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CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS SCENARIOS


CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS SCENARIOS
How to use these scenarios for learning journal entries: You may write journal comments on any of the 90 cultural scenarios below. You can comment on only parts of the longer scenarios if you choose. For each scenario (or parts of a scenario) you want to make journal comments about, respond to one or both of the following two questions using class content material as extensively as possible: 1: Why did people behave this way? 2: What should the people have done differently? Why? If you writing some of these scenarios as an alternative learning journal assignment to videos shown in class, write a maximum of 5 sentences over each assigned scenario which address the 2 questions above. The ICON format does not apply.

ANGLO-SAXON CULTURES
GERMAN CULTURE

#1.
(A) Mr. Franzen is the managing director of a German tire subsidiary in Japan. After one year, Mr. Franzen decided to reorganize his division, and called a meeting of his five Japanese second-line managers. At the meeting, he announced that he was appointing Mr. Nakashima to head the newly reorganized department. During the course of his announcement, Mr. Franzen commended Mr. Nakashima for his “hard work, creativity, and competitive attitude, especially at the age of twentynine.” (B) After the meeting, Mr. Franzen noticed that two of the other, older managers were angry with the decision, and within a one of the older managers had requested to be transferred into a different subsidiary. Further, productivity in the department dropped significantly, leaving Mr. Franzen perplexed.

#2.
(A) Hans Steiner, A German engineer, was hired by a Japanese company based in Japan because of his Ph.D. and ten years semiconductor design experience. During the first three months, he showed some very creative work and was able to produce excellent new design features. Hans also brought his wife and children with him to Japan so every day after work he took the six o’clock train home to have quality family time. (B) One afternoon at work, his manager asked him to go with him to the coffee shop. He told Hans that he didn’t spend enough time with his team members, especially after work during drinking hours. Hans replied, “You know I don’t drink, and I would rather spend my free time after work with my family. Besides, my results are appreciated and the new product will be ready for the production line very soon.” The Japanese manager smiled at Hans and nodded his head. After his initial six1

month probation period with the company, Hans wondered why his contract was not renewed. He was a creative, results-oriented, hard-working engineer who was greatly appreciated in his home country.

#3
(A) A large Baltimore manufacturer of cabinet hardware had been working for months to locate a suitable distributor for its products in Europe. Finally invited to present a demonstration to a reputable distributing company in Frankfurt, it sent one of its most promising young executives, Fred Wagner, to make the presentation. Fred not only spoke fluent German but also felt a special interest in this assignment because his paternal grandparents had immigrated to the United States from the Frankfurt area during the 1920's. (B) When Fred arrived at the conference room where he would be making his presentation he shook hands firmly, greeted everyone with a friendly Guten Tag, and even remembered to bow the head slightly as is the German custom. Fred, a very effective speaker and past president of the Baltimore Toastmasters Club, prefaced his presentation with a few humorous anecdotes to set a relaxed and receptive atmosphere. However, he felt that his presentation was not very well received by the company executives. In fact, his instincts were correct, for the German company chose not to distribute Fred's hardware products.

AMERICAN CULTURE

#4 In talking with Americans you should: ? Keep two-arm’s length away. ? Keep a half-arm’s length away. ? Keep one arm’s length away. ? Put your left hand in your pocket. #5 You are making a presentation to a group of American managers on your project. One of them disagrees with the data you are presenting. Will you: ? Ignore his remarks and proceed? ? Ask him why and then justify your point? ? Tell him you can discuss the point with him after the meeting? ? Remind him that you do not accept questions during presentations? #6
(A) After graduating fourth in his class from a highly ranked engineering school, Eric Anderson took a job with an international construction company that had major contacts throughout the world. As a child, Eric had traveled widely with his parents and had never lost his interest in other cultures and other parts of the world. (B) After a six-month orientation in the home office in California, Eric was excited about his assignment as a consulting engineer on a new multi-million-dollar government office building in a West African country. For the first several months Eric worked with a team of people planning the project before the actual construction began. Since Eric had shown a high aptitude for learning foreign languages in college, he was seen as the most "international" of all the American engineers 2

on the project and was asked by the project managers to enroll in a full-time language course so that he would be able to communicate directly with the local construction workers and supervisors. (C) The intensive language training went reasonably well for the first several weeks, but after the first month Eric's interest in the course declined considerably. After six weeks, despite the fact that the instructor had nothing but praise for Eric's progress, Eric became increasingly discouraged with the language training and eventually asked to be transferred to another project.

#7 Your supplier answers the phone and says “What can I do for you?”
? “Where is my order?” ? “How is the weather in your city?” ? “How is business?” ? “There’s nothing you can do for me.”

You (an American) respond:

You want to persuade them to cut the price by 15 percent. An American businessman arrives at your office. Within the first five minutes he will probably: ? Tell you about his long trip and the trouble he had finding your office. ? Ask you for a hot cup of coffee. ? Ask, “What do you do?” ? Inquire about your children.

#8 You are negotiating a joint venture agreement with an American firm.

#9 Your American business partner phones from her hotel to tell you that she has arrived from overseas and is ready to meet. You should: ? Tell her that you will send the company limousine to pick her up. ? Ask her if she needs directions to your office. ? Ask her to take a taxi on your company’s expense. ? Ask her where she would like to meet you. #10. During a performance appraisal with a manager, an American employee would probably:
? Agree with the manager because he is the boss. ? Point out how the company stock is rising and demand a share. ? Openly discuss any issue and defend his point of view. ? Point out his good relationship with other employees.

#11 You are making a presentation to American company executives who are considering appointing you leader of their negotiating team. To impress them, you should emphasize your: ? Harvard Ph.D. and Stanford MBA. ? Managerial style as a motivating leader. ? Past accomplishments. ? Family background
SCANDINAVIAN CULTURE
Trouble At Computex Corporation (the Swedish subsidiary of an American company) TO: The Vice President of Marketing, Computex Corporation (Sweden) FROM: The six sales representatives of Computex 3

#12

SUBJECT: Mr. Thompson, District Sales Manager (an American recently sent from the American home office to Computex-Sweden) (A) We have decided to bring to your attention a problem which, unsolved, probably will lead to a situation where the majority among us will leave the company within a rather short period of time. None of us want to be in this situation, and we are approaching you purely as an attempt to save the team to the benefit of ourselves as well as Computex Corporation. (B) We consider ourselves an experienced, professional, and sales-oriented group of people. Computex Corporation is a company which we are proud to work for. The majority among us have been employed for several years. Consequently, a great number of key customers in different areas of Sweden see us as representatives of Computex Corporation. It is correct to say that the many excellent contacts we have made have been established over years; many of them are friends of ours. The traits give a very short background because we have never met you. (C) What kind of problem forces us to such a serious step as to contact you? Problems arise as a result of character traits and behavior of our new District Manager, Mr. Thompson. Firstly, we are more and more convinced that we are tools that he is utilizing in order to “climb the ladder.” In meetings with us individually, or as a group, he gives visions about the future, how he values us, how he wants to delegate and involve us in business, the importance of cooperation and communication, etc. When it comes to the point, these phrases turn out to be only words. Mr. Thompson loses his temper almost daily, and his outbursts and reactions are not equivalent to the possible error. His mood and views can change almost from hour to hour. This fact causes a situation where we feel uncertain when facing him and consequently are reluctant to do so. (D) Regarding human relationships, his behavior is not acceptable, especially for a manager. The extent of the experience of this varies within the group due to our location. Some of us are seldom in the office. Secondly, we have experienced clearly that he has various means of suppressing and discouraging people within the organization. The new “victim” now is our Sales Manager, Mr. Johansson. Because he is our boss, it is obvious that we regret such a situation, which to a considerable extent influences our working conditions. There are also other victims among us. (E) It is indeed very difficult to carry through what is stated in our job descriptions. If this group consisted of people less mature, many of us would have left Computex Corporation already. So far only one has left the company due to the above reasons. From September 1, two new sales representatives are joining the company. We regret very much that new employees get their first contact with the company under the present circumstances. An immediate action is therefore required. (F) It is not our objective to get rid of Mr. Thompson as District Manager. Without going into details, we are thankful for what he has done to the company from a business point of view. If he could control his mood, show some respect for his colleagues, keep words, and stick to plans, we believe that we can succeed under his leadership. We are fully aware of the seriousness of contacting you, and we have been in doubt whether or not to contact you directly before talking to Mr. Thompson. After serious discussions and considerations, we have reached the conclusion that a problem of this nature unfortunately cannot be solved without some sort of action from the superior. If possible, direct confrontation must be avoided. It can only make things worse. We are hoping for a positive solution.

