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Decisions In Paradise

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Decisions in Paradise - "How To Be, or Not To Be: My First Assignment as an Executive's Assistant"

The University of Phoenix

Decisions in Paradise - "How To Be, or Not To Be: My First Assignment as an Executive's Assistant"

"How to be, or not to be: My First Assignment as an Executive's Assistant" follows a new employee, Nik, on her first day of work as an assistant to Alex, the Director of Strategic Planning for the Volvo Corporation, a very experienced, demanding and influential executive. Nik, who had just graduated from college two weeks prior, now is starting the adventure of her new career with a solid and successful corporation. Nik's first week of work was engulfed in a brief introduction to Volvo, human resource procedures, organization processes, and an overview of the country in which she had been assigned, Kava, an island in the South Pacific, and making flight arrangements to get her there. However, no one exactly knows what her specific duties will entail.


First Impressions

Immediately upon arriving to Kava, Nik quickly took notice that all the property in Kava was a mess, and this continued all the way to the company's office. It was evident that something horrible had happened to this South Pacific paradise. Upon entering the office, it appeared that this catastrophe had also hit the inside of the building, because it was a mess as well. The receptionist quickly introduced himself, and to Nik's surprise, it was Alex, her supervisor and mentor. He was nothing like she had imagined. However, on the other hand, she was nothing as Alex had imagined either. Both agreed that the statement, perception is reality, was true in this case in that it applied not only to their preconceptions of one another but also to Nik's ideas of what Kava was going to be, paradise.


Kava is a significant island country in the South Pacific. The population consists of over 50% who are under 15 years of age with an ethnic mix of indigenous South Pacific tribes, oriental (Chinese primarily), African, French, Spanish, and since World War II, a sizeable number of Americans. The religious mix is 50% Indigenous, and the remainder closely divided between Christian, Buddhist, and Islamic. The predominant language is primarily indigenous, although English, Spanish, and French languages are frequently spoken. Petroleum, coffee, cocoa, spices, bananas, sugar, tourism, fishing, and natural gas as well as inexpensive, quality labor support the economy.

Natural threats to this South Pacific paradise include tidal waves or tsunami, typhoons and hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. There is also an ongoing threat of HIV/AIDS, high risk for the avian flu. Because of the petroleum business in Kava, there is always the threat of a petroleum spill. Being a South Pacific Country, terrorism, from within and outside the country is always a dark shadow that looms to attack not only the inhabitants, but also the economic state of this small paradisiacal island. To help in times of disaster, there are governmental service organizations to help Kava inhabitants on local, state, and national levels, including the military. There are also community-based organizations that assist in these times such as faith-based groups, and local businesses.

The Situation

After Alex's introduction to Kava and reviewing the potential risk associated with the location, Nik quickly understood that indeed a disaster had hit this small county. However, the fact was that numerous disasters had occurred during a short time frame and caused the massive problems that were evident even to the newest of arrivals. Alex quickly explained to Nik that everyone in the world was being affected by the disasters of this one time paradise. Nik, not aware of the global implications, had to step back and ponder what an impact of a disaster on this South Pacific island could have to the global economy. It did not take long for her to realize that the stop of exportation of specific items, such as coffee, cocoa, spices, bananas, seafood, and sugar would limit the amount going to large countries such as the United States. This in turn would mean that prices in the American grocery stores as well as other countries would highly be affected along with the people who had to pay the higher price for those items. Even more detrimental to the global economy would be the slow down of production of petroleum, and natural gas. Additionally, this country, as stated previously, is know for its inexpensive, quality labor, which supports many other industries that produce items to be sold to the global public.

The Assignment

The citizens of Kava are having a tough time dealing with these recent disasters. Contributing to the confusion is the diverse composition of people, their beliefs, attitudes, and ideologies. Alex stated Volvo's mission in Kava is simple, to help the citizens of Kava achieve their goals. He further explained that the company's founder, Chris Morales, has a deep-seeded commitment to doing what is right, not because of the economics, or politics, or recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. "Our organization is far from perfect, but we keep trying to upgrade who we are, what we do, and how we do it", Alex stated, "Chris believes we cannot keep taking more from this small country if we do not give more back. Chris wants to live up to that Morales name." In addition, the third, maybe most consequential reason for Volvo's help is the government of Kava, and indirectly a bunch of other organizations, are asking Volvo to bring their business culture to Kava. Alex went on to explain that their assignment was to establish a greater presence in Kava, which could take various forms, based on what is good for Volvo and what is good for the people of Kava. Alex and Nik would now get the chance to analyze, synthesize, and prescribe decision-making techniques and processes regarding that decision.

Should Volvo Get Involved? - Critical Reasoning

The three reasons why Volvo should get involved in Kava is, 1.) Through Volvo's growth, the company has demonstrated that it can develop and manage a very effective as well as highly efficient, organizational structure and processes. That includes all aspects of the company; marketing, finance, purchasing, technology, human resources,



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