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Case study
Charles Martin in Uganda
Submitted by:
MALIKZADA RAASHID
1
Case Background
• Hydro Generation (HG) is a U.S. based company that specializes in power
plant. It has built power plants in 16 countries where they maintained an
ownership in about half of them.
• The company has targeted a construction of large dam in Uganda Africa.
• HG put Charles Martin in this project to facilitate the preliminary
construction and in case up to the construction phase to get an operating
structure and facility start-up activities that includes obtaining licenses,
installing telephones and utilities and securing the initial staff that would hire
the full range of local personnel.
• But Vice president James Green pondered whether to continue employing
Martin for the construction phase of the project.
• In particular, Green was concerned about Martin’s lifestyle, some of his
business practices, and his participation in Ugandan tribal rituals. Green
worried that Martin’s practices were counter to both HG’s corporate culture
and methods of operating elsewhere, that some of his actions bordered on the
unethical, and that some might be illegal under U.S. law
2
3
4
Characters in the case
Lawrence Lovell
• HG’s founder and CEO
• A devout Christian and very influential in shaping the company’s
management culture
• Believed that business activities should embody strong Christian values
and that subordinates should be given full responsibility in making and
implementing decisions but they should be held accountable for their
results.
James Green
• HG’s vice president
• Concerned about business practices and lifestyle
Characters in the case contd….
Charles Martin
• 26 yrs. old
• Knowledgeable in developmental issue wherein he was able at
disarming critics of the power plant
• Joined University of Wisconsin-Madison taking a course about
Africa’s pre-colonial history
• After graduation he joined Peace Corps and served in Kenya
• He believed in the creed – “Don’t draw attention to yourself, and
above all, learn and respect the culture”.
• Earned an MBA at the University of Maryland
• Took job at HG
6
Duties
7
• Working with Ugandan governmental authorities in the
capital, Kampala and with villagers in the area where
the dam was to be built to gain support and necessary
permissions for the construction
• Establish an office and hiring people who would be
responsible for local purchases, clearance of incoming
goods through customs, immigration permissions for
foreigners coming in to work on the project, logistics
materials going from the airport in Kampala to the dam
site and keeping records of supplies and expenditures
• Help foreign visitors mainly engineers become
accommodated and oriented when visiting Uganda
Statement of the Problem
• The problem to be examined is on how to use
the different ways to approach a company
internationally by comparing language
problem, cross cultural problem, religion
problem and hiring practice without
compromising the company’s reputation.
8
International Business must evaluate sure business practices to ensure
that they take into account national norms in their behavioral
characteristics. They should look for the following:
• Language Barrier – Although it was mentioned in the case that English is the official
language it has to be consider the language used by most of the indigenous people, the
language of Bantu and Nilotic.
• Religious Concern - Uganda is also a multi religious country which means the
company will have to hire employees fit to work from any religion and should know
how to respect to those belonging to all other religions in order to avoid
discrimination of workforce.
• Local Business Practices – Nepotism is a norm
• Behavioral Practices affecting business - Attitude and values affect business
behavior, from what products to sell to how to organize, finance, manage, and control
operations.
• Economy – Uganda agriculture employs 80% of the workforce. Coffee and fish are
the largest export. Foreign investment has slowly returned after the reign of the brutal
corrupt dictator Idi Amin (1971 – 1979). They are also a lower income country where
in 4 out of 10 people live or less than a dollar a day.
• Political – People are involved in corruption. One of the most corrupt countries.
Recommended Solutions
• To change custom is a difficult thing, so in doing business around
the globe major problemswill be face as culture collides with
business operations, these are when company implements practices
that work less than intended and company’s employees encounter
distress because of an inability to accept or adjust to foreign
behavior. It is best if company strictly observe the following:
– International company must be sensitive to cultural differences in
order to predict and control its relationships and operations and it
should first determine what business practices in a foreign
country differ from those it’s used to.
