My greatest failure : A case study in leadership Essay

As there are many cultural differences in the world, working all together can sometime be problematic. Through a medical approach, we have discovered some symptoms that illustrate this fact in the case we are meant to study : The french workers were reluctant to work with a German manager : “The french were not particularly in favor of Bernard’s appointment (they would have preferred a french man)” p. 74 Three resignation in eight months under Mr. Bernard’s supervision.

“Three employees have resigned from the company during this period” p. 74 A letter to Mr. Warner, the President General Director, from Mr. Maillot, a respected co- worker of Mr. Bernard, the Production Director, in which he criticizes Mr. Bernard. “Bernard was called into Warner’s office and handed a letter by the PGD” p. 75 As causes of symptoms, we have identified some problems that we are going to analyze : Confirmation Bias is a form of thinking error based on the tendency to seek out information which supports our believes and ignore contradictory information : Bernard had developed firm ideas about how to manage since he has a PhD in business studies.

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He had closely studied the leadership styles, and therefore collected a lot of information about leading, and was determined to introduce them to the company. Also, senior management at Media AG gave him support for his ideas so Bernard felt even more confident about his way of dealing with management. Finally, Bernard didn’t feel concerned about the resignations and was satisfied about how things were going, ignoring that this wasn’t the case according to employees.

The perception is the way somebody experiences, processes and defines the outside world. We can observe a selective perception among the company, meaning that the employees have the tendency to hear or see only what interests them and disregard other information. The positive characteristics of Mr. Abel resulted in an overall positive opinion about him, this is called the Halo Effect, while Mr. Bernard is perceived as the contrary of Mr. Abel and so his positive points are ignored, the overall opinion about him is quite negative.

Escalation of commitment consists of sticking to an ineffective course of action when it is unlikely that the negative situation can be reserved : Bernard has committed a lot of time and efforts in his studies and so is reluctant to believe what he has learned can fail him. In addition, he has an egotistical behavior in making decisions : he is too self-involved since it’s his first experience in the managing sector. Differences in high and low context communication cultures according to Edward T. Hall :

The french in authority tend to be personally responsible for the actions of subordinates and therefor creates a greater amount of personal loyalty between superiors and subordinates. This explains how the french company felt towards their older boss Mr. Abel. On the other hand, the german in authority is impersonal and diffused through the bureautic system of administration meaning that Bernard doesn’t involve himself in his work and relationship with subordinates as much as Mr. Abel did. Superior-Subordinate relationship differences between high and low power distance cultures :

The german culture is part of low power distance cultures in which there is a limited dependance of subordinates on bosses and they prefer consultations, while the french culture is part of high power distance cultures in which there is a considerable dependance of subordinates on bosses. The employees used to depend on Mr. Abel while under Mr. Bernard’s supervision, there is a very limited dependance. Difference in leadership styles, or the difference in the degree of participation that a manager allows in decision making : Mr. Abel was more a autocratic leader : he would make a decision and announce to subordinates. He was typically the french “patron” with a paternalistic behavior.

Therefore, Mr. Bernard was more a free-rein leader : he would allow subordinates to make decisions and had no relationship with the subordinates. Differences in personality types in business (according to Leigh) : Mr. Bernard seems to have a hard-changer personality in the fact that he believes in tradition, following rules and sees a prescribed way of doing things. This probably comes from his studies. On the other hand, Mr. Abel seemed to have a power-breaker personality in the fact that he was resourceful (thanks to his experience from the bottom of the company to the top without studying anything), innovating and very good at motivating others.

Dual factor theory from Frederick Herzberg : some hygiene factors, such as supervision and interpersonal relations, are missing and lead to job dissatisfaction under Mr. Bernard’s leadership. Supposedly, one of the motivators that lead to job satisfaction is responsibility. In this case, the subordinates don’t like having responsibilities, for example Mr. Jean Fleur has resigned because of the responsibilities he was given. Now, we need to develop alternative solutions to the case : The first alternative would be doing nothing. The issues among the company would remain the same and might even get worse in the future as the employees might resign under Mr. Bernard’s supervision. A smarter alternative would be that Mr. Bernard adapt to the french way of managing : he would then more be able to reach the employees. Maybe he could have had a better training before entering the company and so know what he was getting into, maybe even receive advice from Mr. Abel.

Another alternative would be hiring a french manager : he would then more correspond to the employees expectations as they were supervised by a french manager in the past. A french manager would have more been able to lead a french crew in a more efficient way since they share the same culture and expectations from management. The employees could also adapt themselves to a new manager, especially if more responsibilities are involved. Their job tasks remained the same, the only difference was that the boss didn’t interact with its personnel the same way and that he would leave some decisions to the workers.

We are now going to evaluate the alternatives : Doing Nothing Pros : | Cons : | – The connexion between France and Germany is greater. – No change in Mr. Bernard’s personality and way of leading, he would be faithful to himself and to what he had learned. – At some point, the employees would have no choice but to accept Mr. Bernard’s way of leading and will adapt. | – The employees will be frustrated : their request (letter) was not taken into consideration. – The employees will not feel concerned about their work since they don’t feel motivated by their new boss, Mr. Bernard. The relationship between the boss and his employees will even more decrease as there is no communication.

Adopt a french way of managing Pros : | Cons : | – Mr. Bernard would more be able to communicate with his co-workers and reach to them. – The employees would be encouraged to also adapt themselves to Mr. Bernard since efforts are felt from supervision, there would then be a more reinforced relationship between boss and subordinates. – Mr. Bernard would experience a new challenge in his career and being able to adapt can only enrich his managing skills. | – Mr. Bernard can encounter some difficulties to adapt himself to the french community and therefor feel destabilized. – It might take a long time for Mr. Bernard to result in the french expected way of managing, so a lot of time would be lost. – It is possible that a german manager adapting to a french way of managing is perceived negatively from initially french workers.

Hiring a french manager Pros : | Cons : | – The same cultures work better together as they have the same principles and values. – There would be a better relationship between the boss and the subordinates so a better working atmosphere. The boss would direct the company like an autocratic leader and then make the employees feel safe in their work | – No connexion between France and Germany like the supervisors wanted. – No diversity in cultures and way of working, that can’t results in personal enrichment. – It is not because the new manager is french that he will obviously be competent at his work. There are way more factors to include. | Employees adaptation Pros : | Cons : | – There would be a better working harmony, a better comprehension of the what is expected from them. – Mr. Bernard would feel the efforts and so would compromise as well.

This would strengthen the relationship between subordinates and boss. – Adaptation is a sign of personal involvement and can only be enriching. | – They used to work well together and having to change the way they used to do can bring some issues, destabilize them. – They might feel like they don’t need to adapt because they are in their home culture and so this is something they expect from Mr. Bernard. – Mr Bernard might just don’t get how to manage a french team and if the employees adapt, he might not call himself into question. | Finally, the alternative that we find the best is Mr. Bernard adapting to the french way of managing.

As the senior management Media AG from Germany wanted, having a german manager in their french branch maintains and reinforces the connexion between Germany and France. All the more, Mr. Bernard has studied hard to become a manager. Having to manage in a different cultural system can only be enriching if he takes the time and makes the efforts to understand and adapt to the way the french people work efficiently. Even for the french employees, having a german manager that works himself to be suitable for his job in their community might emphasize respect and motivation to work together. Adaptation is the key to success.