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Business, Accounting and Legal

Human resource management pbl case study

PBL/CASE STUDY 2

The French

Connection

Richard Hoffman, a Quebec chemical engineer working for a Canadian-based energy firm, was given a three-year expatriate assignment in Venezuela as a technical liaison and environmental protection manager. His local project supervisor was John, a French engineer who had lived in French Guiana and then Venezuela for over 20 years. At the same time, Richard had asked that his former manager in Toronto act as his mentor as required. This had been agreed willingly.

Richard thought that as a French speaker from Quebec, he and John would be able to build a quick working relationship. Richard sent John an early email (in French rather than the usual corporate standard language of English) containing what he thought were the five most important goals associated with his assignment – similar to the management by objectives section of the standard performance review forms he had used for years during earlier assignments in Edmonton, Toronto and at corporate head office in Montreal.

After several months with no response from John, Richard found John in the hallway between meetings and asked him about the email and his progress to date. ‘Don’t worry about blandly, ‘Just keep working to the deadlines and I will check with your co-workers and other project managers on your work. Where did you go to engineering school by the way?’

Richard waited another six months and was becoming increasingly anxious as the firm’s annual review week approached. He finally caught up with John on a rainy Friday in as they both waited for their drivers to arrive. When asked about the upcoming performance review, John snorted and said, ‘it’s all been taken care of’. Make an appointment with my assistant Louisa next week and we can go over the

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