– It must also adhere sufficiently to local culture lest they fail.
However companies whether local or foreign cannot always
anticipate the reactions to their practices so it is necessary to
sought advice from experts.
10
Recommended Solutions contd..
• One way to avoid problems that could result from a
major change or pull out/cut off of operation is to
discuss a proposed change with stakeholders in
advance. By doing so, the company may learn how
strong resistance to the charge will be, stimulate
stakeholders to recognize the need for change and
ease their fears of adverse consequences resulting
from the change. Such discussion may satisfy that
management has listened to some viewpoints.
11
12
Describe Ugandan cultural attributes that might affect the
operations of a foreign company doing business there.
• The population of Uganda is about 25 million. And its official
language is English. But many people can only speak an
indigenous language it is primarily Bantu language or Nilotic.
Although about two-thirds of Ugandans are Christian, there is
a large number of Muslims and adherents of various animistic
religions. From this perspective, language is a big problem for
foreign companies operating in Uganda. Business in Uganda
on the other hand often moves slowly. For example, it will take
months installing a telephone. The Ugandan’s income is very
low, but meanwhile, it has an exorbitant payment system. The
nepotism is a norm for its employment staffs. Ugandan is also
known as a corrupt government and is also a brick wall for
foreign companies. Its citizens are too much devout to their
religion, beliefs and culture
13
How would you describe the respective attitudes of Martin and Green:
ethnocentric, polycentric, or geocentric? What factors do you suspect of
having influenced their respective attitudes?
• Looking at Charles Martin profile we can say that he possesses the
attitude of being geocentric. He bases his ideas in handling the
project operations on an informed knowledge of its organization
culture along with home and host country needs, capabilities and
constraints. This is the preferred approach to business dealings with
another culture because it increases the introduction of innovations
and decreases the likelihood of their failures. On the other hand
James Green is ethnocentric. Green overlooks the important
cultural factors abroad because they have become accustomed to
certain cause and effect relationships in the home country. He
recognizes the environmental differences but still focuses on
achieving country rather than foreign or worldwide objectives. He
knows the differences but assumes that the ways in introducing
business to foreign country is easy to achieve when it is really a
complex process.
14
Who was right, Green or Martin, about Martin’s more controversial actions
in facilitating the project? How might things have turned out if Martin had
not been a member of the project team?
• We can say that Martin’s actions were right though it is
already beyond the company’s norms and against the US
law. If Martin have not done it and had not been a member
of the project team, the project would be very hard to
proceed or impossible to happen. For example, language as
mentioned before is a big problem HG should hire a
translator to make the communication run smoothly. They
need to train staff that would probably take a long period
of time to study and understand the culture, belief and
behavior of Uganda to be able to plot the dos and don’ts in
doing the business project. It would be a waste of time and
money for HG and worst the project will only be on scratch.
15
In the next phase of the project-running the power plant-should HG employ
someone whose main function is that of liaison between its corporate culture
and the culture of its host country? If so, is Martin the right person for the
job?
• We think Martin is the right person for this project. If
HG hires another person, he will face almost the same
problem. The hired person should also realize the
culture and religion of Africa, especially Uganda. And
now HG has the person suited this, he is Martin. He
knew African culture and religion well. As he worked
there before, Martin also knew how things could be
well done in Africa under their culture and religion. He
seems to do some controversial actions there, but his
purpose is to help HG finish this project successfully.
So Martin must be the right person for this project. HG
does not need to hire someone else in this case.
16
Learning's
• After studying the case, we’ve found out that when doing business
aboard, company should first determine the different business practices in
a foreign country. It is also important for the foreign company to
understand and adjust to their operating countries because we believe that
the existence of cross-country differs. Operating countries environments
may vary from time to time and also their operating sites, thus; it is an
integral part to learned attitudes, values and beliefs. The concept of
international business has been clearly illustrated, the sensitivity of the
cultural aspect in order to predict and control its relationship and
operation. And management then must decide what are the necessary
adjustments needed to be able to operate efficiently in the foreign
country. But all actions should be taken in control.
