Description of Event
In an article published by CNBC news, Starbucks said it would allow its workers to adorn attire and accessories supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement. Lucas claims that Starbucks reversed its initial stance after social media users threatened to boycott of the company and its products (n.p.). The coffee merchandise had previously claimed they would not allow their staff to wear the accessories because it could lead to a misunderstanding potentially leading to violence. Starbucks has a policy that prevents their workers from wearing personal, political and religious clothing (Lucas n.p.). However, Starbucks had in the past handed out buttons and attires celebrating LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. The coffee chain would be doing the same by supporting the Black Lives Matter in the quest to seek for justice after the death of George Floyd in the hands of the Minneapolis police. The company is prepared to make 250,000 shirts conspicuously displaying Black Lives Matter, No Justice and No Peace messages (Lucas n.p). The shirts will be made available to the company’s workers in the United States and Canada.
Connection to International Business
The decision by Starbucks to support the Black Lives Matter is a political corporate responsibility strategy pursued by international businesses. The concept of political corporate responsibility is explained using stakeholder theory. The theory affirms that organizational behavior and culture changes due to direct pressure exerted by different stakeholders (Jones 33). Starbucks has had significant problems with race in the past as black customers have been sent away from the coffee stores in numerous occasions. The problems with race explain the Starbucks’ initial stance on the matter. However, after part of its customers, the social media users, threatened to boycott the company’s products, Starbucks considered its new organizational position. In international business, the stakeholders often influence a firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Myriad studies have tested the relative impacts of different stakeholders attributes on global businesses’ CSR under diverse conditions, and how stakeholders influence specific organizational activities. Jones reports that stakeholders transmit ideas and beliefs about desirable managerial practices that management can adopt (38). The goal is to guide organizations into setting the social, environmental and political strategies essential in gaining competitive advantage in a globally competitive arena.
How Others Benefit or Learn from Situation
Global companies have transformed their branding and marketing of their products to align to the worldwide demonstrations criticizing the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Indeed, corporate social responsibility has remained a tool utilized by business to broaden awareness of products, as well as build brand reputation. In this way, the other businesses learn the wider paradigm shift in thinking about the responsibilities that international businesses owe the community. International business studies have altered the traditional view of corporate social responsibility. In the past, as long as a business obeyed the law, its sole obligation was to maximize profits for its shareholders. Nonetheless, there has been a shift in which businesses desiring to vertically expand their operations to diverse countries around the world have to champion CSR initiatives that improve social and environmental impacts. As such, other businesses learn how political CSR can allow companies to engage with customers, suppliers, and local communities. Jones reports that 75 percent of customers buy brands whose political and social values align with their values (44). Additionally, 25 percent of these customers boycott brands whose values to align to the former’s values (Jones 50). Global businesses respond to pertinent issues relating to racism through corporate social responsibilities. By supporting the Black Lives Movements, Starbucks shows how to make a good business sense by speaking against racial discrimination. The support expressed to minority communities like the African-Americans constitutes a sensible step towards challenging discrimination and conducting global businesses ethically and legally.
Jones, Ellis. “Bridging the Gap between Ethical Consumers and Corporate Social Responsibility: An International Comparison of Consumer-Oriented CSR Rating Systems.” The Journal of Corporate Citizenship, no. 65, 2017, pp. 30–55.
Lucas, Amelia. “Starbucks to Allow Baristas to Wear Black Lives Matter Attire and Accessories after Social Media Backlash”. CNBC, Jun 12, 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/12/starbucks-to-allow-baristas-to-wear-black-lives-matter-attire-and-accessories-after-backlash.html. Accessed June 13, 2020.