Business Finance
Building a Global Team Tariq Khan at Tek Case Study

Question Description

Help me study for my Business class. I’m stuck and don’t understand.

Please answer these questions based on case which I uploaded.

- Must be based on Case.

-Using bullet point (outline format)

1. Assuming Tarik Kahn takes the offered position, he faces many Human Resources and related issues that he will need to address and resolve if he is to be successful. Please identify and Briefly explain these issues (BUT NOT HOW TO RESOLVE THEM; THIS IS QUESTION # 2 BELOW.)

2. What actions should Kahn take to help resolve each of the issues identified in (1) above? Please be specific.

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For the exclusive use of S. Xu, 2020. 9 -4 1 4 -0 5 9 REV: NOVEMBER 10, 2015 TSEDAL NEELEY (Re)Building a Global Team: Tariq Khan at Tek Tariq Khan arrived home after a 16-hour meeting. He was grappling with whether to accept the global sales and marketing team manager position. Khan spent the entire day with the senior leadership of the team trying to understand the group’s challenges. However, the meeting had raised more questions than answers. Already a rising star within his company, Khan was only 33 when he was offered this high-profile position to lead a diverse 68-person team whose members hailed from 27 countries and spoke 18 different languages. The team’s recent performance had seen a precipitous decline, resulting in the previously well-regarded manager departing the company in a state of disrepute. Employee satisfaction also plunged by more than half its peak nearly two years prior. Should Khan accept the position, he would be expected to reverse the performance lag in less than two years, achieving substantial sales growth and increasing market share. However, should he fail to resurrect the team in the allotted timeframe, his status as a high-potential would be jeopardized. Khan hoped that meetings with both the senior executives and the outgoing manager would help him decide whether or not to take the position. The meetings thus far had been exhausting, but revealing. Khan had a greater understanding of the group, but still had one more week to make up his mind. The following day, he would begin his tour of the Middle East and Central and South Asia to meet the rest of the team. He wondered if a week was enough time to assess the situation, but he pushed this question to the back of his mind and started packing. Tariq Khan Khan began his career as an electrical engineer with SPK in Pakistan, where he worked on industrial projects in sales, business development, and project management. Eventually, he became the project manager for a $20-million contract. Four years later, he moved to Tek and joined an exclusive list of “high potentials” whose progress was reevaluated every two years. He had the potential to be promoted every 18 to 24 months and learn a variety of roles within the company. This visibility within the firm would provide him with a fast-track route to an executive role. Even though he was constantly being evaluated by senior executives, being on the list meant plenty of opportunities. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professor Tsedal Neeley prepared this case with the support of Research Associates Colin Donovan and Nathan Overmeyer. It was reviewed and approved before publication by the case protagonist. Funding for the development of this case was provided by Harvard Business School, and not by the company. The company and characters have been disguised. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2013, 2014, 2015 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School. This document is authorized for use only by Shuning Xu in Designing/Managing International Organizations-1-1-1-1-1-1 (A) taught by ROBERT COSCARELLO, Pepperdine University from Mar 2020 to Apr 2020. For the exclusive use of S. Xu, 2020. 414-059 (Re)Building a Global Team: Tariq Khan at Tek The first four years of Khan’s Tek career in Pakistan included assignments in procurement, planning, and frontline sales, plus time as a sales team leader. He was also promoted to country manager for Pakistan and served on a Global Competence Development Committee in addition to his regular responsibilities. This role allowed him to visit sales teams around the world and observe their methods, motivations and challenges. When he moved to Dubai for a new assignment in business development, Khan kept his existing position on the Global Competence Development Committee. Again, he cycled through various roles, rotating between staff and line functions. In his business development role, he led Tek’s penetrations into Iraq and Bangladesh, where he worked with a linguistically and culturally diverse team for the first time. A Tip and Advice from Singapore After almost four years in various business development roles in Dubai, Khan knew that his window of opportunity for a promotion was about to open again. A friend in Singapore, who was senior within Tek, notified Khan that the position of General Manager for Sales and Marketing would soon be available. The team, Khan was