17
18

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Charles Martin Uganda case study

  • 1. Case study Charles Martin in Uganda Submitted by: MALIKZADA RAASHID 1
  • 2. Case Background • Hydro Generation (HG) is a U.S. based company that specializes in power plant. It has built power plants in 16 countries where they maintained an ownership in about half of them. • The company has targeted a construction of large dam in Uganda Africa. • HG put Charles Martin in this project to facilitate the preliminary construction and in case up to the construction phase to get an operating structure and facility start-up activities that includes obtaining licenses, installing telephones and utilities and securing the initial staff that would hire the full range of local personnel. • But Vice president James Green pondered whether to continue employing Martin for the construction phase of the project. • In particular, Green was concerned about Martin’s lifestyle, some of his business practices, and his participation in Ugandan tribal rituals. Green worried that Martin’s practices were counter to both HG’s corporate culture and methods of operating elsewhere, that some of his actions bordered on the unethical, and that some might be illegal under U.S. law 2
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  • 5. Characters in the case Lawrence Lovell • HG’s founder and CEO • A devout Christian and very influential in shaping the company’s management culture • Believed that business activities should embody strong Christian values and that subordinates should be given full responsibility in making and implementing decisions but they should be held accountable for their results. James Green • HG’s vice president • Concerned about business practices and lifestyle
  • 6. Characters in the case contd…. Charles Martin • 26 yrs. old • Knowledgeable in developmental issue wherein he was able at disarming critics of the power plant • Joined University of Wisconsin-Madison taking a course about Africa’s pre-colonial history • After graduation he joined Peace Corps and served in Kenya • He believed in the creed – “Don’t draw attention to yourself, and above all, learn and respect the culture”. • Earned an MBA at the University of Maryland • Took job at HG 6
  • 7. Duties 7 • Working with Ugandan governmental authorities in the capital, Kampala and with villagers in the area where the dam was to be built to gain support and necessary permissions for the construction • Establish an office and hiring people who would be responsible for local purchases, clearance of incoming goods through customs, immigration permissions for foreigners coming in to work on the project, logistics materials going from the airport in Kampala to the dam site and keeping records of supplies and expenditures • Help foreign visitors mainly engineers become accommodated and oriented when visiting Uganda
  • 8. Statement of the Problem • The problem to be examined is on how to use the different ways to approach a company internationally by comparing language problem, cross cultural problem, religion problem and hiring practice without compromising the company’s reputation. 8
  • 9. International Business must evaluate sure business practices to ensure that they take into account national norms in their behavioral characteristics. They should look for the following: • Language Barrier – Although it was mentioned in the case that English is the official language it has to be consider the language used by most of the indigenous people, the language of Bantu and Nilotic. • Religious Concern - Uganda is also a multi religious country which means the company will have to hire employees fit to work from any religion and should know how to respect to those belonging to all other religions in order to avoid discrimination of workforce. • Local Business Practices – Nepotism is a norm • Behavioral Practices affecting business - Attitude and values affect business behavior, from what products to sell to how to organize, finance, manage, and control operations. • Economy – Uganda agriculture employs 80% of the workforce. Coffee and fish are the largest export. Foreign investment has slowly returned after the reign of the brutal corrupt dictator Idi Amin (1971 – 1979). They are also a lower income country where in 4 out of 10 people live or less than a dollar a day. • Political – People are involved in corruption. One of the most corrupt countries.