4

#13

Bernice Caplan, purchaser for ladies apparel for a major U.S. department store, had just taken over the overseas accounts. Anxious and excited to make a good impression on her European counterparts, Bernice worked long, hard hours to provide information needed to close purchasing contracts in a timely manner. Stefan, one of her Dutch associates in Amsterdam sent an URGENT message on May 1st requiring information before the close of day on 6/5. Although she thought it odd for the message to be marked URGENT for information needed over a month away, Bernice squeezed the request into her already busy schedule. She was pleased when she had whipped together the information and was able to fax it by May 10th, three full weeks before the deadline. Pleased with herself, she placed a telephone call to Stefan to make sure that he had received the fax and was met with an angry, hostile response. The department store not only lost the order at the agreed upon cost, but the Dutch office asked that Bernice be removed from their account.

LATIN CULTURES
#14
Experiences in Mexico (A) From my office I noticed that it was well past 9:00 a.m. before the office staff arrived, although working hours were 9:00 to 6:00. So I made a note to add "punctuality" to the agenda for the first staff meeting, which was scheduled for a little later in the morning. At that meeting González first introduced the managers from production, sales, and personnel, each of whom gave me a vigorous handshake. They all appeared very cooperative and expressed their desire to work closely with me. I then reviewed their overall responsibilities as managers and went on to outline my new production and control procedures. Afterwards, I toured the plant with the production manager and González, who pointed out some of the most pressing problems. They both seemed overly anxious for me to meet the key plant supervisors, but I felt there were more pressing. They both seemed overly anxious for me to meet the key plant supervisors, but I felt there were more pressing matters to deal with first. Both appeared somewhat disappointed but made no further comment. (B) The remainder of that first day I spent poring over reports that had been left by my predecessor. During the next few weeks, I was rather surprised to find myself bombarded with problems from my managers who, instead of solving the problems themselves, wanted my advice or, worse, wanted me to make their decisions for them. I wanted to make it clear that I would expect them to handle their responsibilities essentially by themselves in the future--which I did at a meeting called specifically for that purpose. However, things seemed to go from bad to worse. (C) One day I was on a routine tour of the plant when I encountered a supervisor demonstrating to a worker a procedure which was completely incorrect and would have resulted in a faulty product. Naturally, I wanted to nip the error in the bud, so I immediately pointed out what was wrong and reprimanded the supervisor. The other workers seemed to enjoy the show because they all stopped their work to watch. Afterwards, I summoned the production manager to my office and sternly pointed out his responsibility for the performance of his supervisors and workers and warned that I would not accept a repetition of this incident. The next day, one of the supervisors involved was absent because of illness and the production manager avoided me. I guess I must have made quite an impression. I wanted to set the record straight from the beginning so that they would know I accept no nonsense. (D) When the problems in the areas of punctuality, hours of work, relief periods, and "chatting time" continued, I sent out individual notices of our basic personnel regulations to each employee. In spite 5

of this I have observed only slight improvement in punctuality, so it looks like I'll have to crack down harder. (E) But personnel problems aren't the only ones I've had to contend with. Last month we had a lot of trouble extracting some machinery from the central customs depot. They wanted more and more details before releasing the goods. González suggested that making a small payment to the customs officer would facilitate the machinery's release and said that, actually, the delay was caused by the fact that we had not already done so. Of course, I wasn't about to accept that nonsense; blackmail and bribery are not my way of doing business. So I personally took the problem in hand. Alas, to make a long story short, following an unsavory experience, we finally had to pay, or they would never have released the goods. Can you believe it! (F) Next came the problem of one of our telephone lines not functioning. It was urgent because our two remaining lines were constantly occupied. Despite repeated calls and repeated promises that a repairman would arrive "ma?ana" and despite my personal complaint to the repair service manager, it took one month to get the telephone repaired. It's no wonder I'm getting an ulcer. (G) After three months in Mexico, I decided to try a different tactic with the managers in our regular weekly meeting, so I announced that we would have a more U.S.-style meeting. You know, a strictly informal, loosen-the-tie and feet-up-on-the-desk type. But instead of relaxing and enjoying the informality, the managers appeared embarrassed, though they didn't comment. I swear, Bob, I don't understand these people. (H) Anyway, following a short pause, the meeting turned to business topics. The big push was still productivity, and we proceeded to lay down the basic outline for a new, integrated procedural program. It was decided that each manager would provide the backup material, put it together in a presentable format, and have it ready for my approval in about ten days. About two weeks later each manager presented me with a beautifully laid-out document, which contained all the basic concepts we had discussed previously. It was an impressive presentation and they all received well-deserved compliments for a fine job. The details of practical implementation were not discussed because I wanted to leave that up to them. Finally, I felt I was on the right track. (I) Three weeks later I decided to check on their progress but, Bob, in only one section had the manager even attempted to implement the new program--can you believe it! I immediately summoned the managers to my office and demanded an explanation. The finance manager explained that they were all waiting for my instructions regarding a commencement date. Do I have to spell out everything for these people? Following that incident I have been very specific in giving instructions, and on the whole the managers seem more productive. But I just don't understand their mentality. Aren't they aware that constant referral to me for decisions and advice reflects on their competence or that accountability is an essential part of their responsibility? (J) Another thing I don't understand is why they always act so cooperative and agreeable. They rarely make any comments on my decisions unless I specifically request them, and even then the response is very diplomatic and guarded. For instance, see if you can figure this one out. Recently I learned about a job opening for a senior sales manager in northern Mexico. I thought of our sales manager who is very competent, but when I told him about the position, which would be a major step up for him, he showed no interest whatsoever. He politely refused to consider the offer, explaining that his family and his home were here and he was happy, so he had no desire to go elsewhere. Incredible, isn't it? How could he turn down an opportunity for a substantial salary increase simply because he liked where he was? No wonder they don't progress! 6

(K) A few weeks ago I found a striking error in the weekly production report, so I called the production manager to my office. He began to recite a long series of explanations about how the error probably slipped through, but by that time my patience for excuses and wasted time had run out. I interrupted his dissertation and warned him that a repetition of this type of error would not be acceptable. He was obviously embarrassed but stopped making excuses for his actions. To clear the air, I pointed out that I was criticizing his work, not him personally. He still seemed upset, but I hoped he would get my point. (L) A different type of situation occurred shortly after that. We were in the process of redecorating the general office when I noticed that the sales manager's office was also in a rather shabby state, so I requested the decorating firm to do it as well. Immediately, I was confronted by the other managers requesting similar treatment for their offices. They protested the implied discrimination and asked if I did not consider their positions in the company of equal importance to that of the sales manager. I assured them that a repainted office was in no way related to the importance of their positions, but they wouldn't let up until I agreed to have all their offices done, even though they really did not need it. I just don't understand their thinking. You'd think a good salary would be a better form of recognition than an unnecessarily repainted office. (M) Another troublesome incident occurred recently. Following performance reviews, I decided to discharge a number of employees whom I considered "dead wood." Well, I soon discovered that terminations because of incompetence are extremely difficult and costly here in Mexico. We finally managed to dispose of three people, even though they were relatives of other employees working in the plant. They seemed pretty upset! Enough of that, I thought, so I issued an order requiring that people be hired on the basis of qualifications and that no preference be given to family or friends. But all this created such a commotion that the union leader came to me and threatened to call a strike, although after his initial protest he seemed to lose interest in hiring and firing issues and shifted his attention to the upcoming union contract renewal. (N) Our company proposals were ready, and I was prepared to discuss our preliminary position, but he didn't seem to have any interest in that either. González told me that it was customary to come to an under-the-table arrangement with the union leader in order to facilitate a quick and problem-free contract. Back where I come from we call this a bribe! I don't play that kind of ball with company principles! However, following a two-day strike and with the threat of more to come, I had no choice but to give in. Since then we have no further union problems, but I'm still amazed at their approach to labor relations. (O) Following these problems, I decided to upgrade some basic supervisory skills, so the personnel manager, under my guidance, produced a supervisor's training package. He was worried, however, that some of the supervisors might have trouble understanding the material, so I decided to attend the first training session. After a commendable theoretical presentation by the personnel manager, the supervisors were asked to participate in the discussion of implementation of techniques. At that point, the training sessions came to a grinding halt. No one seemed to know what to say or do. Afterward, the personnel manager told me that some of the supervisors had only six years of schooling, and as for the personnel manager himself, he seemed unable to convert his theoretical concepts into practical action. This particular problem appears to be common to the whole managerial group, though how you can be a manager without being able to translate theory into action is beyond me. (P) Speaking of not understanding, it seems that here, family and friends are very much involved in helping each other, even in business. We had an interesting example of this not long ago. We needed some special metal storage shelving in the plant, so I requested the production manager to do a price comparison from two well-known firms in the city, which he did. However, he suggested 7

