1. Business
  2. Operations Management
  3. case study case steudy an australian manager in an american...

Question: case study case steudy an australian manager in an american...

Question details

CASE STUDY Case Steudy: An Australian Manager in an American Company Qantas Flight 23 to Sydney is now boarding. Please have your boarding passes and passports readh for the attendant at the gate. Les Collins picked up his briefcase and started toward the jet way. He paused to look around the waiting area and, as had been the case so often here in Houston, he saw nothing to indicate that he was in a foreign country. Certainly the accents were different from in Sydney, but the lan guage was English and readily understandable. This superficial familiarity, he concluded, must help explain why he had had difficulties adjusting to his role at the Global Oil Company office in Houston. Global Oil Company, or GOC, was headquartered in Houston, Texas, with partners and sub sidiaries in countries around the world. Les had worked at GOCs Sydney office for eight year
offered the chance to work at Houstion headquarters for two yeant would enhance srasohnces for promotion within GOC-Australia. Although Less family-his wife an tw reluctantly applied Les to apply for the job in Houston because -age children-was not very enthusiastic about the move, he he knew it was critical to his success at GOc or the he settled back in his seat on the flight to Sydney, Les thought back to the he arrived in uston std Houston almost closed down due to a sleet and ice storm. That juxtaposition ot sias over a year ago. Les had left S ydney on a hot, bumid day in Jaruary ould have alerted him that there would States. When he hailed a taxi outside the terminal at LAH, the driver mamy differences between Australia and ben Les opened the door to the front seat and sat down next to the driver his first few weeks at the Houston office, everything seemed to go the United Statd During well. He met seemed Duiseff to introduce himself and his goals for his two-year assignment. Eeryne enough, although he didnt get much feedback at that meeting or in Eiend his request for their ideas and input on how he could fit in and be eo ings onhe he needed to get to know the staff in a more informal setting. that masr work one day at a local pub. Several staf bim ants, and the three senior managers who did come were clearly uncomfortable members begged off, citing personal com- and left after GOC head- m Sanchez, to discuss the changes Tom wanted g the staff aronnl on the changes weve dis- ot 30 minutes of awkward conversation Over the next six months, Les stayed busy learning operations for his area at He met often with his Houston boss, To ies so help him realize during his teeure there Im counting on you, Les, to help hasnt moved nesrly as fast as I think they coeld and thats the ways theyve always done things. Im confident that a new , will coavinee them of the the staffs reluctance to change someone from a completcly different couniry Keep me posted on your progress. Tom concluded, as he walked Les to the reception area One of the things Les noticed soon after arriving in Houston was how many more manage ment levels the U.S. operation had than comparable offices in Australia. The hierarchy seemed excessive to Les, and he sought to break down some of the communication barriers he perceived meeting with all staff members in one large meeting At one of these meetings, Les brought up the proposed changes in procedures that he had discussed with Sanchez. T know that some of you may not be in favor of the changes were pro g and Id like to know your reasons for this. Lets have an open discussion of the changes in posin general and see where our major disagreement lies. After a few minutes of silence, one of the senior managers explained his reasons for resisting achange in their reporting procedures for expenses. Im not sure that the new method will capture a true picture of expenses and outlay if we change what were doing now. Im not opposed to mak- that improve our work-I just am not convinced that the new method will be better. Okay, Id like to hear from others on that specific change. Lets table this discussion.Les said. The managers and staff at the table looked at each other in confusion at that point. No one sid anything for several minutes and Les concluded that no one else had an objection or concerm on this particular point. The meeting continued for another hour as Les moved through the list of changes he was charged with making and when no one offered much objection or proposed any altermatives, he concluded that his predecessor and Sanchez had misinterpreted the staffs resis- tance to the changes eek later, in a meeting with Bill Crosby, one of the senior managers in his department, decided to get his managers views on how to involve junior managers in decisions and how Les b encourage their ideas on various topics. gan. Im eager to have more input on some ideas I have for a new marketing plan, and ondering how I can get junior managers and staff to contribute in our meetings hesitated before saying, Sometimes staff are reluctant to put forward ideas when their are in the same meeting. Perhaps you should have some of the senior managers solicit notice that in most meetings only the senior managers seem to participate in discussions, des in their own staff meetings and then bring these to the meeting with you.