  • 10. Recommended Solutions • To change custom is a difficult thing, so in doing business around the globe major problemswill be face as culture collides with business operations, these are when company implements practices that work less than intended and company’s employees encounter distress because of an inability to accept or adjust to foreign behavior. It is best if company strictly observe the following: – International company must be sensitive to cultural differences in order to predict and control its relationships and operations and it should first determine what business practices in a foreign country differ from those it’s used to. – It must also adhere sufficiently to local culture lest they fail. However companies whether local or foreign cannot always anticipate the reactions to their practices so it is necessary to sought advice from experts. 10
  • 11. Recommended Solutions contd.. • One way to avoid problems that could result from a major change or pull out/cut off of operation is to discuss a proposed change with stakeholders in advance. By doing so, the company may learn how strong resistance to the charge will be, stimulate stakeholders to recognize the need for change and ease their fears of adverse consequences resulting from the change. Such discussion may satisfy that management has listened to some viewpoints. 11
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  • 13. Describe Ugandan cultural attributes that might affect the operations of a foreign company doing business there. • The population of Uganda is about 25 million. And its official language is English. But many people can only speak an indigenous language it is primarily Bantu language or Nilotic. Although about two-thirds of Ugandans are Christian, there is a large number of Muslims and adherents of various animistic religions. From this perspective, language is a big problem for foreign companies operating in Uganda. Business in Uganda on the other hand often moves slowly. For example, it will take months installing a telephone. The Ugandan’s income is very low, but meanwhile, it has an exorbitant payment system. The nepotism is a norm for its employment staffs. Ugandan is also known as a corrupt government and is also a brick wall for foreign companies. Its citizens are too much devout to their religion, beliefs and culture 13
  • 14. How would you describe the respective attitudes of Martin and Green: ethnocentric, polycentric, or geocentric? What factors do you suspect of having influenced their respective attitudes? • Looking at Charles Martin profile we can say that he possesses the attitude of being geocentric. He bases his ideas in handling the project operations on an informed knowledge of its organization culture along with home and host country needs, capabilities and constraints. This is the preferred approach to business dealings with another culture because it increases the introduction of innovations and decreases the likelihood of their failures. On the other hand James Green is ethnocentric. Green overlooks the important cultural factors abroad because they have become accustomed to certain cause and effect relationships in the home country. He recognizes the environmental differences but still focuses on achieving country rather than foreign or worldwide objectives. He knows the differences but assumes that the ways in introducing business to foreign country is easy to achieve when it is really a complex process. 14
  • 15. Who was right, Green or Martin, about Martin’s more controversial actions in facilitating the project? How might things have turned out if Martin had not been a member of the project team? • We can say that Martin’s actions were right though it is already beyond the company’s norms and against the US law. If Martin have not done it and had not been a member of the project team, the project would be very hard to proceed or impossible to happen. For example, language as mentioned before is a big problem HG should hire a translator to make the communication run smoothly. They need to train staff that would probably take a long period of time to study and understand the culture, belief and behavior of Uganda to be able to plot the dos and don’ts in doing the business project. It would be a waste of time and money for HG and worst the project will only be on scratch. 15
  • 16. In the next phase of the project-running the power plant-should HG employ someone whose main function is that of liaison between its corporate culture and the culture of its host country? If so, is Martin the right person for the job? • We think Martin is the right person for this project. If HG hires another person, he will face almost the same problem. The hired person should also realize the culture and religion of Africa, especially Uganda. And now HG has the person suited this, he is Martin. He knew African culture and religion well. As he worked there before, Martin also knew how things could be well done in Africa under their culture and religion. He seems to do some controversial actions there, but his purpose is to help HG finish this project successfully. So Martin must be the right person for this project. HG does not need to hire someone else in this case. 16
  • 17. Learning's • After studying the case, we’ve found out that when doing business aboard, company should first determine the different business practices in a foreign country. It is also important for the foreign company to understand and adjust to their operating countries because we believe that the existence of cross-country differs. Operating countries environments may vary from time to time and also their operating sites, thus; it is an integral part to learned attitudes, values and beliefs. The concept of international business has been clearly illustrated, the sensitivity of the cultural aspect in order to predict and control its relationship and operation. And management then must decide what are the necessary adjustments needed to be able to operate efficiently in the foreign country. But all actions should be taken in control. 17
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