1) What is the most significant problem in the case?
The most significant problem lies between Karen and Ted is cultural difference. Besides, they seem to have communicating problem derived from cultural misunderstanding.
Therefore, the problem is caused by both of them. But the solution should be approached from Karen first because she is the manager (and also the vice president) over Ted. She is responsible to take care of her employees.
2) What are the reasons for the problem?
As I mentioned above, main reasons are misunderstanding caused by cultural difference. And Karen should give the solution, because she is the decision maker for this case. Also, Karen uses only one way to manage her people. She does not accept challenge toward her. Since there is no one right way to coach, and even more, coaching is not only way to solve the problem, she should consider contingency approach toward Ted.
The things Karen had to do first is not hiring people for Taiwanese market development but studying Taiwanese culture to know more about her target customers’ characteristics. But she has not studied about her new potential customers but let Ted do everything instead of her. This is the root problem.
More problems continued to occur because of her ignorance toward Chinese (Taiwanese; hereinafter I will use ‘Chinese’ to broaden its cultural meaning) culture. Since she has no knowledge toward Chinese culture, she cannot control Ted as a decision maker over him. Ted can do almost whatever he wants, and Karen’s control over him does not work because it is inappropriate.
The problem elaborated more severe when she had a meeting with her first Chinese customer. Although she thought Ted had a problem handling the customers’ asset, but the customer thought Ted did well. She might want to explain something to her customer, but she couldn’t because she can’t speak Chinese. Ted is still a key person for this business, and the...