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Case from journal
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Reference no. JIACS12-03-10
Authors: Phillip Hunsaker
Published by: Allied Business Academies
Published in: "Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies", 2006

Abstract

Bladeco is a United States company that has recently undertook an international joint venture with a Saudi Arabian company in the precision steel products market. The newly appointed Middle Eastern Manager is eager to apply his international relations skills to enhance the sales of Bladeco products in Saudi Arabia. He enthusiastically accepts the overseas assignment as an opportunity for gaining international experience and advance his career with Bladeco. But as an American expatriate, he immediately meets intense cross-cultural obstacles. What the Middle East Manager must determine is how to effectively communicate with his Saudi counterparts in order convince them to honor their commitments to aggressively market Bladeco products in order to reverse declining sales. The primary subject matter of this case concerns how lack of understanding and appreciation of cultural differences can undermine potentially beneficial joint ventures. Secondary issues examined include awareness of cultural differences, the role they play in crafting international alliances, the consequences of violating cultural norms, and the steps expatriates should follow to form successful interpersonal relations with foreign counterparts. Students also become more aware of their own readiness for assignments in foreign cultures through assessments of their empathy, flexibility, and analytical skills as they identify with the American expatriate and assess what actions he should take. The case has a difficulty level of five, appropriate for first year graduate level. The case is designed to be taught in one hour and is expected to require one hour of outside preparation by students.

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Abstract

Bladeco is a United States company that has recently undertook an international joint venture with a Saudi Arabian company in the precision steel products market. The newly appointed Middle Eastern Manager is eager to apply his international relations skills to enhance the sales of Bladeco products in Saudi Arabia. He enthusiastically accepts the overseas assignment as an opportunity for gaining international experience and advance his career with Bladeco. But as an American expatriate, he immediately meets intense cross-cultural obstacles. What the Middle East Manager must determine is how to effectively communicate with his Saudi counterparts in order convince them to honor their commitments to aggressively market Bladeco products in order to reverse declining sales. The primary subject matter of this case concerns how lack of understanding and appreciation of cultural differences can undermine potentially beneficial joint ventures. Secondary issues examined include awareness of cultural differences, the role they play in crafting international alliances, the consequences of violating cultural norms, and the steps expatriates should follow to form successful interpersonal relations with foreign counterparts. Students also become more aware of their own readiness for assignments in foreign cultures through assessments of their empathy, flexibility, and analytical skills as they identify with the American expatriate and assess what actions he should take. The case has a difficulty level of five, appropriate for first year graduate level. The case is designed to be taught in one hour and is expected to require one hour of outside preparation by students.

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