discussion questions - written responses

Project Description:

paraphrase the answers like always
1. a british computer firm is acquiring a smaller competitor located in frankfurt.
what are two likely differences in the way these two firms carry out the
decision making process? how could these differences create a problem for the
acquiring firm? give an example in each case.
answer: first, the newly acquired german company is likely to have a much more centralized decision-making process than the british firm. second, the managers of the german firm are likely to have a much higher level of technical expertise than the british managers. third, the german managers are likely to be much more concerned with productivity and quality issues than they are with managing subordinates. the british managers will tend to have more of an information sharing relationship with lower and middle managers.
2. which cultures would be more likely to focus on external controls? which cultures would you consider direct controls to be more important than indirect controls?
answer: from an internal control standpoint, an mnc will focus on the things that it does best. at the same time management wants to ensure that there is a market for the goods and services that it is offering. cultures differ in the control approach they use. for example, among u.s. multinationals it is common to find managers using an internal control approach. among asian firms an external control approach is more typical. direct controls involve the use of face-to-face or personal meetings to monitor operations. indirect controls involve the use of reports and other written forms of communication to control operations. cultures where customer satisfaction and service are top priority would consider direct controls to be more important than indirect controls. indirect controls are used by almost all companies such as the use of monthly operating reports that are sent to the home office. in direct controls are particularly important in international management because of the great expense associated with direct methods. domestic companies find it easier to utilize direct controls where regular management meetings can be held at headquarters.
4. how are u.s. multinationals trying to introduce total quality management (tqm)
into their operations? give two examples. would a u.s. mnc doing business in
germany find it easier to introduce these concepts into german operations, or
would there be more receptivity to them back in the united states? why? what if
the u.s. multinational were introducing these ideas into a japanese subsidiary?
answer: one way in which tqm is being introduced by american multinationals is through the use of concurrent engineering/interfunctional teams in which designers, engineers, production specialists, and customers work together to develop new products. the use of consumer advisory councils is another way in which tqm is being introduced in the u.s. these councils are being created for the purpose of providing input, testing the product, and suggesting refinements. in trying to turn things around, ibm is successfully using such a program.
another critical factor in the introduction of tqm is employee empowerment, which encourages individuals and groups to generate ideas for improving quality. these empowered employees are given the decision-making authority to implement the ideas. both gm and kodak have had success with employee empowerment programs.
rewards and recognition have played an important role in the introduction of tqm in the u.s. rewards given to employees will increase the frequency of quality related behaviors. reward systems are a necessary, but often overlooked, requirement for successful tqm programs. motorola and other successful quality mncs utilize effective reward systems. finally, training that stresses continuous improvement is important in the introduction of tqm into an operation. motorola again is a good example of having a total commitment to training for quality.
the u.s. mnc doing business in germany or japan would probably have a more difficult time introducing the concepts overseas than it would at home. the primary reason for this is the fact that the u.s. mnc is more familiar with its domestic organizational culture.
a tqm program must permeate all levels of the organization and any misperception about the intentions of those implementing the program will lessen the chances of success. for example, choosing effective rewards will be more difficult in germany and japan. on the other hand, the german and japanese cultures are more familiar with the concepts of quality and continuous improvement so, from that standpoint, the introduction of tqm might be easier.
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Project Budget: $23 to $24
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