Upper Management Plan, Case Study Example

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Case Study

The purpose of this project management plan is to present explicit guidelines to the upper management team at Kiwi Enterprises on how to successfully establish and maintain communications between international team members. This project plan will also offer guidelines for each upper management team members with regards to his or her duties in the respective fields of communications, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and engineering. Kiwi Enterprises manufactures handheld computer tablets and distributes those tablets to at least 10 international destinations. In addition to the handheld tablets, Kiwi Enterprises also manufactures and distributes mobile smartphones.

Scope

The primary goal of Kiwi Enterprises is to deliver a high quality product to all its customers who represent various markets. However, such a task is only possible of all segments of the whole operate as a collective entity. That means that each top manager at each branch (local or international) should support the same goal, and should communicate that goal to its respective team members. It is therefore crucial that top executives at Kiwi Enterprises develop a communication plan to ensure that all members of the team work together for a collective purpose, i.e., developing, manufacturing, and distributing a quality product.

Step 1: Identify the roles of each top executive and assign specific tasks to each executive.

Step 2: Define specific tasks to be completed within a certain timeframe to ensure product delivery.

Step 3: Identify various communication barriers that may arise as the result of international branch locations. Set up effective means to communications to overcome time zone barriers.

Step 4: Address language issues between top executives.

Step 5: Address cultural differences between various executives in different countries.

Project Organization

All top executives will adhere to organizational structure strategies set forth by Kiwi Enterprises CEO Dan Black, who is located at the company headquarters in San Francisco, CA. Various individual responsibilities of other team members will follow in the subsequent sections of this plan.

Organizational Structure

The internal management team of Kiwi Enterprises is as follows:

  • San Francisco: Dan Black, CEO; John Doe, Senior Vice President Retail; and Bob Smith, Senior Vice President Internet Software and Services.
  • China: Ling Yung, Senior Vice President Kiwi Software Engineering; Sung Sing, Senior Vice President Kiwi Software.
  • India: Abdul Miftah, Senior Vice President Industrial Design; Ahmed Patel, Senior Vice President.
  • France: Renee LeRoux, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
  • Ireland: Brian Cox, Senior Vice President Hardware Engineering; Jake Campbell, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing.
  • Mexico: Luis Pinto, Senior Vice President and General Council.
  • Brazil: Juan Chico, Senior vice President Operations

This leadership team is responsible for the accurate, high-quality, and prompt delivery of all Kiwi Enterprises products. With the launch of the Kiwi DeLuxe tablet, which is to be released in the spring of 2013, it is essential that each top executive comply with company regulations to ensure scheduled release. Each top executive will address their individual teams and agencies to ensure a combined international effort to deliver the product on time. Because the top executive team is scattered across international borders, it is essential to set up effective communications between all team members.

Communication Plan

It is the goal of Dan Black to have two scheduled meeting each week until the release of the Kiwi DeLuxe to ensure efficient product development.

  TEAM (Country & Time Zone) ROLE NAME
(Contact Person)
PHONE MOBILE # EMAIL
           
           
           

Because each team member resides in different time zone, members will rotate graveyard shifts to ensure that all members communicate in real time during each meeting. For instance, during one meeting the San Francisco branch may have to sign in at 2 a.m. and the China team at 10 p.m.

Technical Process of Language Issues

Each team will have an interpreter to ensure that all language barriers are overcome during executive meetings. Each interpreter will be proficient in English and the language of the country in which they reside. For instance, the Mexico branch will have an interpreter who is both proficient in English and Spanish. This will ensure that all executives understand the communications between headquarters and their branch.

Addressing Cultural Differences

Geert Hofstede developed the Cultural Dimensions Theory as a framework to assess different cultures with regards to organizational culture (Girlando & Eduljee, 2010). According to Hofstede, individuals differ on six dimensions of values: collectivism v. individualism, power (inequality v. equality), masculinity v. femininity, uncertainty avoidance v. tolerance, indulgence v. restraint, and temporal orientation (p. 270). He also states that individual and collective values constant paradigms maintained over a period of time. Not all scholars agree with Hofstede’s ideas on the stability of national values and as a result three theoretical orientations have developed: convergence, divergence, and cross-vergence. Convergence refers to the idea that international cultures are moving toward a universal set of values. Hofstede is a proponent of this idea and argues that non-Western cultures are moving toward the value system of Western culture (Hofstede, 1980). Divergence refers to the idea that individual cultures remain stagnant in their beliefs over any given period of time. Cross-vergence refers to the idea that individual cultures will develop new cultural characteristics based on their interactions with other cultures (Girlando & Eduljee, 2010).

Based on Hofstede’s framework, one can deduce that Americans, who hail from a low Power Distance country, are more powerful than, say Chinese or Russian individuals, who hail from a high Power Distance country (Hofstede, 1980). As such, different types of leaderships are more effective in each respective country. Similarly, individuals in uncertainty-accepting countries are more innovative than individuals from uncertainty-avoiding countries. Furthermore, people’s motivations are affected by uncertainty avoidance and masculinity (Hofstede, 1980). China is characterized as a country with low individualism, high uncertainty avoidance, high Power Distance, and low masculinity; the U.S. holds opposite characteristics to that of China. Therefore, according to Hofstede’s framework, the Chinese tend to be less powerful individuals, less innovative, and less motivated. From a human resource perspective, Americans who deal with the Chinese have to be sensitive to their cultural values. Since they tend to be less innovative and motivated than Americans, it would be beneficial to suggest a compensation system that is merit based. Due to lack of individuality in China, most work-related bonuses are distributed evenly; however, suggesting a performance incentive may motivate individuals to become more innovative (Berger, 1996). Also, America places great emphasis on performance management and constructive discipline whereas the Chinese are typically fined as discipline system. Positive reinforcement would therefore be an effective means to handle HR issues when dealing with Chinese individuals. This would include effective feedback techniques to guide individuals, instead of severe discipline practices that affect the entire group of an organization’s employees (Berger, 1996).

Chinese organizations commonly have hierarchical, authoritative, and bureaucratic leadership structures that often alienate employees from the bigger picture or goal of their organization. While staying sensitive to this fact, Americans who deal with HR issues as they relate to Chinese individuals could suggest a more participative management approach that could potentially motivate employees to participate more wholeheartedly in their organization’s mission. These suggestions should be discussed with Chinese organizational leaders prior to discussing it with the individuals, in order to prevent potential confrontations. Participative management strategies are proven to ignite team concepts and promote employee involvement; however, current organizational leaders may be uncomfortable with relinquishing power (Berger, 1996).

References

Berger, N. O. (1996). Human Resource Issues in Russia: A case study. International Studies of Management and Organizations, 25(4), 9-24.

Girlando, A. P., & Eduljee, N. B. (2010). An Empirical Investigation of the Malleability of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions: The Case of the United States and Russia. Journal of Transnational Management, 15, 265–289.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

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