Case Study Analysis

Case Study Analysis

Executive Summary

Teamwork has become the new mode of business operation in the twenty-fisrt century. Communication skills, communication planning, and cross-cultural negotiation at the team levels are some of the problems affecting the ECL Company in the Chinese territory. Cultural differences between the Chinese people and the westerners create a wedge between the management team and the subordinates in the ECL. The current paper analyzes the ECL Company in the light of the three problems in China. Communication is vital to the success of teamwork across all industries. Teams that exhibit low or poor communication skills record low levels of performance. The electronic communication limited (ECL) company in China experiences a wide range of issues related to communication skills at the team level. Communication planning at the team level is more like selling a product or service to consumers. A person has to analyze the target, the channels of communication to use, when to deliver the message, and what message should be included in the communication plan. Cross-cultural negotiations are emerging communication issues in the current world where issues of globalization have become the norm. Cross culture negotiation skills include the goals, the protocol, view of time, forms of engagement, power distance, and personal style among other things. The use of a neutral organization culture can help to overcome the above-mentioned communication problems in the ECL.

Communication Skills at Team Level

            The Chinese people vary from the westerners in the sense that the former value indirect communication while the latter prefers direct communication. Indirect communication affects the process of decision making at the team level because people fail to understand the exact meaning of a person’s opinion. The meanings of words or statements in the Chinese culture depend on the meaning of the surrounding context rather than the word or phrase itself. It therefore requires a lot of time and a lot of thinking to come up with ideal plans at the team level. Additionally, it is possible to misunderstand statements, which can have a negative impact on the overall performance of the team (Whitcomb & Whitcomb, 2013).

Openness is an essential skill in team communication. However, in the Chinese culture, people prefer to address certain issues in private to avoid damaging ones credibility. It is, therefore, difficult to communicate effectively at the team level because people cannot be corrected in the open. Such a practice can lead to delayed operations because the manager has to wait for the discussions to end to approach anyone who suggest an impossible situation. Openness enables teams to be honest with one another, which aids in propagating the progress of the team. Honesty is achieved by sharing one’s feelings honestly and without damaging the image of the other person (Engleberg & Wynn, 2013). In ECL China, such an approach to teamwork communication is almost impossible because honesty is not highly appreciated in the Chinese culture especially if it reflects negativity to the other party. People must think about every statement that they make to ensure that they do not destroy the ‘face’ of the other party. Such cultural practices hinder effective communication at the team levels, thus reducing the effectiveness of teamwork in the entire organization.

Sharing of information honestly is an ideal communication skills that can help teams grow together. Information sharing is a problematic issue at ECL because the Chinese education system values individualism rather than open sharing of ideas. Students are awarded high grades if they show individualism in decision making rather than team working. Individualism and failure to share information at the team level leads to wastage of time, conflict, and wastage of resources. Further, team progression depends on the ability of team members to compare their work or reasoning with others in the team (Whitcomb & Whitcomb, 2013). Lack of honesty in information sharing makes it hard for one to measure their individual performance against others in the team, which is detrimental to the progression of the team.

Communication Planning At Team Level

In big corporations, managers need to communicate effectively with their subordinates to ensure that the goals and the objectives of the team are clear. The managers act as the managers and the team members as the consumers. In ECL, communication planning faces a few challenges arising from the cultural practice of the Chinese people. While the expatriate managers in ECL value a system-oriented approach in achieving a successful communication planning, the Chinese people value shortened practices that speed up the process of decision-making. The desire to use shortcuts in decision-making is influenced by the individualism of the Chinese people. Systems slow down the process of decision making because they require the collective effort of all team members (Engleberg & Wynn, 2013).

On the other hand, an individualized practice does not need constant consultation with other members of the team, which makes it easy for one to test ideas faster and achieve to decisions faster. Additionally, the desire of the Chinese people to build relationships and the western mode of delegation is a major problem in communication planning at the team level. The chine people are bound to buy ideas from a manager who seeks to build a personal contact with the subordinates that those that prefer delegation. Selling any idea to the Chinese community will require constant involvement of the managers in every aspect of the team practices. Personal relationships build trust, which is an essential ingredient of performance in china. The desire for personal contact between the manager and the team members limits the choices of communication channels that a manager can use to communicate to the people in the team (Engleberg & Wynn, 2013).

Communication planning must have specific objectives and roles of the team towards achieving such objectives. However, in ECL, one has to be careful in deciding the objectives of the group to avoid damaging the image of the team members. Further, the objectives must be very direct and clear because the humility and obedience nature of the Chinese people does not allow them to function out of impulse. Misinterpretation of the message is also a common problem in ECL because the expatriate and the Chinese people have varied modes of interpreting verbal communication.

Cross-cultural Negotiation Skills at the Team Level

ECL being an organization with people from varied cultures is likely to face challenges in cross-cultural negotiations. Most of the issues arise from the cultural difference between the Chinese people and the American ways of living. For instance, while the American culture values a substantive outcome in negotiations, the Chinese will focus on relationship building. Long lasting relationships are essential to the success of negotiations among the Chinese people. Achieving a balance between these cultural differences is paramount in achieving successful negotiations in the ECL (Thompson, 2012). Additionally, the number of people involved in the negotiation process can raise a problem in the negotiation processes of ECL. The Chinese people value privacy, especially when scourging a person. Gift giving and the use of informal settings in negotiations can encourage the Chinese people to come into an agreement faster because they feel valued. Trust is quite important among the Chinese people. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the ideal protocol when addressing the Chinese community in cross-cultural negotiations.

Trust based relationships in negotiations reduce the number of alternatives, thus making it hard to achieve the best results. Additionally, while the expatriates value a contract based agreement, the Chinese base their agreements on the built relationship. The use of hierarchical mode of leadership makes it hard for the Chinese people to raise their opinion in the presence of their leaders. It is, therefore, necessary to consider such issues in the negotiation table at the ECL china branch for effective results (Thompson, 2012).


The three main problems discussed in the paper can be managed by employing an inclusive communication process that values the cultures of each group involved in the running of the company. To aid in communication skills at the team level, managers can formulate integrated communication where they raise questions to allow the team members to respond effectively. Additionally, in communication planning, the management team can make use of personal communication, which will help in relationship building with the team members hence effectiveness. Lastly, in solving the cross-cultural negotiation problems, the management team can adapt to the Chinese ways of operation while encouraging the team members to embrace the new organizational culture. The use of a neutral organization culture that does not reflect either the western or the Asian culture can solve the communication problems in the organization.




Engleberg, I. & Wynn, D. (2013). Working in groups (6th Ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson. PMI, (2013). Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition.

Thompson, L. (2012). The mind and heart of the negotiator (5th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Whitcomb, C. & Whitcomb, L. (2013). Effective interpersonal and team communication skills for engineers. Piscataway, NJ Hoboken, N.J: IEEE Pre