My Greatest Failure

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My greatest failure : A case study in leadership

As there are many cultural differences in the world, working all together can sometime be problematic.
Through a medical approach, we have discovered some symptoms that illustrate this fact in the case we are meant to study :

The french workers were reluctant to work with a German manager : “The french were not particularly in favor of Bernard's appointment (they would have preferred a french man)” p.74

Three resignation in eight months under Mr. Bernard's supervision. “Three employees have resigned from the company during this period” p.74 A letter to Mr. Warner, the President General Director, from Mr. Maillot, a respected co- worker of Mr. Bernard, the Production Director, in which he criticizes Mr. Bernard. “Bernard was called into Warner's office and handed a letter by the PGD” p.75

As causes of symptoms, we have identified some problems that we are going to analyze :
Confirmation Bias is a form of thinking error based on the tendency to seek out information which supports our believes and ignore contradictory information : Bernard had developed firm ideas about how to manage since he has a PhD in business studies. He had closely studied the leadership styles, and therefore collected a lot of information about leading, and was determined to introduce them to the company. Also, senior management at Media AG gave him support for his ideas so Bernard felt even more confident about his way of dealing with management. Finally, Bernard didn't feel concerned about the resignations and was satisfied about how things were going, ignoring that this wasn't the case according to employees.

The perception is the way somebody experiences, processes and defines the outside world. We can observe a selective perception among the company, meaning that the employees have the tendency to hear or see only what interests them and disregard other information. The positive characteristics of Mr. Abel resulted in an overall positive opinion about him, this is called the Halo Effect, while Mr. Bernard is perceived as the contrary of Mr. Abel and so his positive points are ignored, the overall opinion about him is quite negative.

Escalation of commitment consists of sticking to an ineffective course of action when it is unlikely that the negative situation can be reserved : Bernard has committed a lot of time and efforts in his studies and so is reluctant to believe what he has learned can fail him. In addition, he has an egotistical behavior in making decisions : he is too self-involved since it's his first experience in the managing sector.

Differences in high and low context communication cultures according to Edward T. Hall :
The french in authority tend to be personally responsible for the actions of subordinates and therefor creates a greater amount of personal loyalty between superiors and subordinates. This explains how the french company felt towards their older boss Mr. Abel. On the other hand, the german in authority is impersonal and diffused through the bureautic system of administration meaning that Bernard doesn't involve himself in his work and relationship with subordinates as much as Mr. Abel did.

Superior-Subordinate relationship differences between high and low power distance cultures :
The german culture is part of low power distance cultures in which there is a limited dependance of subordinates on bosses and they prefer consultations, while the french culture is part of high power distance cultures in which there is a considerable dependance of subordinates on bosses. The...
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