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Fujian Experience Tao-Relatioship

Essay by   •  October 28, 2016  •  Case Study  •  2,236 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,002 Views

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  1. Case Summary

FIJIAN was a reputed hotel resort in Yanuca Island, Fiji, established 30 years back. Bret Taylor – an American, was the current owner who managed it under the franchise of Shangri-la international hotel group.

FIJIAN was a large hotel employing 800 people 70 % of them being indigenous Fijians. Almost all of them were employed in menial low level jobs. 80% of these indigenous Fijians were from Nadroga tribe who were the legal owners of the Yanuca Island land. Hotel’s employees were quite satisfied as they were treated fairly by the management.

Moala Tukana, a local Nadroga boy, was sponsored by the FIJIAN to go for a 3 years hotel management course in Switzerland. On his return FIJIAN appointed him as Assistant Manager in F&B department of the hotel. He turned out to be a very conscientious worker and quickly earned respect from all colleagues and the management. He was being considered for promotion. As the first indigenous Fijian executive at the 5 stars resort he was highly regarded in the Fijian society. Moala was aware that he got this opportunity only because of his education and training abroad and he wanted his people to prosper so he started sharing his knowledge and skills with other local staff and became their unofficial trainer. The results were obvious and outstanding – there was a huge improvement in quality of service and this was noticed by everyone during a big international event hosted by the hotel.        

Fijian society has a complex system of social customs and traditions which are taken very seriously in the Fijian society.  Recognizing the sensitivities attached the management had appointed an indigenous Fijian to head the human resource department.

Salome Suacake, a young girl from Bauan tribe was recently hired as a trainee waitress. Initially she performed well but then a couple of months later problems regarding her attitude and performance began to surface especially about her fiddling with cash. Moala was her supervisor and this was his responsibility to ensure that there was no cash pilferage. One day Bret Taylor caught Salome red-handed stealing money and immediately suspended her. Investigation revealed that Moala knew about Salome’s stealing habit. When confronted, he stated that she was doing it to fund build a church in her village. He further explained that he was her Tau so he couldn’t take any action against her. Tau is a person in Fijian society who is considered to be committed by his ancestors to support someone. Following his admittance, Moala was also suspended.

All indigenous Fijians are Christians and in their society the church has great influence on their lives. In addition, the Fijian society is strictly guided by their customs and traditions. Bret, the owner of the hotel was explained by the society elders that actually Moala had no choice in this matter. His ancestors owed a debt to Salome’s family hence by tradition she could do anything in Moala’s home. As the FIJIAN is located on the land owned by Moala’s tribe this is considered to be his home so whatever Salome was doing in the FIJIAN, couldn’t be stopped or reported by Maola.

Bret was in a dilemma how to resolve this situation as Salome’s supporters were claiming she stole under influence of Church leaders and Moala had this Tao excuse. Bret recognized Maola had great potential and he wanted to be fair. He also knew how important it is to be sensitive to local customs. He sought advice from the HR head.            

  1. Problem Statement

2.1        Problems

After reading the case, we have identified some problems. The first problem is that cross-cultural communication is weak. Cross-cultural communication is a field of study that looks at how that people from differing cultural background communicate, in similar and different ways among themselves and how they endeavor to communicate across cultures. The HR department didn’t take into account the significance of the local customs and practices and therefore they assigned Salome to be supervised by Moala who happened to be her tau – a person committed by ancestors to support her. If there was cross-cultural communication, the HR department would have known that Moala is not well-suited to supervise Solame because he is bound by the law of Tau to support her.

Second problem is that Moala, as an assistant manager and supervisor, did not handle issues professionally which means he couldn’t differentiate his personal and professional responsibilities. His responsibility was to ensure all cash is accountable. However, he allowed Salome to keep the money which customers paid for their meals and drinks. As a responsible supervisor, he should have confronted her or if at least reported to his boss but he ignored this and did not take any action.

The third problem is the unethical behavior of Salome. Keeping the money that belongs to the company to herself is considered as stealing because the money doesn’t belong to her. Yes, she stole the money for the purpose of financing the church building in her village but still this is wrong.

2.1        Problem statement

The employees need to follow the rules and regulations of the company and not allow their personal relationships to affect their professional duties.  

  1. Alternative Strategies

1st Strategy:

           Mr. Brett Taylor and Human Resource Department should immediately develop and implement policies to address local traditional issues at workplace. Mr. Brett Taylor should assign a group of people to do a research on the local traditions and set policies based on the traditions, social customs, and local culture. For example, Human Resource Department can implement a policy which does not allow people with relationship working in the same department or under each other’s supervision. The company should ask all employees if there is a relationship between them and each new employee should also be asked the same question. In case there is a relationship between two staff members which can potentially affect their judgment or work in any way they should not be placed in boos-subordinate roles.  

2nd Strategy:

Human Resource Department may give a warning letter to Moala reprimanding him on his misconduct and delay his promotion. The Company should ensure that “Ethical Code of Conduct” is developed and all employees are aware of it and should be made to sign it to show their understanding and commitment.

As Moala has a very good record over the year and is still young, Mr. Brett Taylor should give him a chance by only giving him warning letter for his misconduct. A counseling session should be held in order to make Moala clear that, he is expected to act like a good professional and do not let his personal relations affect his work. At the same time Salome should be terminated as she committed a serious crime and also put Moala in a conflicting situation by taking advantage of the relationship between her and her Tau. By taking these actions the company is giving a lesson to the employees that such misconduct will not be tolerated.  

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