Case Ellen More

Topics: Culture, Leadership, Decision making Pages: 5 (1427 words) Published: December 26, 2012
Case 1: Ellen Moore (A): Living and Working in Korea

1.CQ: Is what happened to Ellen a surprise? Why or why not? Do you think what happened to Ellen would have happened to people like yourself, and from your background? Why or why not? -------------------------------------------------

Considering the Korea’s cultural context it was not a surprise what happened to Ellen. First, the collective behavior is highly influenced by the country national religion, the Confucian. Which dictates several social norms of behavior, such as loyalty to hierarchical power, duty to parents, rules of behavior involving obedience and respectful behavior within superiors-subordinate relationship (Nicholls & Ellement, 1997, p. 6), that are very different from most cultures in Western countries.

There are expected general behaviors from a Korean leader that clashed to the American way of doing business. In Korea leaders are paternalistic, works and cares about team, although been hierarchal and independent, relying on status and position to make independent decisions. On the other hand the US leaders tend to be team-oriented, working collaborative with team members, motivating and envisioning, but also being autonomous and independent leaders. This presented a great challenge to combine such different cultures, especially considering the gender of the professional. Women played a specific role in Korean society, although it’s starting to change in Seoul.

Small differences on working routine were also a source of conflict. The high hierarchy client-supplier and manager-team, lead the team to never say they didn’t understand something, in order to avoid conflict with the boss, and the local team was reluctant to schedule meetings to interview the client’s management team, considering that they would be in some sort of way disturbing the client. On the other hand, the leader was supposed to give bad feedback in front of everybody and celebrating the victories was seen as a weakness.

There were additional problems that could lead to conflict. The Korean team had limited experience in system implementation, to help them the American consultants were assigned to the project. Another important factor was that Andrew, who was seen by the client and partners as the big reference, would manage the contract part time from North America.

This could have happen to any person of any background. The gender is an additional point. But many of those potential sources of conflict could have been become reality. Once you consider different cultural aspects and backgrounds, the starting point of the conflict could have been some other event. An important thing to pay attention is that not only the cultural characteristics were the source of the conflict, but also some problems that derived from poor project and team management. -------------------------------------------------

2.CQ: Is Ellen a “typical North American female manager”? Why or why not? What does the case tell you about the differences and similarities between her and you? -------------------------------------------------

Ellen is a typical North American female manager. She developed a reputation based on her performance and results. Her background is quite impressive, considering the responsibilities undertaken and positions achieved, such as being the first female and youngest to manage a financial reporting department of a baking and insurance company. Besides that she took night classes to get her Bachelor Degree and continue studying for an MBA. She presents the Anglo-Saxon culture trait of been highly competitive and result-oriented.

Leaders in Brazil tend to be more “charismatic/value-based but somewhat self-serving, collaborative & inspiring” according to project Globe findings. That means this leadership style is performance-oriented, devoted to families and groups, visionary and believes in self-sacrifice for the team. The similarities to the...
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