Case 01: India, “Yes or No?” (From INDIA – Cross-Cultural Business Behavior: Copenhagen Business School Press, 2010)


Kumar is the leader of an IT project team in Noida, near New Delhi. He works with Mogens, project leader of the Danish company. Kumar and Mogens have not yet met face-to-face but have worked together for about six weeks, communicating almost daily by email, phone and occasionally in a video conference.

One Monday Kumar gets phone call from Mogens. After the usual greetings and pleasantries Mogens says, “This is an advance call to let you know we really need the complete summary report on the A-12 test results here by early Wednesday morning. You’ll get the formal email about it in a few minutes. I’m calling to stress how very important it is that we receive the report on time, otherwise the whole project will fall behind schedule. You can do it, right?”

Kumar shakes his head, knowing he cannot meet this unreasonable deadline. After a short hesitation he replies, “Well Mogens, as you know we’ve just lost two key team members due to job-hopping. Along with power outages, staff turnover remains a major problem with us.”

“I know you’re short-handed there, but we’re also under great pressure here,” says Mogens. “Can’t you shift priorities and add some more overtime hours?” […silence…] “Kumar, are you there? Are we having phone problems again? Can you hear me now?”

“Yes Mogens, I’m here. I’ll check all the work schedules and get back to you tomorrow.”

Frustrated, Mogens insists: “Tomorrow will be too late, Kumar. You have to tell me now whether you can send the complete summary by Wednesday, OK?” […silence…] “Kumar?”

“Yes, yes, we will do our best.”

Mogens heaved a sigh of relief. “Thanks, Kumar. I knew we could count on you for that extra effort.”



1. How many times did Kumar signal his team’s inability to meet the Dane’s deadline?

2. Do you think Mogens will receive the summary report as requested by Wednesday morning?

3. What can be done by Mogens and his company to improve communications with his team in Noida?