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Answers for Case 1 Write-up

Q1. What mistakes did Chalon make as he took over the large North American division? Although North American divisions staff is different to that of the French division, Chalon expected them to behave and react like his French employees. His Be Like Me approach is the reason why Chalon is unable to understand and explain why the American staff is demotivated given his expectation for them to excel under high demands and low positive feedback. Although Chalon had worked in a multicultural environment for his entire career, he did not have the skill to transfer knowledge about one culture to another culture. Chalon also failed to recognize how his cultural orientation influenced his conduct. Behavior that Chalon considered normal, such as staff counter-arguing directly, was not considered as normal in the North American division. Chalon was unaware of the key biases stemming from his French culture, which resulted in the mistakes made at the North American division: Mistakes in Chalons leadership style: Chalon was demanding and set very high standards. His heuristic gained through experience had him think that the greatest results can be achieved by being a leader who demands the most from his people. Thus he gave little or no positive feedback and wanted relentless improvement. Chalons method of motivation was not suitable for North America where staff respond to more positive feedback than negative. Chalon only considered actual performance. There was no praise given for effort, whereas in US, commendation of A for effort is common Even if Chalon did give positive feedback, it was not explicit. (French read between the lines but US expects explicit appreciation)

Mistakes in Chalons interaction with employees: Chalon was blunt and direct with criticism and disapproval. This made him come across as arrogant to the Americans (French culture: blunt = expected, American: being polite/courteous = normal) Chalon was regarded as cold and distant because employees felt he did not make an effort to get to know the people at work. In Chalons mind, his open-door policy and walking around the office was equal to being open. However, for Americans being open was considered as getting to know each other on a very personal level. Chalon mistook employees silence with his feedback/criticism as a sign of agreement, when in reality they were not happy. (French present counter arguments)