that a good friend of his could provide it directly from the factory at a favorable price. Interestingly enough, his friend did in fact offer a more favorable price, and we accepted it. A similar situation arose with the decorating contract where González suggested contacting his cousin who was in the decorating business. Once again the results were satisfactory. A lot of people in the States would cast a pretty suspicious eye on this kind of mixing business and personal relations especially if you ever decided to run for political office! (Q) And then there are production deadlines. For two months I've had a big push on for meeting deadlines. They don't even seem to understand the meaning of a deadline! I sometimes wonder if they will ever learn the basics of efficient management. (R) Overall, as you can see, these past six months have been extremely frustrating. Although the Mexicans are courteous and unquestioning in their acceptance of my authority, they just silently ignore aspects of their work they either don't understand or don't agree with. What a mentality to try to decipher! Nevertheless, in spite of my frustrations, I still feel that tight controls and a strict approach are the only ways to teach them the right way to run a business. (S) Naturally, the language barrier is still a problem, but with González as interpreter and only another two years to go, it seems hardly worthwhile wasting time studying Spanish. It certainly won't be of much use at home. Joanne is finding life in Mexico extremely frustrating as well. Thank goodness we live in an area of the city where there are a lot of other Americans with whom we can let down our hair and compare notes. It's consoling to find that everyone else has the same problems we do with the Mexican mentality. Fortunately, after my assignment here is finished, this plant becomes someone else's headache, and I shall be very content to return home to a situation I understand!

#15 Culture Sketch
“I bet the cooks are already falling in love with the new microwave ovens we put in the kitchen, aren’t they?” “The jury is still out on that one.” “What do you mean? We bought enough microwaves, didn’t we?” “That’s not the problem. The women just don’t seem to want to use them. They’re sticking with the regular gas stoves.” “I thought you held a training session to show them how to use the microwaves.” “We did, but apparently it didn’t help. They want to stick with the old equipment.”

#16 John Harmon, a vice president of a U.S.-based courier service, was sent to open an office in
Madrid. The company had recently expanded its overnight delivery services to several other countries in Europe (including the Netherlands) and these were doing very well. The company's "bread and butter" was overnight delivery anywhere in Europe provided that the package was in the pickup box by 5:00 P.M. Even though John and his wife Linda were getting along well in Spain, he could not understand why the Spanish people were not responding more favorably to the company's services.

#17 Culture Sketch
“How come Luis hasn’t been turning in his budget status reports this month? They don’t take much time to do.” 8

“I talked to him about it a few days ago, and he said that the accounting department is responsible for doing budget paperwork. I reminded him that it was accounting that asked for the budget forms to be filled out in the first place. Then I suggested that he delegate the job to someone on his work crew. That must have really bothered him, because he said he didn’t want to discuss it further, and he walked away.”

#18
(A) Tom Bennett, a senior accountant with a major New York accounting firm, had just arrived in Bogota, Colombia, to assume a two-month assignment to set up an accounting procedure for a middle-sized local business. On his way to the office Tom stopped to cash a check at the main branch of the largest bank in the country where he had just opened an account a week earlier. (B) Tom approached the least crowded teller's window, which had about eight people crowded around it. After about five minutes of jostling Tom worked his way in front of the teller's window and handed the teller his check. But while he was waiting for his money, several other people elbowed their way up to the window and handed the teller their checks. And the teller took them. Tom was getting increasingly annoyed with the rudeness of these people who kept interrupting his banking transaction. (C) While Tom waited for his money a number of people kept trying to get in front of him, and what made things even more infuriating was that they seemed to be angry at him. And to think that people from the United States are always being accused of being impatient. (D) When his money finally arrived he couldn't wait to get out of that very unfriendly situation. As he walked on to his office he was already thinking about the letter of complaint he would send to the bank president.

#19 Culture Sketch
“Where are Sergio and Ramon?” “They left an hour ago to visit Xavier Perales.” “They went to Xavier’s house again? Don’t Sergio and Ramon know the meaning of retirement? Xavier was officially retired last month. That’s why we had the big party. Tell those two to quit going over to Xavier’s house during the work day. They’ve got a new boss now.”

#20 The German corporate executives each shook the hand of Vice President Vargas, their
executive host in Vitro, Latin American’s largest glass company. The Germans then immediately departed from the vestibuler of Senor Vargas’ office and walked into the adjoining meeting room. The seven members of Mr. Vargas’ staff looked upset and dismayed as the meeting room door closed.

#21 Fred Gardener, a 31-year-old sales manager for a small boat-building firm in Connecticut,
decided to stop off in Lisbon to call on several potential clients after a skiing trip to Switzerland. Having set up three appointments in two days, he arrived for the first two scheduled meetings at the appointed times but was kept waiting for over a half-hour in each instance. Based on these two experiences Fred assumed that the Portuguese, like other "Latin" types, must be "manana" oriented and not particularly concerned with the precise reckoning of time. With this in mind, he was not particularly concerned about being on time for his third appointment. Instead, he extended his 9

visit to the local museum and arrived at his third appointment more than 40 minutes late. However, Fred sensed that the Portuguese businesspeople were quite displeased with his tardiness.

#22 Culture Sketch
“Another six guys just quit? What’s going on, anyway?”

“SNI industries hired them away, just like the other ten we lost last month.”

“You mean SNI has us beat on pay? I can’t believe it.”

“They’re paying less than we are, but our guys go anyway.”

“Well, what are we doing wrong, and what are they doing right?”

#23 Culture Sketch
“I handed out several more reprimands Friday afternoon to guys caught taking tools home.”

“What kind of stuff were they trying to steal?” “Oh, they weren’t stealing the tools, because they always bring them back Monday morning. But even so, rules are rules--that’s why I issued the reprimands. If they keep it up, I guess I’ll just have to fire them.”

#24 Bill Higgins had served as the manager of a large U.S. timber company located in a rather
remote rain forest in a South American country. Since it began its logging operations in the 1950s a major problem facing the company has been the recruitment of labor. The only nearby source of labor is the sparsely populated local Indian groups in the area. Bill's company has been in direct competition for laborers with a German company operating in the same region. In an attempt to attract the required number of laborers, Bill's company has invested heavily in new housing and offered considerably higher wages than the German company as well as a guaranteed 40-hour work week. Yet the majority of the available workers continued to work for the German company, despite its substandard housing and a minimum hourly wage. Bill finally brought in several U.S. anthropologists who had worked among the local Indians.

ITALIAN CULTURE

#25.
(A) After completing an MBA in international business and working for a Boston bank for several years, Bon Bynum was assigned for several weeks as a troubleshooter in the Rome office. To 10

facilitate his adjustment to the Italian banking system and to assist with translation, the branch manager had assigned Don to work with Maria Fellini, a bilingual employee of the bank. Maria, like Don, was single and in her early thirties, and she lived with her widowed mother. In response to a comment Don had made about the joys of Italian cuisine, Maria invited Don to her mother's home for dinner. (B) The dinner went well and Don felt fortunate to have had a chance to be entertained in an Italian home. Several days later Don felt somewhat embarrassed because he had forgotten to bring Maria's mother a gift the evening he had gone to dinner. So several days before returning to the United States he made a special trip back to Maria's house to deliver personally a large bouquet of chrysanthemums to Maria's mother as a token of his appreciation for her hospitality. Maria answered the door, greeted Don, and took the flowers into the kitchen. But when she took Don into the living room to say goodbye to her mother, no mention was made of the flowers. Don felt that perhaps he had done something inappropriate.

