Going Global: What Does it Take to Make Cross-cultural Teams Successful?
PetGourmand, a second generation, family-owned Memphis-based company with about 200 employees, develops, manufactures, and sells nutritious, gourmet food products for pets. PetGourmand is a low-tech, hands-on, bricks and mortar company with solid brand recognition, an impeccable reputation for high quality and ethical standards and processes, older work force (average employee age is late 40s), low staff turnover, impressive record of speedy state and federal new-product approvals, and solid working relationships with their veterinary and pet-owner customers. For the most part the company plays up the PetGourmand as a close "family," although the organization's structure is hierarchical with fairly rigid management divisions and reporting policies. Research, manufacturing, and sales and marketing operate in traditional fashion, with employees reporting to supervisors or mid-level managers. By the 1990s, sales and distribution grew from Tennessee into a regional market, establishing a competitive advantage throughout the US South. Then came the Great Recession. As customers lost jobs, and small business profits, such as veterinary practices dipped, the demand of "fancy cat food," as one PetGourmand lab technician said, seemed to disappear overnight. By the time Bon Vivant Specialities contacted PetGourmand's CEO about acquiring PetGourmand, the writing was on the wall.
Bon Vivant Specialities (BVS) is a large Chinese-owned manufacturer and distributor of gourmet food and beverages, headquartered in Hong Kong. Manufacturing plants operate in main land China, and the company has additional offices in Europe and Australia. By acquiring the smaller, well-respected PetGourmand, BVS aims to diversify and expand its consumer base by including products tailor-made to meet market projections of a customer upsurge in healthy, gourmet pet foods and treats. Given the availability of telecommunications technology (software and hardware), and BVS's current expertise and use of such technology, geography and location should not be an insurmountable issue. PetGourmand employees, on the other hand, are dispirited about the acquisition, and anxious about "working for foreigners," downsizing, less face-to-face interaction, language differences, and more electronic systems put into place. To make matters worse, recent news media have printed stories about tainted pet food made by other companies in China. Employees fear loss of product quality and damage to PetGourmand's reputation.
BVS has told PetGourmand workers that—for now—most employees will be retained. However, all employees will be evaluated, and reassigned and integrated into BVS's existing, and to-be-formed-as-needed, work teams, a key component of BVS's flat, smoothly efficient organizational structure. BVS's management staff, scientists, and sales professionals tend to be tech-savvy, culturally diverse, young-to-middle age (ages 25 to mid-forties), bi-lingual, ambitious, self-directed, accustomed to working remotely, and clearly focused on the company’s commercial success. BVS’s Harvard-educated CEO, Daniel Chinn, supports increasing the company's competitive edge by "discovering and developing individual potential through group collaboration and team synergy," and is known to be an enthusiastic supporter of job training and career growth beginning from his days as a brilliant, hard-driving MBA student. He's eager to move forward on the integration of "PetGourmand's greatest asset—it's knowledge rich, experienced workers."
Introduction to Assignment Content
Case Study 2: Going Global: What Does it Take to Make Cross-cultural Teams Successful? will serve as the central organizing influence of your Portfolio. The case describes issues, problems, and challenges related to developing high-performing cross-cultural teams in an organization integrating new employees after an acquisition. The Portfolio’s overarching goal is to convince the client to hire you as an organizational change consultant. Portions of the Portfolio will reflect your actual work, management, and learning experience, when it exists. Other portions will represent reasoned, logical postulations where research and investigation of OB practitioner knowledge, skills, abilities, publications and other resources, and OB training, education, development, networks, and professional associations are used to flesh out what you determine will be a convincing proposal (presented as a Portfolio).
This project is designed around the following hypothetical situation:
You recently launched an organizational behavior consulting practice, specializing in cross-cultural group and team dynamics and problems. Having done an environmental scan, you know the competition for clients in your niche is stiff. Since the 2008 Recession a number of top-notch OB professionals have established consulting services targeting organizations challenged by cultural diversity, virtual work environments, communication technology, and issues related to restructuring traditional organizations into flatter systems with team-centered processes. One such company is Bon Vivant Specialties (BVS), run by Daniel Chinn, a CEO you met at an international education and development program for high-potential mid-level professionals called Managing Today, Leading Tomorrow. Case Study 2, Going Global: What Does it Take to Make Cross-cultural Teams Successful?, represents what you know from Chinn, professional networking, and business and management news and other media. Chinn has widely expressed his interest in hiring an OB practitioner to identify, document, analyze and assess behavioral issues and problems, and recommend intervention strategies, methods, and tools to successfully restructure the company, enhance team performance and effectiveness, and hence organizational performance. Your strategy to convince Chinn that you are the OB consultant for the job must be innovative, original, and fresh to distinguish your contributions from your competitors. To that end you will create a Portfolio of varied, meaningful, germane components customized to enable BVS to reach its cross-cultural team restructuring and organization performance goals.
