Question 1: What does this case teach a student studying International Business?
Answer: The case teaches the following vital points:
As a student, if one is going to any country, he/she must keep in mind to do a proper homework
i.e. understand the country very well, do proper research about the country.
It is very important to understand to think out of the books, learn the geography and culture of the
place one is going to.
In the case, the sales manager made this major mistake. Before leaving, he didn’t bother to study
the culture or history.
One must be well informed and should take advice from someone related to the culture of the
place well in advance.
In this case, the sales manager could either have let the Latin sales representative go on his behalf
because he was well aware of the Latin American culture or could have informed the Commercial
attaché that he is supposed to meet the Minister of Communication and could have got relevant
information such as he loves poetry, is warm and enthusiastic and takes pride in his history and
independence in readiness.
One needs to understand to build a healthy relationship with the client / customer whatsoever may
In this case, even after being informed of the fact that in Latin America, the process takes a bit
long and usually starts with relationship building first and business later. Yet the sales manager
failed to acknowledge this very fact and came out very rude and impatient.
One must never upset his/her customer or client and must never disrespect their pride.
In the case, this was one of the major reason why the minister cancelled the deal and gave it to a
Swedish Company instead.
Question 2: Critically examine the quality of the communication in this case.
Answer: In this case, we see a low quality of conversation. This is obvious from the following reasons:
Both the sales manager and the minister shared different personalities. While the minister was
warm and friendly, the sales manager was rude and impatient.
The minister was of the opinion that relationship building is necessary and a prior step in business
while the sales manager wanted to immediately jump to business conversation, close the deal and
leave. He was least interested in developing a rapport or building a relationship.
The difference in the work culture was quite evident and turned out to be a major reason which
eventually resulted in the cancellation of such an important order.
Question 3: Is this a high context or a low context culture in this case?
Answer: A high context culture is one with warm-hearted, good people. The Minister of Communication
displayed a high context culture. He believed on building relationship, progressing slowly on the business
deal. The minister greeted warmly, invited the manager on dinner, went to a night club, invited on a
morning coffee and also walked in a nearby park.
Countries like Brazil, Australia, Spain, Italy show a high context culture and Latin Americans for that
matter as in this case.
A low context culture is more of transactional. The sales manager displayed a low context culture. He
was very rude and arrogant. He just focused on the business. He got irritated very soon and did not like
the idea of delaying business talk.
Countries like America, Germany, Austria, etc. display a low context culture.
One must understand the Socio-cultural norms.
Culture forms a very important part of the business and once you understand it, it is very easy to do
Question 4: What impression did the sales manager make on the minister?
Answer: The sales manager had an unfavorable and poor impression. He was very rude and arrogant.
Various instances indicate the same:
The sales manager was annoyed when the minister first met him because he had to wait too long.
At the dinner, he was least interested in the food and music conversation which displayed his cold
Again at the night club, he seemed bothered and did not like the idea of delaying business talk.
The sales manager did not like the mannerism of the minister and started to dodge and put more
distance between himself and minister.
The sales manager arrogantly spoke of the statue and hurt the sentiments and pride of the minister
at the park yet again.
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