FRENCH CULTURE

#26 Tom Putnam, the president of a Boston publishing company, had been working for several months with a French architectural firm that was designing the company's new printing facility in Fontainbleau, France. However, Tom was becoming increasingly frustrated with the many delays caused by the French architects. When the preliminary plans for the building - which the architects had promised by a certain date - had not arrived, Tom called them to inquire when he would be receiving the plans. The architects, somewhat indignant that he had called, felt that Tom doubted their integrity to deliver the plans. Tom was equally annoyed because they had missed the deadline, and what was worse, they didn't seem to be the least bit apologetic about it. By the end of the phone call, Tom was convinced that his company's relationship with the French architectural firm had suffered a major setback. #27 In what was considered a "hostile takeover," a U.S. corporation purchased a regional wine producing vineyard in Limoges, France in a strategic maneuver to enter the European market. Frank Joseph, a human resource specialist, was sent to Limoges to smooth the ruffled feathers of the vineyard's workers. Along with videos and propaganda on the merits of working for a Fortune 500 corporation, Frank also brought to Limoges a number of company logo items. In what was intended as a goodwill gesture, he presented the workers with T-shirts, ball caps, ink pens, and coffee cups to take home to their families. Over the next several weeks, Frank never saw any of the company's logo items being worn or used by the workers. Instead, the workers were uncommunicative towards him and at times even hostile. #28 Betty Carpenter, president of a cosmetics firm headquartered in Chicago, was interested in
expanding its European markets. After attending a four-day trade show in London, she decided to spend several days in Paris talking to some potential distributors of their more popular product lines. She figured that the three years of college French she had taken while an undergraduate at Radcliffe would hold her in good stead with her business contacts in Paris. Upon arrival she felt quite confident with her proficiency in French in getting from the airport and checking into her hotel. The next morning she met with Monsieur DuBois, vice president of a large French department store chain. Although their initial conversation went quite well, when the subject turned to business Betty felt that she was not communicating very effectively with DuBois. He seemed to be getting mildly annoyed and showed little interest in continuing the discussions. 11

#29 Wayne Calder, a recent Harvard MBA and one of his organization's most innovative planners,
was assigned to the Paris office for a two-year period. Wayne was particularly excited about the transfer because he could now draw on the French he had taken while in school. Knowing that his proficiency in the French language would be an excellent entrée into French society, Wayne was looking forward to getting to know his French colleagues on a personal level. During the first week in Paris an opportunity to socialize presented itself. While waiting for a planning meeting with top executives to begin, Wayne introduced himself to Monsieur LeBec. They shook hands and exchanged some pleasantries, and then Wayne told LeBec how excited his family was to be in France. Wayne then asked LeBec if he had any children. LeBec replied that he had two daughters and a son. But when Wayne asked other questions about LeBec's family, his French colleague became quite distant and uncommunicative. Wayne wondered what he had done wrong.

ASIAN CULTURES
CHINESE CULTURE

#30
(A) For the past three years Ned Ferguson has served quite successfully as the manager of a U.S.owned manufacturing company in Taiwan. Shortly after Ned's arrival in Taipei he instituted a number of changes in the plant operation that increased both production and worker satisfaction. However, within the last several months a series of what seemed to Ned to be unrelated incidents had occurred. (B) First, there had been a fire in the warehouse, which fortunately was contained before too much damage had been done. On the following day the wife and two children of the local plant supervisor were killed in a spectacular automobile accident. And within the past several weeks there had been a rash of minor accidents on the assembly line, quite uncharacteristic given the plant's excellent past safety record. (C) Ned heard that rumors were running rampant about the plant being cursed by evil spirits, and absenteeism had increased dramatically. To try to deal with these problems, Ned called together his chief supervisors. His American staff recommended that some experts from the insurance company come in to review the safety procedures, which, they argued, would show the workers that the company was taking their safety needs seriously. (D) But the Taiwanese supervisors considered this step to be inadequate and instead suggested that a local religious priest be brought in, during company time, to pray for the workers and ward off any evil forces. Ned and his U.S. staff thought that such an action would do nothing but give official company support to superstition. The meeting ended without any substantial agreement between U.S. and Taiwanese supervisors.

#31 When Mr. Swenson, a new shift supervisor of a Swedish company in Taiwan, observers Betty
Hu, a new employee on the assembly line in the factory, he notices that she is having trouble putting the units together properly. He wonders what the problem is, so he shouts across the room to her, “Betty, do you need some help? Your line is getting slow.” Betty looks up; her face begins to turn red with embarrassment. The workers around her start smiling and laughing. Later that afternoon, Betty comes to Mr. Swenson’s office and says she wants to quit that line. Mr. Swenson, wondering what caused this sudden desire, says, “Why do you want to leave? You’re doing fine; you just need a little 12

more time to learn everything.” Betty immediately starts crying, and Mr. Swenson wonders what he did wrong.

#32 Randy Hightower, recently appointed to manage his firm's office in Singapore, was anxious to do well in his first overseas assignment. Shortly after his arrival he called his first staff meeting to outline the objectives for the coming fiscal year. He had already met with his staff individually and was feeling quite confident about the prospects for having a good first year. Toward the end of the staff meeting, Randy, in his characteristic upbeat fashion, told his employees that he looked forward to working with them and that he anticipated that this would be their best year ever. To emphasize his optimism for the coming year Randy punctuated his verbal remarks by slapping his fist against his palm. The reaction was instantaneous: Most people laughed, giggled, or looked embarrassed. Unfortunately, he felt that the point of his dramatic climax was lost amid the laughter.
JAPANESE CULTURE

#33 Frank Crawford, an American businessman, is sent to Japan to give a three-day training
session concerning a letter-sorting machine his company sold to a Japanese corporation. Mr. Crawford starts the training at nine o’clock, breaks the session at noon for lunch, and wraps everything up at five o’clock. A few of the participants have more questions, and he answers them respectfully. He then says goodbye, and goes to his room in the hotel where the seminar is taking place, which also happens to be where the trainees are staying. Two hours later, as Mr. Crawford is preparing for the next day’s program, the telephone rings: it is the program manager asking him to join him at the hotel bar. Mr. Crawford agrees to the invitation and heads downstairs. When he arrives, he is shocked to find all the trainees sitting there waiting for him.

#34 Margaret Errington, a corporate attorney for a San Francisco department store chain, was
responsible for negotiating leases for their outlets abroad. Because she had been particularly successful in similar negotiations in Europe, she was looking forward to securing attractive leasing agreements from a shopping mall developer in Osaka, Japan. She was especially optimistic because of her successful telephone communications with her counterparts in Japan. But when she arrived with her two assistants, John Gresham and Mel Watt, she was told by her Japanese hosts how surprised they were that she should come to negotiate in person. Margaret was usually not included in the after-hours socializing, and frequently the Japanese negotiators would direct their questions to John or Mel rather than to Margaret.

#35 Directly after completing a master's degree in international business, Dick Sutton decided to accept a job with a firm in Tokyo. He had studied Japanese for a year and was most interested in immersing himself in Japanese culture. Within the first month of his arrival he was invited to an office party. As was the custom, most of the employees were expected to entertain the group with a song, poem, or joke. Knowing the keen interest the Japanese have in baseball, Dick recited the poem "Casey at the Bat," which seemed to be well received. Dick was having a good time at the party and was secretly congratulating himself on his decision to come to Japan. In fact, he couldn't help thinking how informal and playful all his colleagues were, including the upper-level executives, a far cry from all the descriptions he had read of the Japanese as austere and humorless businesspeople. Later in the evening Dick found himself talking with two of his immediate superiors. Wanting to draw on the informality and good humor of the moment, Dick casually brought
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up some plans he had for a new marketing strategy, only to be met with near total indifference. For the remainder of the evening Dick felt as though he was not being included in the party.

#36 Bill Johnson arrives in Japan to train the employees of Japanese company on the use of some
new equipment. Since he sent dozens of copies of the instruction manual for the equipment two weeks ago, he expects the training session to be simple, consisting mainly of explaining sections of the manual that the employees didn’t understand.

