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Case study: Road to Hell

Analysis of popular case study named Road to Hell for International Business students.

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Case study: Road to Hell

  1. 1. International Human Resource Management
  2. 2. The Road to Hell Introduction John Baker was a chief engineer of the Caribbean Bauxite Company of Barracania, who was being promoted to Keso Mining Corporation near Winnipeg, a Canadian enterprise. His final task is the assessment interview with the successor, Matthew Rennalls, the able young Barracanian. Baker is an English expatriate, who preferred working overseas, because he felt that he had an innate knack – better than most other expatriates- of knowing just how to get along with the regional staff. It was pointed out to Baker that not only was Rennalls one of the brightest Barracanian prospects on the staff as at London University he had taken first-class honours in the BSc engineering degree but he was also the son of the minister of finance and economic planning, he also had no small political pull.
  3. 3. What went wrong? Baker in the beginning of his interview with Rennalls, encouraged him by listing his good points, which were his technica labilities. He then told him that he had noticed that Rennalls was more friendly and get on better with his fellow Barracanians than he was with Europeans. “It will be necessary for you to get on well with expatriates, because until the company has trained sufficient people of your caliber, Europeans are bound to occupy senior positions here in Barracania.” A few more comments were given by Baker to Renanalls stating the superiority of the Europeans. As a result, Rennalls gave his resignation in the company the next morning.
  4. 4. Character sketch of Rennalls His four years at London University made him sensitive to any sign of condescension on the part of expatriates. He was ambitious, he did not lie in politics, because, he wanted to put his engineering talent to the best use possible.
  5. 5. Why this problem happened? Different culture between European and Barracanian. There was some racialism, even though Baker knew Rennalls background. Rennalls is sensitive to political, racial, and equality issues. Baker emphasized a lot on European employees being more experienced. Rennalls thought that Baker tried to insult him.
  6. 6. Conclusion Baker was not intentionally behaving as a racist, but an old saying stays true: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Through this case we can analyze the importance of understanding the people around you. John Baker’s intentions towards Matthew Rennalls were not based on a bad premonition. His lack of understanding the behavioral characteristics of his coworker was his major downfall. One business ethic that must hold sacred is the ethic of not offending our coworkers. John Baker forgot this ethic and that is why he was not successful in admonishing his coworker.
  7. 7. Recommendations Baker must invite Rennalls back to the company and apologize to him.   Find someone to replace Rennall’s position. Baker needs training about his perception of others and cultural diversity. The Barracanians and other expatriates need training to learn the cultural differences in the company.
  8. 8. Adishri Gulati Thank you!