Ellen Moore (A): Living and Working in Bahrain
1. What would you advise Ellen to do and why? What should be her objectives? Are there objectives and actions consistent with what you would do if you were in her situation?
Even though Bahrain tended to be more progressive than many Middle Eastern countries in its attitude toward women, there were still many inequalities between genders. The current situation is that Ellen’s general manager asked her to change her mind about accepting the Account controlling position because of discriminatory practices in Bahrain. The manager, who is an uncertain avoidance type, stated that Ellen would have troubles traveling alone and clients would not accept her in the future. Ellen’s main objectives were to prove that she not only learned and adapted to the new customs but she also fought back for the local women to have some basic equal rights as men and gained the acceptance from her colleagues and supervisors.
After all her efforts to make people better understand the power of women and to gain more respect and trust from both male and female colleagues, she should not give up by accepting the position because her general manager dominated her decision. She, who is low uncertain avoidance type, already gave him some reasonable evidence that there were some successful businesswomen who did it before and she believed she was at lower risk of danger than her Western male counterparts in the event of hostility.
In this situation, Ellen had four alternatives: 1. Take the Customer Service Position 2. Fight Back 3. Stay in the Business Planning and Development department and 4. Leave the company. I recommend that Ellen choose choice number 3: stay in the same position until another opportunity comes up while she keeps looking for a new job. She, however, should not fight back (choice 2) because the Bahrain‘s culture was save face and collectivism. The general manager’s superior, the Senior Vice President of EU, ME and Africa might not change the local manager’s decision because 1) it might cross the line of authority in the organization and 2) the VP of the region who had a limited knowledge of the region would generally rely on local management’s decision. Moreover, the Bahrain society still had an issue of inequality of gender and nationality. It was a low possibility that Ellen would win this case against the company. And afterward she would have a hard time even staying at the current position. Regarding the last alternative, leaving the company, it might be her future option but under these circumstances would jeopardize her chances of finding work elsewhere because of Bahrain’s collectivism society. People would talk about her case via word-of-mouth and the story would get worse. If I were in her situation, I will synergize America’s and Bahrain’s cultures –learning and respecting to the local cultures and while maintaining my personal goals – career success as Ellen do.
2. Why is...