The analysis of the issues of ‘scrum-me biscuits’ Essay

The analysis of the issues of ‘Scrum-me biscuits’


1. Introduction 1

2. Main issues toward management 1

2.1 Strategic Planning 2

2.2 Selection 2

2.3 Preparation 2

2.4 Performance measurement and reward 4

2.5 Repatriation 4

3. Reasons for team-working going wrong 4

3.1 The differences between direct and indirect communication 4

3.2 The different attitude toward hierarchy and authority 5

3.3 Conflicting norms for decision making 5

4. Recommendations 6

5. Conclusion 9

6. References 10

[bookmark: _Toc535165027]1. Introduction

The purpose of this report is to analysis the main issues with Scrum-ME’s management of expatriation and to disuses the main reasons why the team-working is going wrong, finally, to give recommendations towards these issues.

[bookmark: _Toc535165028]2. Main issues toward management

This report uses five factors from the stages of Brewster et al.’s (2016) expatriation cycle to explain the main issues with Scrum-me’s management of expatriation.

[bookmark: _Toc535165029]2.1 Strategic Planning

The Scrum-me’s Headquarters (HQs) chose the ethnocentric mode as they believe that what works well at home will transfer well to any new Country of Operation (Perlmutter, 1969), thus they use the same performance measurement standard (the Performance Related Pay (PRP)) from headquarters (HQs), which was unpopular in Japan. Using ethnocentric mode, in the long run, may cause the problem such as ineffective planning and less flexible response to local changes (Perlmutter, 1969).

However, even if the Japanese were unhappy toward PRP, the expats didn’t be given enough authority to change it.

The company was close alignment with MNC internationalisation strategy as they use the same approach of HQs to run the factory in Japan, but this was not necessarily suitable.

The role of expats took on was dominance and threat as they were sent to control and make decisions for the company. But expats could not find proper approaches for quality, stock and employees’ control (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

The HQs did not have an awareness of the recent trends in expatriation such as that the partners refuse to be in a “trailing or hostess” role (Brewster et al., 2016). Thus, the conflict between expats and their partners could not be handled effectively.

[bookmark: _Toc535165030]2.2 Selection

During the progress of selection, the HQs did not carefully consider the family situations of expatriates (Tung, 1981; Mendenhall & Oddou, 1985), thus most of them struggled with family issues.

There was no specific selection standard for expats.

[bookmark: _Toc535165031]2.3 Preparation

The HQs failed to make an accurate training for expatriates (Mendenhal and Stahl, 2000; Harzing, 2011), thus the expatriates all felt resentful towards the pre-departure training since the preparation was inappropriate.

The expatriates received little support from the HQs and usually dealt with things alone, which indicates that the on-going internet-based training from HQs was insufficient (Mendenhal and Stahl, 2000; Harzing, 2011).

Moreover, the assignment length was not well planned (Reiche & Harzing, 2019). Some expatriates only agreed to stay for 2 years but had been there for over 3 years.

Cultural shock:

There are four examples to show that the cross-cultural training for expats was insufficient. Firstly, as the lack of cross-cultural training, expatriates are difficult to make sense of Japanese’ behaviour (Tung, 1981). Therefore, when working in mixed teams, decision-making was extremely tough.

Secondly, the Britons expats were not be trusted enough to be invited in the meeting outside the office, this is another example that it is difficult for expatriates to understand Japanese’ behaviour as the HQs failed to help expats to have a better understanding of Japanese culture background and social habits (Tung, 1981).

Thirdly, due to Japan is high collectivism while the UK is high individualism, Japanese managers prefer to hire their family members while Britons prefer to recruit the most suitable one (Hofstede, 2019). This indicates that the differences of behaviour between them were hard to be understood by each other (Tung, 1981).

Fourthly, the Japanese were not willing to use the PRP due to the high collectivism and Power Distance (PD) (Hofstede, 2019), which will be discussed in the part of “The different attitude toward hierarchy and authority”. This shows that it is also hard for the Japanese to comprehend the behaviour of the Britons (Tung, 1981).

[bookmark: _Toc535165032]2.4 Performance measurement and reward

The HQs conducted a survey after the expats been to Japan over two years. The performance management was not in time and not accurate enough (Brewster et al., 2016).

There was no reward system for expats and this job was not attractive enough, which is one reason that most of the expats want to leave this position if things did not change (Brewster et al., 2016).

[bookmark: _Toc535165033]2.5 Repatriation

The bad career management toward Britons expats can be showed by the mismatch between the commitment and the reality (Stahl et al., 2002). Many expats only agree to stay for 2 years but had stayed for over 3 years.

[bookmark: _Toc535165034]Moreover, the out-of-sight of the HQs towards expats can be proven by that during the discussion with the HQs through phones, the discussion only focused on performance matters, the feelings and thoughts of expats were not be concerned and not be took seriously (Tung",1998).

