This assignment asks you to be the manager who has to solve a leadership problem by working with a multi-cultural team. The assignment question is as follows:
Assume you have recently been assigned to lead a six-person team working on a new health care product that could revolutionize the treatment of diabetes. This product would allow glucose readings to be taken without any needles or skin pricks. Obviously, if the product is successful, you and the rest of the team stand to earn bonuses, promotions, and industry recognition. You are being asked to lead the team because under the former leader, the project team missed several critical deadlines, and costs have spiraled out of control.
The team all works out of an office in Maryland. The team is made up of the following people:
- John, a 43-year-old African American, man, born in Bowie, Maryland
- Julie, a 51-year-old Chinese-American woman, born in the District of Columbia
- Jinsoo, a 27-year-old South Korean man who immigrated from Seoul
- Tom, a 63-year-old white American, born in Los Angeles, California, who recently moved to Maryland
- Darius, a 32-year-old Iranian man whose parents brought him to the United States when he was six years old
- Harpreet, a 30-year-old Indian woman who immigrated 10 years ago
Darius and Harpreet joined the team three months ago. The rest of the team has been together for three years.
The new product is due to be delivered for beta testing six months from today. Today, your first day on the job, you have spent the entire day talking to each team member separately. Here is what you have discovered so far today:
- Darius and Tom have been in conflict for several weeks over how to approach the design of a critical piece of the product.
- John and Julie are so disillusioned that they are job hunting, but each has unique skills that you do not wish to lose.
- Jinsoo tends to isolate himself when there is conflict, which decreases his productivity.
- Tom believes that the rest of the team is cutting him out of the picture because of his age and lack of interest in using Google to create workspaces where everyone can brainstorm. Tom would rather just talk about his ideas.
You were also briefed by the general manager, who shared that the former leader had been fired due to unethical practices such as taking bribes from vendors. However, the team members didn’t know that and really liked the former leader; they are angry that he is gone.