Tjosvold (2017) state that cross-cultural management entails the supervision of teams of the workforce in ways that put into consideration the cultural, practices and preference differences of the consumers in a worldwide business context. Businesses have to learn and develop strategies to compete on a level ground that is not restricted by physical geography or any other condition (Tjosvold, 2017). Therefore, the governing body or the leadership style play a critical role in achieving proper cross-cultural management. Different leadership theories seek to explain as to why and how certain individuals become great leaders. These theories usually emphasize the leaders' characteristics', but some attempt identifying certain behaviors that people adopt which help them in improving their abilities to be great leaders in different situations.
In the case study of Brett Jones in Tanzania, Hydro Generation (HG) Company vice president is torn on the decision of whether to let Brett Jones return to Tanzania for the operation stage of the major dam project since he had done an exemplary work on the preliminary and construction works of the project in a time and within the budget. However, the vice president was worried and concerned on the means Brett Jones was using to achieve his ends.
Nevertheless, Brett Jones is the best candidate to be given the task. He is given a threefold task where he is tasked to gaining local support for the project by working with both the Tanzanian authorities in the capital, Dar es Salaam and the villagers in the vicinity of the construction site. Secondly, setting up an office and hiring office personnel to take charge of local purchasing (including lower level hiring), clearing incoming goods through customs, securing immigration permissions for foreigners attached to the project, overseeing the logistics of getting materials from the airport in Dar es Salaam to the dam site and keeping inventory and accounting records and finally helping foreign personnel (mainly engineers) get settled and feel comfortable living and working in Tanzania.
According to Tjosvold (2017) about contingency theories, Jones leadership style was all about focusing on the environmental variables. No particular leadership style was best in all situations for Jones. Jones was able to assess the needs of his followers, taking stock of the situation, and adjusting according to the situation at hand. With regards to situational theories, Jones was choosing the best course of action based upon the situational variable. Jones leadership style enabled him to get support from the locals as this was one of his tasks. As a cross-cultural manager, Jones was able to get the support for the project by working together with the locals within the construction site surrounding and the Tanzanian authorities. Moreover, Jones had mastered the art in Tanzania and was able to do everything in time ranging from clearing incoming goods, securing immigration permissions for the foreigners attached to the project, and overseeing the logistic materials from the airport in Dar es Salaam to the dam site.
However, the leadership style in Tanzania that Jones Brett was using has its disadvantages. First of all, the leadership of Jones in Tanzania was more focused on the exact need, at every particular moment without considering the effect of the approach taken on the future. Again, the situational leadership skill which Jones was using in Tanzania was an approach that facilitated the quick occurrence of events. However, the kind of leadership conflicted with the company's policies and this created confusion to the top management which even considered sending a group of engineers and managers to Tanzania since the vice president of HG Company was not comfortable on how Jones was handling his duties.
Jones act of offering bribes, so that phone installation, goods deliverance, clearance at the port among other activities is against the company's virtue. A possible solution could be the company understand the different types of corruption that Jones was indulging in and then develop smart responses, not to forget that Jones is still an asset to the company. Another recommendation would be cutting the red tape. The topmost company leadership should bring together formal and informal processes at the point of tendering. This means that at the point of being awarded a tender, the company should set the rules of working with both the government and non-governmental groups during the construction works to avoid delays during the process (Thomas & Peterson, 2017).
With the completion of the assigned task, I was able to gain from various new things from my group which I was tasked to working with. Further, I was able to refresh my memory on certain things concerning things about leadership that I did not know about and others I already knew, just required a reminder about.
The biggest hurdle I had with the assignment was time management, particularly procrastination. This has been a great challenge and a situation that I do not have a full solution to at the moment. Although I think I may not get over procrastination any time soon, I strongly believe that I can manage it since I've done so severally.
However, with the hurdles, I came to realize my hidden strengths. I have never thought of myself to be a good leader, but since our in-group, we used group thinking on several occasions, I realized that I was a great leader with good leadership skills. I contribute my ideas during group discussion while balancing other group member's ideas to enable the group to come up with an agreed upon decision. Ideally, this is of great benefit to me irrespective of the career I choose afterward, because of situational control and still being diplomatic with fellow members which are a valuable asset to have.
Working with my group for this class was probably fun for this podcast. I enjoy putting across my ideas when in a group of individuals of the same aim than in any other medium. Therefore, it was fun to share my ideas and thoughts with my group members. It was amazing as I got to learn a few things from my fellow members as well.
As for the highlights and insights. Honestly, the discussion about the script did give me only new revelation on what I did not get when reading alone. I got to learn the Hofstede's theory of cross-cultural management. I got to learn that it is a framework for the cross-cultural communication which was developed by one Geert Hofstede (Vasile & Nicolescu, 2016). The theory gives the description of the effects of the culture of the society on the values of its people and the way the values relate to their behaviors using the structure that is derived from the factor analysis (Vasile & Nicolescu, 2016).
However, I tend to be rigid with my thought. Therefore, it was difficult to persuade my mind to have a different thought other than what I had already in mind. I was already informed of the reading and the leadership styles that were portrayed in the reading. So most of the issues that we were discussing in groups were only an in-depth study and discussion of things I already had in mind. Nevertheless, it helped me refresh the hat I already know and also have different perspectives from my fellow group members.
I did enjoy the company of my group members. It had wonderful people with open minds. Every member had maximum respect towards the ideas and contribution of the members. Even though there was nothing new to discuss that I did not already know, I got to strengthen my discussing and listening skills. Further, I developed new relationships skills which enabled me to interact with new members in my group. Concerning what I would delve in future, honestly, I have not thought about it. I would wish to get to know how to relate well with people. I would also love more creative learning situations to be integrated apart from the group discussion.
Aside from everything else, everything went well in the group. All the group members took part in the discussion. All the group members must have learned the art of participation and therefore were not forced to make their contribution. There was no interruption, and everyone patiently waited for their turn to contribute. Moreover, everyone was willing to take the initiative. No specific person was mandated to start the discussion. For any contribution made, it was sensible and relevant to the topic of discussion. The members were cautious whatever they spoke out and not just for the sake of giving out points. This showed that the group was well prepared for the task, and everyone had researched before meeting up for the discussion. Nobody was rigid in the discussion, and we believed and was well aware that each person was well learned and informed like any other person. This made the group work efficiently without looking down upon other members. Additionally, throughout the group discussion, the members were fully alert and active.
In conclusion, as depicted in the case study in Tanzania, the workforce in the modern world requires cross-cultural management in a set-up where there are a different worker from different cultures to fulfill the overall aim of the organization. Just like Jones management style, getting support and perseverance of cross-cultural management, solving global problems becomes easy than expected as long as good and proper cross-cultural management is put in place.
Thomas, D. C., & Peterson, M. F. (2017). Cross-cultural management: Essential concepts. Sage Publications.Tjosvold, D. (2017). Cross-cultural management: foundations and future. Routledge.
Vasile, A. C., & Nicolescu, L. (2016). Hofstede's cultural dimensions and management in corporations. Cross-Cultural Management Journal, 18(1), 35-46.
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