Howard Schultz and Starbucks Coffee Co. By Nancy F. Koehn


Subjects Covered:

Branding; Brands; Business & government relations; Consumer behavior; Cross functional management; Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneurship; Food assistance; Groupware; Innovation; Leadership; Organizational behavior analysis; Regional economic integration; Revenue growth; Sustainable competitive advantage; Teams; Vertical integration; Western leadership styles



Investigates the entrepreneur’s strategic initiatives to develop a mass market for specialty coffee in the 1980s and 1990s. These initiatives included the development of premium products, rapid expansion of company-owned stores–each with attractive retail environments and responsive customer service–and, especially, the creation of a strong brand. Also devotes considerable attention to how Schultz built the Starbucks organization, examining the consistent emphasis that he and his colleagues placed on the company’s relationship with its employees, how Schultz financed Starbucks’ early expansion, how vertical integration ensured quality control, and how–strategically and operationally–the company managed its phenomenal domestic and international growth after 1993.

Learning objective:

To examine how, in the midst of widespread socioeconomic change, an entrepreneur and his company influenced millions of consumers’ tastes, behavior, and daily lives, Also, to understand why Schultz and Starbucks came to lead the intensely competitive specialty coffee industry, and to analyze the relationship between entrepreneurial brand creation and institution building.


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