What should be done?
Waterhouse should consider finding somebody from his existing European executives as the change champion, who should has European and North American culture background and multinational merging & acquisition experience before.
Why should it be done?
First, we know that the aim of creating the seamless European team is to facilitate communication among the different European suppliers in order to achieve considerable cost reductions and quality improvement. But two years is not enough time to achieve that goal, even for an expertise with enough European culture background and fully understanding current European operation. Donaldson is an expatriate and will need more time. So this two-year assignment put too much time pressure to him, which cause many complaints about tight schedule.
Second, Donaldson is not a suitable candidate for this project because of his poor preparation and lack of awareness for European culture which causes major communication problems.
Language barrier is one of the reasons. For example, after one year in Zurich Donaldson sill can not manage a decent greeting by Swiss German except in Arabic.
Major difference in the social etiquette pertaining to business between Europe and North America. European staff regarded his as Arbeitstier and don’t understand why he rather prefer having a sandwich in his offer than joining them for a leisurely lunch in the canteen.
Managing and motivating people with vastly different cultural values and attitudes requires variations in management styles, systems, and practices, as well as leadership. Donaldson’s MBWA was not appreciated by his European colleague and they do not understand why he can not think to find out solution himself instead of kept asking their suggestions, ideas, plans.
Concept Paper # 2 My trip to Europe was an eye opening experience. It awakened my senses to so many different aspects of life I had not already been introduced to. It was almost like watching a movie, from the minute I stepped of the plane everything was different. When I think about the trip and what experiences I had many sociological concepts come to mind, such as, Culture shock, ethnocentrism, ...
The last but not least, Donaldson’s family reason might distract his attention from his job. His wife can not adapt to Zurich living environment and his eldest daughter also has serious problem with school. The best solution for his family problem seems to be back to US.
How should it be done?
First, Waterhouse should find a suitable change champion from his existing European executives for this cross-divisional team building program, who must has European and North American culture background and multinational merging & acquisition experience before. Before found this person Waterhouse have to take over to build this cross-functional team himself.
Second, Waterhouse should offer Donaldson a choice: either leave for the sake of his family reason, or stay as a consultant not leader because at least his professional training expertise is helpful.
Third, the new change agent should be closely coached with Waterhouse and given more power and support from US and European side. Building an appropriate measurement system for future evaluation is necessary.
Forth, a comprehensive survey must be completed before any action to find out what the problems is in company, thus action plan can come out based on it