CASE STUDY: COOPERATING AND Communicating Across Cultures

Americans and Germans Working in a Project Team

Markus Pudelko

University of Edinburgh Management School

This case was written by Dr Markus Pudelko, The University of Edinburgh Management School. It is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from generalized experience and on relevant literature, in particular Schroll-Machl, S. (1996) 'Kulturbedingte Unterschiede im Problemlösungsprozeß bei deutsch-amerikanischen Arbeitsgruppen', in Thomas, A. (ed) Psychologie interkulturellen Handelns, Göttingen et al: Hogrefe, 383–409).

Reference no 406-034-1.

© 2006, The University of Edinburgh. No part of this publication may be copied, stored, transmitted, reproduced or distributed in any form or medium whatsoever without the permission of the copyright owner.

1. SITUATION: THE PROJECT IS DOMINATED BY GERMANS

The American perspective

Introduction

Two months ago I was sent by my company from our Philadelphia headquarters to Stuttgart in order to prepare the launch of a new product on the European market. The product, a laser for eye surgery, was developed by a joint venture between us and our German partner. Even though the joint venture belongs in equal shares to both companies it was agreed that our German partner would take the lead in introducing the product on the European market and that we would have the say ...

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