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Culture & Environment - impact on institutions and managers

Cultural norms play a large part in the mechanics and interpersonal relationships at work. When you grow up in a culture you take your norms of behavior for granted. You don't have to think about your reactions, preferences, and feelings. When you step into a foreign culture, suddenly things seem different. You don't know what to do or say.

After reading the attached (fictional) case of an American expatriate manager working in a South Korean firm, analyze the situation by addressing the following:
1. Define the problem: What went wrong during Ms. Myers tenure from your point of view?
2. Analyze the cause: How can you explain the problem Ms. Myers is encountering using Hofstede's 5 dimensions of culture by comparing Korean and American culture?
3. Propose a solution: Make a recommendation of 3 specific changes Ms. Myers could have made to her management style to accommodate the Korean environment.

Required Reading
Green, S. (2011). The would-be pioneer. Harvard Business Review. 89(4), 124-126. Attached


Solution Preview

From reviewing Green's fictional case study, (Green, 2011), the author acknowledges some good points for consideration when one has to determine how much a culture and environment will affect institutions and their management. In this review, Green explores the challenges faced by Ms. Linda Myers when she accepted a job as a VP in a Seoul, South Korea with SK Telecom.

Ms. Myers had what seemed to be all of the right credentials on paper that would make her the ideal candidate for a foreign assignment, except one, she was female. Although she realized initially that the agency contacting her for the assignment referred to her as "Mr.", she pressed on and assumed it was a simple mistake, however, her experience would be reflective of this later as she reflects on her choice to accept the assignment and some of the things that went wrong (Green, 2011).

When analyzing this case in depth and reviewing the entire tenure of Ms. Myers time with SK Telecom in Seoul, there are some important issues that surface which caused this job scenario to go terribly wrong for Ms. Myers. First, based on her experience in traveling overseas and her career experience based in recruiting and training ex pats on how to handle overseas assignments, Ms. Myers incorrectly assumed that she had all the necessary attributes required to take on any country and its cultural challenges. This was not accurate.

One of the first clues that there were going to be issues in South Korea that Ms. Myers should have realized occurred long before her accepting the job in South Korea and she choose to ignore it. That clue being the preliminary assumption by the agency sent to recruit a VP that she was male, not female, as mentioned earlier. The second red flag that should have been raised by Ms. Myers occurred when she contacted the Society of Human Resources and asked them to put her into contact with a female executive who had worked in South Korea to help her prepare for her assignment. The return response from the Society was that "no one fit that criteria", in other words, she was about to become a trailblazer (Green, 2011).

Ms. Myers personality was one of succeeding not shying away from hard challenges; therefore, she let her enthusiasm and her confidence in her ability to adapt and overcome overshadow these forewarnings that she should have noticed before accepting the assignment. It was ultimately ignoring these early signs of trouble that later would lead to her shock at what she was going to encounter once she arrived in country and began trying to adapt and start working productively.

Green's case study points clearly to the fact that the South Korean culture is very different than the U.S. or many other less formal countries as compared to what Ms. Myers was accustomed to. She was facing a male dominated society that held ones age, title, and status in the highest of regards, especially among men. This realization quickly put Ms. Myers in a difficult situation early into her assignment. Although the warning signs were there, she had ignored them and failed to adequately research and learn what would be the expectations ...

Solution Summary

This solution focuses on the "Would be Pioneer" case study involving a female Executive "Ms. Myers" and her assignment in South Korea. Specifically, this solution goes in depth with over 2,000 words of text and offers multiple APA references to help the reader comprehend the problem, the root causes, and proposes significant solutions for the issues found.