Bur what about the synergy we can create if we have people from different levels d dea together? Especially if the idea will affect the work staff are expected to do. I think the collaboration that hierarchy creates. Les said. What are your thoughts on how to de much separation of people by level in our department. Id like to eliminate some of the Tll need to take some time to think about that., Bill said. Maybe we can talk ab our next one-on-one Later that day, during lunch with one of his peers in the company cafeteria, Bill bro puts in his discussion with Les. He wants to eliminate some of the barriers that the hieah hen we need to. And I really the way of collaboration, Bill began. What exactly do you think he means by co We all get along just fine as far as I can see. We cooperate w y to be part of a discussion in a meeting if they prefer to just listen. At the next all-staff meeting. Les began by handing out a sheet with five t now how to get staff to speak their minds if they dont want to. I dont feel comfortable y de opics on it. than following one of our regular agendas today. I thought we might do a little brainstormi and the topics Ive outlined here. As you can see, these topics all relate to marketing. And heres a twist on our usual meeting protocol: instead of my leading the di In thinking about the meeting afterward, Les decided that although it hadnt been a come up with in our discussion can go a long way toward finalizing that plan. scussion going to assign one of these topics to five people and let you take over the dis one of the senior managers requested a meeting a couple of days later, Les that you made a lot of people very uncomfortable. Staff are not used to leading plete success, he thought he had made some progress in getting increased particip at managers comments about the meeting Tm sure you were sincere in your request for ideas from everybody but Irsed to tell a discu session and has senior managers present. When that staff member is leading a brainstorming tell a manager that hes out of order because hes criticizing someones idea, youre putting the staff member in a really awkward position. T guess I dont understand, Les said. The whole point of doing what I did was to break down the barriers that make people feel uncomfortable. I think everybody has good ideas, and Im trying to figure out how I can get them to share those ideas. I thought putting people in dif ferent roles would be helpful. much as he hoped for when he started. done things just like I do at GOC-Sydney, but the results are not the sam At his next meeting with Tom Sanchez, Les expressed his frustration with achieving a It just seems as though Im being stonewalled at every turn. In fact, Ive heard that several Maybe I can make some progress when I get back after vacation. Sometimes three weeks Yes, Les, Tom began, well need to talk about this when you get back from vacation. people are thinking of transferring to another department, Les said. What am I missing? Ive ay helps give a different perspective on things. aw Three weeks is a pretty long time for a senior manager to be gone, but I know you and your family have plans to visit a lot of the national parks in the west, so I reluctantly approved your request. Have a good trip and Ill talk with you when you get back. When Les returned from vacation, Tom Sanchez was out of the office for a week and they didnt have a chance to meet before Les got word that his mother had passed away suddenly and that he needed to return to Sydney for the funeral. As he headed for Sydney, Les won dered how he could explain to his former boss in Sydney the problems he was having at GOC ead uarters.
on vari- that se do 3-11. Using Geert Hofstedes cultural characteristics, compare Australia and the United States ilar, but there are some differences ous measures. As youll see, the two countries are fairly sim may help explain Les Collinss apparent lack of success in the American setting. Which of the you think is the most significant and why?
, What could GOC have done to prepare Collins for his assignment in the United States? Outline an action plan for companies to use in preparing executives-and their families-for international 3-12 assignments 13. Articulate and evaluate your own opinion about the degree of distance prevalent in U.S. companies between managers and their direct reports. Who is protected by this management style? What verse organizational impacts might result from this style? ad-
Solution by an expert tutor
Blurred Solution
This question has been solved
Subscribe to see this solution