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Using the knowledge that you have gained from the subject, answer the following questions. Please note that you must go beyond concepts used in Topic 12 and integrate concepts from other relevant topics too.

1. What elements of conflict or misunderstanding are evident in this case? What are the reasons for this conflict or misunderstanding?

2. What advice would you give Jianguo about a way forward?

3.  What management competencies do you believe this case highlights that are important for the 21st century leader-manager in VUCA world? 
 

Analysis of Conflict in Deronde International

The paper focuses on understanding the manner of conflicts and the reasons for their outbreak in Deronde International that potentially affected the performances of Jianguo promoted as the global product head of the firm. It further focuses on rendering effective advices to Jianguo for reducing the emergence and impact of conflicts in Deronde and in working towards holistic productivity. Finally, the paper would focus on understanding the management competencies of a leader-manager in a VUCA World in the contemporary period.

The case opens based on highlighting the issue where Yang Jianguo operating as the country manager for Chinese operations of Deronde International was promoted as the global head associated to product development of the company. The case thereby tends to evaluate the manner in which Jianguo needs to win over his western colleagues that are bound to their western traditions and thereby in redesigning the existing product line.

The evidence of conflict in the case can be best studied regards to Yang Jianguo’s attending of the meeting with the executive committee members of Deronde International. The first evidence of conflict is observed regards to Jianguo’s choosing of Liu Xiang as the brand ambassador for the new product line of skin care products that are focused on being launched to meet the cosmetic needs of the male customers. The choosing of Liu Xiang as the spokesperson for the products was critiqued by his western colleagues like Yves in terms of inquiring about the sportsman’s recognition outside the Chinese province (Nohria, 2009). The second evidence of clash was noted regarding Yves interruption to the suggestions made by Jianguo to Deronde of selecting a Brazilian footballer for promoting the cosmetic and perfume products in the Latin American region and also in working in a focused fashion for selection of sportspersons along different emerging markets where the company aims at promoting the brand (Nohria, 2009). To this end, the suggestion put forward by Jianguo and supported by Elise Bernier, VP Marketing was again critiqued by Yves and even supported by Alain Deronde stating that things were being stretched quite afar without even evaluating the actual market demand of male customers from Deronde. Further evidences of conflict are observed in terms of Jianguo’s feelings based on hearing words spoken against him like that of ‘marginal’ and ‘unsophisticated’. Jianguo felt to have been thrown out and isolated by the executive team at Deronde in that he was not called in the meetings enabled for carrying out of strategic decisions (Nohria, 2009).  

Cultural Differences and Conflict

The existences of differences between the level of national and corporate cultures associated with the business unit operating in diverse economies potentially contributes in the emergence of conflicting attitudes among the corporate executives working in diverse national environments. The corporate executives of the business corporations functional in Asian economies like China are acclimatised in working in an organisational culture involving hierarchies of roles and responsibilities. On the contrary, the executives working in corporate circles associated to western economies are involved in operating based on flatter organisational structures that reflect the presence of reduced amount of organisational hierarchies (Beugelsdijk & Welzel, 2018). The existence of flatter organisational structure encourages the growth in the levels of communication between the members associated to management and subordinate levels which are considered to be alien regards to the culture of the business organisations operating along Asian economies (Qiu & Homer, 2018). In that Jianguo previously operated in Deronde’s Chinese based units he was more blended to work along hierarchal organisational settings than that of flatter organisational structures involving freedom of communication along the different levels. The same accounted for restricting the easy mixing of Jianguo with his western colleagues and superiors in Deronde leading to rise of conflicts.

The cultural conflicts between Jianguo with his French counterparts and higher management in Deronde International can also be further evaluated through the use of the Hofstede’s Cultural Paradigms. A comparison made between China and France based on the six cultural benchmarks reflects the following scores.

