TOPdesk: The struggles of cross-cultural leadership


This case illustrates the challenges of cross-cultural leadership when a company opens a new subsidiary in a foreign country. Students are confronted with the example of a Dutch company, TOPdesk - a service management developer. The case is situated when they are in the process of opening an office in Sao Paula, Brazil and consequently having difficulty in acquiring personnel. The situation highlights a clash between corporate and country culture and students are motivated to think about the interaction between national and corporate culture, and the implications of differences therein. Possible solutions are looked in to from a Human Resource perspective, but the case is also useful for leadership students.

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1. Students must be able to define key components of effective cross-cultural leadership2. Students must be able to identify the components of contributing to corporate culture3. Students must be able to apply the theories of national culture and corporate culture to real-life examples, for example how Brazil/Sao Paulo region's local culture affect corporate culture within the office of Sao Paulo4. Students must be able to argue how corporate culture is related to human resources5. Students must be able to analyse national cultures using Hofstede's model of cultural differences