代寫 UNSW MGMT5602 - Cross-Cultural Mngt
代寫 UNSW MGMT5602 - Cross-Cultural Mngt
Dynamics of International Business: Asia-Pacific Business Cases – Ravinaki 11/01/2013 2:26 PM Page 1 of 7
Losing touch with the context: The story of Ravinaki
Resort in Fiji
Sally Anne Gaunt
Dan V. Caprar
Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales
The sun was setting opposite Ravinaki Resort on the island of Batiki situated in the centre of
Fiji’s volcanic Lomaiviti Island group. Caroline Childs and her husband, Gerald, had just
arrived from Sydney and were soaking up the atmosphere after a day and a half of travelling.
Caroline was no stranger to Fiji, or to Ravinaki Resort. Eight years prior (in 2001), she had
been the water sports manager at Ravinaki. The resort is home to an impressive Marine Eco
System cherished by Scuba Divers and Snorkelers. It also offered Game fishing, seasonal
surfing and kayaking. It was Caroline’s responsibility to ensure that tourists were able to take
full advantage of the many wonders that the nearby reef offered, as well as ensuring the safety
of visitors and staff whilst out on the water. Caroline had loved her time at Lomaiviti, hence
she wished to show her husband the delights of Ravinaki, albeit now under new management.
The Ravinaki Resort and its founders
Ravinaki was the only resort on the island of Batiki. It was set up in 2000 by James Brennan
and his wife Sarah, who started working on the island as part of a marine based NGO project.
James, a marine biologist from the US, was responsible, along with a number of other marine
biologists, for evaluating the health of the local Batiki reefs. Sarah, originally from England,
had a background in hospitality, and was responsible for the project’s overall management
including catering, logistics and sanitation. They were well suited to their roles but also
developed other interests in the area. Given his background, James had been particularly
impressed with the pristine coral reefs that surrounded the island of Batiki. The couple had
dreamed of being able to combine their careers so they could both stay in the tropical paradise
of Batiki, so when the NGO project ended in 1999, James and Sarah seized the opportunity to
open Batiki’s first and only resort. They decided to target the more intrepid tourist who would
not mind making the day and half trip from the closest international airport in Fiji’s capital,
Suva, to reach their unspoilt paradise island. Moreover, due to both James and Sarah’s limited
financial resources and the environmental issues presented by the island and its community,
Ravinaki was unable to offer the luxury accommodation found in Fiji’s high traffic tourist
destinations. Therefore, it had been important that, while emphasising the delights of
Ravinaki’s unspoilt marine life, the resort’s marketing material also managed guests
expectations, pointing out that Ravinaki was an 'eco resort' with no air-conditioning and limited
Dynamics of International Business: Asia-Pacific Business Cases – Ravinaki 11/01/2013 2:26 PM Page 2 of 7
The Ravinaki Resort under new management
On her return to the resort, Caroline was curious about her experience as a tourist in a place
she knew so well. Gerald, Caroline’s husband, was awe-struck by the spectacular sunset and
the beauty of the surroundings and could see why Caroline had loved her time working in Fiji.
Whilst admiring the spectacular sunset, the couple started chatting with Ross Griffiths, the
resort’s new owner, and Gerald commented on the half finished deck at the entrance to the
resort. Ross sighed and told Gerald how disappointed he was at the slow progress being made
by the contracted Fijian workers, most of them coming from the local villages. “They go at two
speeds, dead slow and stop. I don’t know when we are ever going to get it finished,” said Ross.
This struck Caroline as a very inappropriate conversation to be having with a customer. Ross
continued to complain:
“I’ve brought over an ex-colleague of mine who is a civil engineer, he’s been helping me
upgrade the resort but he’s really struggling with these Fijian workers. Mike and I write
detailed instructions for the foreman, but half the time I don’t know why we bother as the
instructions are never followed. I now have Mike watch over these Fijian guys so he can spot
when they’re about to make a mistake. And everything takes so much time to achieve - we miss
deadline after deadline, it’s really frustrating. We have tried increasing their pay and offering
individual targets with an accompanying bonus, in the hope that they achieve them. We even
offered promotion prospects, but none of these incentives work”.