told, had been failing. The previous manager, known for his wealth of experience and also a “high potential” at Tek, was leaving the company. Khan was encouraged by his friend to apply for this new and challenging role. After he was selected, he began to consider his options. He had a proven track record of success, but he wondered if taking this role was too much of a risk; could he chance losing his position on the list of high potentials? Perhaps even more nerve-wracking, the executives who selected him for the role wanted quick results. Khan wondered how he could turn things around in less than two years, growing sales substantially and increasing Tek’s market share. Khan questioned how the group’s problems had flummoxed even an experienced manager. “Everyone thought the previous manager was a great leader,” Khan told his friend in Singapore. “He tried team-building activities and cultural awareness exercises, as well as a lot of new ideas, and he still failed. I’m a lot younger than he is. How can I expect to do any better?” His friend played up the opportunities that this job might afford Khan: “True, you are younger, and you will need to delicately manage older workers from the Middle East and Asia. But this group needs fresh ideas, and you have the potential to be successful.” As Khan started to mull his options, his friend added, “This can be a very important global role for someone on track to become an executive here.” With this encouragement, Khan thought about his previous roles. He had worked well with a culturally diverse team on the penetrations into Iraq and Bangladesh. He recalled how he became closer with the Indian nationals on his team than with his fellow Pakistanis by making a concerted effort to reach out to them. It required him to reject long-standing stereotypes that many Pakistanis and Indians held toward one another as a result of longstanding border disputes and religious tension. Yet Khan was able to find common ground by sharing that his father was born in India. As part of the Global Competence Development cohort, Khan visited sales teams often, getting out and mixing around. In country after country, he had gained insight into the region-specific challenges faced by his colleagues in different markets. As he thought about his experiences, Khan became more confident in his abilities. Still, the job remained a huge risk. If he took the job, it would be do or die: succeed, and his star would continue to rise even faster, but fail, and years of hard work and careful planning would be negated. A Caveat from the Departing Manager The day that Khan received the job offer, he decided to solicit the advice of his potential predecessor, Ali Amlak, who agreed to meet with him. After quick introductions, Khan shared his concerns with him: 2 This document is authorized for use only by Shuning Xu in Designing/Managing International Organizations-1-1-1-1-1-1 (A) taught by ROBERT COSCARELLO, Pepperdine University from Mar 2020 to Apr 2020. For the exclusive use of S. Xu, 2020. (Re)Building a Global Team: Tariq Khan at Tek 414-059 “While I am thrilled to have this opportunity, I am worried about where things stand,” Khan said. With an air of exasperation, Amlak responded: “Listen, I am going to be completely honest with you—the situation is simply out of control. I was spread too thin, putting out fires left and right. On top of running this business, all sorts of issues consumed my time. A manager was accused of sexual harassment, which embroiled us in a difficult legal situation. Ultimately, it was a crosscultural misunderstanding. Then there were customer issues—missed and unfulfilled deliveries. The list just goes on and on.” Amlak paused momentarily and looked away in reflection, before continuing: “It was always a struggle to get buy-in for new initiatives, and I frequently met fierce resistance if I tried to make changes. An annual retreat was one step in the right direction. We brought the entire team together in one location for the first time, and this seemed to help. A session during the retreat was geared toward cultural sensitivity. Clearly, this wasn’t enough—the same issues and old ways of working resurfaced shortly after. Listen, Tariq, I think this job has ruined my reputation here, and I have no choice but to leave. If I were you, I would think twice before taking this on.” Amlak’s advice left Khan feeling anxious and even more uncertain. The new insights weighed heavily on Khan’s mind, but for now, he decided it was best to sleep on what he had just heard. Working across Boundaries Language The entire team was about to meet in Dubai. It was the perfect chance for Khan to sit in on the session, and then meet with human resources and the team’s senior leadership the following day. When he arrived, he was shocked by how many languages were being spoken before the meeting started. As he walked around the room, he heard English in one corner, Russian in another, and Arabic in yet another. It quickly became apparent to Khan that the team, given free rein to sit wherever they wanted, had divided itself based on their native language, even though everyone in the group