The ‘Power Distance’ parameter reflects that both France and China both reflect higher scores though the score of China is much higher than that of France. The French companies are essentially characterised with around one or a maximum of two levels of hierarchy. The superior or owner of the company remains inaccessible to the subordinates which is quite evident in the case where Jianguo could not access and communicate freely with Deronde the CEO of Deronde International. Thus, though Jianguo was selected by Deronde yet at a subsequent level the case reflects doubts on the part of the latter regarding selection of Jianguo as the global head of product development in the firm. The comparison of France and China based on the parameters of Individualism reflects that France tends to have a potentially higher score compared to China. The same reflects that the higher management requires and encourages the subordinates to take decisions on their own rather than to depend and focus on consulting with group members  (Meyer, 2017). Thus, in the case Deronde required Jianguo to take decisions regarding product development and promotion in an independent fashion rather than to depend on the support provided by other colleagues and peer groups. This created a conflict in the minds of Jianguo in that he expected support from his colleagues for the taking of decisions associated to the global canvas. The failure in gaining due support from his colleagues and Deronde made Jianguo feel isolated and frustrated. Further, in terms of masculinity and femineity, France reflects the existence of a feminine culture such that the French society earns to be linked to tradition and values (P. & Mac Giolla, 2017). The same is also reflected in the case where Jianguo identifies the essence and significance of traditional blending in the activities and whereabouts of his French colleagues. In terms of uncertainty avoidance, the French society reflects a potentially higher score compared to China. The same reflects that the French people render greater importance to the aspect of planning and thereby avoid taking decisions with haste. The same is evident also in the case where Jianguo tried to convince the members of the executive committee for selection of sportspersons along different emerging nations for marketing and promoting the skincare and perfume product ranges. The decision was refuted and critiqued by Deronde and another French colleague stating that the thinking was quite far-off in nature. Finally, in terms of indulgence the cultural conflict becomes evident in that France reflects a higher score compared to China associated to the stated parameter. The same reflects that French render greater importance to the parameter of socialising and in taking recesses amidst their professional and other activities (Ollier-Malaterre & Foucreault, 2017). The same is also evident in regards to the case where Deronde is focusing on taking a trip to Davos for a week’s time and thereby empowers his team to think and work more constructively on product launches in his absence. Further, the corporate decisions are also observed being undertaken in gatherings that reflected the need and interest of the French people in taking breaks and socialising. The above differences in the cultural paradigm between France and China rightly accounted for the emergence of the conflicting situations associated with Jianguo.

Effective Advices for Jianguo

To earn success in his new role as a global leader in the arena of product development for Deronde, Jianguo is required to have an open mind for learning new sets of skills that matches the French working environment and also in terms of operating in a family business climate where the CEO acts as the operational and administrative head of the firm. Jianguo is thus expected to understand the dynamics regarding working in a family business where the CEO has the power in intervening along anything and everything that is carried out within the organisation. Further, Jianguo is also required to specifically understand that the decisions required to be taken by him would be meant for the global environment of the business and thereby is required to be free of the cultural influence of China (Nohria, 2009). In that, the decisions and strategic operations workable in the Chinese environment would not suit the environment of any other emerging or developing market, Jianguo is thereby required to focus on the generation of decisions in a customised fashion based on studying and evaluating the cultural paradigms and demand expectations of the people in the new cultural settings. Jianguo is thereby required to honour and respect the cultural differences of the French colleagues such that the same helps in forming of diverse teams for meeting of departmental and institutional objectives (Nohria, 2009). Jianguo is also required to focus on easing his stress level through entertaining himself and also avoid from getting emotional based on the attitudes and behaviours of the colleagues. Jianguo also needs to focus on the meeting of short-term objectives associated to product development and product launches rather than targeting of abstract results. The meeting of short-term objectives associated to production and business would potentially help in convincing the CEO of Deronde and also in motivating others in the organisation in the formation of smart teams for productively helping in the accomplishment of the strategic objectives of the firm. Jianguo to succeed in Deronde’s home market, France is required to actively work in understanding the expectations and needs of the French consumers and also in developing acquaintance with his colleagues and managers such that the same helps in working in a comfortable manner in the firm (Nohria, 2009).

The management competencies that is required for a 21st century leader-manager operating in an organisation pertaining to a volatile, uncertain, complex and also ambiguous or VUCA world is rendered as follows. The manager is required to have an open mind which would help him/her gain flexibility in responding to a changing business environment and also in learning of new concepts and ideas. The enhancement of the knowledge regarding technology, operations and other needed knowhow would help in enhancing the competencies of the leader-manager to work in the changing and demanding business environment (Prakash, 2017). Further, the leader-manager is also required to work as an avid risk taker in terms of undertaking of new experiments associated to novel concepts and ideas. The willingness to undertake newer experiments would help the leader-manager to move over to uncharted territories and thereby help in gaining access to newer markets and consumers. Again, the leader-manager is also required to readily accept the errors committed by him or her and thereby to rightly work with a focus on meeting situational objectives and needs. A leader-manager is also identified to be such that focuses on understanding the needs and expectations of others with due humility and thereby in working towards the meeting of such (Sobratee & Bodhanya, 2018). Likewise, the leader-manager is identified as such that focuses on working in a passionate and inquisitive fashion in meeting of set targets and objectives associated to business and production. The leader-manager thereby becomes responsible in setting of strategic objectives and mission and thereby in developing competencies and arranging of resources for meeting them at a future period (Chauhan, Kumar, & Joshi, 2018). The management competencies of a leader-manager discussed above are reflected in the following model.

Management Competencies in a VUCA World

Further research carried out regarding leader-manager competencies in a VUCA environment reflect that the level of leadership agility can be essentially divided into three main types like expert, achiever and catalyst. The expert level leader-manager is such that is required to feature essential competencies associated to problem-solving ability and tactical knowledge. These leaders continually focus on developing their expertise such that the same helps them in gaining higher authority in the organisation (Raghuramapatruni & Kosuri, 2017). Further, the achiever level leader-manager is identified as such that focuses on the development of effective strategies. These leaders tend to encourage others in operating in a challenging environment and thereby work in an empowered fashion for meeting of set objectives (Kumar & Narayana, 2017). Finally, the catalyst leader-manager is identified as such that works in the development of new visions and thereby in enhancing the level of existing capacity for meeting of the identified visions. The catalyst leaders are thereby identified to work in an innovative fashion and also encourage and empower individuals for meeting of visionary objectives and goals (Pimplapue, 2018).