As she listened to the conversation, Caroline began to feel a wave of unease. The Fijians Ross
was describing had been her colleagues, who were part of the effective and fun working team
that had made her time at Ravinaki so rewarding. After the conversation ended, Caroline began
to wonder what had happened. When did her former Fijian colleagues become problem
workers? And why was working with them such a struggle? When Caroline had been working
at the resort, the former owners James and Sarah were well respected by their Fijian staff. James
had always allowed for ‘Fiji Time’ and did not expect projects to be completed as quickly as
in other contexts; there was rarely been a problem with the staff meeting James’ expectations.
Caroline wondered if Ross was not being realistic in his expectations or whether the workers
simply did not respect him enough to work towards his expectations.
Ross had visited Fiji for the first time 5 years ago, in 2004. At the time he owned a chain of
electrical stores and was based in Toronto. It was Ross’s first trip outside North America and
he fell in love with the Fiji island lifestyle. He had stayed on the Yasawa islands in Fiji’s north
and decided that he would sell up his business in Canada and buy a resort in Fiji. This coincided
with James and Sarah’s decision to return to the UK for family reasons. Ross felt Ravinaki had
plenty of potential, especially as the currently challenging logistics involved in getting to Batiki
were likely to improve, given continued improvements in Fiji’s infrastructure. Therefore, there
was the potential for more flights between Levuka, the closest airport to Batiki, and the
international airport based just outside Fiji’s Capitol Suva. Ross was unimpressed by the basic
accommodation and immediately upgraded the resort’s rooms by including air conditioning
from six in the evening onwards. He also doubled the rates of the rooms with ocean views.
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Prices continued to increase, as he made further upgrades to the resort, which clearly created a
shift in the type of clients the resort could attract.
Staff and culture at Ravinaki Resort over time
After the conversation with Ross about his perception of the local workers, Caroline could not
help but feel sense of unease. However, she was determined to enjoy her holiday. The next
morning, when Caroline and her husband arrived for breakfast, Caroline was delighted to see
that Malcolm, a previous colleague who had been in charge of Food and Beverage, was still
working at the resort. Malcolm came from VitiLevu, Fiji’s main and largest island, and had
worked in a couple of other large resorts in Fiji’s popular Denarau region. During Caroline’s
time at the resort, James and Sarah had actively recruited as many Fijian staff as possible,
including in management positions. However, it has proved extremely difficult to promote
employees who had been recruited from the three most local villages. Lomaiviti’s remoteness
meant that the communities still strongly adhered to a structured hierarchy, where the ruling
Chief of each Fijian village had ultimate power, and employees felt uncomfortable giving
directions to other staff from the same village, especially if they had strong connections to the
Chief and his family. The Ravinaki resort owners soon realized that one way to combat this
was to recruit well trained Fijian staff from the international resorts found in the high tourist
traffic regions of Fiji, such as the Coral Coast and the Mamanuca Islands. These staff members
could demand a higher salary, but the advantage was that they generally worked well with the
local Fijian employees and caused relatively little friction. Malcolm was one such employee.
Caroline, being from Australia, was an exception to James and Sarah’s recruitment strategy. It
was nearly impossible to find a Fijian to manage the water sports division as the manager
needed to be a qualified diving instructor, which required a certain level of education and
training. Of course, there were many Fijians with the necessary level of education for becoming
a diving instructor, but they lacked the professional training. Few would choose a profession
in water sports, opting instead for careers in recognized professions such as banking, nursing,
or I.T. Caroline had been selected on the basis of both her qualifications and experience. She
held a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certificate, had been working on
an NGO project in the Mamanuca Islands, and had other similar positions in a number of South
East Asian countries. She had developed an admiration for the country and its people.
Whilst Caroline had been at the resort, Malcolm had always been a favourite with the guests.
People loved his friendly and amusing style. However, having known him so well in her
previous role, she soon sensed that Malcolm’s enthusiasm for his job had waned. Furthermore,
as she looked around, she realized that many of Malcolm’s previous team members were no
longer around. Caroline also observed that many of the new staff members now employed were
quite obviously not Fijian.
After breakfast, Caroline chatted with Malcolm, and asked him how he liked working with the
new Canadian owners. Malcolm looked towards the floor and shook his head. “I’m no longer
Manager of Food and Beverage” he said. Apparently, there was a need to upgrade the restaurant
to cater for a more upmarket clientele, so the management brought in a new chef from Brazil.
