John Baker, English expatriate and the chief engineering of the Caribbean Bauxite Company of Barracania in the West Indies conducted an interview with Matthew Rennalls, a Barracanian who holding assistant engineering position in the company and also Baker’s successor because he received a complaint from Mr. Jackson, one of the European employees; that Rennalls had been rude to him. Baker’s interview with Rennalls was to talk about this issue and tried to solve it. In the interview, Baker brought up what achievements Rennalls made to the company and towards himself. Baker and company have high expectation on Rennalls that he has high potential to hold higher position in the company in the future with his ability and job performances. However, Rennalls’ high racial consciousness is the barrier in his career. During the interview, Baker mentioned that Rennalls has been rude to European expatriates not for the first time. He thinks Rennalls is friendlier and get on better with other Barracanians than he does with Europeans. Rendalls denied the accusation and declared that is was the expatriates’ attitude that make him difficult to get along with, not their race. He accepted the fact that the company senior position was hold by Europeans because they have more experience than the Barracanians and well aware that once Barracanians warrant the experience they will get promote and hold senior position. Baker thought that Rennalls was denying his racial prejudice. After that, Baker mentioned that his country has 200 or 300 hundred years of history in this commercial enterprise and yet Rennalls’ country has only 50 or 60 years of history. He and his ancestors were brought up in the environment and live in a world in which commerce are part of his of his being. He was amazed that in such short time period the Barracanian can successfully adapt the revolution even though they are facing the challenge of bridging the gap between 60 years and 300 years. The interview ended in a pleasant note; however, after a deep thought at home, Rennalls found out that the conversation made by Baker had unintentionally insulted his culture and his race. In Rennalls point of view, what Baker said was Barracania only has 50 to 60 years on knowledge living where European goes back to 200 or 300 years and has condescended to Barracania with their materialistic commercial environment. As the result of being insulted, Rennalls has handed his resignation letter to protest his country culture and race. Problem statement:
Cultural differences and racial issues insensitivity lead to misunderstandings and organizational conflicts. The problems within the case study are listed as below.
1. Different perceptions. This problem occurred because both party do not take diversity as consideration while communicating. Baker and Rennalls both evaluate and measure each other by their own scales and perceptions. Baker knew a lot about Rennalls' political views, racial issues sensitivity and intolerance to any discrimination of value of his country and people in the world arena. However, Baker still made a mistake building his interview from his own, European perspective. Baker gave some historical and personal suggestions that not meant to be offensive but in Rennalls' point of view, the suggestions were totally inappropriate. 2. Racial consciousness. Grown up as the son of the Minister of Finance and Economics Planning in Barracania, Rennalls has high patriotism and even threw himself into politic after he graduated. Studying in London University for 4 years has accentuated his racial consciousness and made him especially sensitive to political, racial and equality issues involving relations between his culture and western influence. He is sensitive to what European done and said that have any sign of condescension. Through the interview, Baker emphasized several times the importance and leading position of European staff in the company. In the...
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