Case Studies in Work, Employment and Human Resource Management
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Case Studies in Work, Employment and Human Resource Management

Edited by Tony Dundon and Adrian Wilkinson

This comprehensive book offers a fascinating set of over 40 evidence-based case studies derived from international research on work, employment and human resource management (HRM).
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Chapter 40: Cultural and logistical preparation of expatriates

Willam Despotovic


HerbalCeuticals was established in 1986 to manufacture and sell high quality herbal supplements and vitamins within the Australian market. Over the last 10 years their Australian operations have been performing well. HerbalCeuticals’ growth has been possible due to their capacity to keep up with market trends and use of evidence-based research in the development of their herbal supplements and vitamins. HerbalCeuticals’ product line is highly regarded by both consumers and their respective suppliers. Until 2010 HerbalCeuticals operated from Brisbane; however, they have since expanded operations, with several smaller offices and distribution centres located across the country. In 2013 HerbalCeuticals attempted to enter the market in the People’s Republic of China but failed due to a number of bad business dealings with suppliers, which left their small sales office and distribution centre with a poor reputation. HerbalCeuticals had failed to understand and acknowledge the cultural differences when working in a new context and struggled to form and sustain long-standing relationships with local stakeholders. The owners of the company, Bella and Sasha, admit they were very naive about the challenges of operating in new cultural environments and knew very little about the politics, business practices and social customs required to operate successfully in China. Bella and Sasha acknowledge that they were very aggressive in their business style and short-term focused, and did not work satisfactorily with their local partners in establishing trust and long-term relationships.

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