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“Fernando is a brilliant chef but he has upset everyone. Nothing we do is good enough. He is
always shouting at us. He says we don’t even know the basics of cooking. But you know that
this is not true, it’s just that we have not been taught in the same way as he has. He gives us an
order but doesn’t tell us how to do things, and then yells at us when we don’t do things the way
he wants them done. It’s as if he thinks we’re telepathic and can read his mind, but we cannot.
Everyone is unhappy and looking for new jobs.” Malcolm left to get back to the kitchen,
concerned that, if he stayed any longer, he would be reprimanded by Fernando for loitering.
Caroline sighed, and could not help but reflect on how Ravinaki had changed from being a well
run and successful resort eight years previously, to the current situation where even the guests
seemed less relaxed, as if they could sense the stern atmosphere of discontent. When she had
been recruited, her new employers (James and Sarah Brennan) had told her that this was a
‘hands on’ organization. “We can’t afford to carry anyone and everyone needs to be flexible
and, at times, share in the mundane tasks such as carrying and fetching supplies.” James would
often say “you have to lead from the front, and do your fair share of the physical work”.
Caroline distinctly remembered that every time supplies needed to be unloaded after their
weekly arrival from Suva, it was always James, who, despite being the owner, had been at the
front of the unloading chain. It was James who set the pace to ensure everything was unloaded
as quickly as possible and it was Sarah who spent time in the kitchen both helping and advising
on the menu and food preparation. Caroline herself had always made sure she actively helped
to pack the boat each morning which included loading diving equipment and tanks. It really
was a 'hands on' organisation!
After the conversation with Malcolm, Caroline and her husband ambled down to the water
sports centre to decide when they would venture out to the reef. The manager was Ross’s
nephew, Sam, who was 25 years old and this was his first time overseas. He started the
procedure for the day, making sure that all the guests signed the various forms required by the
resort, before they could set out for the day’s activities. Caroline looked at the list of diving
and snorkelling locations and quickly realised that some of the most popular sites during her
time at Ravinaki were no longer available. She asked Sam why this was the case. “Oh, we are
in the process of suing some of the local Chiefs because they have told us that we cannot go to
these spots unless we pay them for the privilege” he said. “My uncle says that he does not do
business in this way and has brought in a lawyer. In the meantime it’s too problematic to go
there,” Sam commented. He then added “I’m relieved quite frankly, as some of the sites are
quite treacherous and I’m still trying to become familiar with the place.” Caroline asked Sam
why he didn’t use the local Fijian guides who knew these waters so well. “My Uncle says the
guests prefer to deal with expats when it comes to water activities, as they feel safer,” came the
Caroline found this to be a very strange decision as she would never dream of taking guests out
without the expert experience of the local Fijian guides who knew the reefs so well. She
certainly couldn’t recall any guest complaining about this before. She also thought it was
absurd to try and sue a local Lomaiviti Chief and could not see what this would ever achieve.
Lomaiviti’s remoteness meant the local Chiefs had tremendous power. Whilst Caroline had
Dynamics of International Business: Asia-Pacific Business Cases – Ravinaki 11/01/2013 2:26 PM Page 5 of 7
been at Ravinaki, she, and the resort owners, had spent many evenings drinking Kava with the
Chiefs to ensure relationships were strong.
Lessons of the past and struggles of the present at Ravinaki Resort
After the conversation with Sam Caroline stared at the ocean and once again found herself
reflecting on James and Sarah's approach to dealing with the local employees. Both James and
Sarah motivated the staff by maintaining good relationships. They had found that trying to
engage the staff from the local villages with individual rewards and bonuses was pointless.
Employees were uncomfortable with competitiveness within their close-knit communities.
Recognising this, Ravinaki, under James and Sarah, set simple group targets, such as increasing
the number of people going on snorkelling tours, or increasing the guest list overall. If these
targets were achieved, Ravinaki would pay for development projects in the villages, such as
the upgrade of the school, church or community centre. Ravinaki was careful when
implementing these incentives, as it was easy for money to disappear, leaving a project
unfinished. Ultimately, Ravinaki’s directors would buy the materials and expertise rather than
giving bulk sums of money. Such projects were not only a more successful way of incentivising
Ravinaki’s local staff but it also helped cement relationships with the local Chiefs. Without the
co-operation of the local communities, especially the Chiefs, the functional running of the
resort would have become very challenging. If the Chiefs where unhappy with the resort, the
employees from these local villages would have torn loyalties and often the loyalty to the Chief
would come before their job at Ravinaki. Caroline felt that suing a local Chief was burning a
bridge with a vital resort stakeholder, and wondered how the relationship could ever be
restored. Even if the resort won, given the legal context of Fiji, there could be no forgone
conclusion, and it would be impossible to monitor the outcome.