spoke English. As the day’s sessions progressed, Khan noticed that the language-based cliques also had religions and cultural traditions in common. As they bonded, these clusters drifted further apart from the larger group. Khan began to see why people segregated into language groups. He noticed that team members did not all have the same level of fluency or comfort in English, which further exacerbated the language barriers among them. Native and highly-fluent English speakers spoke too quickly which caused lessfluent colleagues to hesitate with their questions. During one break, Khan overheard one of the quieter team members ask his colleagues, “What did he contribute today? What does he bring to the table?” Khan began to ask himself whether the shyer members of the team were legitimately concerned with their more fluent teammates. Perhaps, they were simply disguising their weaker skills by questioning the usefulness of speakers they didn’t understand. Khan learned that team members working in Central Asia had it especially tough. They were already operating in two languages, since Russian was widely used by business contacts, but Kazakh or Uzbek was used when communicating with government officials and customers. Oftentimes, 3 This document is authorized for use only by Shuning Xu in Designing/Managing International Organizations-1-1-1-1-1-1 (A) taught by ROBERT COSCARELLO, Pepperdine University from Mar 2020 to Apr 2020. For the exclusive use of S. Xu, 2020. 414-059 (Re)Building a Global Team: Tariq Khan at Tek employees working in the formerly-Soviet states were not actually from the countries in which they were based. This meant they had to operate in at least three non-native languages. Khan thought back to his work in business development, where he first led a linguistically and culturally diverse team. In order to increase levels of communication across his business teams, Khan felt that they should operate in a common language. He implemented the use of English as a lingua franca to bring team members onto an even footing. Though it showed early successes, not everyone embraced the idea. He wondered if he would fare any better with an even larger and more diverse team. Time Zones The group was also diverse in terms of time zones, work week, and holidays. Workers in the United States, Singapore and Kazakhstan had their weekends on Saturday and Sunday, while Saudi Arabia and much of the Arab world did not work on Thursday or Friday. This meant that the group’s common workweek consisted only of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On top of this, the group’s core operations spanned four different time zones. Plus, different countries had different holidays, and didn’t always communicate these holidays to the others. When one team member in Dubai tried to contact another employee in the Philippines, he became frustrated when no one answered his calls, not realizing the office was closed for a national observance. National Culture and Age In addition to the confusion surrounding holidays and schedules, team members also did not fully understand how diverse they were. When asked how many nationalities were represented in their group, team members regularly guessed between 10 and 15. Some people did not even know from which country their teammates came, incorporating them into broad categories like “European.” A Saudi Arabian team member was assumed to be German, since he had been there for many years, but he still traveled on his Saudi passport. Later that day, the human resources officer responsible for the region gave Khan profiles of the team. His 68 team members represented 27 different countries and ranged in age from 22 to 61 years. Among them, they spoke 18 different languages and many other dialects (see Exhibit 1). Shocked by the makeup of his unit, Khan again wondered if he was in over his head. He thought it would be intriguing to be a part of such a diverse team with so many talents and interesting stories. But he wondered if the group was just too diverse to function. Its recent failures were still foremost in his mind. Conflicting Accounts Over the past two years, operating margin and net profit margin for the global sales and marketing team had declined precipitously along with market share (see Exhibits 2 and 3). During the same period, group morale also dropped, with employee satisfaction declining by nearly half (see Exhibit 4). In order to better understand the group’s weaknesses and the challenges they faced, Khan’s next step was to meet with the three senior executives. He was by far the youngest person at the meeting and had no experience on the team. 4 This document is authorized for use only by Shuning Xu in Designing/Managing International Organizations-1-1-1-1-1-1 (A) taught by ROBERT COSCARELLO, Pepperdine University from Mar 2020 to Apr 2020. For the exclusive use of S. Xu, 2020. (Re)Building a Global Team: Tariq Khan at Tek 414-059 Market, Compensation, or Brand Changes He tried to determine whether the group’s problems were internal or external. He asked the three leaders, “Can the team do better? What’s stopping them from doing better?” Sunil, an Indian national working in Lebanon, began by blaming the group’s recent failures on the market. “The recent increase in the price of base oil has been pressuring our margins. 