Q. 1 (Chapter 2) Describe Ugandan cultural attributes that might affect the operations of a foreign company doing business there. Uganda is a country of 25 million people. The official language is English. A significant portion of the population spoke the indigenous language. Two-thirds of Ugandans are Christians (Roman Catholics and Anglicans). Muslim and animist communities are found in urban areas.
Uganda has a history of violence and corruption. The dictatorship of General Idi Amin had left thousands dead in the countryside. A large number of Ugandan refugees fled to neighboring countries of Rwanda, Zaire, and Sudan. Nepotism may also be considered a norm in government. Indeed, the Ugandan government is considered to be the most corrupt in the world.
For HG to complete its power plant project, it must consider the following facts: 1) government transactions are usually impersonal and familial in nature, 2) any foreign company which plan to invest in the country must observe its traditionalist stance on financial issues, 3) hiring is usually conducted by word of mouth, and 4) some business practices in Uganda are unethical in the United States, and 5) the Ugandan government is prone to bribery and violence (a foreign company operating in Uganda must face the prospect of bribery and extra-government negotiations).
Q. 2 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? Green is right about two things. First, it would be irresponsible on the part of Martin to isolate himself from his colleagues. For example, Martin could certainly afford to live in one of the upscale neighborhoods that were home to most foreign managers working in the country’s capital.
Martin, defying corporate ‘rule of thumb’ preferred a middle-class Ugandan neighborhood and declined to frequent the places where fellow expatriates typically gathered. Martin’s actions may lead to a conflict in the coordination process, as far as the project is concerned. Second, much of the problem lies with Martin’s hiring practices. Martin had developed the practice of personally mentioning job openings to local people. The practice is beneficial in some respects. For example, ‘hiring the niece of a high-ranking customs officer couldn’t hurt when it came to getting import clearances’ (case, 4).
The problem with this practice is that, if word reached ‘the higher echelons of the Ugandan government, HG would find itself dealing with people in a position to demand large payments for such services as, say, not finding the excuse to delay the project’ (case, 4). If the international business community found that HG is engaging in unethical business behavior, then it will damage the image of the company. In retrospect, Martin’s ‘adaptation’ strategy seems to be ‘out of bounds’ and excessive.
Indeed, it will be beneficial for the company to replace Martin with a more pragmatic successor to complete the project. Note that the time lag between project completion and phasing is the same whether or not Martin is in the position of project director. Indeed, if Martin is retained as project director, he will still face the difficulty of completing the project on time due to cultural and political constraints (opposition from tribes and the prospect of politicking).
Q. 1 (Chapter 11) What is eBay’s core competency? How does it relate to its chosen strategy? The company’s core competency depends on its long-term objectives: supporting interaction in the eBay community by providing an online framework to valued buyers and clients, upholding the principles of trust and safety, insuring low fraud losses and protection to community members, and focusing on market efficiency in the delivery of products. The company’s distribution system demands little supervision. Most sellers pay eBay for the design, production, restructuring, and monitoring of products and auction prices. In practical terms, eBay has been the primary source of income for many sellers.
Indeed, this is part of the company’s competency program – to extend its market niche and ensure financial continuity within a broad consumer base. Q. 5 What are the implications to the challenges identified in the case regarding eBay’s strategy – today and in the future? The company claims that it can transform the international business marketplace in ways that will create more jobs and opportunities for exporters and importers. It also claims that it can help impoverished nations and improve efficiency in the global market.
The point of the company’s claims is: the virtual market is the future of economic development. The claims are not only absurd but totally out of view. At present, it is the manufacturing and service sectors which comprise the core of the global economy. If the company’s framework is the future of economic development, then it must be restructured to suit these conditions. Indeed, it is irresponsible on the part of the company to assume that its developmental framework is the ‘rule of thumb’ of the global corporate world (a fallacy indeed).