Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset

By Eric G. Flamholtz; Yvonne Randle | Go to book overview

4
Managing the
Customer Orientation
Dimension of Culture

This chapter deals with how companies can and should manage the customer orientation dimension of culture. We examine and analyze how certain companies have achieved success by creating and effectively managing a culture that emphasizes the importance of the customer and customer service. They are Starbucks Coffee Company, the Walt Disney Company, and Southwest Airlines.

Although we focus primarily on customer orientation, it must be noted that cultural variables are typically interrelated. For example, how customers are treated at Starbucks depends on how Starbucks treats employees. Accordingly, we use some of the same case studies in chapters dealing with other dimensions of culture.


Managing Customer Orientation at Starbucks

In our judgment, Starbucks is a consummate model of how corporate culture leads to organizational success. We begin with in-depth discussion and analysis of how the company created a culture of customer orientation and in so doing became a business icon.

In a little more than two decades, Starbucks has become a worldwide brand synonymous with lattes and cappuccino. In 2009, it had more than eighty-five hundred company-owned stores and even more licensed stores. The company has more stores in California than all of its major competitors

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