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Vidsoft Case Study

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Alaji Babatunde, senior manager at VidSoft faces a potential “Crucible of leadership” as he is now placed in a position of deciding the fate of two members of his staff. If handled correctly, this could define his career as a manager. If handled incorrectly, this could prove to be his downfall. In order to resolve the current problem, Brabatunde’s options are; to grant Alex Hsu’s request to be transferred to another team that does not directly report to Jenna Li (granting this request may send the negative message that upper management does not support Jenna Li’s abilities); allow Jenna Li to manage the situation as she sees fit; or escalate the matter to his senior manager, James White, in order to resolve this stalemate?

Problem Analysis

Babatunde has done away with the “status quo” by employing an alternative reporting structure for his team than was previous the practice at VidSoft. As his team grew due to Vidsofts’s expansion, Babatunde assessed that the standard reporting structure did not serve his objectives, which were primarily to maintain a high level of productivity with a larger team while still maintaining a close and personal reporting line. However, with this new reporting structure came a new challenge, mainly the current conflict between Alex Hsu and his new manager, Jenna Li.

Alex Hsu’s request to be transferred to another team that does not report to Jenna Li appears to be a request made based on a clash of personalities. However, on closer inspection, it appears that it may stem from the fact that both he and Jenna Li are of Chinese decent. Alex Hsu’s reluctance to accept Jenna Li as a manager goes beyond his initial argument that, due to Li’s lack of experience as a manager and her technical background, he can not learn anything from her.

As Yukongdi and Benson (year)wrote in their text, Women in Asian Management, traditional status, gender stereotyping and role expectation led to a very clear male perceptions and differential treatment for women. It is possible that Hsu does believe, because of cultural biases (Li is female), that Li can not do a sufficient job and he cannot learn anything from her. So, though Li and Hsu are both from the same cultural group, certain biases exist within their culture that has acted as a contributing factor to the current conflict. To get to the root of this conflict we will look at strategies for managing multicultural teams.

In their article titled Managing Multicultural Teams, Brett, Behfar, Kern (year) explore various methods of managing a team that consists of members of varying social and ethnic groups. Though Hsu and Li are both Chinese, their different upbringings (Hsu was born in the US and Li was born in China) do play a role in this current conflict.

Brett, Bdhfar, and Kern’s (year) concepts for managing multicultural teams can be applied in this case to shed some light on the issues and how to best resolve them in the long and short term. Brett, Behfar, and Kern use four strategies for resolving issues arising in a multicultural team: Adaptation, Structural intervention, Managerial Intervention and Exit. For the purposes of analyzing this case, the strategies that will be explored are Structural Intervention, Managerial Intervention and Exit.

Managerial Intervention

Initially it appears that this situation could have been resolved by employing the Managerial Intervention approach, which involves establishing team reporting ground rules in the early stages of an employee’s transition to manager. By setting norms early in the working relationship of Li and her new reports, Babatunde could have defused any possible conflicts of personalities and cultural issues. Because of Hsu views Li as a sub-par manager, it would have been helpful to establish early ground rules where by establishing a code of acceptable behavior and expectation for team members. Another alternative within this same concept is for Babatunde to bring in his superior and mentor James White. As a senior individual, James would have been able to act as an impartial arbitrator. The pitfall of bringing in White as an arbitrator is it may appear that Bubatunde (from White’s eyes) lack the ability to effectively manage a minor staffing issue.

The Managerial Intervention approach as a means of effectively resolving this conflict though useful, but it does not provide a sustainable long term solution to this or other similar problems of this nature. First, even though ground rules could have been established in the beginning of the working relationship of Li and Hsu to lessen the socio-cultural conflict, it would not have changed

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