The Case of Karen Leary

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The most significant problem in the case of Karen Leary and Ted Chung is the fact that Karen Leary failed to fully educate herself on the fundamental aspects of Taiwanese culture and communication when seeking to develop the Taiwanese market by hiring a Taiwanese financial consultant. Culture, according to the text, is a set of beliefs and values about what is desirable and undesirable in a community of people, and a set of informal and formal practices to support the values. After interviewing Chung eight times, Leary noted that she still didn't feel like she knew the whole person, but wrote it off to the fact that he was Asian and she was not. As a manager it was her responsibility to be aware of the implications of the cross cultural differences and address them accordingly. It is apparent after reading the case that although Karen Leary was an effective manager that led her branch toward many impressive successes, she lacked cultural intelligence, which is the ability to interpret cross cultural situations accurately. It seems that Karen Leary failed to note that Ted is from a high context culture where primary meaning is derived from nonverbal situational cues, and she is from a low context culture where primary meaning is derived from written and spoken words. This dichotomy is one of the first things she should have considered when interacting and communicating with Ted. In Taiwanese culture, it is important to establish social trust first, value personal relations and goodwill, and make agreements by general trust. In contrast American culture generally dictates getting down to business first, values expertise and performance, and makes agreements by a specific, legalistic contract.

When Ted tells Karen that he thinks he should have his own private office, she is taken aback by his request and notes that although he seems to be headed towards a successful career with Merill Lynch, there were several elements of his performance that worried...
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