What are the reasons for Li’s behavior? Yong Li, one of the AM’s for the firm has already achieved a certain extent of success within the primary focus of Intel’s strategy to develop connections and associations with the clients in his account base. Li is conscious to the fact that his accomplishments as an Intel ambassador is unquestionable and consequently to bring in additional value to his role he has placed effort, time and plan to one of the individual projects he has undertaken to self improvise and take a comprehensive approach to the detailing of the particular project.
Li is self driven to achieve stiff targets that he sets out for himself, however the decision received from Tang’s office to scrap out the project indirectly through Qing Chen after two months of effort was taken into account as an insult to his calibre and competence. Li experienced an instant disengagement with his immediate supervisor and manager as he felt that his hard work, overall performance and the effort placed in his long term approach in the project was disregarded without any deliberation by the new heads of the division. 2. What are the roles of Chinese and Western cultures in these events?
The case study presents a perspective of the underlying troubles within China – Intel Corporation management styles that is flanked between a western corporate functioning and eastern philosophies deterring a smooth management change process and raising questions on decision making and directing people towards a common goal of the company. Charles Tang originally a native from China has recently moved back from US as Intel’s new marketing head; however the employees and officials view him as a young expatriate who is unfamiliar with the “ways of the place”.
Initially Tang in his interactions with the Chinese officials was undetermined as his direct responses held no weight in confidence. Tang soon learnt that his style of answering in a straight forward fashion without taking time to contemplate on the reactions was not accepting into the Chinese culture. He established credibility as he adapted a new stroke change by means of asking for additional background information and time for his boss to make the final decision.
However Tang interaction with his team was guided by Intel’s professional code of conduct policy on the “disagree and commit” philosophy. When Tang made a decision to restructure and streamline the team assignments in order to advance Intel China strategic objective, he received Yong Li’s extreme emotional reaction of “losing face” which signified impairment between the relationships of the two parties. As a senior manager, Tang witnesses the effect of on the organizational culture imparted from an employee’s change in behaviour due to his decision.
In the face of this issue, Tang has called for a joint meeting to resolve the issue as he internally believes an open discussion will take care of the grievance; however he faces the pressure to deliver consistent decision making behaviour at his seniority level. The clash of ideologies within Tang is caused by his personal style adopted in the west of dealing and understanding people in an open style and the new strategic responsibilities he must adhere and prioritise for the company to succeed. The case study does not elaborate much about Qing Chen, the new departmental manager’s role in the company.
Qing Chen as per instructions has conveyed the decision to discontinue the project in an autocratic manner to Yong Li. However her role as an immediate supervisor does not end with relaying information only and she is required to perform a strategic and active role involved in understanding daily operations of the team and directing them accordingly in order to bridge the gap between the senior management’s vision and the AM’s roles towards the goal. 3. How would you have handled the situation with Li? Would there have been a way to “save face”?
In this scenario being considered an expatriate, every action taken as per the need of the role is viewed prejudice. Hence the challenge before leading the employees to perform their goals must involve building trust and confidence amongst both the parties involved. Charles Tang at his level is set out to make strategic decisions and cannot be completely involved in micro management; however his subordinate Qing Chen must be delegated to be actively involved in the daily operations and also understand the team’s including Yong Li’s disposition at work, general attitudes, team dynamics, ethnic background and aspirations.
As this situation has lead to one of the crucial performer’s of the team “losing face”, it is necessary for Charles Tang to address the entire AM team in a forum to articulate Intel’s strategic goals and reiterate that contributions at work are valued however they must be focused towards achieving the common objective of Intel. At this stage the company’s “disagree and commit” philosophy must be revisited to make the team members aware of it. He must emphasize that the team’s direct contact and daily updates with Qing Chen must be adhered.
At the end Tang must appreciate the top performers of the team and announce his plans to reassess existing projects as per the strategy. The one on one meeting with Yong Li must be directed carefully to avoid any emotional hijack of the decision already taken. However the main intention of the meeting is to build back the Yong Li’s confidence and reinstate his credibility by understanding his point of view on the scope of the project. In case during the review, new light is thrown upon the importance, range and feasibility of the project, Charles Tang may be required to revisit his decision and set deadlines for the project.
Simultaneously, Qing Chen must be part of the review and the AM’s must be instructed on giving regular updates to her. Likewise she must be individually explained on her accountability towards the team’s performance and updates. 4. What must Intel do in China if it wishes to attract and keep the best and brightest employees? An American multinational company such as Intel to coexist and excel in china must first understand how Chinese administration and work philosophy differs from American corporate culture.
To manage potential cross cultural conflict, global managers like Tang must be equipped with skills to be gain insightful knowledge on the nuances of the Chinese culture in order to bring out the best in people. Secondly, as per Intel’s philosophy to encourage innovation the company believes in encouraging dissent through the “disagree and commit philosophy”. However encouraging disagreement to advance effectiveness under no circumstances implies distortion of the reporting lines.
Hence the corporate power structure must be restored through the vertical managerial hierarchy. As the top brass of the management is intensely involved in organising and developing programs locally and combining its expertise through global integration, simultaneously overseeing the administration of the account managers by the supervisors must not be overlooked. To improve the reporting lines between the supervisors and the account managers, the supervisors must be empowered to make decisions with a broader scope of authority.
In this case, the supervisor must have their ears to the ground to listen to various ideas and strategies from the employees through which a constant engagement and regular performance progress track report is maintained. To strive towards the vision of the company, improving internal communications within the organisation may be considered. Encouraging and applauding good ideas at work through a transparent and fair system similar to an incentive or recognition program may be devised to build a corporate culture to support continuous innovation within the company.