Give at least one example of a message that might be equally effective or more effective in bringing about positive leadership outcomes. 4) Explain why your example would be successful using concepts from the text. 300 words
Ashley Markle (Lambrecht)
Jared Wacker CH 12 Case A: Margot, the Cross-cultural Communicator Margot: *enthusiastically walks into the break room to pour her morning cup of coffee
as she sees Derek grabbing a bagel. It is 8:20 am*
Good Morning Derek, that was one hell of a basketball game last night. I heard about
the big upset on the talk shows while driving the kids to school this morning. *pours
sugar into coffee mug and stirs with a spoon*
Derek: I heard about it as well. My wife and I attended a wine tasting so I did not watch
Margot: Oh so you like professional sports and fine wine. What a combination!
Derek: I played D2 tennis in college but I?m more fascinated with the arts as opposed to
athletics. I am a professional designer after all, you know that *laughs lightly and begins
to inch nonchalantly toward the door*.
Margot: Speaking of, I moved the meeting with Lucie to conference room 301 instead
Derek: Alright I will bring the design portfolio with the client?s comments to get this
design out as soon as possible!
Margot: *enters conference room and sees Lucie preparing for the meeting*
Hola Lucie! How is the new Lavish Couture line doing?
Lucie: ?Morning Margot, it?s doing fairly well, customers have been great at providing
feedback on the launch. We might want to address the shipping methods with the direct
retailers. Customer Service mentioned there were a few concerns about seams in the
folding process for our products that are enroute for longer periods of time.
Margot: I?m glad to hear that! You have been doing a great job taking the initiative with
Lucie: I also spoke with a delivery service provider about doorstep deliveries. People
are getting more and more concerned about neighborhood thieves stealing product left
on the front porch. Margot: Makes perfect sense. Our valued customers deserve their purchased product! I
will reach out to the supplier to establish some sort of preventative measure for such
Lucie: Perhaps in the future we may also want to consider an additional protective
barrier in our packaging for deliveries in areas where precipitation is a factor.
Margot: Oh Lucie you must know all about that having lived under the Costa Rica
rainforest canopies! I lived in a rather arid climate in Mexico.
Lucie: Yes ma'am we sure did have our fair share of rain and such. But remember I was
only raised in Costa Rica. In fact I have almost spent half of my life outside of my home
Margot: Ah, I do recall you telling me you left Costa Rica to attend college in the United
States. Do you ever miss your homeland as much as I do? *sighs*
Lucie: Of course there are things I miss about Costa Rica! But I chose to move here to
pursue my passion for fashion. The opportunities for my goals I want to accomplish are
better suited here.
Margot: You will have to teach me how to cook Gallo Pinto (traditional Costa Rican
entree) one of these days.
*Basil walks past conference room*
Margot: Excuse me, Mr. Basil we are in room 301 sir!
Basil: *chuckles and enters 301*
Margot: How are you doing, Basil? You taking it easy?
Basil: I?m doing well, Margot. I just came from another meeting so I wasn?t aware of the
room change. I must need to update my notification settings on my laptop.
Margot: I sent out a reminder request with the update but computers can be so
confusing, especially when you didn?t grow up using them! Do you need me to help you
with the settings?
Basil: No, I?m sure I can figure it out. Are we just waiting on Derek then?
Margot: Yes *glances at watch* he should be here within the next few minutes.
Lucie: Basil, I wanted to ask you about the new contract with the new retailer Elite Inc.
Do you have a summary available? I was curious about the shipping terms we had
proposed. Basil: Ah yes! Elite Inc was on board and agreed to our terms! I must have left the
contract summary on my desk. It just had collected wet signatures yesterday so I
haven?t uploaded it to the shared folder yet. I will have th-Margot: (Interrupts) Do you know how to upload it? I would be more than happy to
show you. Our printer is a bit tricky when it comes to scanning.
Basil: You know I have loaded contracts electronically before, I?m sure this one will be
no different. I will have it uploaded by 3:00 this afternoon for your review Lucie.
Lucie: Great, thank you, Basil. How are your grandchildren doing? I saw you had new
photos of them on your desk when I stopped by the other day to see how negotiations
were going, but you weren't there.
Basil: They are doing well, thanks for asking! The twins just got involved with the school
orchestra and little Jimmy is playing T-Ball. Which reminds me, Margot, is it alright if I
take a half day on Friday for the girl?s first concert?
