Step 8: Culture Clash

Step 8: Culture Clash

Belinda Lee, the CEO, has requested that your team investigate and report back to her about a recent dispute between three of her direct reports: the VP of manufacturing, the VP of marketing and the VP of product design.

Belinda has asked you to write a memo with your findings and recommendations for how Phone and Build should handle this situation.  Take notes and create an outline for your memo as you consider each of the following questions:

  • Was the Chinese supplier ethical in shipping more than 300,000 cases made of real leather instead of the requested faux leather material, even though the supplier was not charging Phone and Build anything extra for the higher cost of real leather? Explain why or why not.
  • When the manufacturing VP contacted the Chinese supplier to complain, the supplier could not understand why Phone and Build was not pleased about receiving a real leather case, given that Phone and Build was still paying for the less expensive faux leather one. Is there a cultural difference between customer expectations and business transactions in the West and in Asia? Explain.
  • The decision of the manufacturing VP to accept the shipment containing real leather cases without first consulting the marketing VP is also somewhat problematic. By the time the marketing VP received the memo, it was too late for the cases to be returned. If you were the marketing VP and received the same memo, would you do anything different? Why?
  • All the senior personnel at Phone and Build should have been well aware that a significant proportion of their African and Asian customers were very sensitive about using phone cases made of pig leather. As an organization, what strategic errors did you observe in the decision making by various individuals in this situation? By the design VP? By the manufacturing VP? By the marketing VP? Could more training in ethical decision making and cultural sensitivity for senior management have helped in this situation? Why or why not?

Gather information about the cultural factors that are in play in this situation, including Managing in a Global Environment and Cross-Cultural Ethical Business Decision Making. You will need to research cross-cultural differences in decision making and recommend a course of action to the CEO. You should start in the UMUC Library.

Back up your responses with information about relevant differences in cultural expectations in China, South Africa, and the United States. In order to support your views, it will be useful to conduct some additional research on cultural differences and their impact on global business transactions.

In the next step, you will write your memo.

9 Prepare Your Memo
10 Submit Your Memos to the CEO

 

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