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Management Issues Faced by Mia Foster
Mia Foster is relatively new in her position as the chief executive of Levendary Café. However, she finds herself under an immense pressure from various departments within the firm. The senior managers at the firm’s parent firm are putting a lot of pressure on her to get full control of the operations in China. Peter Steele, the chief franchise officer is mad about the operation strategies employed by the management of this firm in its branch in China (Bartlett & Arar, 2011).
He insists that Foster must find a way to stop the operations strategies in China, and make that management embrace the strategies used in the parent firm back in the United States. Nick White, the chief operating officer, believes that the Louis Chen, the manager in charge of operations in China, is just a difficult individual to deal with. He also registers his dissatisfaction with the way the Chinese branch of this firm is run.
Louis Chen on the other hand, strongly believes that the American markets are different from the markets in China. As such, the management strategies that work well in China may not be very successful. He also believes that he has freedom to employ his own strategies because that was part of the original agreement when he was assigned this task about 12 months ago (Bartlett & Arar, 2011).
He insists that he was given 18 months to ensure that Levendary Café is operational in China. This was to be achieved using strategies considered appropriate in this country.
He had over five months to employ his strategies and ensure that Levendary Café had strongly established itself in this country. Moreover, Chen considered the pressure from the head office in the US misplaced because he had managed to set up twenty-three outlets for this firm in this country within that short period. He therefore, believed that he deserved a praise other than the demonization he believed was coming from the head office.
Mia Foster is found in the middle of this pressure. Upon talking on phone and through video conferencing with Mr. Chen, she realizes that Chen is an inflexible man who likes working with his own style, and does not appreciate being corrected. She confirms the fact that the approach taken by Chen in Managing the Chinese operations is very different from the approach used in the home country.
However, she also notes with pleasure, that within the period Chen has been the head of the Chinese operations, this firm has opened a record of 23 outlets. This good achievement should be appreciated. However, she fears that the approach taken in China would make the Chinese branch appear completely different from that in the United States. She has to find a solution as the leader in this organization.
Analysis of the Management Issues Mia Foster Faces
Mia Foster has to come up with an appropriate management model that will satisfy the senior managers at the head office, and the management unit in China. PEST Model can be appropriate in managing this case. This theory would help the management understand the external environment of this firm in its China branch.
Although the top management of this firm in the United States are justified in their resentment towards Chen’s single handed approach to management, they should appreciate the fact that Chinese external environment is different from that in the United States. Their policies should be guided by this fact (Onkelinx, & Sleuwaegen, 2008).
Mia Foster must put into consideration the fact that the political environment in China is different from that in the United States. The economy of a country also has an influence on management approach of a firm within a particular period (Fernandez & Rainey, 2006).
Although China is the second largest economy after the United States’ economy, the living standards of the Chinese and their lifestyle are very different from that of Americans. This should be taken into consideration when making the final decision.
Mia Foster should be aware of the social factors that define buyer behaviour in China, and how this differs from that in the United States (Guenette, 2008). This would help determine the right path that the management would take in managing the issues arising from the branch in China. Mia Foster must realize that the social structure in China is different from what it is in the United States.
An analysis should be done to determine the influence of technology on the buyer behaviour and to this industry in general, both in the United States and China. It would be important to determine if the policies implemented by Chen was as a result of the technological differences or similarities. Vettoretti, Munro and Emerson (2012) say that technological factors of a place may have an influence on the management practices that are applied. The top management of this firm should not ignore this fact.
Analysis of the Future Prospects of the Marketplace in China
The management of Levendary Cafe has to get it right on how to manage the Chinese operations. According to chief operating officer, Mr Nick White, Levendary Cafe has exploited the local market in the United States, and the growth of this firm heavily relies on its ability to capture the market in China.
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The future prospect of the Chinese market is very bright. Working solely and without the directions of the much-experienced managers, Mr Chen was able to establish 23 stores in barely one year. The stores have been confirmed to be operational and only needs some little improvement, especially on the layout, to match those in the United States. This means that the market has a potential to sustain the plans for expansion of this firm.
However, the management should take into consideration that there are some challenges in this market that may interfere with its normal operations in China. These challenges should be approached with skills and intelligence from the top management (Sligo, 2006). Mia Foster should consider using some elements of SWOT analysis in this new market.
Managing the Challenges in the New Market
Mia Foster should work with the other managers and management unit of this firm in China in order to counter the challenges that threaten to derail the brighter future of this firm. In this management approach, Foster should consider analyzing the Chinese branch by understanding strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats (Government Office of South West, 2007).
Using SWOT analysis would help this management determine the best approach to take in handling the weaknesses and threats faced by the firm, while making the best out of its strengths and the opportunities available in the market.