Margot: Absolutely! Basil, your work performance exceeds my expectations regularly. In
fact if you ever need a day off, if you are feeling under the weather or are under too
much stress please do take that time for yourself?
Basil: Thank you Mar, I appreciate it.
Margot: I mean it, I do not want you pushing yourself too hard at work. You are at that
age where you have to be conscious of the effects stress can have on your mind and
Basil: *about to speak to defend his tip top healthy lifestyle*
*Derek rushes in room 301 (5 mins late to the meeting)*
Margot: Well hello there Derek! Look who decided to join us. You weren?t watching
those ESPN highlights were you? *laughs lightly*
Derek: No, I was trying to fiddle with the printer to give you guys these design
Margot: Ah, I see. *makes reassuring eye contact with Basil* We all struggle with
technology, I would be more than happy to bring in the HP team to conduct an additional
operating instruction training session, if it would help everyone out. Alright, before we
dive right into this lengthy meeting, I would like to have an informal, open conversation
about the new Lavish Couture acquisition. I woul-*Intern enters 301 with hot donuts, pastries and coffee* Margot: Perfect timing! Thank you for delivering these to the correct room. *passes out
plates and begins pouring coffee for team members* Now as I was saying, I would like
to thank each and every one of you for your hard work within the past month to make
Project Lavish Couture a success. I feel that we all bring unique skills, talents and
perspectives which is makes us so dynamic in this industry. I want to hear what
feedback you all have for me and what I can do, as your manager, to help you reach
Lucie: Well earlier, before everyone got here I was mentioning packaging and delivery
opportunities to Margot.
Margot: Yes, those ideas are great and definitely need to be examined further. I will
place that on the action item list following this meeting. *passes out napkins* Everyone
don?t be shy, treat yourself to a doughnut! I have especially ordered low sugar, soft jelly,
and platanos fritos (fried banana) flavors.
Basil: And what about a taco flavored pastry for you? *laughs good heartedly*
*Derek and Lucie join in on the joke laughter*
Margot: *looks concerned and worried* Is something wrong with the order? Should I
have ordered something different?
Basil: Mar, I?m just kidding around. Thank you kindly for the morning sweets. You just
do such a great job at tailoring to your employees. We don?t need to be treated any
different than your average LA business professionals.
Margot: *serious tone* If I have done anything to make any of you uncomfortable
please let me know. I like to connect with my people on a personal basis, because I not
only care about you as professionals but I truly care about you as a person.
Derek: That is understandable Margot. I think I can speak for all of us here that we
sincerely do recognize and appreciate you being such an involved manager who can
not only drive this company in goal attainment but also connect with team members on
a more informal level.
*Basil and Lucie nod in agreement*
Margot: I see, so what does this have to do with the doughnuts? I wanted to have
something for each of you to enjoy…
Lucie: Margot, you do not need to go out of your way to order a Costa Rican style
dessert for me. I only grew up in Costa Rica, I?m not devoted to strictly Costa Rican
food. I would love a nice American chocolate bacon-topped donut!!
Basil: I would like that chocolate bacon-topped donut too *laughs*! Derek: I appreciate all that you do for me as an employee, you compensate me well,
provide excellent feedback and I know I can always go to you for help. But what do you
know about where I actually spend some of the money I am paid?
Margot: *hesitant* Well this morning you mentioned you liked wine and the arts.
Derek: Exactly! I like wine and the arts! Lucie what about you?
Lucie: I enjoy writing poetry and presenting at open mic nights.
Basil: And I am the top diver on the Off the Deep End diving squad. Who would have
thought old man Basil could even squeeze into a wetsuit, ey?
Derek: What about you Margot? What more is there to Miss Margot than reaches the
*Margot takes a moment to digest all of this new information*
Margot: I lead religious youth retreats on weekends for adolescents facing troubling
times in their lives.
*None of the group knew this previously as they are so conditioned to interactions with
Margot consisting of answering all of Margot?s specialized questions*
Margot: Well this has been quite the learning experience for me. I didn?t know about all
of your involvements outside of work.
Derek: I think we are surprised by yours as well. How long have you been leading
Margot: For about 4 years or so now. It has taken me all over the United States.
Derek: That?s great. See, there is more to all of us than we think we know.
