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Case Study "Boss, I Think We Have a Problem" Central Steel Door Corporation has been in business for about 20 years, successfully selling a line of...

what are the mistakes he did
case: Boss, I think we have a problem

Case Study “Boss, I Think We Have a Problem” Central Steel Door Corporation has been in business for about 20 years, successfully selling a line of steel industrial-grade doors , as well as the hardware and fittings required for them. Focusing mostly in the United States and Canada, the company had gradually increased its presence from the New York City area, first into New England and then down the Atlantic Coast, then trough the Midwest and West, and finally into Canada. The company’s basic expansion strategy was always the same: Choose an area, open a distribution center, hire a regional sales manager, then let that regional sales manager help staff the distribution center and hire local sales reps. Unfortunately, the company’s traditional success in finding sales help has not extended to its overseas operation . Mel Fisher, president of Central Steel Door, decided to expand his company abroad, into Europe. However, the expansion has not gone smoothly at all. He tried for three weeks to find a sales manager by advertising in the International Herald Tribune , which is read by businesspeople in Europe and by American expatriates living and working in Europe. Although the ads placed in the Tribune also run for about a month in the Tribune’s Internet Web site, Mr. Fisher so far has received only five applications. One came from a possibly viable candidate, whereas four came from candidates whom Mr. Fisher refers to as “lost souls” – people who seem to have spent most of their time traveling restlessly from country to country sipping espresso in sidewalk cafés. When asked what he had done for the last three years, one told Mr. Fisher he’d been on a “walkabout”. Other aspects of his international HR activities have been equally problematic. Fisher alienated two of his U.S. sales managers by sending them to Europe to temporarily run the European operation, but neglecting to work out a compensation package that would cover their relatively high living expenses in Germany and Belgium. One ended up staying the better part of the year, and Mr. Fisher was rudely surprised to be informed by the Belgian governmental administration that his sales manager owed thousands of dollars in local taxes. The managers had hired about 10 local people to staff each of the two distribution centers. However, without full-time local European sales managers, the level of sales was disappointing, so Fisher decided to fire about half the distribution center employees. That’s when he got an emergency phone call from his temporary sales manager in Germany: “I’ve just been told that all these employees should have had written employment agreements and that in any case we can’t fire anyone without at least one year’s notice, and the local authorities here are really up in arms. Boss, I think we have a problem.” 1. Based on the case incident, compile a list of 5-8 international HR mistakes Mr. Fisher has made so far. 2. How would you have gone about hiring a European sales manager? Why ? 3. What would you do now if you were Mr. Fisher?
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