Human resource questions, Socometal, economics homework help

  

After reading the attached mini-case, Socometal, please just answer the 3 questions at the end of the case. Your grade will be based on how well you apply course content to this specific context when addressing the questions. Do not plagiarize any other one’s paper from anywhere ! ( 400-500 words)globalization_case__socometal_week_8.docx
globalization_case__socometal_week_8.docx

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Socometal: Rewarding African Workers
By: Evalde Mutabazi and C. Brooklyn Derr
It was a most unusual meeting at a local café in Dakar. Diop, a young Senegalese engineer who
was educated at one of Frances’s elite engineering grandes ‘ecoles in Lyon, was meeting with
N’Diaye, a model factory worker to whom other workers from his tribe often turned when there
were personal or professional difficulties. N’Diaye was a chief’s son, but he didn’t belong to the
union and he was not an official representative of any group within the factory.
Socometal is a metal container and can company. While multinational, this particular
plant is a joint venture wherein 52 percent is owned by the French parent company and 48
percent is Senegalese. Over the last twenty years Socometal has grown in size from 150 to 800
employees and it has returns of about 400 million FCFA (African francs) or $144 million. The
firm is often held up as a model in terms of its Africanization of management policies, whereby
most managers are now West African with only 8-10 top managers coming from France.
During the meeting N’Diaye asked Diop if he would accept an agreement to pay each
worker for two extra hours in exchange for a 30 percent increase in daily production levels. If so,
N’Diaye would the guarantor for this target production level that would enable the company to
meet the order in the shortest time period. “If you accept my offer,” he said with a smile, “we
could even produce more. We are at 12,000 (units) a day, but we’ve never been confronted with
this situation. I would never have made this proposal to Mr. Bernard but, if you agree today, I
will see that the 20,000 (unit) level is reached as of tomorrow evening. I’ll ask each worker to
find ways of going faster, to communicate this to the others and to help each other if they have
problems…”
Mr. Olivier Bernard, a graduate of Ecole Centrale in Paris (one of Frances’s more
prestigious engineering schools), was the French production manager, and Diop was the assistant
production manager. Mr. Bernard was about 40 and had not succeeded at climbing the hierarchal
ladder in the parent company. Some report that this was due to his tendency to be arrogant,
uncommunicative and negative. His family lived in a very nice neighborhood in Marseille, and
it was his practice to come to Dakar, precisely organize the work using various flowcharts, tell
Diop exactly what was expected by a certain date and then return to France for periods of two to
six weeks. This time he maintained that he had contracted a virus and needed to return for
medical treatment.
Shortly before Mr. Bernard fell ill, Socometal agreed to a contract requiring them to
reach in short time a volume of production never before achieved. Mr. Bernard, after having
done a quick calculation, declared, “We’ll never get that from our workers— c’est impossible!”
After organizing as best he could, he left for Marseille.
Diop pondered what N’Diaye had proposed, and then he sought the opinions of
influential people in different departments. Some of the French and Italian expatriates told him
they were sure that the workers would not do overtime, but felt confident enough to take the risk.
The next morning N’Diaye and Diop met in front of the factory and Diop gave his agreement on
the condition that the 30 percent rise in daily production levels be reached that evening. He and
the management would take a final decision on a wage increase only after assessing the results
and on evaluating the ability of the workers to maintain this level of production in the long run.
The reasons given by the French and Italian expatriates for why the Senegalese would not
perform overtime or speed up their productivity are interesting. One older French logistics
manager said, “Africans aren’t lazy but they work to live, and once they have enough they refuse
to do more. It won’t make any sense to them to work harder or longer for more pay.” And the
Italian human resource manager exclaimed, “We already tried two years ago to get them to do
more faster. We threatened to fire anyone caught going too slow or missing more than one day’s
work per month, and we told them they would all get bonuses if they reached the production
target. We had the sense that they were laughing behind our backs and doing just enough to
keep their jobs while maintaining the same production levels.”
Four days after their first negotiation, the contract between Diop and N’Diaye went into
action. Throughout the day N’Diaye gave his job on the line to two of his colleagues in order to
have enough time and energy to mobilize all the workers. The workers found the agreement an
excellent initiative. “This will be a chance to earn a bit more money, but especially to show
them (the French management) that we’re more capable than they think,” declared one of the
Senegalese foremen. From its first day of application the formula worked wonders. Working
only one extra hour per day, every work unit produced 8 percent more than was forecast by Diop
and N’Diaye. Over the next two months, the daily production level oscillated between 18,000
and 22,000 units per day — between 38 and 43 percent more than the previous daily production.
It was at this production level, never experienced during the history of the company, that Mr.
Bernard found things when he returned from his illness.
“I,” said Diop, “was very happy to see the workers so proud of their results, so satisfied
with their pay raise and finally really involved in their work…. In view of some expatriates’
attitudes it was a veritable miracle…. But, instead of rejoicing, Mr. Bernard reproached me for
giving two hours’ pay to the workers, who were only really doing one hour more than usual. ‘By
making this absurd decision,’ he said, ‘you have put the management in danger of losing its
authority over the workers. You have acted against house rules… You have created a precedent
too costly for our business. Now, we must stop this ridiculous operation as quickly as possible.
We must apply work regulations…’ And he slammed the door in my face before I had the time
to say anything. After all, he has more power than me in this company, which is financed 52
percent by French people. Nevertheless, I thought I would go to see the managing director and
explain myself and present my arguments. I owed this action to N’Diaye and his workers, who
had trusted me, and I didn’t care if it made Bernard any angrier.”
In the meantime, the decided to maintain the new production level in order to honor their
word to N’Diaye and Diop. A foreman and friend of N’Diaye stated, “At least he knows how to
listen and speak to us like men.”
The foreman indicated, however, that they might return to the former production level if
Bernard dealt with them as he did before.
CASE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What are the underlying cultural assumptions for Mr. Bernard and how are these different
from the basic assumptions of N’Diaye and Diop?
2. What would you do if you were Bernard’s boss, the managing director?
3. In what ways is a reward system a cultural phenomenon? How might you design an
effective reward system for Senegal?

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