Business and Management
Submitted By maple8023
Karen and Ted’s Communication Breakdown
Karen Leary and Ted Chung’s breakdown escalated from a series of miscommunications rooted in cultural, communication, motivation, management, and leadership differences.
Karen's concerns escalate when Ted's stock purchases deviate from the conservative financial plan that Karen had previously approved. Karen is low-context, universalistic, and forward-looking; she is comfortable with the financial plan because it is essentially a written contract that explicitly states Ted's plans for the future of the account (a conservative purchase plan). Although Ted is careful to document his unsolicited trades, in an attempt to abide by Merrill's universalistic compliance issues, his high-context, particularistic, and past and present-oriented relationship with the client later lead him to invest in riskier stocks. Ted's relationship with the client is rooted in trust, which is a dynamic, unspoken contract that can be changed with the situation. This trust has its foundation in a shared historical past (both Ted and the client come from the same village) and grows stronger by the day, requiring Ted to adjust the financial plan to the changing relationship. Additionally, since Ted has succeeded in entrepreneurial contexts he has a lower uncertainty avoidance than Karen, who climbed the corporate ladder. Thus, Ted and the client may be more comfortable with the ambiguous profitability of risky stocks.
Ted's adherence to standard procedures and compliance issues are a result of power distance. Although Ted defers to Karen’s authority by never openly challenging her management practices, he considers sales-assistant work “beneath him, particularly if an underling asked him [to help].” From Karen’s low-power-distance perspective, this behavior seems “egotistical;” however, it is better explained by a sense Confucian…...