Sample Case Study On Analyzing The Fred Bailey Case
Human Resource Management is a broad topic that entails a lot. This means that a lot of importance must be attached to this. The case study in question (Fred Bailey: An Innocent Abroad) is a perfect example on how various forces may combine to have a major influence on production. This case study has been used in many fields to study concepts of human resource and business. To a large extent, the case covers these aspects as it gives the experience of an innocent person in a foreign land, the challenges that he faced and how he tackled these challenges. Through it, the learner is able to understand what needs to be done when in such conditions.
Cultural change is one of the factors that may lead to poor performance. In practice, when an individual is assigned a task in a culture that is different from the one he is used to, he may find it difficult to cope with the foreign culture. This is what happens in the case of Fred. Being an American manager, Fred gets a transfer to Japan. The culture in Japan is very different from that of America in various aspects. Socialization is one such major difference that cannot be ignored. Whereas in America Fed was used to a more egocentric life, this was very different from what the Japanese offered. The Japanese were more social, meaning that Fred had to cope in order to feel at home. The combination of the cultural and social change made his experience in Tokyo very frustrating to the extent that he and his wife consider quitting the job and returning to the United States of America. In a nutshell, the case study is a crucial source in analyzing and understanding international assignments that may require one to physically relocate to new areas.
The first human resource concept that the case addresses is the need for cross-cultural training. It s important that an organization gives an employee adequate time to learn the foreign culture where he is to be designated and what will be expected of them. Fred’s challenges basically stem from this failure from the part of the organization. In practice, the American culture is in direct conflict with the Japanese culture. Fred’s lack of exposure and inability to quickly adapt to a new culture meant he could not easily settle down to be productive. He has no idea about the Japanese culture and as such, he was not the right person to deal with a group of individuals that was dissimilar to his. To this extent, it is evident that he company’s human resource department had terribly failed. In such situations, the company ought to have given Fred pre-departure trainings on cross-cultural aspects to enable him understand what he should expect from the locals.
The suggested pre-departure training should have covered a number of issues. Language training is the basic one. It is sad that Kline & Associates ignored this training, taking into consideration the fact that the language of the host country positively influences expatriate adjustments. In most cases, such language is also essential in order to facilitate the employees’ cooperation. Without this, all the above attributes are lost, making it almost an impossible task trying to work in a new cultural region. Fred’s life in Japan evidently suggests the shortcomings he had because of missing on these trainings. His negotiation skills were pathetic when he tried to deal with businessmen in Japan. Had he undergone such a training, there is no doubt that he would have been in a better position to understand the needs and values of the customers. This could have turned to be beneficial to the company.
Apart from language, it is evident that Fred found it difficult to understand Japan’s cultural dimensions. In one way or the other, the cultural dimensions in Japan were very different from those in America. These dimensions included space, power, relationship, time orientation among many others. Evidently, Fred’s principle differed with the expectations of the Japanese. In the business world, this is a gross mistake that should be avoided at all costs lest it affects the company negatively. An employee must conform to the expectations and cultural aspects of the society, regardless of their origin.
Apart from the above arguments, there are several cases in which one gets to understand that Fred was unprepared to work in Japan. In essence, he should have carried out an investigation to understand various aspects about Japan. For instance, it would have been essential for him to understand the terrain of politics, technological, economic and cultural dispositions. Having such information is crucial as one is able to develop strategies through which to overcome any potential challenges that could come their way. In a new environment, a person is likely to give up if they do not cope with the challenges they are exposed to. This is similar to the situation Fred found himself in. Apart from this, the fact that he moved with his wife complicated the matters. Not only did Fred face the workplace challenges, the fact that he could not secure a job for his wife meant that the wife felt unproductive and wasted. All these problems were facilitated by the lack of training strategies from the company, hence affecting the operations.
Another aspect that arises in this case study as far as human resource and business are concerned is as regards to Fred’s move to accept the relocation. In his conscience, it is clear that he was not prepared to. It was wrong, therefore, for him to accept the offer to relocate, knowing that he was not prepared. The ideal move would be for him to postpone the relocation date to such a time that he would feel adequately prepared. This would have accorded him the opportunity to prepare, plan, learn and research more about the culture of the Japanese and how to go about business. To add to this, he would have had adequate time to learn more on the interpretation of the language and the general activities that he would expect in Japan. This way, he would have been in a better position to prepare and help his family and wife settle better in Japan. Because he failed to take such a step, Fred’s experience in Japan proved to be costly.
The case study is also a big example on why international companies and organizations need to take adequate measures to educate their staff before relocating them to new places. There is no doubt that this was Fred’s biggest career opportunity. As such, the expectations are that he would take it seriously. However, he goes against this and leaves the country without the slightest clue on what to expect in the foreign land. This made his stay in Japan difficult as he had to face various challenges, some of which proved to be too big for him. His failure or inability to communicate with Japanese clients and employees is the perfect example. Nevertheless, all was not lost for him as he could take certain measures to turn things around in his favor. It would have been advisable for him to take certain managerial and personal changes in order to recuperate his assignment.
The first move he should take is to respect the existing cultural differences in the office so that he could build a conducive atmosphere for working, one that would promote diversity in terms of culture. As compared to the Americans, the Japanese are relationship-oriented. To be in a better position to handle the challenges that presented themselves to the organization, Fred should have moved to break the protocol and the management style (hierarchical) to la more emphasis on relationship building. It would be wrong for him to expect the Japanese to behave in a similar manner the Americans behaved.
As learnt through the case study, human resource managers should implement proper and efficient mechanisms to ensure that their businesses and organizations succeed. It would be very wrong to think of succeeding in a foreign culture without investing to learn more on it. Language barriers and socialization differences are the perfect examples of why such ventures will fail. The case of Fred’s innocence in a foreign culture should guide the managers on what to do before expanding their organizations to foreign cultures.
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