Read and follow all the Instructions below carefully.
1) Review the Assignment 2 Portfolio Grading Rubric, and the assignment purpose, course objective, and introduction above.
2) Read the case, Going Global: What Does it Take to Make Cross-cultural Teams Successful? Your analysis and assessment must evidence understanding of the case's specific characters, context, incidents and circumstances. Avoid generalizations that might apply to similar cases available on the Internet or in previous courses.
3) Choose a name for your consulting practice, and briefly describe the service you provide.
4) List and describe at least three OB-relevant knowledge, skills, abilities and learning experiences. This Portfolio component is a mixture of a functionally (as opposed to chronologically) organized resume that highlights work or job actions by category, such as Team Leadership or Team Project Management, and more progressive approaches to professional promotion such as online networking provided by LinkIn.com. When identifying elements to be described, begin by asking what did I do (i.e., what actions did I take?—describe with verbs such as worked, created, prepared, implemented, conducted, produced) and what happened as a result of my experience and learning (i.e., how could I apply my learning and experience as a consultant for BVS?—explain with verbs such as will use, apply, implement, change, enable, empower).
5) Identify, analyze and prepare to discuss at least three problems and/or issues related to the successful formation, development and operation of cross-cultural teams in the case context
6) Propose and evaluate at least three recommendations, including OB strategies or interventions, that the organization could use to solve problems, address issues, and hence enhance cross-cultural team performance and effectiveness and based on key findings and ideas to maximize ongoing improvements to organizational performance and success. Include self-assessment team tools, training exercises, team development methods, or other similar resources.
7) Draw data, information, and ideas from at least four required resources (at least two from each of Weeks 4 and 5) listed in the Course Schedule, plus at least four credible, authoritative, relevant outside sources for a total of at least eight references. Your outside references should show a mix of credible OB consultant websites, professional networks and associations (for example, Organizational Behavior Management Network, Society for Human Resource Management, Society for Organizational Behavior), scholarly and applied/practical sources, largely drawn from UMUC’s Information Library System (ILS), and including classic writings. Review APA citation materials and Tips on Research Sources in Course Content. Cite research sources within Part 2’s content using APA in-text formatting. Include a Reference list with complete source information at the end of the paper. See specific formatting and heading template instructions below in Instruction 9. Alphabetize references under each subheading. Please note my preference for including publication date and page numbers, when available, within in-text citations. You are expected to paraphrase, using quotes only when the source’s verbatim statements uniquely enhance meaning and understanding.
8) Identify and present in bold font at least six different OB concepts, theories, methods, strategies, interventions, or practices in your group level analysis. Demonstrate through context and/or endnotes your understanding of the terms’ definition and meaningfulness to the meet the assignment's purpose and course objectives.
9) Use the headings and subheadings provided below to organize Part 1 of your Portfolio. This written Portfolio portion will adhere to headings and subheadings labeling analysis and recommendations presented in standard expository form. Bulleted text can be used, as appropriate, however OB group-level analysis, synthesis, and assessment must be presented in composition format under each heading. The objective is to create a comprehensive OB analysis based on research data and information on which your presentation will be based and to which you as the consultant/presenter could refer for additional information as needed. Feel free to create additional subheadings or modify headings as needed to create an effective framework for your group-level analysis, synthesis, and assessment. Use examples and cite support sources as presented in Step 7.
- I. Cover page (Your name, course title, assignment, date, and instructor’s name)
- II. Consulting practice name and services provided
III. OB-relevant knowledge, skills, abilities and work experiences (use annotated bullet format)
IV. Problems and/or issues
Problem and/or issue 1
Problem and/or issue 2
Problem and/or issue 3
- V. Recommendations—OB strategies or interventions, tools, and resources
10) Use Microsoft Word for your text document, Part 1 of your Portfolio. Try to be concise and keep this written Portfolio portion to three to four pages in length (plus cover page), but substance is more important than length. Again, APA reference format is required. Use the following file title: your last name_Assignment 2 Part 1_464_date.
11) For Part 2, create a presentation using Prezi or video (e.g., YouTube) or website application (e.g., wix.com), or other innovative graphic application, to illustrate synthesized, key information and resources delineated and synthesized in Part 1. Use the following file title: your last name_Assignment 2 Part 2_464_date.