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Sowjanya Kodidala- Reflection

by on October 31, 2007

Ignoring the cultural issues in a global organization

In one of the videos we could see the consequences faced by a globalised company for ignoring the cultural issues in an organization. Ignoring cultural issues in a multinational company leads to many problems and mistakes that cannot be undone. The mistakes do teach lessons but the loss occurred due to the mistakes leaves a big loss to the company. We do learn from the mistakes done, but not before the company faces huge losses.

In the video, The CEO of a Japanese architecture company explains a project in which he faced cultural issues. The CEO talks about the project in which he faced constant barriers and created lots of tensions during the project. He mentions the case by briefing the basics of the project, the issues he faced and the choices he had to solve the issue.

The project consisted people from two different cultures – American’s and Japanese. The project was managed by a Program manager who was black man. As the project had people from different cultures they had issues on agreeing on one statement. The American people were experienced and stubborn. The Japanese team was stubborn too and they were arguing that as the project was taking place in Japan they knew better. The other major issue was the Japanese team had issues on taking orders from a female employee. The Japanese team did not tell that they had issues with PM, but they did show that they were not comfortable in taking orders from PM. So the CEO had cultural issues, female and male issues. So the CEO had the following few options to solve the following issues –
Terminate the project.
Remove the PM.
Replace the women in the team.
Try to convince the teams to work in a group.

I really don’t think terminating the project is a good idea as it effects the reputation of the company. The client might not be happy and approach their competitors which are not good for the company.

Removing the PM might be a good decision but I don’t agree with that as it’s not ethical, instead the Japanese people should be explained that in an organization every person is given the same value. The female employee in the Japanese team must be very smart and talented to be in that position. Also by removing PM or the female employee, the company might have to face discrimination law suits which are not good for the company.

The CEO can try to communicate and make the teams understand the effectiveness of working together and make them understand how they can work together and help each other. I suggest that the CEO changes the teams. The CEO can select the people who are willing to work under the PM and also work as a team.

The CEO had faced with such critical issues because he did not do his home work. As an experienced CEO he should have understood that people of different culture are involved. So the CEO should have explored the cultural issues before even thinking about involving American team and Japanese team. In a globalised company cultural issues play an important
role and they cannot be taken for granted.

He should also think about the people and their culture and their views before making a team. Because it is very difficult solve these issues later on. As in this case the Japanese team expressed their uncomfortableness with female employee and PM but there are no conversations or meeting where the Japanese team explained about their problems.

I think the CEO learned his lesson. He should have understood how important to understand the culture of the place before doing the project.

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