Cisco Switches in China: The Year of the Manager

26 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010

See all articles by Lynn Isabella

Lynn Isabella

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Jan Gronski, managing director of the Cisco China Research and Development Center (CRDC), and Ivo Raznjevic, engineering director, set out to establish a new R&D facility in Shanghai, China. This case focuses on the building of a culture through human-resource practices while describing such steps as securing an appropriate building, assembling a work force, seeking appropriate projects, developing managers, building teams, evaluating performance, protecting intellectual property, and managing growth. The case presents specific challenges that arise regarding talent management: How does a manager overcome dramatic cultural differences within a diverse workgroup? Should a local female employee be promoted from a test engineer to a development manager? How should Raznjevic help his newest manager through his first encounter with Cisco's ranking system? What action, if any, should Raznjevic take regarding a senior engineer who sent out a controversial e-mail? This material highlights organizational culture and offers an opportunity for students to learn to recognize and manage difference. The case could be taught near the end of a term to serve as a review of organizational behavior at a graduate level or in an executive education program focusing on issues of team-building, growing managers from within, and related talent-management issues in a global context.

Excerpt

UVA-OB-0978

January 21, 2010

CISCO SWITCHES IN CHINA: THE YEAR OF THE MANAGER

As an expat, your job from the beginning is to leave. The day you arrive is the day you must start to think “What am I going to do to facilitate my leaving? Who is going to work out and who should move up?”

Ivo Raznjevic, engineering director of the Cisco China Research and Development Center (CRDC), was enjoying an end-of-day round of Ping-Pong he was playing with the office's most competitive player. Between challenging volleys, he couldn't help but make the connection between the game and his job; that for every challenge addressed, another came right back at him. Working themselves out of a job was not that easy.

With buy-in from the top of the Cisco Systems (Cisco) San Jose-based executive team, the CRDC leadership team of which Raznjevic and Gronski were members had started the building of the fledgling organization in Shanghai. The initial development plan was to focus on technologies and products targeting service providers and consumer networking sectors. Cisco had committed to invest $ 32 million USD in the center. Not intending it to be an overseas R&D center for internal outsourcing Cisco projects, the CRDC leadership team had pushed for innovation and independence from corporate headquarters.

. . .

Keywords: culture, start up, new organization, talent pipeline, expats, negocaitions, highly motivated professionals, managing corporate, entrepreneurship, difference

Suggested Citation

Isabella, Lynn and Yemen, Gerry, Cisco Switches in China: The Year of the Manager. Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0978. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1585650

Lynn Isabella (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4818 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/isabella.htm

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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