Often, managers ask my why people from certain cultures are reticent or refuse to escalate issues via email/phone call when appropriate.
Let us take an example.
Tada from Chang Mai is a product manager for Product Q 4 in Asia Pac. Recently, a leading VP from HQ returned home with a long list of issues to be fixed. Tada had shared the list of concerns only after having been asked. Let’s see why Tada never escalated before he was asked.
1) Tada prefers harmony to conflict. Tada believes that conflict or bad feelings need to be avoided at all costs because these unpleasant states are almost irreversible.
2) Tada believes that the role of his boss is to know things and act. If he does not know, he should know. If the boss does not know, he should ask. If the boss does not ask, it is not Tada’s role to tell him and “upset” him or disrespect him.
3) Tada believes that maintaining hierarchy is more important than resolving specific issues.
4) Tada believes that he will be “stick out as a trouble maker” is he escalates, and while escalation may solve a specific issue, his reputation within the organization will be tarnished.