3. Reasons for team-working going wrong

The reasons why the team-working is going so wrong can be explained by three factors from Brett et al’s theory (Brett, et al., 2009).

[bookmark: _Toc535165035]3.1 The differences between direct and indirect communication

Communication in Western Countries like the UK is typically direct and clear (Brett, et al., 2009). However, Japanese are more collective than British (Hofstede",2019), they want to ensure that the organization remains in harmony. Japanese are usually embarrassed when direct warnings are given and are unwilling to point out others’ mistakes directly (Brett, et al., 2009). Japanese were unwilling to vocalise their thoughts directly towards people who are in a higher level of position due to the higher score of PD in Japan (Hofstede, 2019). Therefore, when Japanese employees felt unhappy, they may choose an indirect way: complaint outside the office, rather than directly talking to expat managers. This is one reason that Britons expats were not be invited to the meetings outside of the office. Also, there was no system put in place for all the workers to complain or give advice (Moran, 2007).

Moreover, when team projects encounter problems, the variances between direct and indirect communication can lead to ineffective cooperation, which can explain that expat managers found unable to manage the situation effectively. (Brett, et al., 2009).

[bookmark: _Toc535165036]3.2 The different attitude toward hierarchy and authority

This is another reason why the teamwork going wrong and why the PRP is not popular in Japan (Brett, et al., 2009). The variance of PD and individualism can be used to explain. Japan is a higher PD Country, Japanese are more likely to obey while people from a lower PD Country like the UK, with the low extent to tolerate unequal from the hierarchy (Hofstede, 2019).

Japanese workers were not willing to use the PRP as they believe the higher the employees’ positions are, the more wages they gain (CRANET, 2011). By contrast, Britons leaders usually lack the authority to control in the hierarchy, thus the PRP is an acceptable and relatively equal method for Britons employees (Brett, et al., 2009).

Japanese also believe that the higher the employees’ positions are, the more responsibility they should take (Hofstede, 2019). This is one reason that the local managers and the shop-floor ranks unwilling to take responsibilities as they were not the highest position’s manager. The shop-floor ranks had no right to make the decision and the interview did not collect their thoughts. They were not be valued enough, thus, there were low levels of motivation within the shop-floor ranks.

Moreover, the reason that the local managers to hire their family members can also be explained by the higher PD and collectivism in Japan (Hofstede, 2019).

[bookmark: _Toc535165037]3.3 Conflicting norms for decision making

The score of PD in Japan is higher than the UK, thus the decision-making process in Japan is slow as almost all the decisions must be authorized at each layer (Hofstede, 2019). Japanese prefer to spend much time to predict the risks of a decision, while people in the UK (lower UA, high individualism) prefer a high level of creativity and innovation which may contain more risks (Hofstede",2019). Therefore, when making decisions in mixed teams, Japanese staff may spend much time to communicate with people from different hierarchy and making abundant risk researches, while the British may care more about efficiency and innovation. These lead the inconsistent of speed in the project schedule, which is the reason that the decision-making in mixed teams like a nightmare.

[bookmark: _Toc535165038]4. Recommendations

This table is organized by the structure that showed above. This table uses theories from Reiche & Harzing (2019) and Brett (2009) and examples from LENOVO and HUAWEI to give recommendations to solve the issues mentioned above (Zaagman, 2017). The references to “advice” are showed in the references of “reasons”.




Strategic Planning

1.ineffective planning

2.Inappropriate internationalization strategy

3.less flexible response to local changes

Inpatriate assignments

Can be an alternative way as it’s more flexible to local changes.

With the combination of cultural awareness and a good understanding of HQs’ strategies, more effective planning can be made, and the strategy can be more appropriate (Reiche & Harzing, 2019). For instance, Lenovo, they rather trust locals to manage their own markets (Zaagman, 2017).

Expats didn’t be given enough authority to change the PRP.

Give authority or help Japanese understand cultural differences and accept it.

Like Lenovo, they give expats authority to adjust regulations to adapt to the local culture (Zaagman, 2017).

Also, it worked if Japanese accept PRP after understanding the benefits of PRP and the cultural differences (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

Expats cannot find a suitable way to control.

Virtual assignments

Cheaper than expatriation. The HQs can decrease the number of expats and let some stay in the home Country to contact with expat frequently to solve this problem (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

Ignored the recent trends in expatriation

Have awareness of the recent trend.

With the awareness of “the partners refuse to be in a “trailing or hostess” role”, HQs can make solution such as: arrange a job for their partners (Brewster et al., 2016).


Family issues

Consider the family situation.

To find whether their family members have the desire to go to decrease family issues.

No specific selection standard

Recommend standard:

1. The ability relational abilities.

2.The perceptual dimension and the cultural toughness dimensions.

