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Caste System in India

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Duelling Expats


This case brings out the difficulties and challenges that may arise in a multicultural, foreign environment. It also highlights the result of close mindedness (evident in John’s case as the absence of excitement in moving abroad) and lack of willingness to compromise and accept change. This case study shows two possibilities when faced with this change: that of Mr. John and that of Mr. Lance. Mr. John’s cultural and professional rigidity is a stark contrast to Mr. Lance’s ability to assimilate in a new culture and thrive.

Case facts:

➢ John worked very hard to be promoted as department head in the 1990s

➢ In 2000’s, Influx of newer software brought about decline in sales for John’s product

➢ John was transferred to Amsterdam office, has a hard time comprehending Dutch culture and adjusting to it

➢ Irked by lack of obedience in the department, John decides to make an example of Lance (American sales officer hired in Amsterdam)

➢ John’s premium pricing strategy questioned by Lance, who wants fair pricing for locals

➢ John declines, decides to send Lance to HQ for reversing the effects of having ‘gone native’


1. Bring out the cultural context which led to personal and professional problems between Mr. John and Mr. Lance.

The main contrast has been drawn between American and European culture. Dutch culture has been defined as ‘reserved’ and strictly business-oriented. John perceived this definition as that of arrogance and pride, which lead him to hold onto extremely generic, preconceived notions towards most Dutch people.

In contrast, in this case study, American culture has been painted in a technologically-forward, faster-moving society that ‘celebrated stardom loudly’ and acknowledged the authority of those above them in the professional hierarchy.

While there really were no grounds for professional issues to arise between Mr. John and Mr Lance - since the study states, “John had no complaints about Lance’s performance”- they still did because the extent of Lance’s Europeanization irked John. On a personal level, Lance was American but he had gone to university in Europe, married a European and raised kids in the Netherlands. To John, this was a clear indication of unpatriotism. Further, professionally, to make matters worse, Lance was defying John’s authority, which went against the very ideals of being American (in John’s eyes). Together, these are the key factors that led to personal and professional problems between Mr. John and Mr. Lance.

2. Assume you are Mr. Lance. What would be your stand on John’s decision? Do you think Mr. John’s decision is right? Justify.

From Lance’s perspective, my stance would be to practice price equality and to try and negotiate with John, making him feel like I accept his authority.

I would explain that with globalization, it is important for people to progress too. With borders vanishing and the world on the verge of westernization, John’s thinking that Europeans are



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