Case of the Floundering Expatriate (Commentary for HBR Case Study)
For teaching purposes, this is the commentary-only version of the HBR case study. The case-only version is reprint 95401X. The complete case study and commentary is reprint 95401. Frank Waterhouse, CEO of Argos Diesel, Europe, is exasperated. Bert Donaldson, who arrived in Zurich a year ago to create a European team--to facilitate communication among the parts suppliers that Argos has acquired over the past two years--just isn't working out. Although he has excellent credentials, both as a successful team builder at Argos International in Detroit and as a teacher in Cairo, his style seems abrasive here and he is behind schedule in implementing the team-building program. Moreover, Waterhouse is worried that Donaldson's failure will reflect badly on himself. But Waterhouse can't simply fire Donaldson. Donaldson is a smart man with a record of genuine successes in the States. If he gets fired, his career may be destroyed. Further, the CEO of Argos International thinks the world of him and is counting on Waterhouse to make this assignment work. Can Waterhouse teach Donaldson cultural awareness? Can he help him become effective in his job? Waterhouse has scheduled a conversation with Donaldson to discuss the situation. What should he say? In 95401 and 95401Z, Douglas A. Ready, Susan Schneider, Bjorn Johansson, Fons Trompenaars, and Roman Borboa offer advice on this fictional case study.