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CRITICAL INCIDENTS

1. Wayne Calder, a recent Harvard MBA graduate and one of his organization’s most innovative planners, was assigned to the Paris office for a two-year period. Wayne was particularly excited about the transfer because he could now draw on the French he had taken while in school. Knowing that his proficiency in the French language would be an excellent entrée into the French society, Wayne was looking forward to getting to know his French colleagues on a personal level. During the first week in Paris, an opportunity to socialize presented itself. While waiting for a planning meeting with top executives to begin, Wayne introduced himself to Monsieur LeBec. They shook hands and exchanged some pleasantries, and then Wayne told LeBec how excited his family was to be in France. Wayne then asked LeBec if he had any children. LeBec replied that he had two daughters and a son. But when Wayne asked other questions about
LeBec’s family, his French colleague became quite distant and uncommunicative.
Wayne wondered what he had done wrong.
• Using the proverbs and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, what are some possible explanations for LeBec reactions?
• What do you think Wayne should do? Give a rationale for why your suggestions would have a better chance for success.

2. Tom Bancroft, the top salesman of his Midwestern U.S. area, was asked to head up a presentation of his office equipment firm to a Romanian company. He had set up an appointment for the day he arrived and even began explaining some of his objectives to the marketing representative sent to meet his plan. It seemed that the representative was always changing the subject and persisted in asking lots of personal questions about Tom, his family and interests. Tom was later informed that the meeting had been arranged for several days later, and his hosts hoped that he would be able to relax a little first and recover from his journey, perhaps see some sights and enjoy their hospitality. Tom

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