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A Naive Sahib in India Case Study

Essay by   •  October 27, 2015  •  Case Study  •  2,565 Words (11 Pages)  •  2,859 Views

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INTRODUCTION

Dear Executive Board of Aspen Automative,

In the report enclosed, I have gone through an exhaustive review of the new acquisition between Aspen Automative (Aspen) and Bindi Break Company (Bindi) involving Managing Director, Brian Moseley, and Bindi‟s management team.

Mr. Moseley is an intelligent individual with post-secondary degrees from top universities and previous international management experience. The decision made by the executive board to send Mr. Moseley to India to increase efficiency and profitability of Bindi was not a mistake but in fact a cultural misunderstandings concern.

Throughout the report, I will utilize the information you have given me to provide an objective analysis on each situation and how to resolve the check-mate both parties are currently at. Furthermore, I will provide recommendations on how to proceed further along with general advice for future dealings internationally.

Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me. Best Regards,

Cultural Consultant, InterContinental Inc.

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FUNDAMENTAL MANAGEMENT ISSUE

The fundamental issues have been divided into: the insensitivity to India‟s cultural norms; emotional conflict management practices; and misunderstandings due to lack of communication.

Insensitivity to Cultural Norms

The likelihood of Western expatriates entering India and misinterpreting cultural norms is high. In North America, workers are perceived to be shirking work when they are constantly socializing during work hours. Similarly for Brian, tea drinking and chatter amongst the Indian employees would be perceived the same way. Brian suggested pay for performance programs, annual performance reviews, management by objectives, and a 360 degree performance appraisal program for Bindi. Brian did a thorough analysis of Bindi and headed straight to the recommendations. Problem arose when the Indian workforce felt these changes were aggressive. To make matters worse, Rajan hadn‟t communicated to Brian the fact he would be away to attend his “brother’s” wedding; in turn, Brian fired Rajan.

Emotional Power Exertion in Conflict Management

It is difficult to separate how a party feels at the heat of the conflict from the actual situation itself. When individuals are in a state of multiple emotions coupled with the fact that they are in a position of power, decisions made are not likely to be based on thorough analysis. Brain became visibly frustrated due to the lack of responses and progress reports form the Indian managers. As a result, he decided to implement his suggestions by firing Prakash Nur, replacing him by C.P. Rao (who later on resigned), starting performance appraisals after firing two workers in each group, increasing annual compensation contingent of the 360 reviews and releasing personal assistants (Chaprasi). Furthermore, Brian was seen criticizing his managerial team in front of subordinates and he would tell managers that they should leave Bindi if they do not agree.

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Misunderstandings Due to Lack of Communication

When Western managers go abroad, they often come across hiccups that prevent them from proceeding to the next point. In many instances, Brian created an environment where Indian managers were unable to approach him with concerns or recommendations. Rajan felt that Brian was “culturally imperialistic” and that he was immature to be Managing Director. Rajan also stated that the Indian employees were not so receptive to Western managerial practices. Furthermore, Rajan mentioned that the suggestions made were countering Indian values and thus, would not be receptive by the employees at Bindi.

ANALYSIS OF ISSUES

According to many classic studies done by researchers, various cultures may have different views on leadership. Figure 1.0 shows Geert Hofstede‟s cultural dimensions of India compared against the United States of America. When it comes to power distance, individuals in India appreciate the hierarchal structure where employees tend to look to the boss for direction. Unlike America, the feedback system from employees to management is seen as a negative communication platform. In terms of Individualism, India leans towards a more collectivist society but with remaining individualistic characteristics as well. Considering this, family and friends‟ views will highly impact their thoughts, decisions and actions. On the other hand, many believe in the Hinduism philosophy and thus, they believe in reincarnation. The general Indian belief is that a person‟s preceding life will be based on their previous life. Thus, how an individual presents themselves currently matters. Subsequently, India is categorized as both a masculine and feminine society. It is well known that South Asia is a very spiritual area with many religious beliefs ranging from Sikhism to Jainism, Buddhism to Hinduism. Besides strong religious beliefs, India is generally known to be one that enjoys the appeal of success and achievements. Next, India ranks below average in terms of uncertainty avoidance. This means that taking risks are

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encouraged as individuals do not expect perfection. Considering this, when situations do not play out exactly the way it was planned, the Indian culture will generally find ways around it. As stated previously, individuals in India tend to believe that their actions now will affect their life after rebirth. This is also due to the fact that many individuals believe in “karma” (“the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences” (Google Search, 2014)) and thus, it can be stated that the Indian culture is a forward looking, long term oriented society.

Diagnosis: Insensitivity to Cultural Norms

Since India has collectivist and masculine traits, tea drinking and chatter amongst the Indian employees is a time share stories about family, experiences, and achievements. The 360 degree performance appraisal program for Bindi may have been too sudden. The power distance between employees and management needs to tighten gradually and not suddenly. Upper management may have felt a punch at their ego when Brian suggested this tactic.

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