The Ellen Moore case discusses the issues in applying Western management styles in a much different society; that of Korea. At issue is whether Ellen was to blame for the failures of the team to meet its performance goals and what were the other factors involved.
Ellen Moore was a Senior Consultant for Systems Consulting Group (SCG) which was part of a company known as Western Systems Inc (WSI). In 1990, WSI formed a Korean joint venture with Korean Conglomerate Inc. (KCI) known as Joint Venture Inc. (JVI). KCI was one of the largest Korean industrial groups with over 40 companies and annual sales greater than $3.5 billion. The joint venture was managed by two regional directors, Mr. Cho from KCI and Robert Brown from WSI.
The JVI consulting project was one of the largest undertaken in Korea to-date. Implementation of the systems into over 100 offices was expected to take 7-10 years. The Korean team was to be aided by SCG consultants for the first 7 months to assist in the system design and in creating recommendations for Systems Implementation (SI) which was an area the Koreans had limited expertise. The entire team consisted of about 40 Korean consultants working in 5 different areas all led by Mr. Park. The SI team consisted of 5 Korean consultants and three SCG consultants from North America; Andrew Kilpatrick, Ellen Moore and Scott Adams. As can be seen in the organization chart in Exhibit 2 of the case, Andrew Kilpatrick was in charge of the overall SI team and both Ellen Moore and the head Korean SI consultant, Jack Kim reported to him. Jack and Ellen jointly supervised the activities of the rest of the SI team.
There are several factors that led to the problems experienced on Ellen’s project. These were mostly related to the significant cultural differences between the US and Korea. Perhaps one of the most significant issues is the differences in roles that women play in the two societies....