Case 1: Spanning the Globe
By: Allen D. Engle, Sr.
Eric Christopher, Associate Director for Global HR Development at Tex-Mark, was sitting in his car in an early-morning traffic jam. He had thought that by leaving his home at 7:00 a.m. he would have been ahead of the heavy commuter traffic into San Antonio’s city center. The explanation for the long queue was announced by the radio traffic service. A large, portable crane, used to set up concrete barriers around road works, had overturned, and inbound and outbound traffic would be at a dead stop for at least an hour. Eric had ended up at Tex-Mark, a computer input-output manufacturer and supplier, through an indirect career route. Brought up in the Hill Country Village district of San
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The general topic was a review and evaluation of training and development strategies for expatriate professionals and managers resulting from Tex-Mark’s growth and the new production shift to Asia. Eric had indirectly heard that Juanita Roberto, the Vice President for HR wanted costs cut and her delegates on the team would be pushing for streamlined (Eric had mentally translated that as cheaper) training programs, shorter expatriate assignments and a faster appointment of HCNs whenever possible. While Eric had prepared for this crucial meeting, he needed incorporate some information from his office files. The radio announcer broke into Eric’s thoughts, commented that overextension or carrying too much weight probably caused the crane to overturn. ‘I can identify with that’, Eric thought to himself. Eric’s meeting with Fred Banks had not gone well. Fred was one of the last of the ‘IME legacies’, an IME engineer that had stayed on with Tex-Mark after the spin off in 1978. Fred had been a bright and promising young engineer back then, and was one of the first people chosen to go to Scotland in 1983. He was so successful in brining that facility on line in an eleven-month assignment that he was made lead engineer of the team that went into Mexico in 1989. The three-year Mexican project did not go as smoothly. Certainly there were many unavoidable economic