This research paper outlines the plan used to collect primary and secondary data for the purpose of decision making in Starbucks Enterprises. Starbucks that made a maiden entry in to European market through its acquisition of 65 Seattle Coffee Company stores has developed a culture of focusing on a great loyalty to custom-made coffee and a value for people and the environment. However, its competitors seem to be making serious inroads in to the market with their provision of royalty card to customers. For instance, Costa has customer point card system while Café Nero has “10th cup is free” stamp card. This research paper looks into ways of making a competitive challenge to its competitors and the strategies it should adopt. As such, it presents the survey methodology, questionnaire outline, research results as well as the analysis of the findings that would form the basis of making informed decisions in the competitive environment (Bernard, 1990).
The Plan of Data Collection
The research took both a primary and a secondary approach. I visited Luby Cafeteria Inc that is well known to have loyal customers across the states and got to interview the general manager to get his definition of the source of their great success. Besides, I administered questionnaires to their staff members. This sought to know what they personally believed contributed to the success of their firm. I then headed to McLure Maple Syrup Limited. This company has survived in a competitive market for centuries without ever losing relevance. As a matter of fact, all its former competitors have either downed their tools or are in a desperate struggle to stay afloat in the market. In this respect, I considered them quite experienced enough to share with me some useful strategies of competition. In this company, I administered the same questionnaire to all the members of the staff. The questionnaire was an open ended type that gave them the opportunity to express their opinions as well as give the necessary explanations. Further, I asked the managing director of the McLure Maple Syrup Limited for their financial statements to help me analyze their growth trends and compare it with that Luby Cafeteria Inc (Rowe, 2007).
The survey targeted a relatively large sample of employees of both firms. This was purposely intended at collecting as diverse information as possible from two companies. The respondents were each given a whole day to fill in the questionnaires considering that they were also on duty. They were to submit the questionnaire papers the following day when they reported back to work. Apart from this, the research thoroughly interviewed the top management in the two firms for a one to one collection of information concerning their strategic plans that have sailed their firms through turbulent market trends (Stogdill, 1989).
Questionnaire and Interview Design
The questionnaire herein does not require you to indicate your name anywhere as it purely remains confidential. As such, the information you give would be treated with due confidentiality such that there should be no fear of retribution. Note that we dearly value the information you give as we consider a work of utmost truth and faithfulness.
- Do you consider this business a success?
- If yes, what things do you attribute to its success?
- How do you think your customers rate the quality of your services/ products of this firm?
- What do you consider your greatest personal achievement that has contributed to the success of the firm?
- What improvement do you propose for yourself to undertake in order to improve service deliverance to the customers?
- Does the firm offer any incentives to the customers? If yes, which ones?
- Would you recommend the same incentives to a rival firm in the neighborhood and why?
- Would you consider staying in this firm beyond your retirement age? Why?
These elements of the questionnaire sufficed my pursuit of critical information from the two firms. However, interviews with the top management were quite more incisive and took a more professional angle than that of a questionnaire. For instance, I enquired at length for a description of the type of decision making that they have adopted to ensure that the employees strictly follow and execute their policies to the letter and spirit. Besides, I asked about the type of business strategies that they had adopted to ensure they stayed above the rest in the market. The interviews took approximately two hours each.
The information from the two general managers was in agreement that democratic type of leadership was the best bet for businesses that wish to succeed in the current market. In this type of leadership, leaders invite their subjects to make contribution of ideas and give their opinion as concerning the direction they wish the firm to take. However, as leaders they still reserve the right to make the final decision after considering all the views given. This often invokes a sense of motivation among the employees as they feel that somehow they control the destiny of the business they work for. In the end they do not just develop themselves, but also improve the organizations status as they work hard for something more gratifying than monetary rewards. Although this leadership style may take long to produce results due to the long procedures in decision making, it certainly does in the end. The only problem arises when there are extremely diverse dissenting opinions that may be impossible to reconcile (Bernard, 1990).
In particular, the managing director of Luby Cafeteria narrated how their initial attempts to implement this type of decision making style was tough. According to him, the personal opinions were quite diverse and most of the time conflicting. However, he stressed that their ability to treat all of them with due respect and constant meetings they called to harmonize them served the company well in the long term. On his part, the managing director of McLure Maple Syrup echoed the same sentiments. In his opinion, this type of decision making had become part and parcel of their management and therefore no longer hard to implement. However, they also incorporated delegation type of leadership into their management. This means that the various departmental heads had the authority to make well thought decisions concerning their departments without having to go through the general manager. However, this too has to conform to the democratic ideals of consulting the people under them (Jago, 1982).
As such, I would not hesitate to recommend this type of consultative decision making to the board of directors of Starbucks Enterprises. However, in view of the fact that democratic type of decision making is usually time consuming I would recommend that they blend it to some extent with delegation of duties so as to have everything up and running in time like it happens at McLures Maple Syrup Limited. Besides, I would urge them to forge a good working relationship between the management and the subordinate staff because it is very crucial to any type of business. That would be the only way that Starbucks Enterprises would be sure not be losing customers due to mistakes done by the junior staff who do not appreciate the magnitude of good customer relations. Ideally, the only way to ensure that all employees treat customers with respect as well as behave with some decorum is to make them feel part of the company. Further, I would insist that Starbucks Enterprises either trains their mangers on public relations or hire new managers who can foster a spirit of hard work among the workers as well as be a perfect inspiration to the entire company. This would be in recognition of the fact that the most productive leaders are those that get things done perfectly rather than those who do things perfectly. At least this would suffice to set Starbucks Enterprises ahead of their competitors who may not be keen on the top leadership (Jago, 1982).