The Road to Hell: a Case Analysis

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Before leaving for his new job, John Baker, “an English expatriate and the chief engineer of the Caribbean Bauxite Company of Barracania in the West Indies”, conducted an interview with Matthew Rennalls – a Barracanian and who is also Baker’s assistant and successor. Through the interview, Baker tried to solve a complaint that he has received from Mr. Jackson – one of the European employees who reported that Rennalls had been rude toward him. However, the interview did not go well as Baker had expected. Rennalls resigned from his current position.

The primary cause of the problem, in my opinion, is that Rennalls had a deep rooted racial consciousness, which came directly from historical facts that West Indies was colonized by Europe ever since the first permanent European settlement made by the Spanish in 1496 (Williams, 1970). Rennalls’ racial consciousness has made him even more sensitive to “any sign of condescension on the part of expatriates” during his 4-year study at London University. His political involvements and family background indicated that Rennalls is sensitive to anything European expatriates said or done. The fact that Baker feels there is an “invisible, indefinable, but ever-present” barrier between himself and Rennalls indicated that Rennalls has never truly handled well the racial consciousness. Assuming that Baker was able convince Rennalls what he did to Mr. Jackson was wrong, he could never change who Rennalls was – a Barracanian. The similar incident did occur between Rennalls and Mr. Godson two years ago, and Baker failed to “break through” to Rennalls. In Rennalls’ resignation letter, he mentioned that his father “was as disgusted as he” about the matter. This was another sign which indicated that Rennalls’ racial consciousness had a deep root.

Besides the primary cause of the problem, Baker’s arrogance, poor people management and communication skills have added more fuel to the flaming fire. The problem got worse. Baker claimed...
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