Question 1

Analyse the following scenario and then answer the questions that follow with reference to this case.

Nkazimulo recently joined a new company as the head of the customer-service department. At this company with its 50 employees, Nkazimulo is one of only two black women, and she is the only woman in a management position. Most employees, and all the other managers, are Chinese men. There is a clear dominant cultural group at this organisation, as all employees from other cultural groups are expected to do things “the Chinese way”.

This involves early-morning meetings, high expectations of punctuality, and long work hours to finish projects on time as all the employees have a responsibility to give their all in their work. Verbal communication is kept to the minimum and people tend not to express their intentions or needs openly. As there is a high reliance on nonverbal cues, all meetings take place in person and not online. This company does not allow employees to work from home. Relationship-building is important at the company, and therefore employees are expected to frequently have lunch together in the cafeteria. All the other managers are very ambitious and focused on achievements and success, but achievement belongs to the collective group rather than one individual. While success is important, the group is more patient to wait for results as they believe one must persevere to achieve greatness, which is more important than a series of quick results.

Identify three of Hofstede’s value dimensions evident in the scenario. (6)

Explain the value dimensions identified in 1.1 and give examples of these value dimensions from the scenario. (18)  24]


Analyse the following scenario and then answer the questions that follow with reference to this case.

During the first three months at her new job, Nkazimulo has found it difficult at times to get along with her colleagues, especially her fellow managers. Remember that all the other managers at the company are Chinese. During September, Nkazimulo proposed to the managers that everyone at the office must bring a signature dish from his or her culture to share with everyone for lunch. She wants to draw attention to the small but diverse group of non-Chinese employees and hopefully create a more inclusive work environment. Unfortunately, the idea was met with strong disapproval, and one colleague even made the comment, “Why must we eat weird food? We all know Chinese food is the best anyway. That’s why you all keep buying Chinese takeaways”. Another colleague said: “We don’t like to eat samp. That is the only signature dish African people have – samp. It is all they eat – morning and night.”

Despite this incident, Nkazimulo gets along with most of her colleagues, except for Lee, the marketing manager. Lee tends to avoid interacting with Nkazimulo at all costs. When Nkazimulo tries to talk to Lee, he seems awkward and quickly leaves the room. They have hardly had any conversation since Nkazimulo joined the team. When Nkazimulo asked a co-worker why Lee does not want to interact with her, she is told that “Lee has never worked directly with a black person before, and he is very afraid that he will say or do something wrong. He feels that black people, especially women, can get upset quickly if they feel wronged.”

Identify the three intercultural barriers that Nkazimulo is experiencing in this scenario. (6)

Discuss the barriers identified in 2.1 and give examples of these barriers from the scenario. (15)

Technical presentation (5)

Answers to Above Questions on Nkazimulo Case Study

Answer 1: Hofstede culture dimension theory is an important theory that is used in order to understand the differences that exist in culture across countries. The theory has identified four important dimensions of cultural values and these include individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity and femininity. The case scenario above on Nkazimulo has these value dimensions identified clearly, as it is evident that there is high collectivism prevalent within the organisation among its employees. The power distance is also clearly evident in the given case study, as the power rests with a clear dominant group in the organisation.


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