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International Business (Essay Sample)

Case study: Soul-Searching in Seoul: One U.S. Expatriate’s Cautionary Tale Write 6-7 pages in APA format with scholarly references. 1. What is your assessment of the situation that Linda Myers found herself in? Who is responsible for her difficulties as an expatriate? 2. Does it surprise you that Myers encountered so much trouble in Korea, particularly given her prior experiences and positions? Why did she struggle to respond more effectively? What is the implication of all of this? 3. If you had been advising Myers, would you recommend that she take the SK Telecom job in the first place? Why or why not? 4. Were there additional steps that Myers could have taken to better prepare for her role at SK Telecom (both before she accepted the job as well as after)? 5. How might cultural beliefs regarding the basis for compensation affect an approach to rewarding expatriates and host-country/third-country nationals in the same firm? source..
Case Study Analysis ((Author's name) (Institution Affiliation) (Course) (Instructor) (Due Date) Question one Linda Myer was ill-prepared for her overseas engagement at SK Telecom. First, her SK Telecom recruiter had assumed that she was a man. This shows that the company had not intended to hire a foreign female executive (Carmichael, 2014). Secondly, Myer previously worked as an expatriate consultant helping westerners transition successfully in their oversea engagement. Due to her previous work experience, Myer assumed she was fully prepared to take on an overseas assignment herself. Thus, she overlooked some of the challenges she was likely to encounter as a female executive in an Asian company. This was one of her main undoing, leading to her bad work experience at SK Telecom (Carmichael, 2014). Myers had assumed that the underlying problem in all oversea assignment was uniform. She failed to realize that all overseas engagements were not the same, and each had its unique set of problems. For instance, although Singapore and South Korea are Asian countries with the same cultural tradition, their business environment is different. Singapore is more diverse than South Korea, which, Myer describes, had fewer foreigners than Singapore (Carmichael, 2014). Therefore, Myer's failure to acquaint herself with the South Korean business and cultural environment was her main undoing. SK Telecom was partly to blame for her difficulties as an expatriate. First, the company failed to offer her an official orientation; instead, she was forced to try to understand the company's inner workings by herself. Additionally, her bosses at SK Telecom were not quite accommodating and failed to help her adapt to the new environment. As earlier noted, her recruiter had assumed that she was a man, and thus, the company was likely not expecting a female expatriate. This could explain the failure of her bosses to offer her any support. Unlike the west, Asians have a traditional view of gender roles. Women are still viewed as homemakers and thus underrepresented in executive jobs in Asian businesses. Therefore, the gender bias at SK Telecom was manifested by Myer's hostile reception from her bosses and co-workers. Question two It does not surprise me that Myer struggled in South Korea, her previous work experience notwithstanding (Carmichael, 2014). Each country has a unique business environment; thus, the fact that Myer had not worked in South Korea before explains her troubles with the new overseas engagement. In addition, Myer had assumed that her work experience was enough to help her in her new engagement. This would explain why she put little effort in her preparations. In addition, Myer was not well-versed in South Korean cultural values, language, and the modus operandi of SK Telecom. As noted in the excerpt, Myer made some effort to learn about the South Korean business culture. However, her preparations were superficial (Carmichael, 2014). She also failed to recognize that her cultural values were incompatible with South Koreans’. Unlike westerners, Asians are more conservative and are less likely to embrace progressive views since some contradict their cultural values (De Mente, 2014). Myer struggled to respond more effectively due to the cultural conflict. First, unlike Westerners that prefer direct communication, South Koreans prefer indirect communication (Carmichael, 2014). Myer struggled to communicate with her co-workers since even her polite inquiries were perceived as criticism. Asians mostly offer indirect responses since they are preoccupied with sounding polite or saving face (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2012). Direct responses are usually perceived negatively, which could hurt any effort to build a good working relationship with them. Additionally, the fact that she could not speak Korean aggravated the situation. Consequently, she was forced to rely on interpreters. The English-speaking Koreans were also not helpful since they viewed her direct communication as criticism. The implication of lack of communication would be failed working relationship and an unconducive work environment. Since Myer could not communicate effectively with her subordinates, she could not effect any changes despite her numerous efforts. In addition, even after being promoted to an executive role, she felt excluded from important conversations by her bosses. Question three If I were advising her, I would still recommend that she take the SK Telecom job. The job offered her important insights that would be crucial to her expatriate consultancy. From her experience at SK Telecom, she realized the importance of cultural sensitivity (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2012: Carmichael, 2014). Additionally, she also realized that each country had a unique business environment, and by appreciating these differences, expatriates can easily transition to their overseas assignment. SK Telecom was an important learning opportunity for Myer since, despite her extensive experience as an expatriate consultant, there is a lot that she was not well versed with. In addition, she abandoned the assumptions and misconceptions she held after her experience in SK Telecom (Carmichael, 2014). In fact, through her recent experience, she will be better prepared for any future overseas engagement. Question four There are certain steps Myer could have taken to better prepare for her role at SK Telecom. First, she should have attempted to learn more about the possible obstacles she was likely to face and recognize her limits (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2012; Mahajan, 2011). Before Myer took up the job, she was unaware that she would be a trailblazer, given that no other Western women had held an executive job in a Korean firm (Carmichael, 2014). She realized this when it was too late for her, and thus, this explains why she struggled to adapt to her new role. If there were other women trailblazers, she could have learned a lot from them and perhaps readily recognized the existing biases at the Korean firm (De Mente, 2014). Myer was not even officially oriented about her new work environment when she joined SK Telecom. Her bosses were also not receptive and failed to help her cope. As earlier noted, the hostile reception she received could probably be due to gender biases in a highly conservative society with a traditional view of women (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2012; Mahajan, 2011). Unlike in the West, fewer women hold executive positions in Korean companies (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2012). Myer was not aware of these gender biases common in most Asian companies, and this came as a surprise to her. Her previous experience that involved preparing clients for oversea engagement in countries such as China had little impact on her situation in South Korea. According to Myer, her preparation for the new assignment was largely superficial and only covered about 20% of what she was expected to know (Carmichael, 2014). Consequently, this made her on-ground learning much harder than she had presumed. Secondly, before and after taking the role, Myer should have tried to understand her job mandate. Myer took the job assuming that her bosses wanted her to overhaul the organization's culture. She even tried to introduce her progressive views that were not well received since they conflicted with the cultural values of the Koreans (De Mente, 2014). Case in point, her attempt to make the workplace more informal by asking her subordinates to refer her by her first name, backfired...
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