1 When we raised our prices to compensate, our volumes decreased,” he argued. Lars, an expat from Sweden, vehemently disagreed, “It has nothing to do with our prices or the price of oil. It’s our brand! The recent changes to our brand have done nothing but confuse customers. That’s why we have seen a decline in revenue.” Lars continued with an accusatory tone, “And once this past year, planned volumes from Nepal and Bangladesh failed to come in, causing performance to suffer again, not to mention the relationships with our partners in Iran and Yemen.” Sunil shook his head and ignored Lars. Changing the subject, he said, “We also have the issue of compensation—the structure recently changed. Eighty percent of our salaries are fixed and the remaining twenty percent is variable.” Sunil explained that the variable portion was based on volume and revenue and was not linked to earnings or margins. Thus, when prices went up, salespeople were able to make their revenue targets selling less volume. Yet the cost of goods sold was increasing, which further squeezed the margins. Everyone shifted in their seats. Clearly, changing compensation yet again was not a conversation they wanted to broach. Target Setting Ramazan, a Kazakh member of the leadership, interjected, “Let’s not bring up compensation again. We all know that target-setting is at the root of all this. Setting regional targets from the top-down hasn’t worked for years.” He explained that global directors broke worldwide sales targets down into regions, then regional managers further divided the regional target among constituent countries. Ramazan recalled a target setting meeting in which the business manager for Saudi Arabia refused the responsibility that came with managing the largest country in the region. He told the group the general market was doing poorly and that his country team had recently lost two major accounts, so he could not take the largest portion of the regional sales target, as was expected. Other country managers also frequently made conservative estimates when setting their own goals, downplaying their true ability. As a result, unclaimed parts of the regional goal got passed on to new markets that were not yet online or to countries that were not represented at the meeting. “It seems like no one is willing to take responsibility for their targets. Everyone is playing it safe, because they don’t want to miss their targets. How can we accurately set goals if we don’t truly know what each country is capable of?” Ramazan asked the others. Khan worried about their staunch disagreements and lack of optimism. In Pakistan, however, Khan had been on teams that thrived despite the changing market, the new variable pay scale, and the challenges of the target-setting process. He had transformed his team from a collection of individuals into a cohesive and successful group, and he was tempted to prove to the Tek executives that he could do it again with a bigger and more diverse team. Khan believed in the Tek brand and had confidence in its ability to sell. But Amlak’s advice still made Khan question his ability to succeed in the role. How could he make sure that he would not end up in Amlak’s shoes? 1 Base oil refers to lubrication-grade oils produced from refining crude oil or through chemical synthesis. Base oils are used to manufacture lubricants (e.g., motor oils) for consumer and commercial uses. 5 This document is authorized for use only by Shuning Xu in Designing/Managing International Organizations-1-1-1-1-1-1 (A) taught by ROBERT COSCARELLO, Pepperdine University from Mar 2020 to Apr 2020. For the exclusive use of S. Xu, 2020. 414-059 (Re)Building a Global Team: Tariq Khan at Tek Digging for Answers As the meeting dragged into its sixth hour, Khan kept pondering the explanations for the group’s poor performance. He continued to push his advisers to go beyond the external factors influencing the group and give him an honest assessment of the team’s inner dynamics. He looked at the clock—it was 5:00 p.m., and they had been in this meeting since 9:00 that morning. It seemed everyone was repeating the same points they had made earlier. But for two more hours, he continued to steer the conversation toward a deeper understanding of why the ...
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Final Answer


Running head: CASE ANALYSIS


Case Analysis
Institutional Affiliation



Case Analysis
Human Resources And Related Issues That Khan Will Need To Address And Resolve If He
Is To Be Successful.

Tarik Khan will deal with cultural insensitivity especially from Lars who is
insensitive towards members of the team and their social and cultural practices.
Khan is worried that Lars tendency to mock local practices publicly and
embarrass his colleagues because of poor English skills is detrimental to team
morale (Neeley, 2013).

Khan will face language barriers among team members. As Neeley, (2013) the

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