Question 1: What are the problems in this case?
Elllen’s female identity made her an alienated participant in the work place in Korea, whose culture is dominantly masculine. The acceptance of her came in and took responsibility as the senior member of the project was early based on a compromise of her obtaining of required skills, however, her identity as a female was constantly reemphasized in the company’s social events. 2.
Ellen and Jack were both initially appointed as the co-manager to the SI project, however, from the organizational structure perspective, the power was not equally distributed between the two participants: Jack clearly had much more commanding authority than Ellen. With Andrew involved in a distance manner and absented from daily management, and the other manager in the above hierarchy such as Mr. Park was only directly connected with Jack instead of Ellen, all of those factors had resulted in even sever power inequality. 3.
The group project progress was severely delayed, and the communication efficiency is low between the U.S personal and Korean personals, In addition, Jack as a senior consultant, had deliberately made work decisions diverged from the overall objective of the project (by adding a time consuming and unnecessary market research). Plus, the skills of other Korean consultants were obviously not sufficient and the effort that Ellen tried to make on coaching the junior consultant was interpreted by Jack as personally criticizing as him lacking of leadership ability. 4.
The communication with clients was limited and the information exchange was restricted. The relationship with client was not established on a mutually beneficial service provider and buyer bases, rather the clients obtained relative dominate power towards the project group by requiring the consultant conduct extra tasks beyond work scope. 5.
The higher management blamed the inefficiency of team performance sole on Ellen, which Andrew considered that it was the ineffective organizational structure and inaccurate information provided by the Korean side regarding team skills that resulted in the problem. Question 2: Now that you have discussed all of the problems, pick two or three root problems and discuss why you believe they are driving the other problems. The principal problems that resulted in Ellen’s dilemma are the inequity of female and male roles; the hierarchy and power that Jack possessed to command the fellow junior consultant running the project in a diverged direction; also the hierarchy that the client posses towards the project team. As for the gender inequity aspect, it is clear that the Korean traditional has played a significant role, even though there were improvement of women social status in young generation, in the business environment, male are still dominating the workplace and the male and female are still in a superior-subordinate relation. Given that Ellen and Scott are both functioning as senior consultants for the SI project, however, Ellen was the only one getting ultimate criticism in the eyes of the higher Korean management. Moreover, the overall organization structure also demonstrates an inequity of gender where tolerance for diversity of ideas and individuals do not tend to be encouraged (In the Eye of the Beholder, cross cultural lessons in leadership from project GLOBE, Mansour Javidan, Peter W. Dorfma, etc), therefore, female opinions such as Ellen’s towards Jack’s market research proposal will be consider unacceptable as in the business setting as SI project team. Beside gender issue, the tension between Jack and Ellen also raised from the in-depth culturally sense of power and respect for hierarchy which also explaining the ineffective communication manner between the Ellen and other Korean consultants. Jack pointed as the leader of Korean team will expected a full commanding authority and loyalty from his Korean subordinates who are also intuitively perceive Jack as...
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