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Charles Martin in Uganda

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Introduction
A U.S.-based company by the name of Hydro Generation is a power plant that is shaped by Christian philosophy and values. Lawrence Lovell is the founder and current CEO of the firm. He also the company devout Christian culture and values. James Green is the Vice President of the firm and he is contemplating on whether or not to keep his manager Charles Martin. Charles Martin is an unorthodox HG manager who has a high interest in the African culture. Martin has excelled in all the previous projects and has even done projects on time and within budget. However, his recent actions with the Uganda project has made Vice President James Green, re-consider having Martin in-charge of the Uganda project.
The power plant project in Uganda requires local support from the tribes, government and villagers. The government in Uganda is highly unregulated and it strongly favors the project. The construction of a large dam in Uganda means that 700 of the villagers would be displaced and in order for HG to move forward with the project, they offered the villagers a “resettlement package that included the renovation of schools and health centers in the new location.” This was an offer the villagers could not resist and those who were affected accepted it.
The tribes on the other hand, were not so easily convinced. Tribes often tend to worship many things such as trees, animals, and even spirits. For the two tribes that lived near the Bujagali Falls site, spirits who lived near the river were sacred. This caused a big problem for HG. Therefore, Martin hired a religious caretaker who insisted that the only solution was to pay a fee of $7500 and sacrifice a sheep, two cows, four goats, and slew a few chickens. Martin went ahead and made this ceremony happen, without having in consideration what the CEO of the company values and the effect this ceremony would have on the company. Martin’s part of the ceremony, did set the project back on track, but it also went against the companies values.
Culture Influences
Culture often refers to the specific learned norms that reflect the attitudes, values, beliefs, and customs of a society (Culture), but when working internationally, you have to be able to work around the cultures that do not reflect the customs and values of the firm. People simultaneously belong to different groups that have different cultures and for a business; this can also mean legal differences.
Martin was devoted to the philosophy of integrating the African society by not drawing attention to oneself, but learning and respecting the culture itself. He lived in the middle-class even though his pay at HG gave him the means necessary to afford a up-scale apartment where most of the other international managers lived. Martin also did not bother to integrate himself with the community, and he was known for making “extra payments” to local people in order for things to go by smoother and faster. In the U.S practices such as the one Martin is known for, are illegal and can ruin the image of the entire company.
These unethical practices are the reason why Vice President, James Green, is considering Martin’s involvement with the firm. When Martin was assigned as the liaison specialist representative of the Uganda project he had been given tasks that involved gaining support, acquiring personnel, and helping foreign personnel get settled and feel comfortable living and working in Uganda. So far, he has managed to gain support of authorities, villagers, and tribes by what the company considers unethical. The task of acquiring personnel is also unethical under the company’s mission and values. Finally, his lifestyle has caused him to fail at making his engineer partners feel comfortable with living and working in Uganda.

Culture Attributes
Uganda has many cultural attributes that might affect operations of a foreign company doing business there. Uganda is a region located in Sub-Saharan Africa, its income level is low and it has a population of 37 million people (Doing). Uganda’s official language is English, but there are many other languages spoken that may create a communication issue when doing business. Uganda typically moves slowly in terms of doing business, for example, in order to get a phone line to work properly, or to even set up an office, it can take months.
The corruption of the Uganda government also affects operations of a foreign company doing business there because in the U.S. it is illegal to pay extra money in order to bribe officials and government workers in order to get the job done faster. In Uganda however, they tend to hire relatives the locals recommend. These recommendations however, go further than just putting in a good word for a friend or relative, this usually in tales that the recommended individual knows someone higher up in the government and can get the job done faster. This chain reaction can usually lead to employees having favorites and even fraud.
Paying higher employed workers is illegal in the U.S. and companies that base out of the U.S. should not get involved with such practices, because it can ruin the company’s image, the company can get fines, or it can even lead to jail time for the individuals involved. Finally, the last attribute that affects operations like it is affecting Martin’s place in HG company is the Uganda’s tribe rituals. In Martin’s case for example, he had to involve himself in the participation of a ritual in order to continue with the project. This is known as culture enforcement, and companies need to be aware of this (what). The influence of foreign culture can damage the image of ones firm, especially if the cultures practices in Uganda are incompatible with the practices of the Christian views and beliefs.
Cultural Attitude
Attitudes and values affect all dimensions of business activities, from what products to sell to how to organize, finance, manage, and control operations (Dhavale). In my opinion, the attitude Martin had towards the Uganda culture and his role in HG is polycentric. A polycentric person is someone who believes that the host country knows the best work approaches and practices for running their business. “Managers with a polycentric attitude view every foreign operation as different and hard to understand. Thus, these managers are likely to leave their foreign facilities alone and let foreign employees figure out how best to do things” (Three).
Martin falls into the polycentric category because he was doing business the “African-way” of doing things even if it was considered illegal in the U.S. Martin took the time to understand the Ugandan culture and he went out of the way to accommodate to the culture’s needs and beliefs. Those factors along with Martin’s respect and attitude towards Ugandans culture are what influences his polycentric attitude.
Green in the other hand is the complete opposite of Martin. Green is not ok with Martins actions and ways of conducting business. Green has a ethnocentric attitude because he believes the company should operate under the same rules, regulations, morals and values as it does in its home country. An ethnocentric attitude is someone who beliefs that the best work approaches and practices are those of the home country. “Managers with an ethnocentric attitude believe that people in foreign countries do not have the needed skills, expertise, knowledge, or experience to make the best business decisions as people in the home country do” (Three). The factor that makes Green have an ethnocentric attitude is his concern with corporate-level issues such as the makes Green have an ethnocentric attitude is his concern with corporate-level issues such as the company’s image and the illegal hiring practice.
Controversial Actions
In all essence, Martin was an essential key player for the Uganda dam project, even though his ways of doing things were not the best in Greens eyes. Arguments can be easily made about who is right or wrong, but the fact of the matter is that the project was completed in a timely fashion. If Martin had not been a member of the project team, the project itself most likely have had fallen behind.
Constructing the Project
The next phase for HG is constructing the dam itself and given the importance and the magnitude of the project, the person in charge should be someone who has understanding of the Ugandan culture in order to serve as a connection between HG headquarter and Uganda people. Personally, I would continue to have Martin on the job, but I would also tighten up his job tasks and I would also establish clear guidelines of how business is to be conducted. Even if business is conducted internationally, the values of the company should never be ignored.

Works Cited
Ball, D. (2008). International business: The challenge of global competition (13th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Culture & Global Diversity. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.languageandculture.com/culture-global-diversity
Dhavale, G. (n.d.). Types of Attitudes. Retrieved February 21, 2015, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/types-of-attitudes.html
Doing Business in Uganda - World Bank Group. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/uganda/
Three Attitudes Managers for International Business. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2015, from http://myllurmanagement.blogspot.com/2012/07/three-attitudes-managers-for.html
What is Organizational Culture? (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2015, from http://www.uri.edu/research/lrc/scholl/webnotes/Culture.htm

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