilarities, and treating them equally to provide a positive work environment. This paper seeks to examine how Starbucks promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion in the US market, focusing on their recent reports on how they treat employees, staff, customers, and the communities within the market.

Company Background

Starbucks was first opened in 1971 as a single store for retailing coffee, beans, and tea in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Fifty years down the line, the company is now a leading retailer with over 19,000 stores across more than 60 countries. In the US, the organization has approximately 13,000 centers and serves as the number one chain store offering high-quality coffee (Gozdan and Sudolska, 2019, p, 35). Essentially, the firm employs more than 160, 000 people from all over the world, portraying a great balance between social responsibility and profitability in the market (Gozdan and Sudolska, 2019, p, 35).

Notably, the company has been consistent in topping the list of companies with the highest moral ethics and diversity culture, referring to employees as partners. Consequently, they enjoy a global brand of being considerate to human values and social conscience, involving customer preference as the most important virtue. Thus, the company’s practical approach to customer relations, recruitment, and human resource management in the industry depend on the business environment as the most important external factor. However, finding data on the attributes of success in different stores may be difficult as witnessed during this research.

Strategies to Promote Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

There are several demographic factors used by Starbucks in making decisions over chain store management and market base expansion. One of the key techniques to diversify their market target is to focus on all socio-economic classes within the market. Their product spread across from middle-income populations to students with higher purchasing power. Across different states, Starbucks has opened chain stores to ensure a response to ethnic values in the US market.

Equality and Inclusivity Dimensions

Equality and inclusion are some of the key variables which affect the development of firms worldwide. Some of the factors embedded within the framework of equality and inclusion include all-facet consideration in the humanistic approach; involving disability, minority groups, and all potential market constituents (Santuzzi, Martinez, and Keating, 2021). Everybody needs to be part of the corporate social growth at any given instance. Starbucks operates on a culture of belonging for everybody, including their part-time employees and customers.

In recent years, the company has been engaging in corporate social responsibilities, which involve partnering with communities and interested parties to provide all-inclusive healthy services across target populations. The organization utilizes feedback from partners and customers to generate equal opportunities for everyone in the US market (McCluney, Roberts, and Wooten, 2017). Essentially, the partnership approach intends to widen the inclusivity strategy to ensure sustainable development within the industry. Such mechanisms have enabled the management to inculcate a culture of equity and inclusion in hiring and talent development among the employees. The company’s mission is based on the spirit of embracing humanity in operation within the US market, as a leading firm (Azriuddin et al., 2020). The current decision to offer free Aira services in all their stores in the US entailed a strategy to cover those who have visual problems within the market, as a mechanism of embracing disability.

Race Diversity

The company has designed a new policy to promote equality and inclusion in the Starbucks community resilience fund, whose aim is to promote racial equality alongside resilience in the business environment by small firms (Starbuck Stories and News, 2020a, p 2). Starbuck prides itself on its culture of equal opportunity for all employees from every part of the world. Primarily, the organization perceives diversity as a major factor in change management and economic prowess. Therefore, they employ members on merit, considering diversity thresholds during their recruitment and development of new stores in different parts of the market.

Starbucks accepts people from all cultures as employees in their different branches as a way of discouraging racism in the business environment. Managers are derived from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to ensure they manage their productivity without biases or discrimination in decision-making models. Notably, the managers have recognized that discrimination has negative implications and may affect the company’s image and operations for a long time within the market.

Embracing diversity of race is a major component of successful growth in any firm. Essentially, such cultures promote creativity and innovation among the employees and enabled the firm to realize a maximum profit in the market. Starbuck enjoys comprehensive ethnic background by spreading its branches across different states in America. In Los Angeles, for instance, the organization has created more than 40 chain stores to promote inclusivity for different races (Morais et al., 2014). This approach has effectively helped the company to reach new markets in different regions.

Gender Diversity

Gender-based decision-making is a major challenge for many companies around the world. Over the years, there has been rising concern about the representation of women in leadership and managerial positions. However, Starbucks considers gender sensitivity as a major concern in developing sustainable relations with the consumers, both in the US and the world at large. By October 2020, Starbuck recorded a gender partner base composition of 69% Females in the US as an affirmative approach to gender diversity within the market (Starbuck Stories and News 2020).

At the same time, the sexual orientations in different stores are consistent with the company’s general values. Some of the key considerations in recruitment include policies to guide the selection of proportionate female and male representation of workers. The company uses its database as a mechanism for making practical decisions to enhance representation and avoid biased outcomes at all levels in the industry.

Reflection on Starbucks Case

From the Starbucks case, one can learn several lessons which relate to diversity in the workforce. Primarily, I have learned that engaging people from diverse cultural, professional, and regional backgrounds can have an immense impact on the success of an organization. Starbucks portrays one of the richest cultures in diversity and human values, considering a massive investment in corporate social responsibility and social conscience. Essentially, the company seems to have a vibrant organizational culture, embracing inclusivity, equality, and diversity as the most important attributes of a competent institution.

The managerial components and approaches utilized indicate an all-inclusive business environment. Accordingly, different managers find challenging diversity values during their marketing operations (Santuzzi, Martinez, and Keating, 2021). However, Starbucks has invested in a pragmatic approach to the importance of diversity and equality as a competition strategy, focusing on interpersonal relationships between consumers and the company’s human resources. Much of what is unfolding in this firm, today, is a replication of their investment in the key principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all their stores to avoid discrimination within the US market.


To conclude, Starbuck promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion through evidence-based investment in corporate social responsibility. Logically, the company has outlets worldwide, working with people from all ethnic and cultural dynamics. Their key technique is to consider employees as partners in a business deal, which motivates the workers to explore their potential in productivity and maximize profits in the market. Also, the company has set policies on gender-based thresholds in management and recruitment practices.

Therefore, the company’s culture portrays an exemplary case of equality, diversity, and inclusion of people from across the US market. Concurrently, such practice has been replicated in the success rate of the organization in different parts of the market venture. Focusing on multiplicity and inclusion ideology of practice has been pivotal in shaping their penetration into the new markets and how they relate with different consumers from different backgrounds. Although they charge higher prices for different commodities, their sustained relations with the consumers have helped create a consistent image in the market systems that continuously attract consumers and outdo their competitors.

Reference List

Azriuddin, M., et al. (2020). ‘Becoming an international brand: a case study of Starbucks’. Journal of the Community Development in Asia, 3(1), pp.33-43. Web.

Gozdan, E. and Sudolska, A., (2019). ‘Exploring company’s activities in the field of CSR: The Case of Starbucks’. Journal of Corporate Responsibility and Leadership, 6(2), pp.29-47. Web.

McCluney, C.L., Roberts, L.M. and Wooten, L.P., (2017). ‘It takes courage: lessons learned from Starbucks’# RaceTogether Campaign case study’, In Developing leaders for positive organizing. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Morais, U. P., et al. (2014). ‘Managing diverse employees at Starbucks: focusing on ethics and inclusion.’ International Journal of Learning and Development. 4(1), 35.

Santuzzi, A.M., Martinez, J.J. and Keating, R.T., (2021). ‘The benefits of inclusion for disability measurement in the workplace.’ Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal.

Starbuck Stories and News (2021). Starbucks Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Timeline. Web.

Starbuck Stories and News (2020a). Our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Starbucks. Web.

Starbuck Stories and News (2020a). Workforce Diversity at Starbucks. Web.

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