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We Want More Guitars

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Fletcher Guitars, a guitar-producing company based out of Los Angeles, is interested in increasing production within their Spanish sister company Guitarras Dominguez. The CEO of Fletcher Guitars decided to send Adam Wainwright, a potential high end manager in the company, to Spain to influence the increase production. His task is to convince the owner and founder of the sister company, Salvador Dominguez, that they need to increase their production to meet the standards of the rising demand in Latin music. However, the problem is that Salvador’s company places quality over quantity in everything they produce.

Unfortunately, Adam’s technical mindset conflicts with Salvador’s traditional Spanish mindset. The Spanish culture is more relaxed, which causes them to work at a slower pace. Though they work at a slower pace, Salvador’s reputation for quality guitars has kept his business alive to this point. The road block in Adam’s task to increase production is Salvador’s stubbornness to not lower his standards of craftsmanship to meet Fletcher’s demand.

Adam’s initial analysis of the supply and demand is accurate. Fletcher Guitars needs production to increase due to the increasing demand for guitars globally. The CEO must feel as if the company’s current production numbers do not allow them to remain competitive in the guitar industry. Therefore, the need arises to outsource with this Spanish company to give them an advantage in market. International partnerships are reshaping global business, which in this case is the guitar industry. As Adam has analyzed the supply and demand, his focus on production seems to conflict with Salvador’s focus on the quality of the products. Due to Adam’s low context culture, his communication with Salvador primarily revolves around facts, figures, and information.

While on the other hand, Salvador runs a business in a high context culture where communication revolves more around personal relationships. Adam needs to suppress his impatience with Salvador, and instead learn to establish a personal and social relationship with him. Due to these conflicting cultural contexts, Salvador’s craftsmanship is incompatible with the increasing production needs of Fletcher Guitars. Until Adam learns to overcome his impatience and constant effort to increase production, his personal and business relationship with Salvador will suffer.

The problem arising in this situation is that Fletcher Guitars decided to merge with a Spanish company without fully understanding the culture of business in Spain. Adam’s ethnocentrism is harming his mission to somehow increase production. Ethnocentrism is a person’s regard to their own culture as superior to another, meaning Adam is unable to appreciate the difference in social values between Spain and the United States. On Hofstede’s Value Dimensions, the United States ranks 6th meaning that they have higher power distance and accept inequality in power among institutions. In this case this is displayed by Adam’s pursuit to increase production regardless of Salvador’s standards and viewing him as an equal.

Another social value that differs between Adam and Salvador is the uncertainty avoidance. Adam comes from a company that relies on high uncertainty avoidance due the need to keep pace with the market while Salvador’s low uncertainty avoidance causes him to remain relaxed and less worried about increased production. An additional social difference is the highly individualistic view of the United States where employees take care of themselves and connect less to their co-workers. On the other hand, Spain’s collectivistic approach holds tight knit social frameworks and allows coworkers to maintain deeper relationships. As far as masculinity is concerned, the United States ranks higher than most countries in the European Union. This is yet another social value difference presented with Adam’s attention to material success and work centrality, and Salvador being the opposite.

As far as Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE), it is apparent that the United States and Spain have distinct stances in assertiveness, future orientation, and performance orientation. Both countries have a high level of assertiveness, which means they are both competitive in business. Also, these two countries seem to have low future orientation. The United States focuses mostly on quick production and profits while Spain is short term in the sense of maintaining tradition and quality over profit. As far as performance orientation, the United States ranks high, valuing performance and improvements as a top priority. Conversely, Spain values loyalty belonging background and tradition. These three GLOBE dimensions give a further glimpse of the differences and even similarities between Fletcher Guitars and Guitarras Dominguez.

After discovering the many cultural, social, and management differences between Adam and Salvador, we have concluded that Adam needs to heighten his ability to adapt. However, if Adam simply adapts to Salvador’s management style, he won’t achieve the goal he was sent to Spain to accomplish. Therefore, we recommend that Adam take a new approach to the situation. Adam needs to first establish a trusting personal and social relationship with Salvador, rather than quickly demanding that Salvador increases the speed of production. If they effectively build a trusting business relationship first, Adam will then be able to persuade Salvador more easily to increase the speed of production.

As Adam attempts to increase production speed in Salvador’s company, he will also have to reevaluate the ability of his company to meet the new demands. Adam will eventually have to accept the fact that the cultural differences between the companies will not allow their exact needs to be met. With our recommendations, Adam’s mission could be consider successful in the sense that he would be able to increase productivity while allowing Salvador to keep his traditional methods. Though they might not meet the full demand that they expected, they will retain a trustworthy business relationship with Guitarras Dominguez for future business ventures.

Adam was put into a tough situation in Spain due to the many cultural road blocks put in his way and his unpreparedness to deal with the management differences. Adam planned to assert his ideas of faster production to meet high demand for increased profit. However, Salvador didn’t necessarily appreciate Adam’s attempt to change the management style that he was accustomed to. With more trust Adam can better communicate his focus to slowly increase productivity and Salvador can feel comfort as his management style won’t be forced to change. If Adam were to follow our recommendations, the possibilities of the business endeavors between Fletcher Guitars and
Guitarras Dominguez are endless.

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