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For the past three years, Ned Ferguson had served quite succ

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For the past three years, Ned Ferguson had served quite successfullyas the manager of a U.S.-owned manufacturing company in Taiwan. Shortly after Ned’s arrival in Taipei, he instituted a number of changes in plant operations that increased both production and worker satisfaction. However, within the last several months, a series of what seemed to Ned to be unrelated incidents had occurred. First, there had been a fire in the warehouse, which fortunately was contained before too much damage had been done. On the following day, the wife and two children of the local plant supervisor were killed in a spectacular automobile accident. Finally, within the past several weeks, there had been a rash of minor accidents on the assembly line; such situations were quite uncharacteristic of the plant’s excellent safety record. Ned heard that rumors were running rampant about the plant being cursed by evil spirits. Moreover, he knew that absenteeism had increased dramatically. To try to deal with these problems, Ned called together his chief supervisors. His American staff recommended that some experts from the insurance company come in to review the safety procedures, which, they argued, would show the workers that the company was taking their safety needs seriously. But the Taiwanese supervisors considered this step to be inadequate and instead suggested that a local religious priest be brought in, during company time, to pray for the workers and ward off any evil forces. Ned and his U.S. staff thought that such an action would do nothing but give official company support to superstition. The meeting ended without any substantial agreement between U.S. and Taiwanese supervisors.How would you explain this basic cultural conflict?-What went wrong? (Was there an example of prejudice?)-Why did it happen?-What would you recommend to avoid this situation in the future?BusinessANG 5464

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