Foster- working closely with Mr. Chen and other employees in China- should understand some of the strengths that this branch in China has against its strong competitors. Strengths are some of the unique factors that a firm has over other competing firms (Iles & Cranfield, 2004).
Chen and his team have proven to be capable of creating new outlets for this firm at an average of two outlets per month. This is a unique capability which should be considered as a strength that this firm has over other competing firms in this market. Louis Chen and his go-getter approach of management should be considered as strength of this firm in acquiring more market share in this country.
However, there is a weakness that should be addressed collectively. The idea of Chen running the Chinese branch of this firm as an individual property is a weakness. Chen should realize that this is a firm with many members and with clear values and policies to follow. He should therefore, consider working as a team with other members. The fact that the Chinese outlets are not up to standards when compared to the Unites States’ outlets is another weakness that should be given enough attention.
Mia Foster and the entire management team should be quick in identifying some of the opportunities in the Chinese market that can be used to make Levendary Café stronger in this market. One such opportunity is the huge population in China. China is the most populous nation in the world.
Trading in this country will give this firm an opportunity to tap from the massive population. However, attention and care should be taken when dealing with some of the threats that this firm faces in this market. The biggest threat comes from the competitors such as the McDonalds. These competitors are keen to ensure that they gain and protect their market share. This is a threat to Levendary’s effort to increase its market share in this country.
The Approach Mia Foster Should Adopt When Meeting Louis Chen
According to Ying (2006), managers should always be in a position to understand their junior employees in order to make them act in a desirable manner. In her mind, Foster appreciates the fact that there are three types of leaders, which are the enterprising people, the local baron, and the professional managers.
These three leaders are best suited for different stages of the development of a new firm. She also appreciates that Louis Chen had evolved from an enterprising person to a local baron. In her mind, she is wondering how he could transform to become a professional manager. She must be able to determine how to approach Mr. Chen with the ideas that were given by the managers in the head office when they meet. To help in defining the best approach to take when they meet, the following theories may help Foster make a sensible judgment.
Mia Foster should develop a positive attitude towards Chan in order to make the discussion fruitful. She needs to consider Chen as an employee with the capacity to work and achieve goals of this firm with a lot of ease. According to McGregor’s theory X Mia Foster can consider Louis Chen as an individual who cannot deliver without close supervision (O’Neill, 2012).
When Foster takes this approach of management, she will need to put up a system where Chen and all other senior staff members in China would be closely monitored. Alternatively, she can consider the argument that Chen and his team of employees in China are individuals who are self-motivated and can deliver good result when given room to work under very minimal supervision (Gleave & Donald, 2011).
This would mean that inasmuch as Chen would have to give regular reports on his operative actions, he will still have a room to make his own judgment on various issues when running this branch. Mia Foster should consider Chen and his team as people who understands the local environment and can deliver the expected result in this market.
However, she must also take into consideration the expectation of the top management back in the United States. Peter Steele registered his dissatisfaction with the management approach of Chen, while Nick White clearly stated that managing Chen was a task he considered beyond him.
As the chief executive, she is looked upon by these top managers to transform Chen to a manageable officer who will take instruction from his seniors in the head office. In this scenario, Mia Foster should consider ensure that they understand the needs for employees in China and the market forces when making decision (Dogwood Alliance 2008).
Mia Foster should be keen to ensure that Louis Chen is not demoralized after their meeting. As an employee, he is just as important as the productivity of the firm in China, which is the ultimate goal of investing in this country (Card & Krueger, 1994). Inasmuch as the management would want maximum productivity at the plant in China, it is important to ensure that employees (and specifically Louis Chen who is the manager of the Chinese Branch) feel that their efforts are appreciated.
Mia Foster should approach Mr. Louis Chen with the team management spirit. She should inform Mr. Chen that she, as the chief executive of this firm, and the entire team of management, appreciates the hard work put by Mr. Chen and his entire team of employees.
However, there is need to encourage team spirit in the production process. The main aim of the firm establishing a branch in China is to expand its operation. Mia Foster should inform Mr. Chen that the top management appreciates the approach that Mr. Chen has applied in bringing this firm to its current position in China.
With this level of success, Foster should inform Mr. Chen that there would be a need to work as a team. This would mean that although Chen would still enjoy the freedom given to him when signing the contract, he will need to work closely with the top management. Mia should have in mind the fact that China has a very different cultural structure from that in the United States.
She should appreciate the need to act differently when managing this new branch in China. All this should be reflected in her discussion. However, she should emphasize the need to ensure that the China branch operates under the guidelines of the parent firm in the United States.
Mia Foster should inform Louis Chen that whenever he feels that there is need to implement a new policy within this country, he should communicate to his superior in order to share this information. This will bring Chen to manageable levels, while still allowing the freedom to exploit his talents and the knowledge of the local market. This way, she will satisfy the needs of other top managers back in the US in a way that Mr. Chen would consider sensible.
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