Case Study

Case Studies invite us to imagine concrete situations which are analogous to those we experience working in and across cultures. Take your time. Reflect. Then give other CI members a sense for how you think. Only CI-Members have access to case studies.

„Effective leadership means ….“

You and your other German colleagues have a new boss, Susan Steel. Some of you know of Susan, a few have met her at company conferences, but none have worked directly with or for her. Next week Susan arrives in Germany as a long-term delegate and to begin her work.

Because she wants to quickly get oriented, Susan has invited each of her German direct reports for a one-to-one talk. She would like to understand the expectations of her as the team lead, but also communicate her views about the optimal working relationship between team lead and team.

You are German and one of Susan’s direct reports in Germany. You want to help her understand what makes for an optimal working relationship between a team lead and team in the German context. What do you say to Susan?

You are American and the scenario is the opposite. Your new boss is Anja, who has just arrived in the U.S. You want to help Anja understand what makes for an optimal working relationship between a team lead and team in the American context. What do you say to Anja?

If you are neither American nor German. Your new manager is from either Germany or the U.S. What do you say to your new boss about what makes for an optimal working relationship between a team lead and team in your business culture?

One thought on “Case Study”

  1. I have experienced that there is a wide cultural difference on the concept of “freedom of speech’ in the workplace between America and Europe.

    Americans are, in general, less willing than Europeans are to speak up or express dissent with their boss’ opinions or decisions. It may seem a wide generalization, and probably it reflects my limited experience. In Europe, as a European manager, I was accustomed to count on my people’s unreserved opinions to help me in my decision processes.

    This is not a given in America. Here, at least until they get to know you very well, most people think that opening their hearts can get them in trouble! Restraint is the rule. It is too easy to be fired in America!

    To make your team open up you have to be reassuring, constantly and consistently, on the fact that their jobs are not at risk if they express what they think in a constructive and considerate way.

    This process may require some time. Facts have to prove what the team lead really means as “freedom of speech”.

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