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The Road to Hell A

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2822 1448 Words (6 Pages) Gareth Evans Harvard Business School : 480074
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

The case “Road to Hell” by Gareth Evans is about two different characters possessing different backgrounds, personalities, and values. John Baker is an English expatriate and chief engineer at the Caribbean Bauxite Company of Barracania. Baker had overseas exposure, which made him believe that he understood the region’s locals better than others. Before, leaving for his new job in Canada, where has been promoted to become production manager, his last task is to engage in a meeting with his successor, Matthew Rennalls, and prepare him for a new role. Rennalls is a bright young engineer and well-groomed Barracania professional. During his four years stay in London for his degree, he became highly delicate with the political, racial, and cultural aspects. The last meeting between both individuals ended up with negative repercussions. Rennalls felt insulted in the interview, and he turns in his resignation instead of accepting the offer of chief engineer.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. What are miscommunications and misunderstandings happening between Rennall’s and John Baker?

  2. How would you describe John Bakers management style regarding his cross cultural adaptation?

  3. Do you agree or disagree with John Baker assumption that Rennalls well repressed sense of race consciousness prevented their relationship from being as close as it should have been?

Case Study Questions Answers

1. What are miscommunications and misunderstandings happening between Rennall’s and John Baker?

The misunderstanding and miscommunication arise from the fact that both characters have differences in their viewpoints. It implies that cultural diversity was not considered while making a few points and judgments by Baker. He directed his thoughts to Rennalls, in which he said that you get along with fellow Barracanians better than Europeans. Also, he reminded him of his complaint received from Jackson about Rennalls being rude to him. Although, it may seem that Baker’s intentions in making these points are not wrong. However, Rennalls misunderstood Baker’s argument regarding Jackson, and he was given an impression of being racist. He backed up his counterargument, saying that other expatriates have the same issue with Jackson and Godson. Furthermore, when Baker tried to re-engage and continue with his interview, he made his argument based on the comparison between him spending his all life in Europe and knowing about commercial enterprise and Rennalls, who had lived most of his life in Barracania. Baker’s intention, in this case, is not wrong either, but the words were not taken well by Rennalls, who completely took it as an insult. Baker was appreciating the fact, that Rannell has come up so far in this department, where his forebears have only had fifty or sixty years of experience. On the other hand, Bakers have experience in that commerce environment of about two to three hundred years because of ancestral history. This particular argument left an impression on Rannell, which is quite evident in his resignation letter that he was degraded by Baker’s condescending tone. Rannell believed that Baker is insulting his culture by saying that our knowledge of modern living and understanding of matter goes back to fifty, or sixty years whereas Bakers enjoy the privilege of having experience of two, to three hundred years.

Rannell has been deeply indulged in the racial, political, and cultural aspects of London; he translated those ideas into the arguments made by Baker. In contrast, the advice and opinions by Baker do not seem derogatory or disrespectful in any manner. They rather are Baker’s way of putting across his points and making sure Rannell is ready to take on his new position. Had Rannell discussed this in an interview with Baker at that time and moments where he felt insulted, things would not have escalated further. He rather overthought this while he was home and made a surprising decision regarding his resignation. Therefore, there should be clear communication in an organization where thoughts are shared and respected by others regardless of cultural and background differences.

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