Individual and Group Behavior Research Proposal

Pages: 5 (1512 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian

Individual and Group Behavior

Behavioral issues in a joint American-Korean venture: A case study

The systems implementation project of Joint Venture Inc. is experiencing internal conflicts in leadership which have led to the project being behind schedule and have strained relations between Western Systems Inc. And Korean Conglomerate Inc., the two corporations that are partners in the venture. Continuing conflicts will only lead to further delays and the possible collapse of the project.

There are many possible causes for this issue, as well as many that the facts of the case as presented make entirely obvious. The first of these known issues is the lack of experience among the Korean consultants and managers working as part of Joint Venture Inc. Not a single Korean member of the joint venture's team has had any experience in systems implementation prior to starting work on the project, and few of them even had any consulting training. Jack Kim, the Korean manager and de-facto leader of day-to-day operations (given that the Korean members of the team will not listen to Ellen Moore when Jack Kim is in the office and giving orders), has only a Ph.D. And no real world experience with the project issues.

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The problem of the Koreans' inexperience is exacerbated by their misrepresentation of their level of experience and preparedness to the Americans working for Western Systems Inc. And the Systems Consulting Group and assigned t working on the joint venture. Timelines and resource guidelines were established based on the information provided by the Koreans at the start of the venture, and adjusting these timelines and reallocating resources -- both of which are viewed as necessary steps by the more experienced Americans working on the venture -- is much more difficult to accomplish midstream than it would have been given a realistic assessment.

Research Proposal on Individual and Group Behavior Assignment

There is also an obvious dismissal of Ellen Moore's leadership abilities and experiential knowledge that is almost certainly due to the fact that she is a woman. Gender inequality is still something of a problem in the Western business world, and social customs in Korea and many other Asian countries have made the transition to equality all but impossible for many women. Even in a more progressive Korean corporation, as the joint venture Inc. arm of Korean Conglomerate Inc. is purported to be even by the Americans working on the team, a deep-seated and unavoidable cultural sexism will necessarily have an effect on business relations wit a female co-manager, particularly one that does not agree with the Korean male co-manager's way of doing things or insistence on certain actions and timeframes. Though overt shows of including Ellen Moore in traditionally male bonding activities were made, this spirit did not seem to be carried into the office culture to a meaningful degree.

The final easily observable problem in this situation is the reluctance and outright refusal of the Joint Venture Inc. Korean team to contact their customer's client for better information on how a new system could be tailored to better fit that client's needs. Without this information, the Americans know from experience, their own client's ultimate satisfaction with the systems implementation carried out by Joint Venture Inc. will suffer considerably. The Koreans' refusal to seek the additional necessary information in the most efficient manner possible is one of the biggest direct causes of the internal conflict among the various leaders on the team.

To sum up, then, there are four basic surface problems that are each contributing to the delay of the Joint Venture Inc. systems implementation project and the growth of conflict within Joint Venture Inc. And possibly between the partners in this venture, Western Systems Inc. And Korean Conglomerate Inc. First, there is the simple lack of experience and knowledge on the part of the Korean members of the team, who are linguistically and culturally better adapted to dealing with Joint Venture Inc.'s client but who cannot explain r implement things they do not know or understand. Second, this inexperience is made worse by a continued insistence on the Koreans' abilities despite all evidence to the contrary and an increasingly lagging schedule. The fact that Ellen Moore is almost automatically dismissed by her Korean colleagues and superiors because she is a woman is the third and perhaps most prominent reason behind the increasing conflict and delay, and finally the Koreans refuse to consult with their client's customers in order to obtain information that will aid in the design and implementation of a more effective system, insisting on other far more inefficient and impractical means of gathering this information.

All of these easily observed issues have more murky underlying causes in the behaviors of certain individuals and groups within Joint Venture Inc. There are certain cultural values inherent the Koreans as well as the Americans on the Joint Venture Inc. team that lead to certain assumptions and have created, at least to some degree, a misunderstanding of the misunderstanding. The gap between assumption and perception in many of the specifics of this scenario can be put down to cultural issues that affect group behavior. Other issues, notably some unhealthy and unproductive defense mechanisms, are also adding individual personal problems to the mix, which are then transmitted to the group and picked up to some degree through memes. Conflicts between the ideal self and the self-image of certain individuals are also at the root of the problem.

For the most part, the scenario as described lays most of the blame at the feet of Jack Kim, the Korean co-manager of Joint Venture Inc.'s day-to-day operations. His personal and individual behavioral problems have contributed to and exacerbated the issues at the heart of this scenario more than anything else. His concepts of his ideal self and his self-image do not line up with each other or with reality; he has convinced himself that as one of the project leaders he must possess the necessary capabilities and knowledge to make effective decisions for he team and the venture. When he looks at himself more honestly, he almost surely admits that his decisions have only mired the team in more problems and delays, which causes an internal conflict for Jack Kim. This in turn leads to the unhealthy and unproductive defense mechanism of increasing his control over the project as a way of retaining face, which is exacerbated by the noted face-saving necessities and extreme reverence of authority in Korean culture.

The Korean culture's view of women is also a highly contributive factor in the issues seen in this scenario. Ellen Moore is likely a more threatening figure to Jack Kim because she is a knowledgeable female, and any perceived shortcomings on his part are likely to be magnified in his eyes -- and quite possibly in the eyes of his superiors and underlings -- by her status as a female. Jack Kim's increasingly aggressive, confrontational, and erratic leadership and partnership style almost certainly stems from his insecurities regarding his lack of knowledge and experience in both the consulting and systems implementation fields. Ellen Moore's more efficient, knowledgeable and experienced suggestions and instructions -- when she is able to give them -- only serve to underline Kim's deficiencies and thus worsen his insecurities.

The Korean culture creates certain group behaviors that take Jack Kim's issues and spread them at least in part, to the rest of the group. Jack Kim's dismissal of and shows of disrespect towards Ellen Moore cannot help but be noticed by the group. The extreme subservience to and reverence of authority in the Korean culture makes the Korean members of the team especially susceptible to Jack Kim's outward displays of an uncooperative attitude. Over time, this will -- and probably already has, to some degree -- made a memes of distinction between Ellen Moore and Jack Kim.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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