More flexible to control in different cultures.

These kinds of expats can solve difficulties properly (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).


Inappropriate preparation

Career planning sessions.

Help to gain more knowledge and prepare more (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

Lacked on-going training

Real-time training and internet-based training

Help to solve issues in time (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

Assignment length did not be well arranged

Arrange in advance

To ensure the expats in HUAWEI are given adequate attention, the assignment length would be arranged in advance and no more than four years at a time (Zaagman, 2017).

Lacked cross-cultural training

1. language courses, general information on the host-country context course (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

2.Immersion approaches

Help expats to know more about cultural differences and handle issues effectively (Brewster et al., 2016).

performance measurement

Performance management was not in time

Lacked a reward system


Bad career management

1.Career planning sessions.

2.Pre-departure briefings on what to expect during repatriation.

1. Help to plan things clear and ahead (such as: when to go back).

2. Help to not let expats’ expectation fail (Reiche & Harzing, 2019).


seminars on emotional responses following repatriation.

Show the to expats.

(Reiche & Harzing, 2019).

The differences between direct and indirect communication

Direct/indirect communication


2.Create smaller working groups of mixed cultures.

1. Less managerial time. Help members to acknowledge the cultural differences and reduce conflict.

2. Managers can obtain information that not provide from the whole team. The team members can understand and respect the rest (Brett, et al., 2009).

Ineffective corporation


Help members to participate in problem resolution and work together (Brett, et al., 2009).

No complaint/opinion collect system

1.Create smaller working groups of mixed cultures.

2. Proper manager.

1. Obtain information that not provide from the whole team. Help members understand the rest of the team.

2. Use manager who tries to get everyone involved and dealing challenges with good humor and creativity (Brett, et al., 2009).

The different attitude toward hierarchy and authority

1.Not accept PRP

2.Local managers hire family members


Help Japanese members to acknowledge the cultural differences and adopt the UK’s management style (Brett, et al., 2009).

Local employees unwilling to take responsibilities

1. Encourage a sense of ownership.

2. Reward employees who step up.

HUAWEI let employees feel a great sense of ownership, then they work harder and willing to take responsibilities. Besides, reward employees who step up would be an efficient method to solve this problem (Zaagman, 2017).

No motivation within the shop-floor ranks

1.Create smaller working groups of mixed cultures.

2.Proper manager.

1. Collect their thoughts.

2. Use manager who tries to get everyone involved and with charisma leadership (Brett, et al., 2009).

Conflicting norms for decision making

Inconsistency of speed during decision-making


2.Structural intervention.

1. Help team acknowledges the cultural differences.

2. To identify a set of values that teams use to guide and assess their progress (Brett, et al., 2009).

[bookmark: _Toc535165039]5. Conclusion

This report has shown the main issues with Scrum-me about expatriation management and team-working. With the relevant recommendations, these problems may be solved more efficiently and hopefully, the management of Scrum-me could be improved better.

[bookmark: _Toc535165040]6. References

Brett, J., Behfar, K. and Kern, M.C., 2009. Managing multicultural teams. The Essential Guide to Leadership, from page 85 to 99.

Brewster, C., Houldsworth, E., Sparrow, P. and Vernon, G., 2016. International human resource management. Kogan Page Publishers. P191-P193

CRANET, (2011a) for Japan. CRANET Survey on comparative human resource management. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2018]

Hofstede Insights. (2019a) for Japan Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. [online] Available at:",the-uk/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2019].

Hofstede Insights. (2019b) for United Kingdom Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. [online] Available at:",the-uk/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2019].

Mendenhall, M. and Oddou, G. (1985). The Dimensions of Expatriate Acculturation: A Review. The Academy of Management Review, 10(1), pp.39-47.

Moran, R.T., Harris, P.R. and Moran, S., (2007). Managing cultural differences. Routledge, pp.45-60.

Perlmutter, H.V. (1969) The tortuous evolution of the multinational corporation, Columbia Journal of World Business, 4 (1): 9-18

Reiche, B. S. & Harzing, A.-W., (2019). International Assignments. In: K. Smy, ed. International Human Resource Management. 5th ed. London: Sage Publications, pp. 160-207.

Stroh, L, Gregersen, B & Black, J 1998, ‘Closing the Gap: Expectations Versus Reality Among Repatriates’, Journal of World Business, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 111-124

Tung, R.L. (1981) selection and training of personnel for overseas assignments. Columbia Journal of World Business. Vol 16, No 1. pp68-78.

Tung, R.L. (1998) American expatriates abroad: from neophytes to cosmopolitans. Journal of World Business. Vol 33, No 2. pp125-144.

Zaagman, E. (2017). Thinking About Working For A Chinese Company? First, Find Out If It’s A ‘Lenovo’ Or A ‘Huawei.’ | Frontera. [online] Frontera. Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2019].


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