Sample donated: Alexander Castillo
Last updated: September 18, 2019
Cultures can be similar or quitedifferent across countries. The challenge for Starbucks is to recognize andeffectively manage the similarities and the differences from the home countryand the country they want to venture into.
When Starbucks expand their businessin a new country, the company sets about researching culture, history and localtastes before partnering with any local coffee companies and building storeswhich serves the needs of locals without comprising the signature brand ofcoffee store. Starbucks’ localisation strategy has fused local products withinnovative store design, incorporate local cultures and differences in theircompany which make it easier for them to enter tough foreign markets. Starbucks is acompany that is so well known by not just one area of people. It is a companythat gets business all over the world. One key aspect to the culture ofStarbucks that they take pride in is that they are very diverse.
Especially inMalaysia which has a multi-racial community in which include the Chinese,Malay, Indians and other races are able to join in Starbucks to work. There isno discrimination in whichever races. All employees regardless of gender orracial background are treated equally and are also given due attention inStarbucks.
Starbucks also has stated that their partners are diverse not onlyin gender, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, and age, but also in culturalbackgrounds, life experiences, thoughts and ideas. For example, Starbucks has opened its firstoutlet in the world in Bangsar, Malaysia dedicated to employinghearing-impaired baristas. This is a great representation and example of howStarbucks is a very diverse company that focuses more on the outcome ratherthan being picky on who does the work that gets to the outcome. Throughout theyears, western companies in Asia, this include Malaysia, rate human resourcesas one of the biggest challenges of doing business outside the home country. Inthe US, Starbucks employees tend to delegate responsibility among themselvesand have flexible lines of authority. In contrast to Malaysia, workers arenormally stick only to what they know. Which mean they are more into hierarchicalstructures in which each person has a clearly defined role. If the storemanager is from the west, such differences can often lead to tensions becausethey are not used to workers who do not take their own initiative.
This is oneof the reason why Starbucks localisation strategy is to employ local managersto manage local shops as they know Malaysian workers have been trained from ayoung age to always follow instructions from the top. Besides managingdiverse workforce, consideration of ethical practices is important forStarbucks to venture in international business. For example, Starbucks conforms to the HALAL requirements in their all their productsas per Malaysia requirement to enter the local market. Unlike in the US, HALALcertification is not a requirement because majority of their customers are notMuslim and of course because the US is not a Muslim country. But in Malaysia, Starbucksis obligated to have HALAL certification as Malaysia is a Muslim populatedcountry and they take HALAL requirements very seriously.
Starbucks in Malaysiaalso allowed their female Muslim workers to wear their hijabs or scarfs as partof their adaptation and respect to the country’s culture and ethics. As mentionedearlier, there are Starbucks all over the world. There are 24,395 outlets inthe world which include more than 200 stores in Malaysia. With so many storesall around the world can most likely get pretty hectic at times and it wouldnot be possible to do business in the same way in every corner of the globe.
TakeStarbucks physical outlet as an example. In Malaysia, the company provide thestores with more seating space compared in the US. Unlike Americans, who can’tstart their mornings without a cup of coffee and will have it on the go, mostMalaysian customers do not just grab and go. Instead, coffee shops here inMalaysia are like a destination. Local customers come to the shops to sit backand sip their coffee without a rush. They come to hang with their friends andfamily and some even come to do their business and meet their clients here.While most Starbucks shops in the US are hectic and bustling, local Starbucksare much quieter and relax.
In addition tochanging its storefronts to cater local culture, Starbucks has also createdspecial flavours based on the local customer base it is serving, just like anyother large food giants in the world. Just like in US, where Starbucks havemenu with different drink and food to cater the Americans taste buds, here inMalaysia Starbucks also have their own menu to suit the locals taste andpreferences. In Malaysia, an example of unique tastes that are offered byStarbucks include Coffee Jelly Frappuccino, possibly because Malaysiancustomers are accustomed to beverages with solids mixed in.