Again, the agility competencies are identified to be of four different types like context-setting, stakeholder, creative and finally self-leadership based agility. In terms of context-setting based agility the leader-manager is required to work in scanning the external business environment and thereby in anticipating future or emerging changes so that the strategic objectives and tasks can be effectively designed for influencing and empowering organisational members (Balasubramanian, 2018). The leader-manager herein is required to reflect additional competencies in terms of having a long-term and visionary focus and thereby in influencing and impacting others in meeting of the long-term and visionary objectives. In terms of stakeholder agility, the leader-manager is required in not only identifying effective stakeholders but also in working towards integrating and engaging them for meeting of organisational objectives (Das & Ara, 2014). Herein, the leader-manager is thereby required to understand the needs and expectations of the potential stakeholders and also interact with them for helping them gain needed clarity as to the institutional objectives and in designing a working plan for aptly meeting of such. In terms of creative agility, the leader-manager focuses on working as a catalyst leader that aims in empowering and leading teams for brainstorming of effective solutions to an emerging problem affecting the business institution. Finally, in terms of Self-Leadership Agility the leader-manager focuses on enhancing the level of self awareness and thereby in envisioning the type of business leader one focuses on becoming and the manner their leadership growth and potential would help the business institution in the long-run (Inam, 2017).

Conclusions 

The analysis of the case study ideally reflects that the success and sustenance of Jianguo in Deronde is highly dependent on the manner he tends to revolutionise himself in understanding the cultural differences and objectives of his French colleagues and management based in the firm. Jianguo to act as an effective leader-manager is required to act in a glocal fashion which would help in understanding of the localised needs of the international markets. The same would help in strategising the product offerings and in deciding on the manner of launching and promoting the products in the international markets. Further, Jianguo is also required to focus on training and in empowering the subordinates to work in generating effective solutions concerning the problems associated to product development and launches in the global marketplace. The above initiatives would help Jianguo in earning needed recognition for his job and thereby in designing internal teams that would help in fulfilling of visionary objectives in a collective fashion.

References 

Balasubramanian, N. (2018). Innovative Operation Strategies in VUCA world. IOSR Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM) , 107-116.

Beugelsdijk, S., & Welzel, C. (2018). Dimensions and Dynamics of National Culture: Synthesizing Hofstede With Inglehart. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology , 49 (10), 1469-1505.

Chauhan, A., Kumar, A., & Joshi, M. (2018). ‘Leader-manager’ or ‘manager-leader’ in a VUCA world? Indian Management , 38-44.

Das, K. K., & Ara, A. (2014). LEADERSHIP IN VUCA WORLD: A CASE OF LENOVO. International Journal of Current Research , 6 (4), 6410-6419.

Hofstede Insights . (2019). COUNTRY COMPARISON. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/china,france/

Inam, H. (2017, October 18). To Lead In A VUCA World, Practice Leadership Agility. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/hennainam/2017/10/18/to-lead-in-a-vuca-world-practice-leadership-agility/#2f2d92112190

Kumar, C. U., & Narayana, M. S. (2017). Sustainable Talent Management Practices in VUCA World – A Study with Reference to Management Education. International Journal of Trend in Research and Development , 4 (6), 44-49.

Meyer, E. (2017). Being the Boss in Brussels, Boston, and Beijing. Harvard Business Review .

Nohria, N. (2009). From Regional Star to Global Leader. Harvard: Harvard Business Review.

Ollier-Malaterre, A., & Foucreault, A. (2017). Cross-National Work-Life Research: Cultural and Structural Impacts for Individuals and Organizations. Journal of Management , 43 (1), 111-136.

P., K., & Mac Giolla, E. (2017). Personality traits across countries: Support for similarities rather than differences. PLoS ONE , 12 (6).

Pimplapue, M. N. (2018). LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR MANAGING IN VUCA WORLD. PARIPEX - INDIAN JOURNAL OF RESEARCH , 7 (6), 37-39.

Prakash, M. S. (2017). LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES IN A VUCA WORLD & COMPETENCIES REQUIRED TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES. 10th International Conference on Recent Innovations in Science, Engineering and Management (pp. 533-538). Telengana: Dhruva Institute of Engineering and Technology .

Qiu, T., & Homer, P. M. (2018). Cultural Fit and the Choice of International Market Entry Scale of Chinese Firms. Journal of Global Marketing .

Raghuramapatruni, R., & Kosuri, S. r. (2017). The Straits of Success in a VUCA World. IOSR Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM) , 16-22.

Sobratee, N., & Bodhanya, S. (2018). Leading in a global context: The balancing act between leadership and management. Journal of Business and Retail Management Research (JBRMR) , 12 (4), 54-68.

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