Starbucks Unionization

Starbucks Corporation: Fighting Unionization in Coffee Houses

Battle, A., Lally, M., Sorensen, K., O’Rourke, J. S. (editor)
June 27, 2022
North America
Human Resources & Organizational Behavior, Strategy & General Management, Operations
10 pages
unionization, corporate communication, labor relations, Starbucks, crisis management
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.74)
Average rating: 

Starbucks Corporation is facing a dilemma with a group of employees in Buffalo, New York attempting to form a union in response to compensation and working conditions. Starbucks faces this labor organization effort in the context of a global pandemic and distinctive challenges facing the entire service industry.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • To highlight the conflict that can arise given a misalignment between a company's stated mission and its practices in action.
  • To provide an example of the importance of employee treatment and the quality of management throughout a company.
  • To demonstrate how a few individual employees, even in a large corporation, can hold company executives and managers accountable for their actions.
  • To prompt discussion on various ways companies can handle an internal challenge.
  • To encourage discussion and analysis on how companies have been successful in crisis management and how to replicate that success.