Margot: Yes, see I have tried very hard to connect on a personal level, but I suppose
when I only know minimal information, I base interactions off of my assumptions. I am
going to work to change that! Afterall who in the world would want a taco flavored
Lucie: *jokingly adds* Well maybe with a little chili powder-*Interrupted by knock on the door as finance team peers through the window*
Margot: Would you look at the time! Another group has reserved this room. Time flies
by when you are getting to know more about each other I suppose! Let?s move this meeting down the road to The Early Bird (American Breakfast Diner) and I can treat
everyone to these chocolate bacon donuts you speak of. 1. What suggestions can you make to Margot about overcoming cross-cultural
communication barriers? The best suggestions that could be made to Margot would
focus primarily around ?changing her cultural assumptions? and ?avoiding racial or ethnic
identification except when it is essential to communication?. Margot has a great
advantage by working in an area like Los Angeles coupled with her cultural background
to understand team members from different cultural backgrounds. She has a fair amount
of experience working with individuals from many different walks of life. This has given
her confidence when dealing with different cultural backgrounds but it the way she has
chosen to express her confidence in cross-cultural communication can come across as
judgemental and could become an ethical issue. What Margot should keep in mind is
that there is a big difference between past experiences that she may have had with
regards to her personal life and how she is expected to conduct herself in a professional
setting. Margot should constantly make herself aware of not only how her actions are
perceived by others, but all the different ways they could be perceived. In the beginning
of the transcript, Margot doesn?t think she is doing anything wrong by trying to connect
with her co-workers by using topics of conversation that she believes would be relevant
to them, but making such assumptions can be a reckless practice that leads to contempt
with her peers. Working and focusing on ways to improve her skills would also help her
relationships with her team members. Margot isn?t maliciously making assumptions to
hurt her team members, she is simply trying to connect with them on a more personal
level and establish rapport. Addressing this issue with her could be the only remedy for
the situation to make her aware of what she is saying and doing.
2. What might be the factor or factors contributing to any errors Margot might be
making in terms of cross-cultural communication? There seems to be two large
factors that are consistent with Margot when it comes to communicating and attempting
to make a connection with her team members; 1. she?s lacking understanding of how
each of the team members actually operates in their daily life, and 2. she is making
assumptions about their cultural background and how much they make it a part of their
life. Throughout the different stories we see in case A, Margot treats all of her workers
with the same approach. While reading the case, it is clear that Margot thinks she is
doing a great job and is trying very hard to connect with her workforce, but the way she
is going about it is on a fine line between being ethical and unethical. Examples include;
speaking to an African American only about basketball, or an older person only about
their health and the like, are huge assumptions about an individual person which could
easily be avoided by having conversation to connect with that team member and
showing interest in learning more about him/her. Even though Margot?s efforts are
stemming from good intentions, she really needs to think more carefully about how her
actions and her words may actually be affecting the other party. If she were to show
more interest toward knowing each member on a more personal level, rather than
assuming their cultural background is a common ground, it would go a long way with her
workers and they would most likely respect her more as well. 3. To what extent do you think the three staff members mentioned above are being
too harsh in judging Margot?s attempts at establishing rapport? The three staff
members mentioned are reacting in an understandable manner with what seems to be
appropriate harshness. In today?s world, people (especially supervisors) need to be
very cognizant of how their actions and words are coming across to their workers.
They need to constantly be thinking of ways to improve their communication skills, as
well as making sure what they say can not be taken in an offensive way by their
constituents. Margot also needs to try and put herself in the shoes of the people she is
dealing with and ask ?how would I react to these comments?? to form a more effective/
appropriate manner of communication with her workers. Of the three workers, Derek
seems to have the most reason to be upset. Speaking with Basil about his retirement
because of his age and years of service is certainly an innocent transgression and you
can see how it would come up in conversation with a person of that age/experience.
Asking Lucie repeated questions about her home country of Costa Rica could be
coming out of a place of curiosity and maybe Margot is genuinely interested in the
culture of that area. Derek on the other hand is treated in such a manner that it?s easy
to see how he could go past grumbling about his sometimes thoughtless co-worker
and take real offense to how he is being treated. Asking an older person about
retirement, or a Costa Rican about Costa Rica is understandable but assuming an
african american only wants to talk about the NBA is a very dangerous assumption to
make so it?s clear to see that while all of the employees certainly have a reason to be
annoyed, Derek seems to have a reason to be personally offended.