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The case “Road to Hell” by Gareth Evans is a story of two characters with different

backgrounds, personalities and points of view and how these two characters interact.

John Baker
John Baker is a successful western chief engineer of the Barracania’s branch of a multinational
company. In the case it is mentioned that John Baker is an English expatriate, so we assume that
he is white, possibly born in Canada. Baker thinks he has an edge in working in a foreign country
because he has experience in understanding a regional staff’s psychology and knowing exactly
how to get along with locals.

Matthew Rennalls
Baker has been working to prepare Matt Rennalls to be his successor in the chief engineer’s
position. Rennalls, on the other hand, is a young engineer who represents the new generation of
patriotic, well-educated Barracania’s professionals. His four years as a student at London
University made him especially sensitive to political, racial and equality issues involving
relations between his culture and western influence.

Caribbean Bauxite
Caribbean Bauxite Company Limited of Barracania, is one of the leading bauxite exporters in the
West Indies. The company is vastly diverse and has the most Barracanian middle managers of all
foreign companies operating in Barracania. However, Europeans still occupy (to hold, fill) the
top managerial positions in the company.

The Meeting
John baker calls a meeting with Rennalls due to the Jackson, the senior draftsman, who
complained about the rudeness of Rennalls.

During the meeting he insults Rennalls by saying that his people do not have as much experience
in commerce as the europeans and the americans do.

The mistake John made was comparing the Barracanians experience to the European experience.

He still made a mistake building his interview from his own (European) perspective. Baker gave
some historical and personal suggestions that “My ancestors have been brought up in this
environment for the past 200 or 300 years, and I have, therefore, been able to live in a world in
which commerce (as we know it today) has been part and parcel of my being... In your case, the
situation is different, because you and your forebears have had only some 50 or 60 years in this
commercial environment. You have had to face the challenge of bridging the gap between 50 and
200 or 300 years.
These suggestions given by baker were not meant to be offensive. However, from Matt's point
of view, the suggestions were totally inappropriate. Through the interview, Baker emphasized
several times the importance and leading position of European staff in the company.

This meeting between two case characters ended up in a disaster. Instead of accepting the chief
engineer position, Matt turns in his resignation, insulted by John’s.
The main problem of this enterprise is that it is an American and west European company in an
west Indies region. The racial problem is obvious.
Due to various cultural differences between the Barracanian and the Europeans employees racial
{separation of different kinds of humans (like black and white people)} tension is always present
in the working environment. Despite the fact that the company has more Barracanian managers
than Europeans, some Barracaians feel that the company has unjust (lacking in justice) partiality
(favoritism) towards the Europeans.

This case is one of many examples of how people from different cultures and backgrounds do
not take diversity into consideration. They evaluate and measure each other by their own scales
and perceptions, which often lead to serious misunderstanding and conflicts.

World’s societies have made substantial progress in eliminating racism from both community
and work place, multiple surveys show that racism is still a serious issue. For instance, the
public opinion poll by Gallup Organization revealed that 50% of surveyed believe that racial
minorities in US don’t have equal job opportunities with non-Hispanic whites (Gallup
Organization, 2001). Another survey by Harris Interactive reports 51% surveyed think that
minorities have too little power influencing government policy, politicians and policy makers in
Washington (Harris Interactive, 2001).

Problems:
Racism (Culture differences)
Unfair Labor Practices according to Europeans

Causes: Ignorance, brainwashing, upbringing, negative experiences with individuals of a given


race, negative images portrayed in media and societal stereotypes, separation, hate, lack of
education, distorted thinking, fear....

Effects: judgment, slurs, violence, hate crimes, death, inequality, inhumanity, discrimination,
derogation, exaltation, miscommunication, misunderstanding, prejudice (unfairness), conflict,
degradation, individualization, dehumanization, confirmation bias, bigotry, intolerance...

Preventions of Racism and Unfair Labor Practices are:

1. Equal Employee Opportunity


Discrimination is prohibited in such employment practices as recruitment, rates of pay,
upgrading, layoff, promotion, and selection for training. Employers may not make
distinctions based on race, color, religion, sex.

2. Respecting Differences and Working Together


Awareness of cultural differences and recognizing where cultural differences are at work
is the first step toward understanding each other and establishing a positive working
environment. Use these differences to challenge your own assumptions about the "right"
way of doing things and as a chance to learn new ways to solve problems.

3. Building Trust Across Cultural Boundaries


Research indicates that there is a strong correlation between components of trust such as
communication effectiveness, conflict management, understanding and productivity.
Cultural differences play a key role in the creation of trust, since trust is built in different
ways, and means different things in different cultures.

4. Change the behavior to reduce racism:


Change in behavior mean we must understand the different culture and environment exist
in organization. We must understand how individuals relate to and participate in groups,
how leadership is exercised, how organizations function, and how change is effected in
organizational settings.

Change the behavior is not only important for the organization but it also play a vital role
in the society.

To prevent the racism, firstly we need to minimize the racism in our society. Racism is
not our natural state. No child is born racist. It is a result of misinformation.

I feel that the only way that racism can be eliminated is to start with ourselves. It
begins at home with our parents and our families. We are not born with prejudice;
it is something that is taught. From there, it goes to our schools. We should try to be
more understanding of our classmates and even our teachers. It doesn't matter what
race or color we are, or even the language we speak. What matters is what we have
in common. People should be judged on what is in the inside, not what is on the
outside. It starts with me.