#37
(A) Tom Forrest, an up-and-coming executive for a U.S. electronics company, was sent to Japan to work out the details of a joint venture with a Japanese electronics firm. During the first several weeks Tom felt that the negotiations were proceeding better than he had expected. He found that he had very cordial working relationships with the team of Japanese executives, and in fact, they had agreed on the major policies and strategies governing the new joint venture. (B) During the third week of negotiations Tom was present at a meeting held to review their progress. The meeting was chaired by the president of the Japanese firm, Mr. Hayakawa, a man in his mid-forties, who had recently taken over the presidency from his 82-year-old grandfather. The new president, who had been involved in most of the negotiations during the preceding weeks, seemed to Tom to be one of the strongest advocates of the plan that had been developed to date. Also attending the meeting was Hayakawa's grandfather, the recently retired president. (C) After the plans had been discussed in some detail, the octogenarian past president proceeded to give a long soliloquy about how some of the features of this plan violated the traditional practices on which the company had been founded. Much to Tom's amazement, Mr. Hayakawa did nothing to explain or defend the policies and strategies that they had taken weeks to develop. Feeling extremely frustrated, Tom then gave a fairly strongly argued defense of the plan. To Tom's further amazement, no one else in the meeting spoke up in defense of the plan. The tension in the air was quite heavy and the meeting adjourned shortly thereafter. (D) Within days the Japanese firm completely terminated the negotiations on the joint venture.

#38 Roger Brown, marketing vice president for a Seattle-based lumber company, was making a considered to be a fair price for a large shipment of first-quality plywood. Much to his amazement, the three Japanese executives did not respond immediately, but rather sat across seconds passed, then 30, and still no response. Finally, Roger became so exasperated that he said with a good deal of irritation in his voice, "Would you like for me to repeat the offer?" From that point onward the talks were stalled and Roger never did successfully negotiate a contract for plywood. Will you: ? Offer the firm a ten-year contract rather than their proposed eight years? ? Invite the negotiating manager to your lovely summer home for a week? ? Tell them to come back when they can accept your offer? ? Inform them of the ongoing negotiations between you and two of their competitors? #39 Aware of the enormous interest the Japanese have in the game of golf, a U.S. sports equipment
manufacturer decided to explore the possibilities of a joint venture with a Japanese firm. Three representatives from each firm met in San Francisco to work out the details of the proposed venture. After the six men were introduced to one another they were seated at opposite sides of a large conference table. In an attempt to show the Japanese their sincerity for getting down to the 14

task at hand, the U.S. businesspersons took off their jackets and rolled up their sleeves. Then one of the U.S. representatives said to his counterpart across the table, "Since we are going to be working together for the next several days, we better get to know each other. My name is Harry. What's your name?" The joint venture never did take place.

#40 Your company has decided to sell its product line in Japan through a joint venture with a local distributor. To identify a good local distributor, you should first: ? Participate in an open exhibition in Tokyo. ? Look in the Japanese Yellow Pages for a local distributor. ? Place an advertisement in Tokyo Business Today highlighting your product’s low price. ? Ask your Japanese friend to introduce you to several local distributors #41 After exchanging letters for several months with a Japanese company, they have agreed to a
meeting in Tokyo. They are offering this meeting to: ? Negotiate the terms and conditions of your proposal. ? Seek more information on your product. ? Exchange more information with you on their company. ? Present you with their proposal.

#42 You have been negotiating with Mr. Yamamoto of Nihhon Metal Company for a year. Having established good rapport with him, you hope that you are close to a contract. However, for three months, you haven’t heard anything from him, and after calling, you find out that he has been transferred. What should you do? ? Nothing, since you already have good relations with someone in the company ? Find his new telephone number and ask him to introduce you to the new manager. ? Make a quick visit to his company and ask to meet with the new manager. ? Consider your past effort wasted because you did not have a contract with your old friend before he left. #43
You have been in contact with a member of a local Japanese company, but your relationship is not as strong as you’d like it to be. You are visiting Tokyo, and want to arrange another meeting with him. Will you call to: ? Offer a sushi with sake lunch? ? Ask for more information on the company’s new product? ? Suggest a meeting time to give new information you have? ? Meet after work for a drink?

#44

A Japanese firm has established a strong relationship with one of its potential suppliers and is working toward closing their first contract. The firm wants to buy 100 sets of widgets from the supplier at $1,000 per set. The supplier offered $1,200 per set. How will the supplier respond to the buyer’s offer of $1,000? By: ? Sending a fax, insisting on $1,200 but offering a shorter delivery time and reminding them of the price deadline. ? Calling the person in charge to attempt to negotiate a price with him over the telephone to discover his bottom-line. ? Proposing a dinner meeting with the top manager to open the subject. ? Proposing a meeting with the group in charge, presenting them with a new price of $1,100.

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#45 You have finally received an offer from your potential Japanese client to supply 5,000 units of
your product at $1,000 each. You quoted $1,200/unit. Will you: ? Send a fax, stating that you still want $1,200? ? Accept their offer? ? Accept $1,000 if they order 6,000 units? ? Counter their offer with $1,100?

#46 Jane Barton was an American employee working in a Japanese company in New York City. She worked there for two-and-a-half years before she became pregnant. Her immediate Japanese supervisor, Mr. Suzuki, heard the news, congratulated her, and asked when she was going to leave the company. Jane told him that she would probably stay for about seven more months and then take three months’ leave before coming back. The Japanese supervisor looked surprised and said, “Oh, seven months. I think leaving sooner might be better for your baby.” Jane, confused, went back to work thinking he was just concerned about her health. A month went by, and Jane’s supervisor suggested to her again that she quit, saying that it would be best to go home to prepare to have the baby and take care of the family. Jane looked angrily at him and said, “I’m not leaving yet.” #47Your Japanese team achieved its production quota last month.
How should you acknowledge their achievement? ? Treat them to a sushi dinner where you give special recognition to the group leader. ? Don’t mention it, because meeting quotas is their job. ? Call the oldest person aside and thank him. ? Thank the group at your next meeting and ask them to increase production even more. Mr. Hiro, from Japan, is working for you. He’s probably motivated by: ? Being part of a strong, leading international company. ? The promise of a good annual salary raise. ? A promotion to group leader and a better title. ? A trip to Hawaii for him and his wife after the project completion.

#48

#49

Most Japanese managers conduct formal performance reviews of their subordinates: ? Once a year. ? Twice a year. ? Never. ? Whenever required. Each employee’s bonus

#50 Most Japanese companies offer their employees a bonus twice a year.

is based on: ? Individual creativity and achievement. ? The overall performance of the company. ? His or her manager’s review and recommendation. ? A combination of individual, section, department, and company performance.

#51 After receiving a Japanese business card, you should take time to:
? Put it in your wallet or shirt pocket. ? Examine it carefully. ? Ask how to pronounce the name in Japanese. 16

? Find out the person’s department and title in the company.

#52 When introducing yourself to the Japanese, you should emphasize your:
? Managerial capability. ? Technical know-how. ? Interest in closing the sale before you leave. ? Company’s capabilities and long-range market share.

#53 At the end of your telephone discussion with your Japanese friend, you ask him if the price is
acceptable. He answers, “Yes, yes,” meaning: ? He is confirming his acceptance of your price. ? He has heard and understood your offer. ? You should give a deeper discount. ? He is politely saying no.

#54 You are conducting a presentation to Japanese managers.

