Ethical Framework at Starbucks

To guide on prudent business practices Starbucks has established a formal business ethics and compliance code that delineates the standards of conduct that the entity expects of its partners. The ethical framework touches on three broad areas: workplace environment, business practices and community involvement (Starbucks, 2009).

Workplace Environment

To promote a good working environment the company has delineated various guidelines on its ethics framework. These include guidelines on employee relations, customer treatment, appreciating diversity and workplace health safety and security (Starbucks, 2009). Others are quality and customer protection guidelines, regulations of substance use and weapons possession and guidelines on wage and working hours (Starbucks, 2009). According to the guidelines employees must treat each other and customers with respect and dignity by avoiding such practices as harassment, bullying and discrimination (Starbucks, 2009). It is with these provisions in mind that the entity restricts the use of alcoholic beverages and prohibits use or possession of illegal substances and weapons at work (Starbucks, 2009). The entity also delineates the working hours’ procedures to ensure employee satisfaction at the workplace thus improving the working environment (Starbucks, 2009).

With regard to diversity, the entity embraces the diversity of all its customers, employees and suppliers with an aim “to be the most inclusive company globally, working toward full equity, inclusion and accessibility for those whose lives we touch” (Starbucks, 2009, p. 6). To guide on quality and customer protection the entity requires its employees to follow the appropriate, sanitary, storage, handling, preparation and service procedures and report any instances that may compromise products’ quality or customer safety (Starbucks, 2009).

Business Practices

In addition to work environment guidelines the company also has formulated guidelines on its business practices. The first of these guidelines are concerned with practices in regard to laws and regulations, and interaction with the government. At both the local and international levels all employees and associated entities (e.g. suppliers) with which the company transacts business with are required to comply with the applicable laws and rules (Starbucks, 2009). Secondly the company requires of any employee contacted by a government or regulatory agent for the entity’s information to contact ones manager who should then take the appropriate action (Starbucks, 2009). With this regard the entity prohibits offering bribes or any other incentive to compromise the agent (Starbucks, 2009).

The second aspect of Starbuck’s ethical guidelines on ethical business practices regards sales, advertising and confidentiality aspects. These include following fair competition practices, avoiding conflicts of interest, following prudency in acceptance or giving gifts and/ or entertainment, and participating in insider trading (Starbucks, 2009). On the issue of confidentiality the partners are prohibited from disclosing confidential information such as Starbucks technologies, marketing plans and coffee blends to outsiders or even persons within the company who should not have access to such information (Starbucks, 2009). Such disclosures would also apply to information with regard to previous employers that must not be brought to Starbucks (Starbucks, 2009). Further ethical guidelines on business practices relate to dealing with intellectual property and preparation and maintenance of records (Starbucks, 2009).

Community involvement

In regard to community involvement Starbucks has guidelines on environmental commitment, personal activities, political activities and public relations. In environmental aspects all employees are expected to seek ways to of mitigating the entity’s environmental impacts with the minimum standard being as represented in the relevant laws (Starbucks, 2009). Involvement in personal activities is allowed for the balance between employment, family life and personal growth to be maintained but such should not be imposed on colleagues neither adversely affects the entity’s brand (Starbucks, 2009).

Involvement in political activities must however not be done with company’s resources and time (Starbucks, 2009). Displaying or promoting personal political beliefs at the workplace is thus not allowed (Starbucks, 2009). Disclosure of company’s information to the outside must also be done in accordance with the laid down procedures such as when such information has been sought by outside parties such as media houses (Starbucks, 2009). Go to part 4 here.

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