1.0 Case Summary
This case of ‘The Fijian Experience – The Tau Experience’ tells us about the dilemma of Mr Bret Taylor, an American expatriate owner-manager of the well-known hotel Shangri-La Fijian Resort in Yanuka Island of Fiji on the Tau relationship between his potential manager Moala and the new trainee waitress, Salome Suacake.
The Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort (FIJIAN) is a world international hotel and has a strong reputation throughout the world for more than 30 years old. It has 450 rooms with more than 800 employees which most of them are from the indigenous Fijians and had served for the hotel for more than 10 years. Alas, FIJIAN even has three generations of a family work in the hotel simultaneously including Moala who was the first Fijian who was sponsored by the FIJIAN to Switzerland for his 3 years study and hold an important executive position in a 5 stared international hotel group.
The dilemma begins when Salome Suacake, an indigenous Fijian was caught red-handed taking money from customers by Mr Brett Taylor. According to Salome, she did it for church financial and not for herself. While at the same time, Moala could not do anything because of his Tau relationship with Salome and he has to keep it shut and pretend nothing is wrong. Mr Brett Taylor is facing the dilemma of a Cross – Cultural management in this case whereby he has to take action to both his right-handed, dedicated manager, Moala and the trainee Salome by considering on the local customs and practices without being unfair to the other staff and keep strict to the rules. 2.0 Problem Statement
In this case of FIJIAN, the Tau relationship local custom they belief has bound Moala from taking any action towards Salome because his ancestors owed Salome’s ancestors a debt and Salome can do as she please to Moala as the hotel where they are working considered as Moala’s home. If this continues, it will affect the FIJIAN’s credibility and professionalism in handling the management, production as well as the performance of the hotel itself and the staff behaviour towards their work. The main problem of the case study is concerned about the Cross-Cultural Management Conflict that has occurred due to the fraud crime made by the trainee staff. 2.1 List of Problems & Symptoms:
(a) Salome Suacake commits fraud – For the first two months, she works with dedicative manner and performs well until the third month she started to misbehave and steal customer’s money. Rumors has been spread but no one take any action because of no proof of her doing that until she was caught red-handed by Mr Brett Taylor himself. (b) Moala Tukana’s silent action – Knowing Salome’s misbehaviour on stealing customer’s money, he remains silent and pretended he knew nothing. After he was suspended by Mr Brett Taylor, He admits his wrongdoing for not taking any action towards Salome even after he knew Salome’s misbehaviour as he was bounded with their custom belief in ‘Tau Relationship’. According to the rare and unknown belief, he is Salome’s Tau ( a person commited by the ancestors to support her) and this bond is unbreakable because his ancestors owed Salome’s ancestor a debt. (c) Salome Suacake’s tricky action – Salomes act innocently in stealing the customer’s money because for her she is not stealing for herself but for her village’s church building financial and using the ‘Tau Relationship’ as an excuse by taking advantage towards Moala’s position.
She knew Moala is her Tau and could not possibly take any action and complaint about her. (d) Mr Brett Taylor’s Dilemma – Mr Brett Taylor is facing the dilemma in decision making especially towards his right – handed manager, Moala Tukana. His decision right now is involving the professionalism of his staff in work field and the local custom issue. He needs to make a right decision which will not hurt the Fijian as this is a very sensitive issue but at the same time his decision must also be firm and fair for the FIJIAN’s credibility and fairness so the staffs will not be able to repeat the same crime or mistake. (e) Local Traditional Custom – The ‘Tau Relationship’ has become the main cause of Salome’s crime. Indigenous Fijians are bonded strongly to their customary practices. We can see in this case from the Hotel Staff Union who appealed on behalf of Salome and support her by saying she is not wrong because she is doing it for her village’s church building financial. The local traditional custom that they are bounded in has made them blind in dividing their work life professionaly. 3.0 Alternative Strategies & Evaluations
(a) Fired Salome Suacake
Mr Brett Taylor may find its hard to fired Salome as the reason she steals was because to help funding the building of church in her village and apart from that Salome showed a good performance during her first two months working at FIJIAN. However as a fair and wise owner-manager he has to make the decision of firing Salome as it is the best way for her case. Stealing or fraud is the most sensitive and big issue to any organization in this world as an organization requires a trustworthy and integrity employees or staffs to work for them for the sake of the credibility and performance of one organization so Mr Brett Taylor cannot take any risk towards giving chances to Salome. Evaluation strategy (a):
Positive: Mr Brett will still have his right-handed assistant manager Maola, and Moala can perform his work back on track as he is no longer bounded to the tie of ‘Tau Relationship’ with Salome. Other staffs will look it as a lesson to be learned not to take any advantage from their traditional custom practice in their work life to do such crime. Besides, Mr Brett Taylor will not lose his credibility as a good and fair owner-manager in solving this cross-cultural management problem.
