Samir Singh, CEO of Singh Security Systems Limited (SSSL), is in a quandary whether to send Seema Saran, a critical employee for SSSL, to Qatar and work with Al Zulfi, the group Singh chose for partnership.
Leslie Hitch and Shreshthi Mehta
Harvard Business Review (W16192-PDF-ENG)
April 12, 2016
Case questions answered:
What decision should Samir Singh take to make the partnership in Qatar a success without alienating Seema Saran from SSSL?
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Case answers for Competence, Competitiveness, and Intercultural Conflict in Qatar
Executive Summary – Competence, Competitiveness, and Intercultural Conflict in Qatar
Samir Singh, the CEO of Singh Security Systems Limited (SSSL), an Indian company and a security systems manufacturer, is venturing into Qatar due to increased competition in the domestic market. Al Zulfi, the group he chose for partnership, is a typical organization in Qatar that has 180 men on-board.
Seema Saran, a critical employee for SSSL, wants to work with the Al Zulfi group. Singh can either send her and risk the partnership by trusting her competency or send a male manager instead.
He can also choose to defer her expatriation and give the Al Zulfi group time to recognize her competence by working remotely.
Samir Singh, the CEO of SSSL, faces a dilemma of whether or not to send her most valuable employee Seema Saran as the product manager for SSSL products in Qatar.
SSSL is an Indian company, which deals in security systems. It is expanding its operations in Qatar in partnership with the Al Zulfi group due to the growing domestic market competition.
In conversations with Mir Ahmed Khan, leader of Al Zulfi Group, Singh realized the male-dominated culture of the organization and mentally mapped his male managers Lal or Mehta as the product manager in Qatar while remotely taking the guidance from Seema.
Seema Saran, who has exceptional performance metrics of 7 years and proven expertise in managing client’s expectations, wants to work on the Qatar project to explore new avenues and increase the volume of her merit payouts by managing the cost variance, in which she is best at SSSL.
To let Seema test the waters, Singh requests a meeting in Doha with Mir Ahmed and the Sheikhs and accompanies her to check her comfort level. Though she tactfully handled the interaction, Singh is still unsure if she could surpass the cultural barrier to work efficiently with Al Zulfi.
Keeping the cultural resistance in consideration, whom should Singh expatriate for managing SSSL operations in Qatar?
- Honor Seema’s dedication to the company by sending her to Qatar
- Send either Lal or Mehta and refuse Seema’s chances.
- Defer Seema’s expatriation till she proves her mettle to Al Zulfi working remotely
Criteria for evaluation
- Partnership success and Seema’s Safety
- Cultural fit for Al Zulfi
- Probability of Seema’s resignation
Evaluation of options
1. Honor Seema’s dedication to the company by sending her to Qatar
Partnership success and Seema’s Safety
Seema is a capable woman and is ready to put in extra effort to make the Al Zulfi leaders look beyond her gender and consider her exceptional credentials.
Even during the meeting with Sheikhs in Qatar, she…