In a perfect example of the complexities involved in operating globally, an article from Reuters explains the difficulty Starbucks is having operating in a country who's primary religion is Islam. These difficulties are directly related to the organizations stance on LGBT Rights.  Starbucks has publically stated multiple times that it supports international LGBT Rights. However, according to correspondent Ebrahim Harris, this stance may be bad for business operations in Indonesia and Malaysia as, "intolerance of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender people has spiked in recent years".

This cultural difference is an excellent example of the difficulties that businesses face operating in a global economy. This does not only impact customers, and operations; it impacts the potential flow of employees as well. Furthermore, this raises a very complex series of questions. Who is right? Should Starbucks conform to the religious preferences of their customer demographic in Indonesia and Malaysia? After all, Starbucks did choose to operate there. Should Starbucks allow LGBT managers and employees to travel to their Indonesian and Malaysian locations?

The bottom line is that this is an very interesting example of a polar cultural difference that is encompassing a product that both cultures love [a good cup of coffee]. These cultural differences will continue to be challenging for international managers as long as there is a interdependent global economy.

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  • Hi Dane. 

    Very interesting post. I am an avid Starbucks drinker and happen to love that the company is Pro-LGBT and is very vocal about their support for the LGBT community. However, it really is a good question. They did choose to operate in those countries, and of course, they knew before going in that these  countries has high Muslim populations. With this being said, it is Starbucks job to choose between keeping their values, and their Pro-LGBT image, or to have a spike in sales. On the contrary, the company does not even know if not being as vocal in stance of the LGBT community would actually increase sales. This could be a cultural thing, as it is found that most Muslims enjoy their coffee before they leave the house, and do not take coffee to-go, what Starbucks is truly known for. On the contrary, I believe that sales may see a relative increase as Starbucks just announced that over the next five years they will be hiring over 10,000 refugees from predominantly Muslim countries. This support for the Muslim community may increase sales overseas. Only time will tell. But as for hushing your voice for an increase in sales, Starbucks as a corporation would look into it, Starbucks as a social responsible company that people love it for, would not even think about. 


    Starbucks' 'Brand Perception' Takes A Massive Hit After Announcing Plans To Hire 10,000 Refugees. (2017, February 23). Retrieved July 24, 2017, from

    Starbucks' 'Brand Perception' Takes A Massive Hit After Announcing Plans To Hire 10,000 Refugees
    After vowing to defy Trump's immigration executive order and
  • Certainly a good illustration of operating in the global markets.

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