Negative: Some of the employees might judge the decision of Mr Brett Taylor as being unfair especially from the Hotel Union Staffs as they are appealed on behalf of Salome. Meanwhile on behalf on Salome, she might have a problem in searching her future career in hotel industry particulary because of her bad reputation of her fraud crime. (b) Formal Verbal & Written Warning to Salome Suacake
Stealing is a big crime for all organization no matter what reason they give for stealing. For Salome’s case, since in previous record she has good performance and educated she should have a one more chance in continuing her job in FIJIAN. Mr Brett Taylor has to talk to Salome and make her understand that her behaviour is not accepted and is wrong. A real good explanation and counselling to Salome is needed for she has to know that Mr Brett Taylor is serious in issuing her warning so she shall not repeat the same mistake and has to make things right for a given time. A probation should be implemented to supervise Salome’s behaviour and performance and she should be terminated whenever she repeats the same crime again. Evaluation Strategy (b):
Positive: Employees will be aware of their duty and will not mix their personal matter and work matter. The management will also aware of their staff behaviours from time to time to avoid things happened again. A respectful and bonding is increased between the management and staffs and will create a better performance in their workplace.
Negative: Even Salome has received a second chance, but she has created a bad record performance for herself from the management record and is bad for her future career if she intends to change her career Despite her reason of stealing is for the good of Church but still other organization will have doubts to accept her because of trust issues.
(c) Disciplinary Action towards Moala Tukana
Moala Tukana should be suspended for a period of time as he as the supervisor and assistant manager is also has been misbehaved for not taking any action towards Salome even he knew that Salome is doing crime. This will show that the management is serious in managing their staffs wrong doing especially in fraud. Staffs should know that fraud is a very serious matter and should not be ignored must be taken action for good and lesson for other staffs. At the same time, management should start on a new ‘Code of Conduct’ of FIJIAN that is no harm and sensitive traditional custom should be practice in the organization. Since FIJIAN has other link hotel located at other places in Fiji, Moala should be send there after his suspension and work there for a period of time. FIJIAN management also has to delay Moala’s promotion as a Manager, after all he must pay for his action. Evaluation Strategy (c):
Positive: By suspending Moala, the well-known good leader and staff, it would be an eye opener to other staffs that the management is treating their employees fair and square thus it would be a good lesson for every one not to repeat the same mistake again even bounded by the local custom belief. Negative: This strategy would slightly hurt Moala’s performance record in FIJIAN and it is hard for him to gain the management’s trust towards him. He has to work hard after the suspension to prove his credibility back on track and not easily influence by the act of their traditional local custom practice. On the other hand, FIJIAN will lost their best man that handles most of the situation during Moala’s suspension period and his relocation of workplace later.
(d) Make Moala Tukana & Salome Suacake pay for the loss
Mr Brett Taylor must make them both pay back all the total amount stole by Salome. It is their fault at first for the misbehaving crime as the ‘Tau relationship’ made them. Even Moala was not the one who stole the money but because of he is Salome’s ‘Tau’ and his silent action on Salome’s crime so he too shall pay for the loss together with Salome. However, the payback method does not mean that they have to pay back all in lump sum. It can be done by cutting off their salary every month until it is settled. In line with that, to make them not to repeat the same mistake again, they shall not be given any bonus or tips as well as allowance for that year in response of their misbehavior and crime. This should be remembered and aware by all of the staff. Evaluation of strategy (d):
Positive: With this strategy, all the staff will immediate take note and be extra aware of their actions because above all no one wants their salary, bonus, tips and allowance to be cut off for the whole year. By the time the actions been taken, all should know that the fraud crime is very serious and should not happened again in the future. Negative: It is going to be hard for Salome and Moala to survive for one whole year without no bonus, tips and even allowance given plus with the cut off salary they have to face because of their misbehavior towards the organization. For Salome, she might want to resign from being the waitress there as she could not handle the stress and burden of having to pay all the loss as the reason of crime she has done was not for herself but for the Church.