Caroline found herself reflecting on other aspects of her former time as a staff member at
Ravinaki. It was evident that the resort was now far from full and, although guests were paying
more for their accommodation, the number of visitors taking diving, kayaking and snorkelling
tours had dropped significantly. Caroline, in her time at the resort, had actively encouraged
guests who did not dive to try a ‘Discover Scuba’ session, which often lead them to want to
take a full diving course. According to the records, there had not been one ‘Discover Scuba’
offered in the last twelve months. Caroline was astonished to see such a decline in what had
once been an important revenue stream.
The future of Ravinaki Resort: What next?
It seemed to Caroline that increasing guest numbers and guest spending whilst at the resort,
were fundamental to the future survival of Ravinaki, and Caroline was concerned that both
these vital elements were quickly diminishing. She felt it was important not to romanticize her
previous experience, as there had been problems, but the solutions had been found through
dialogue, relationships and negotiation, and not through suing, especially given Fiji’s rather
fragile legal system. She was wondering why the new management made such choices that
were clearly not helpful (and destroying what was the good standing of the resort within the
community). She understood the resort was keen to attract a more lucrative upmarket clientele,
Dynamics of International Business: Asia-Pacific Business Cases – Ravinaki 11/01/2013 2:26 PM Page 6 of 7
which has the potential for greater profitability and therefore they needed to change. However,
she was struggling with the decisions the new owners were making and was wondering what
could be done in order to address the current situation.
Figure 1. Map of Fiji and Lomaiviti Group area
1. What are the key differences in the leadership of the resort under previous and current
ownership? How is this impacting on the motivation of the employees, and the
business in general?
2. Who are the key stakeholders of Ravinaki Resort? Compare approaches undertaken
by the previous and current owners in managing relationships with these key
stakeholders. How important an issue is this in doing business across cultures?
3. What is your opinion of the practice of making payments to local Chiefs in order to
obtain access to certain reef spots? What are the implications of making, or not
making, such payments?
4. What recommendations would you make to the owner of the resort in order to address
the current situation at Ravinaki Resort? Draft strategies that you think might turn the
business around to be a success.
代寫 UNSW MGMT5602 - Cross-Cultural Mngt
Dynamics of International Business: Asia-Pacific Business Cases – Ravinaki 11/01/2013 2:26 PM Page 7 of 7
? Chen, M., & Miller, D. (2011). The Relational Perspective as a Business Mindset:
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? de Vries, R. E., Pathak, R. D., & Paquin, A. R. (2011). The paradox of power sharing:
Participative charismatic leaders have subordinates with more instead of less need for
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? Farrelly, T. (2011). Indigenous and democratic decision-making: issues from
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? Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., De Luque, M., & House, R. J. (2006). In the Eye of the
Beholder: Cross Cultural Lessons in Leadership from Project GLOBE. Academy Of
Management Perspectives, 20(1), 67-90.
? Earley, P., & Mosakowski, E. (2004). Cultural Intelligence. Harvard Business
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Sally Anne Gaunt has a Masters Degree in Asian Studies from the University of New South
Wales, (UNSW) Australia. She lectures in the undergraduate Cross Cultural Management
course in the Australian School of Business at UNSW. Although born in the UK, Sally Anne
spent many years working in Asia and has extensive insight into and practical experience of
working with different cultures. She runs a successful training company in Australia, offering
cultural awareness programs to both Australian government and private organizations.
Dan V. Caprar obtained his MBA and PhD from the University of Iowa. He is a Lecturer at
the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales. Dan’s research focuses on
the interplay between self-leadership, identity, and culture. He teaches cross-cultural
management at UNSW and leadership for the Australian Graduate School of Management in
Hong Kong. Dan was born in Romania, spent several years in the US, and lives now in
Australia. He has extensive experience in working across many cultures.
代寫 UNSW MGMT5602 - Cross-Cultural Mngt