You should start by: Talking about the school you attended and your latest accomplishments. ? Apologizing for not speaking Japanese. ? Asking everyone to introduce themselves. ? Reminding them that you need a firm answer on your proposal before the end of the meeting. Japanese Motivational Techniques at U.S. Plants

#55 Japan vs. The UAW:

(A) Japanese auto makers have set up various auto manufacturing plants as both subsidiaries and joint ventures in the United States. Honda has established wholly owned subsidiaries (in Marysville and East Liberty, Ohio), as has Nissan (in Smyrna, Tennessee). General Motors and Toyota have created a joint venture called NUMMI-the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (in Fremont, California). (B) Only the GM-Toyota plant has unionized. Several attempts by the UAW to penetrate the Nissan and Honda plants have been unsuccessful. The attitude of the workers in these plants is, “What can the UAW provide for us that the Japanese are not already giving us?” The company -union relationship at GM-Toyota resembles similar relationships in Japan, where unions are considered part of the company, working for and with the company’s managers and employees. (C) There is an extensive collective relationship between a Japanese company and a Japanese union. In comparison, American companies and unions have viewed each other as adversaries. Though the Japanese auto industry and the UAW have not been the best of friends in the past, a working relationship has been established—at least to a certain extent. The Japanese, however, will not comply with certain UAW practices, such as the following: Work standards that permanently specify how many parts a worker must produce in eight hours. (The Japanese believe that this practice prevents improvements in worker productivity.) The American practice of refusing to halt production, preferring to inspect all parts and vehicles at the end of the production line. (The Japanese prefer to use the U.S.-developed statistical quality-control system, which largely prevents the manufacture of defective parts or vehicles.) Union officials working full-time or part-time on company payrolls. (Usually there is 1 for every 35 to 150 employees.) (D) Local negotiations along with national contracts. (These negotiations are often more costly to the auto companies because of their impact on productivity, quality, and cost.) Lists of numerous union 17

restrictions. (The Japanese think that such lists severely limit the authority of the plant managers to cut costs, improve productivity, and manage their plants. For instance, job demarcation often requires four or five skilled trades people to complete a simple job.) A large number of sweepers to keep the plants clean. (The Japanese require autoworkers to keep their own work stations and the surrounding areas clean.) (E) Honda’s plant in Marysville, Ohio, and Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, are two typical nonunionized Japanese auto plants in the United States. The Japanese have brought their own management practices into these plants. At Honda, for example, employees are given responsibility for inspecting their own work, for making decisions about their work, and for educating one another on how to do a better job. The plant dispensed with many of the status symbols prevalent in U.S. corporations (such as special parking spots). (F) Common management practices at both plants include: dealing directly with workers involving employees in many production-line decisions teaching employees a variety of jobs and deploying them as they choose treating workers’ concerns and ideas seriously holding daily employeemanagement meetings at which any topic may be discussed depending on work teams. Many egalitarian touches are offered, such as providing corporate uniforms for both management and labor, referring to assembly-line workers as production technicians (Nissan) or associates (Honda). and providing special employee training in Japan. (G) Japanese management practices and styles tend to increase work effort and loyalty among their employees. Lifetime employment, coupled with seniority compensation, builds identification with the company’s goals. Interdependent work groups foster close employee relationships, which result in more positive attitudes toward the company and the job.

KOREAN CULTURE

#58 Frank McDougal had been chosen to set up a branch office of his engineering consulting firm in
Seoul, Korea. Although the six engineering consultants who would eventually be transferred to Seoul were Americans, Frank was interested in hiring local support staff. He was particularly interested in hiring a local person with excellent accounting skills to handle the company's books. He was quite confident that he would be able to find the right person for the job because his company was prepared to offer an excellent salary and benefits package. After receiving what he considered to be several excellent leads from a friend at the Rotary Club, he was quite surprised to be turned down by all four prospective candidates. They were very appreciative of being considered for the position but all preferred to stay with their current employer. Frank just couldn't understand why all four of these Koreans chose to pass up an increase in salary and fringe benefits.

#57 Jim Ellis, vice president of a North Carolina knitwear manufacturer, was sent by his company to
observe firsthand how operations were proceeding in their Korean plant and to help institute some new managerial procedures. Before any changes could be made, however, Jim wanted to learn as much as possible about the problems that existed at the plant. During his first week he was met with bows, polite smiles, and the continual denial of any significant problems. But Jim was enough of a realist to know that he had never heard of any manufacturing operation that didn't have some problems. So after some creative research, he uncovered a number of problems that the local manager and staff were not acknowledging. None of the problems were particularly unusual or difficult to solve, but Jim was frustrated that no one would admit that any problems existed. "If you don't acknowledge the problems," he complained to one of the managers, "how do you expect to be 18

able to solve them?" And then to further exasperate him, just today when a problem was finally brought to his attention, it was not mentioned until the end of the workday when there was no time left to solve it.

VIETNAMESE CULTURE

#58 Tran Nguyen from Vietman was doing an excellent job in the American factory in California
where she worked. As a reward, her American manager, Mrs. Brownstone, decided to promote her to the next level. This new job would put her at the same level in the company as her husband, who also worked at the factory. Tran quietly declined the promotion, which left Mrs. Brownstone confused.

#59 You are conducting a performance appraisal with a Vietnamese member of your group.

You ask, “Where would you like to be in two years?” He looks at you in surprise. The reason may be: ? He expects you, as the manager, to know the answer to that question. ? He thinks you are suggesting that he will leave the company. ? He thinks you want him to change jobs within the company. ? He thinks you are not giving him a good evaluation.

MALAYSIAN CULTURE

#60 Mr. Mahidin Bin Omar, one of three Malaysian workers at a Japanese plant in Kuala Lumpur,
has been working on a production machine and has an idea. He thinks that production could be improved if one aspect of the process was changed slightly. So Mr. Omar meets with his Japanese supervisor, Mr. Tanaka, to discuss the idea. While Mahyidin was explaining his plan, Mr. Tanaka just sat quietly, smiling and nodding—as if only slightly interested. After that short meeting, Mahyidin left feeling as if he was just politely listened to by his supervisor, since he did not get any response of encouragement. He was inclined not to even submit new ideas to his boss, Mr. Tanaka.

#61 Culture sketch
“Is the team on schedule to complete the construction project before the end of the month?” “The time is certainly passing by fast. We are working as hard as we can.” “We’ll have to pay a penalty of $500 per day if the project is not finished by the 31st. You do know that, don’t you?” “Many things can happen in the ten days left this month.” “So, you’ll be able to get it out all right?” “We will certainly work very hard.”

#62 Culture Sketch
“Hey, would you call Personnel and have them send over some more candidates for the supervisory opening.”

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“The three people you talked to today were the last of the applicants Personnel had. You’ve interviewed seven people in all—surely one of them is qualified to be a supervisor.” “Well, I don’t feel any of them had leadership potential, which is what I’m looking for. I asked all of them to tell me about their personal accomplishments and success track record, but apparently they’re all underachievers.” “But personnel said they were the best workers in the entire plant.” “Well, call Personnel back and tell them we need leaders, not followers.”

#63 Culture Sketch “I don’t see why you think the ladies have a problem with working conditions in the plant. I went down on the floor yesterday and asked them exactly what was bothering them, and none of them mentioned a single problem.”
“Something must be wrong, because several have quit and the rest don’t look like very happy campers.” “Well, I did my part by talking to them in person yesterday. I don’t know what else to do except to wait for one of them to come talk to me. My office door is always open.”

ISLAMIC CULTURES
#64 A group of ten Egyptian engineers and technicians, led by Dr. Rageb, the chief engineer, had been invited by their Japanese associates to come to Osaka for a training program. On Monday morning, Dr. Rageb arrived for the first training session. When he located his seat he found he was placed next to one of his company’s technicians. Dr. Rageb then noticed that the Japanese instructor intended to conduct the training to all the team members together. After a short time, Dr. Rageb got up and left the room. #65 Steve Lee, an executive with a Hartford insurance company, was sent to Kuwait immediately
after the 1990 Gulf War to investigate damage claims to several hotels his company had insured. Back in the States, Steve had the reputation of being extremely affable and sociable. The day after Steve arrived in Kuwait City, he met with Mr. Said, the manager of one of the insured tourist hotels. His previous telephone conversations with Mr. Said were upbeat and had led him to expect that Mr. Said was interested in getting the claims settled quickly and efficiently. His initial meeting with Mr. Said went extremely well, with both men agreeing on most of the issues discussed. At the end of that first meeting, they shook hands, and to emphasize the depth and sincerity of his goodwill, Steve grasped Mr. Said's hand with two hands and shook vigorously. For reasons that Steve never understood, the subsequent meetings with Mr. Said were never as cordial and friendly as that first meeting.

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#66 Culture Sketch
“How many employees have signed up so far for the new retirement plan?”

#66 You are invited to make a presentation of your project to an Arab government agency. To convince your audience, the meeting should include: ? A video of your facility and production lines. ? A description on how your product was invented and a technical evaluation. ? A host dinner after the presentation for informal discussion. ? A one-hour question-and-answer period after your presentation. #67 After your presentation above, you feel that the members of the committee do not yet
comprehend your product’s features. Will you: ? Make a videotape of your product and mail it to the company president to review? ? Offer the technical manager a month-long trip to your factory to observe your operation? ? Invite the president of the company, with his technical and financial managers, to visit you at your expense? ? Send a letter letting them know they are welcome to stop by to visit your facility when they can?