4.0 The Best Strategy and Justification
The best strategy for this case would be from the strategy (a) which is fired Salome Suacake. If we look further into other strategies especially suspending Moala Tukana, it would only been for a period of time and Salome will still be there by the time Moala comes back. No one knows if Salome might repeat her misbehavior and take advantage on Moala again because he is her ‘Tau’. After all, Mr Brett Taylor cannot afford to lose Moala is he terminates him but take the risk of retain Salome in the organization.
Mr Brett Taylor has known Moala for a long time better than Salome, so even if he gives Salome a second chance and make them pay the loss from the crime she had done it would be not enough for action taken as the nature of people, we cannot guarantee that they will not repeat the same mistake again as we know according to the custome the ‘Tau Relationship’ is unbreakable and between Moala and Salome, Moala is much more precious to the organization.
Apart from that, by firing Salome the ‘Tau Relationship’ can be avoided and Moala would not be bounded and tied up anymore to Salome. It is good to fire Salome in her early phase of working in the organization because if they let her stay it could be worst in the future, proven that she has no good work ethic and responsibility when she involved Moala by taking advantage on him as her tau and gave the excuse of her crime is for the Church building finance not for herself.
Last but not least, this incident will be treated as an eye opener and moral values to the other staffs especially the indigenous Fijian to not repeat the same mistakes by involving their local custom practice for their crime. Also they will not have the courage to risk their job by doing silly crime and end up losing their job as the management especially Mr Brett Taylor will not tolerate with that kind of mistake as happened to Salome. This also shows that Mr Brett Taylor is a fair yet wise owner-manager in solving this case matter.
5.1 Short Term Implementation
(a) Issue warning towards Moala Tukana & Salome Suacake
Warning should have been issued to both Moala & Salome for their silent action and misbehaved crime. They shall not repeat their mistake even when under pressure of being tied up in local custom practice. A broken of ethics for the same mistake shall lead to termination. (b) Disciplinary action towards Moala as the Supervisor and Assistant Manager Moala should be suspended in order for him to realise that the management is very serious towards him being silent and not taking any action to Salome’s crime. He should know that the management will not tolerate for any unethical crime and action even he is the right-handed man in the organization. (c) Avoid recruiting too many blood-relation in organization By doing this, deceptive behaviour will not occur and the management should start on rearrange the staffs organization and job schedule especially to those blood related. Conflict of interest also can be avoided by implementing this to the organization. (d) Introducing Counsel & Performance Department
The organization should start implement a new department specialized in counsel and supervise employees performance based on evaluation, activities and counsel session. This department is responsible in organizing a bonding activities to the staffs so the staffs feel so close to each other can talk about their problems and not keep it for themselves as what happened to Salome. If only she had speak up, the staffs might do some activities for the purpose of funding the church not by stealing.
5.2 Long Term Implementation
(a) Develop a new ‘Code of Conduct’
The organization should develop a new code of conduct regarding the ethics of work. The staffs should be given a brief explaination towards the code of conduct and work proper ethics that they should follow. In the new code of conduct too the organization should highlight that no local traditional custom is practised in the organization which can be harmful and give negative side effects to the organization especially the ‘Tau Relationship’. A work life balance should be implemented in the new code of conduct too as to make sure the staffs will not mix their personal beliefs into their work environment. (b) Leadership Training
The organization especially the Human Resource team should occasionally provide training to the staffs especially to the executive staff, Moala particularly. To be a leader should know how to manage his team well without mixing personal and work matter. In this case, Moala should learn how to manage people’s behaviour professionally especially to his staff under his supervision. This training will help him in dealing his problems more ethically and professionally than keep drowning in his traditional cultural lifestyle. Keeping quiet on someone’s wrongdoings will only encourage more people into committing the same crime.
In conclusion, most indigenous Fijian are still strongly bounded to their local traditional custom practice even the rare one like ‘Tau Relationship’. In this case the Cross-Cultural Management conflict has occurred because this local beliefs has become the symptom and lead towards fraud crime resulting in loss. A fair yet wise action is needed to confront and solve this case in order to avoid the same conflict to be happened again in the future.