Charles Martin in Uganda - Case Study Example

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The author of this case study "Charles Martin in Uganda" points out that the delicate business situation which the Vice-President of Hydro Generation is facing. One of his best liaison officers, Martin has been found to have employed questionable practices in the commissioning of the Ugandan project…
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Download file to see previous pages We analyze the case and recommend that Green should retain Martin because of his knowledge of the local business conditions. He has developed a good network with key people in the Government. Besides he would be able to induct any new entrants who may be deputed by HG into the Ugandan project. However, we need to issue a cautionary note to Martin. He should be immediately asked to refrain from all unethical practices and he needs to report any unfair demands directly to Green so that the issues can be tackled with due regard to the cultural sensitivity. Additionally, Martin needs to develop the role of a functional manager who can cross-fertilize ideas and transplant best practices from the host nation to the local country. Introduction The case discusses the cultural issues that Hydro Generation (HG) has faced in Uganda and the decision point faced by the vice-president Green. Martin as the liaison officer for HG has proved to be extremely capable and has completed all the tasks on time. At this juncture, Green ponders over some of the methods adopted by Martin. While some of them seem to go against the stronger views held by American companies, some of the approaches seem to be completely unethical and unfair. Under these circumstances, Green needs to decide on the next crucial phase of the project: should he continue to retain Martin as the chief liaison officer overseeing the entire project? Case Analysis Question 1 has to do with an understanding of the cultural aspects of doing business in Uganda. We have insights from the case here. Uganda has largely been a developing nation thus far with the progress not percolating down to the lower strata of society. It has not had a stable government through Multinational companies and their operations are well encouraged. Some of the cultural aspects point to a backward, superstitious nature wherein tribal sacrifices and soothsayers seem to hold sway over cold logic and reasoning. Culture could be defined as a system of knowledge and standards adopted for perceiving, believing, evaluating and acting (Allaire & Firsirotu, 1984). Culture is a system of socially transmitted patterns of behavior that helps people relate to their environment. It develops gradually over time and is often influenced by social and economic progress also. A simpler definition has been put forward by Hofstede (1984) who described it as a collective programming of the mind that helps distinguish one category of people from another. From the case, we also observe certain patterns of Ugandan society. They tend to favor nepotism and are largely driven by a commitment to their family and kin. A stronger bonding and accountability towards the social circle seems to take precedence over business commitments. Both attributes could affect the operations of a multinational company interested in doing business in Uganda. Firstly, superstitious beliefs could hamper the usual logical decisions that rely on business judgment and analytical outcomes. Obviously, multinational companies would be driven by logic and rationale. They would be offended if superstitious beliefs posed hurdles to business commitments and operations. Martin has however tried to blend in with the locals by adopting their cultural practices and participating in their rituals. This makes a strong point in his favor for he has understood the cultural diversity and sensitivity even as he was engaged in executing the business end of the project. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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