#68 You are working with an Arab colleague and want her to help you finish an assignment. You are most likely to get her cooperation if you say: ? “In the name of Allah, please help me.” ? “If you help me, I’ll buy dinner.” ? “My friend, I need your help.” ? “Let’s be the first to finish this project.” #69 You are supervising a factory operation in an Arab country.
The group manager is not working up to expectation. How should you alert him to his performance? ? “Increase your group’s productivity, or you’re fired.” ? “Do you need any help?” ? “You’d better take of your group, or I’ll replace you.” ? “Why don’t you hold a meeting with your group to find out what’s wrong?”

#70 In your first encounter with an Arab businessman, you should:
? Open both your arms to receive his hug. ? Give him your business card with your left hand and extend your right hand for a handshake. ? Shake hands, and give him your business card after you sit down. ? Give him your business card only if he asks for it.

#71 An Arab business offers you a cup of Arabian coffee at his office.
should say: ? “No, thank.” ? “Thank you, but I don’t drink coffee.” ? “Thank you,” and accept the cup of coffee. ? “No, thank you. Coffee makes me nervous.

You don’t drink coffee. You

#72 For the past six months, you have been discussing a joint venture with an Arab government
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agency. During your last visit, your Arab counterpart invited you to visit a local historical site for the day. While you were touring the site, he started talking price. This was his way of: ? Strengthening his personal rapport with you. ? Showing his pride in his country’s historical tradition. ? Signaling that personal bonding had been completed and it was now appropriate to conduct business ? Obligating you to invite him to your country.

#74 Stefan Phillips, a manager for a large U.S. airline, was transferred to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to set up a new office. Although Stefan had had several other extended overseas assignments in Paris and Brussels, he was not well prepared for working in the Arab world. At the end of his first week Stefan came home in a state of near total frustration. As he sat at the dinner table that night he told his wife how exasperating it had been to work with the local employees, who, he claimed, seemed to take no responsibility for anything. Whenever something went wrong they would simply say, "Inshallah" ("If God wills it"). Coming from a culture which sees no problem as insolvable, Stefan could not understand how the local employees could be so passive about job-related problems. "If I hear one more Inshallah," he told his wife, "I'll go crazy." #74 Construction superintendent Justin Clark had just been transferred to Saudi Arabia to supervise
the building of new state-of-the-art oil rigs for the Saudi government. The long-term assignment was to last for four years, so Justin's family accompanied him. Due to the cultural differences regarding the freedom of women in Saudi Arabia, his wife, Lorna, was experiencing some difficulty in adjusting to her new home. Upon moving into their rented house, they discovered several things that needed repair. The landlord, very happy to have rented the house on such a long-term lease, was very prompt in responding to their request for repairs. However, when he arrived, Justin was not home and the landlord entered without speaking or acknowledging Lorna's presence. The repairs proceeded under the landlord's supervision. Lorna was insulted and felt the landlord's behavior was rude and disrespectful. Since she was the one home at the time, she thought the landlord should have discussed the repairs with her.

#75 Bob Mitchell, a retired military attaché with considerable experience in the Middle East, was
hired by a large U.S. computer software company to represent it in a number of Persian Gulf countries. Having received an introduction from a mutual acquaintance, Bob arranged to meet with Mr. Saade, a wealthy Lebanese industrialist, to discuss the prospects of a joint venture between their companies. Having spent many years in the Middle East, Bob knew that they would have to engage in considerable small talk before they would be able to get down to business. They talked about the weather, Bob's flight from New York, and their golf games. Then Mr. Saade inquired about the health of Bob's elderly father. Without missing a beat Bob responded that his father was doing fine, but that the last time he saw his father at the nursing home several months ago he had lost a little weight. From that point on Mr. Saade's demeanor changed abruptly from warm and gracious to cool and aloof. Though the rest of the meeting was cordial enough, the meeting only lasted another two hours and Bob was never invited.

#76
A) Sam Lucas, a construction supervisor for an international engineering firm, had the reputation of being tough but fair-minded. Personally he was a very forceful, confrontive individual who always spoke his mind. He never hesitated to call on the carpet any worker whom he felt was performing poorly. Even though during his six years with the company Sam had never worked outside of the United States, he was chosen to supervise construction on a new hotel project in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, primarily because of his outstanding work record. 22

(B) On this project Sam supervised the work of about a dozen Americans and nearly 100 Saudi laborers. It was not long before Sam realized that the Saudi laborers, to his way of thinking, were nowhere as reliable as the workers he had supervised in the United States. He was becoming increasingly annoyed at the seeming lack of competence of the local labor force. Following the leadership style that held him in such good stead at home, he would reprimand any worker who was not doing his job properly, and he would make certain that he did it publicly so that it would serve as an object lesson to all the other workers. (C) He was convinced that he was doing the right thing and was being fair, for after all, he reprimanded both Americans and Saudis alike. He was troubled, however, by the fact that the problems seemed to be growing worse and more numerous. You admire one of the antiques and ask the street seller how much he wants for it. The Arab salesman replies, “How much do you want to pay?” He is asking this to: ? Find out how much money you have. ? Find out your bottom offer. ? Establish rapport with you. ? Find out if you are serious about buying. Before reading it, you notice it is one full page. Most letters you receive from American companies are shorter. This is probably because he is: ? Putting in a large order. ? Evaluating your proposal at length. ? Apologizing for a late response. ? Starting with a flowery greeting and ending with a promise to meet with you in a quest for a longterm relationship.

#77 You are on a vacation in an historic Arab city.

#78 You have received a letter from an Arab partner.

#79
(A) John Bell is the Middle East sales manager for a medium-sized American company. He was making his first trip to Cairo, the capital of Egypt. His mission was to introduce his company'’ new product line to the president of a major local import/distribution company, and to secure a large order. (B) At eight o’clock the morning after his arrival, Mr. Bell telephoned Mr. Hassan, the president of the local distribution company, to confirm his appointment at one o’clock in the afternoon. Mr. Hassan’s secretary welcomed him and told him she would call him as soon as Mr. Hassan arrived in the office. By ten o’clock, Mr. Bell had not heard from Mr. Hassan’s office, so he called back. This time a different person answered the phone and informed Mr. Bell that Mr. Hassan was still in the market and he would call him right back. Finally, at eleven o’clock, Mr. Hassan’s personal secretary called and told Mr. Bell that Mr. Hassan would be happy to have tea with him tomorrow at ten o’clock. Mr. Bell hung up the telephone disappointed to have lost a whole day and upset that Mr. Hassan only wanted to have tea with him. (C) The next day at ten o’clock sharp, Mr. Bell arrived at Mr. Hassan’s office, where he introduced himself to the secretary, who was talking on the telephone. When she finished the phone call, the secretary asked Mr. Bell to sit down, and she offered him a cup of tea. After fifteen minutes, Mr. Hassan arrived in the office, and with him were two Western salesmen. Mr. Hassan opened his arms to greet him, but Mr. Bell was not sure if he should give him a hug or a handshake, so he stood at a distance, extending his hand. 23

