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Business Case Studies on Personnel Issues
Issues arising from cultural clashes

Breaking taboos

One of our managers asked a person to interview for a position in which the employee being replaced was being terminated. In some cultures this is bad luck, but the manager didn't realize it.

Unclear communication

We were asked by a Japanese company to help them find specific workers for their positions. We asked if these workers needed to be bilingual Japanese/English and we were told "no" originally. Now two months later, they are saying they need bilingual workers. Not sure if I did not ask enough questions, or knew the culture enough to determine that maybe the workers needed to be bilingual.

Constructing a case study

To use a scenario as the basis for a case study, assign names to the characters and add information about the type of business. You could combine elements of various scenarios to present a more complex issue. Prepare questions for your students; here are some examples:
  • What would be the effect of the employee's actions on customers?
  • What would be the effect of the employee's actions on co-workers
  • How should the boss respond?
  • What could the boss have done differently?
  • What could the employee have done differently?
  • What do you think is the best outcome?
  • How does this case study affect your understanding of the workplace?