1. Conflicts Analysis
The troubled situation of JVC can be attributed to the major conflict between Ellen and Jack, causing another aggravating conflict occurred consequently.
a. The major conflict was between Ellen Moore and Jack Kim, with the following symptoms:
- They had controversial issues "during the first few weeks because they were clearly stepping upon each other's territory". Ellen understood that she was the co-project manager with Jack, but Jack believed that he was the sole project manager for SI. In fact, the Korean team members always followed Jack's instructions which are different from Ellen's. Even, Jack got angry when, upon coming back from business trip, he saw that the team members just followed Ellen's instructions. Here, they were in conflict over who was giving instructions to the team members (perceived mutually exclusive goals).
- Jack wanted to carry out a market research study, which, in Ellen's opinion, was out of the project's scope and could delay the progress of SI. Here, they were in conflict over what was the scope of the project (perceived mutually exclusive events).
- The conflict between Ellen and Jack is a dysfunctional conflict as it was harming the company business (a month behind the schedule).
- The conflict increased to the level that Ellen had no way but made Jack lose face by interrupting and disagreeing with him in public. After that, Jack behaved very unprofessionally in the dinner by creating a hostile environment towards Ellen.
- The conflict between Ellen and Jack was caused by the following sources:
Perceived adverse changes: Jack was told on daily basis that he was the sole project manager, while Ellen came with the idea of co-project manager. When they met each other, they realized their conditions of work changed negatively for each side. Therefore, they blamed each other for causing the change in working conditions.
Personality clash: Jack and Ellen have different clashing cultural values. Jack's Confucian values refused to accept Ellen, a woman, as an equal manager. Ellen, a Western professional, though understood that it was vital for a Korean to save face in public, decided to interrupt and showed disagreement with Jack in the meeting.
b. The aggravating conflict was between American top-management (represented by Andrew) and Korean top-management (represented by Mr. Song) in solving the situation. Both believed that what it wants is incompatible with what the other want (mutually exclusive). The American side blamed Korean consultants' lack of experience for the problem of behind the deadline, while the Korean side blamed Ellen's capabilities. This conflict was also a dysfunctional conflict as it harmed the company's harmony and business. If the management could not find a solution to solve conflict, the company would fail to meet the deadline, which might totally kill the company's reputation.
* Here, the company did not have an appropriate conflict control and...