(D) Mr. Hassan invited all of his guests into his office, and offered everyone coffee. Mr. Bell refused, saying he had just had some tea and was ready now to give Mr. Hassan a full presentation on his company’s new product line. Mr. Hassan was not ready to discuss business, however, and asked Mr. Bell about his trip and how he liked Cairo. Mr. Bell replied that it had been a long trip and that he had stayed in his hotel room for practically the entire day yesterday. Then Mr. Hassan started asking his other guests about the prices of their products. Soon, he asked Mr. Bell about his new products and his company’s potential commission. Mr. Bell felt uncomfortable discussing prices in front of other people, and had expected a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Hassan. (E) During this time, Hr. Hassan answered some phone calls and signed some documents. He seemed very adept at handling several things at once. Finally, when Mr. Hassan’s other guests had left his assistant and Mr. Bell was ready to make his technical presentation, Mr. Hassan asked his secretary to bring another cup of coffee. Apparently, Mr. Hassan wanted to relax Mr. Bell, who was anxious to make his presentation. The secretary brought in the coffee, and Mr. Bell asked if he could have some milk in it. The secretary smiled and said, “Arabian coffee tastes better without milk.” (F) By now it was about noon, and Mr. Hassan asked Mr. Bell if he would like to join him and his assistant for dinner tonight; tomorrow Mr. Bell could make his presentation to the technical director and the marketing manager. Mr. Bell agreed and went to his hotel to book his room for two more nights. He then called his headquarters to postpone his next appointment in Italy. It was becoming clear that he might have to stay the entire week. (G) His dinner appointment was not until seven-thirty so he reorganized his presentation for the next day, and then went to the market and bought a nice Arab shirt. Around seven o’clock, he went down to the hotel bar for a drink, where he was joined by several other Western businesspeople. Mr. Bell started talking with them and lost track of time. At seven forty-five, Mr. Bell looked at his watch and, realizing he was late, left the bar quickly. While leaving the bar, he met Mr. Hassan and his assistant, who were both formally dressed casually, but he was also late for their appointment. (H) The next day, Mr. Bell arrived at Mr.Hassan’s office at eight forty-five. He was prepared to make his presentation to the marketing manager and the technical director at nine o’clock. Mr. Bell greeted the secretary, calling her by name and using some flattering Arabic phrases he had learned the night before. He also presented Mr. Hassan’s assistant with a gift. The assistant thanked him for the gift and put it aside. Mr. Bell came to the presentation wearing the same Arab shirt he had purchased and worn the night before. He thought he would fit in better if he looked more Arab, but everyone in the office was looking at him strangely. (I) At nine o’clock, Mr. Hassan’s assistant accompanied Mr. Bell into a medium-sized conference. In the room were 15 people waiting to hear Mr. Bell’s presentation. He opened his presentation with a few words in Arabic, and discussed his company’s background for 15 minutes. Then he started to show some of his company’s products, and everyone moved in very close to look at them, which made Mr. Bell uncomfortable. After that, Mr. Bell moved on to give technical details of the products. (J) Soon after he started, a young man in the audience started questioning him about the specifications. Mr. Bell had not expected to be asked these, and therefore did not know the answers. Then the marketing manager pointed out that several of the products were no applicable to local markets because they didn’t fit in with consumer habits. The manager pointed out that several of the products were not applicable to local markets because they didn’t fit in with consumer habits. The 24

manager felt that the new product line would have to be adapted to the local markets before he would accept it in his distribution channels. (K) At this point, Mr. Bell realized that his presentation was the same one had given in Germany the month before; his marketing department had not made any modifications to reflect the local culture. At the end of the presentation, Mr. Hassan’s assistant accompanied Mr. Bell to Mr. Hassan’s office where another guest was in the room. Mr. Hassan greeted him and asked his guest to sit beside him. Mr. Bell was very anxious to close a sale and asked if Mr. Hassan would like to place an order. Mr. Hassan politely told him, “In sha Allah (if God wishes), we will do some business.” Not knowing this common Arabic phrase, Mr. Bell was unsure if it meant yes or no. At the conclusion of their meeting, Mr. Hassan told Mr. Bell that his company would write him soon with some good news. (L) Mr. Bell left the office very happy and headed to the airport for his next assignment. Three months have passed since Mr. Bell visited Cairo, and he has not heard any response from Mr. Hassan’s company. He has written twice, received no response, and he wonders what went wrong!

#80 You are calling your Arab distributor from your home office.
? Asking about his wife. ? Asking if he has mailed his late payment. ? Hoping that he and his family are well. ? Asking how his business is doing.

You may start the conversation by:

#81 You are conducting a meeting with ten Arab managers and workers.
except one manager. Will you: ? Not worry about him? ? Ask who has any more comments before the meeting ends? ? Look at that particular manager and ask if he has something to say? ? Tell him that this is his last chance to talk?

Everyone is participating

#82 Culture Sketch
“Both Thursday and Friday are religious holidays? That’s not on my calendar. No way we can give up two work days at this time of the month. We’ve got a huge backlog of orders to get out by Friday. Tell you what, make an announcement that we’ll pay overtime to anyone who will work Thursday and Friday. Even if only half of the crew comes in, I think we can get out the orders okay.” As soon as the work crew heard this, they all said they were quitting.

#83
(A) Andy Ross, an electrical engineer for a Chicago firm on a contract with the Turkish government, had been living with his wife in Istanbul for several months. When Andy had to spend several weeks in Ankara he thought it was a good opportunity to combine business with pleasure. Since he was entitled to some vacation time, he decided to travel leisurely to Ankara by car with his wife in order to spend some time in rural Turkey and get a better feel for village life. Living in Istanbul had been very enjoyable, for both Andy and his wife had found it to be a sophisticated and interesting European city. But when traveling in the outlying regions they began to feel uneasy for the first time since coming to Turkey because the local people seemed hostile. (B) On their second day out of Istanbul they stopped in a small coffeehouse that they had heard was a focal point of social activity in rural Turkey. But shortly after arriving they sensed that they were not welcome. People stared and stopped talking to one another. They could not understand why people 25

were so hostile, particularly since people seemed so friendly in Istanbul.

AFRICAN CULTURES
#84 A U.S. fertilizer manufacturer headquartered in Minneapolis decided to venture into the vast potential of third world markets. The company sent a team of agricultural researchers into an East African country to test soils, weather conditions, and topographical conditions in order to develop locally effective fertilizers. Once the research and manufacturing of these fertilizer products had been completed, one of the initial marketing strategies was to distribute, free of charge, 100-pound bags of the fertilizer to selected areas of rural farmers. It was thought that those using the free fertilizer would be so impressed with the dramatic increase in crop productivity that they would spread the word to their friends, relatives, and neighbors. Teams of salespeople went from hut to hut in those designated areas offering each male head of household a free bag of fertilizer along with an explanation of its capacity to increase crop output. Although each head of household was very polite, they all turned down the offer of free fertilizer. The marketing staff concluded that these local people were either disinterested in helping themselves grow more food and eat better or so ignorant that they couldn't understand the benefits of the new product. #85 Bill Higgins had served as the manager of a large U.S. timber company located in a rather remote rain forest in a South American country. Since it began its logging operations in the 1950s a major problem facing the company has been the recruitment of labor. The only nearby source of labor is the sparsely populated local Indian groups in the area. Bill's company has been in direct competition for laborers with a German company operating in the same region. In an attempt to attract the required number of laborers, Bill's company has invested heavily in new housing and offered considerably higher wages than the German company as well as a guaranteed 40-hour workweek. Yet the majority of the available workers continued to work for the German company, despite its substandard housing and a minimum hourly wage. Bill finally brought in several U.S. anthropologists who had worked among the local Indians. #86
(A) Jeff Walters, owner and manager of a highly successful bookstore in Philadelphia during the 1960s and 1970s, had gone on a three-week safari to East Africa. He and his wife had been so struck by the beauty of the area that they had decided soon after returning to the United States to sell the bookstore and start a book distribution company based in Nairobi that would supply books from all over the world to eastern and southern African countries. (B) Although the new business was only four years old, Jeff's enthusiasm for combining his love of books with his newfound love of East Africa was largely responsible for the great success of the new enterprise. In only four years Jeff, as president of the company, had put together a professional and administrative staff of 18 local Kenyans. Jeff found that he was behind schedule in preparing a lengthy proposal for a possible government contract due in the U.S.A.I.D. office in Nairobi the next day. The deadline was so critical that he had to work very closely with some of his staff to make sure that it was met. (C) In the final hours, Jeff found himself helping the secretaries make copies, collate, and assemble the multiple copies of the proposal. But minutes after pitching in to help he began to notice that his staff became very non-communicative and he seemed to be getting a lot of cold stares. Jeff couldn't 26

understand why his attempts to be helpful were so unappreciated.

#87 Culture Sketch
“Why wasn’t Irene moved up into management? She’s the best qualified candidate by far.” “Are you kidding? This ain’t the U.S. you know—no equal rights and all that jazz.” “But another woman was chosen for the job. Haven’t you heard? I was told that management didn’t think the workers would accept Irene, but apparently another woman would be acceptable. Doesn’t make much sense to me.”

27


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