Starbucks hopes that a highly visible closure of stores in the name of anti-bias efforts will signal a certain prioritization of values to consumers, as well as enough long-term benefit to offset the cost.
In our work at the Business Ethics Alliance, we’ve seen this topic of discussion among large and small companies alike. It can be tricky, and there is no single right answer. How companies deal with this issue is as varied as the types of companies that exist. What companies want to avoid are policies that no one knows about or follows.
Addressing this issue is a journey—one that requires honesty, openness, and vulnerability. It requires us to acknowledge things we might not want to see in ourselves, to become more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
What can organizations do to promote a speak-up culture, one that limits sources of moral stress but also makes employees feel safe to report concerns? A good start would be returning to their roots: their core ethical values.