This case is of particular interest to me because it deals with an abnormality in the Chinese culture. This abnormality is the defying behavior of Yong Li (Account Manager) towards Charles Tang (Manager of Marketing programs and Yong Li’s boss). According to the case, Chinese organizational structures are more vertically oriented than organizational structures in the west. This implies that employees in Chinese firms have less freedom and basically obey orders from “above” without question. However, this wasn’t Li’s case, who strongly defied Tang’s authority when Tang decided to shut down his project.
If I were Tang, I would have handled the situation a little differently. I think Tang should have showed a stronger position. As a manager, his primary objective is to accomplish his department’s goals, and if reassigning work and projects to the employees is the best way to go, he should stick with that decision. However, he should also have informed Li about terminating his project personally. What I would have done is call a meeting with Li to explain to him that his current project was interfering with more important goals of the department and that it needed to be terminated regardless of the time Li had already spent on it. The time spent on the project is a form of “sunk costs”, and they are irrelevant. Thus one should never continue a project based only on the time spent on it; rather, one should terminate that project as soon as they realize it is not the best way to go. I would have made sure that Li understood that. Probably then, I would have had less resistance and more support from him
I do not think that the incident with Li was indicative of broader internal communication difficulties. I think that the situation with Li was a special case; Li was so committed to his project that it was hard for him to leave it. He thought that he had already worked 2 months on it and therefore he should finish it; but again, this is an example... [continues]
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